The TIO has become an essential tool for consumers and small businesses to reach satisfactory outcomes in disputes with recalcitrant telcos, ISPs and RSPs.
Ombudsman Judi Jones has recognised the growing number of complaints from small businesses as well as the impact that disputes can have on these businesses.
So on 1 April, the TIO will form a small business team to handle complaints from this sector of the economy.
Assistant ombudsman of dispute resolution Jillian Brewer said "Resolving small business complaints can involve complex phone, internet and equipment setups, and an understanding of how these issues impact business loss.
The Small Business Team will deliver a dispute resolution service that is responsive to the high impact phone and internet problems can have on the day to day operations of small businesses."
Complaints to the TIO from small businesses increased by 8.7% in 2017/18.
The TIO considers small businesses to be those with up to 20 full-time employees and $3 million annual turnover, though these limits can be varied according to the nature of the business, its structure, and whether the issue in dispute is typical of a small business.
The major issues contributing to the increase were no action or delayed action by service providers to resolve phone or internet problems, and disputed charges for services or equipment.