Complaints and disputes

We recognise that to successfully deliver outstanding customer service, we must be committed to effectively receive and handle complaints. We aim to resolve your issues at your first point of contact. And if we can’t, we have a robust and transparent process for escalating complaints and resolving disputes.

Making an enquiry or complaint

Most enquiries are best handled over the phone. We have a dedicated, Geelong-based customer contact centre, so you will know you’re talking to a local person straightaway.

If you have an enquiry or complaint relating to your water, sewerage, trade waste or recycled water service, please call us on 1300 656 007 during business hours.

You can also email us, write to us, or reach out via our social media channels.

All Barwon Water employees can register and respond to customer enquiries and complaints.

How we handle enquiries and complaints

We aim to address enquiries and resolve complaints quickly and fairly.

We will try to resolve your issue at the first point of contact. If a written reply is requested, we will take no more than 10 business days to respond.

Our reply will address the substance of your enquiry or complaint, or – if your enquiry or complaint is particularly complex – we will let you know when we will get back to you.

We will always provide you with the reasons for any decision, including details of any legislative or policy basis.

Customer Liaison Coordinator

If, for any reason, are not satisfied with the way your enquiry or complaint was handled or you are not satisfied with the outcome, it will be escalated to our Customer Liaison Coordinator. You can also request that your complaint be referred to the Customer Liaison Coordinator directly.

The Customer Liaison Coordinator has additional delegation and experience to handle complaints and resolve disputes.

The Customer Liaison Coordinator may also provide you with information about referral to an external dispute resolution service, such as the Energy and Water Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman

We always aim to address complaints and resolve disputes internally. But if we are unable to resolve your issue or you’re not satisfied with our handling of it, you can lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman, Victoria.

The Ombudsman is a free, not-for-profit, independent and impartial dispute resolution service. It’s available to all Barwon Water customers, and also people affected directly by our business.

The Ombudsman uses an alternative dispute resolution processes to resolve disputes impartially, and informally. It aims to make fair and reasonable decisions, taking into account the circumstances of the case, good industry practice and the law.

Please note, the Ombudsman does not take certain types of complaints, such as:

  • water rates and prices and how they are set
  • government policies, legislation, licences and codes and anything specifically required by law
  • complaints that are being (or have been) considered in court
  • customer contributions to the cost of capital works
  • our commercial activities outside of water
  • actions we are directed to take to maintain security or reliability
  • events beyond our control.

Resolving your dispute

We endeavour to resolve in good faith any dispute directly with you.

We will consider a dispute about non-payment resolved only if:

  1. We have informed you of our decision on the complaint or any internal review of your complaint;
  2. 10 business days have passed since you were informed of that decision; and
  3. You have not sought a further review or lodged a claim with the Ombudsman or any other external dispute resolution forum.