Complaints about the Commerce Commission
If you are dissatisfied with the way the Commission has gone about its work the information below will assist you in making a complaint and understanding how we will deal with that complaint.
To report a concern about a business or other party, please go to our make a complaint page.
How to make a complaint about the Commerce Commission
Please use the complaint form on our website to register your complaint. In the business field please enter "Commerce Commission". If you do not know whether your complaint relates to our Wellington or Auckland office, please put “Wellington” in the location field.
It will help us deal quickly with your complaint if you set out your concern as fully as possible.
What is a complaint?
A complaint about the Commission is an expression of dissatisfaction with the way in which we have gone about our work. This includes complaints regarding:
- the way a person or business has been treated by the Commission
- the process followed when deciding on what actions, if any will be taken on a matter
- any other matter about the way in which the Commission has carried out its duties, functions or powers (including failure to show due care when dealing with a person, business or information, or undue delay in handling a matter).
Please note this does not include a complaint about a decision we have reached on a current investigation or other matter (unless the complaint is regarding our conduct and/or the process we undertook in reaching the decision).
Where a complaint concerns the decisions you think we should make on a current investigation or other matter, or the process you think we ought to follow, we may decide to note that as a submission or other comment in the matter rather than treat it as a complaint about the Commission.
What happens when I make a complaint?
If you make a complaint, it will be read, logged, acknowledged and assigned to a senior staff member to respond to.
The staff member will make contact with you, and in some cases may seek further information from you. They may also consult with the staff who are handling or have handled the relevant file or matter.
We will answer your complaint as promptly as we can. We aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days of receiving it. In some cases, a full response will not be possible within this timeframe, and we will indicate our likely timing for a full response.
We will apply the complaints principles (below) in responding to all complaints.
There are five complaints principles that we apply to responding to complaints about the Commerce Commission, and each is briefly discussed below:
- We will make it easy for you to complain.
- We will acknowledge your complaint, and address it as promptly as possible.
- We aim to deal with your complaint fairly and properly.
- Complaints are dealt with in an even-handed, objective way, and our complaint-handling process is fair and reasonable.
- We will take all complaints seriously and deal with them in a manner consistent with the Ombudsman’s Effective complaint handling guide.
- We will communicate expected timeframes for dealing with your complaint.
- We want to resolve any problems that you identify and will consider what changes, if any, we need to make to the way we go about our work.
- We will consider your complaint as efficiently as possible, assigning appropriate staff within the organisation.
- Sometimes we will not be able to deal with your complaint with urgency, because of competing work priorities.
- Unreasonable complainant conduct cannot be allowed to become an undue burden.
- Personal information relating to complaints will be treated as confidential information. We will consult with you if any person seeks access to identifying personal information about your complaint.
Possible decisions on complaints
Because the nature of complaints can vary greatly, a wide range of possible decisions can be made. The most common possible responses are summarised here.
Complaint is upheld and corrective action is taken
We want to resolve any problems that you identify and will consider what changes, if any, we need to make to the way we go about our work.
If we agree with you that we have not met our own high standards of performance, we will advise you of that and we will make changes aimed at ensuring that we do not repeat this.
Complaint is rejected – no further action
If your complaint is, in our view, unfounded, we will give you brief reasons for why we have formed that view.
Having done so, we will not normally engage in further correspondence on the same issues. Please see the content below on if you are dissatisfied with the Commission’s response.
If you are dissatisfied with the Commission’s response
If you are dissatisfied with the response you receive to any complaint, you can ask us to reconsider. Please contact the person who sent you our response.
You also have the right to raise your concerns with the New Zealand Ombudsman:
The Ombudsman can consider complaints about the administrative acts and decisions of state sector agencies. The Ombudsman will ask if you have first tried to resolve the matter with us directly, and will also consider whether you have any other remedy available. The Ombudsman may look into your complaint and make a recommendation to us regarding the concern you have raised.
Unreasonable complainant conduct
The Commission is under no obligation to respond to complainants whose conduct is unreasonable.
We will follow the Ombudsman’s Managing unreasonable complainant conduct manual when a considering whether a complainant’s conduct is unreasonable.
The Ombudsman’s manual provides the following definition of unreasonable complainant conduct.
“Unreasonable complainant conduct ('UCC') can be defined as any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, because of its nature or frequency, raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues for the parties to a complaint. The parties to a complaint that might be detrimentally impacted by UCC include, the organisation responsible for handling a complaint, the case officer(s) tasked with dealing with a complaint, the subject of complaint, a complainant himself or herself (potentially including members of their families and friends) and other complainants and service users.”
If we take the view that a complainant’s conduct is unreasonable, we will advise the complainant of our view and in some cases that we will not be corresponding with the complainant any further.