The Postal Industry Ombudsman (PIO) charges a fee for all investigated complaints. Fees are charged to the Private Postal Operator (PPO) that is the subject of the complaint and depend on the level of complexity involved in resolving the matter.
There is no joining fee when a postal operator registers as a Private Postal Operator, and no annual fee.
At the end of each financial year, the PIO calculates the cost of investigating complaints at four different levels of complexity. A Private Postal Operator will then be invoiced for the investigations that have been completed about them, based on the number of complaints and the complexity of those complaints.
If there are no finalised complaints about a member in a financial year, the Private Postal Operator will not incur any fee. When the PIO decides not to investigate a complaint no fee is charged.
Our investigation fees are based on the five levels of complexity below.
- Initial investigation: will conduct a short focused investigation with PPO, to provide the PPO with an opportunity to resolve the dispute by reviewing its previous actions and decisions in managing the consumer’s complaint.
- Simple investigation: resolved following only one substantive contact with the PPO ('substantive' contact excludes contacts such as those correcting an error or seeking straightforward clarification of a matter).
- Escalated investigation: resolved following more than one substantive contact between the PIO and the PPO.
- Complex investigation: resolved following more than one substantive contact between the PIO and the PPO, and requiring involvement of more senior PIO staff.
- Formal report investigation: an investigation that results in a formal report being made to the Minister under the provisions of the Ombudsman Act.
If the PIO decides to investigate a complaint, we will contact the PPO to advise of the investigation and that a fee will apply. All complaints commence at the lowest fee level and may be escalated to a higher level of complexity if the matter is not resolved.
The process of fee escalation provides encouragement to resolve matters as soon as possible. A PPO is notified before fees are escalated from one level to the next, and is given the opportunity to say why a higher fee should not be applied - for example, because they have been able to resolve the complaint to the customer's satisfaction.
Recovery of fees
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) collects fees on behalf of the PIO. Invoices will be sent to a PPO by ACMA for investigations completed by the PIO in the previous financial year.