Consumers who complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) report recurring and time-consuming contacts with telecommunication service providers in trying to solve their problem.
The claim was a key finding from a research paper, Resilient Consumers, TIO recently produced.
The survey of more than 500 consumers who lodged complaints with the TIO between July and August last year, found five key statistics arising from the claim:
- 55 per cent of consumers surveyed reported contact with service providers five or more times before ringing the TIO.
- 54 per cent of them informed their service providers of their issues a month before raising the matter with the TIO, with 31 per cent claiming they made a complaint more than three months beforehand.
- 60 per cent of consumers spent three or more hours ineffectively trying to solve their complaint before approaching the TIO, with one in five spending more than nine hours resolving their complaint.
- Half of them had contact with more than three different departments.
- The most common reasons for complaining to the TIO were: no solution presented by the service provider (39 per cent) and not keeping their word of resolving the complaint (39 per cent).
According to TIO ombudsman, Simon Cohen, consumers who approach the TIO have spent an extensive amount of time and effort in solving their complaints.
“They report being transferred from department to department, not being transferred to supervisors and perhaps, most frustratingly, getting no solution or a broken promise for their efforts. They are – by any measure – resilient consumers,” he said.
The report also showed that once these complaints were lodged with the TIO, about 90 per cent were easily resolved when they were directed to the right contact within the service providers.
“Most of these cases should not have come to us in the first place. The fact that they are most often resolved by referral by the TIO to the right department is strong evidence that these consumers can be treated better,” Cohen added.
The Ombudsman has suggested service providers introduce clearer avenues for consumers to make complaints and clearly defining ways for all employees to recognise when a complaint is being made and who is best able in dealing with it.