The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reports new consumer complaints were at a five-year low in the 2013 financial year, totalling 18.1 per cent less than the previous year.
The TIO’s annual report indicates it received a total of 158,652 new complaints about landline, mobile, and Internet issues in the period.
Broken down, the figure equates to 31,000 fewer complaints about mobile phones (a 25.6 per cent fall) and 33,940 less complaints regarding landlines (a 9.3 per cent dip), while Internet complaints increased by 1.9 per cent to 31,431.
Not surprisingly, the main reasons mobile phone complaints related to coverage issues, be it reduced or no reception, poor voice quality, and dropped calls; 25,770 customers raised these issues.
Billing and payment issues, customer service complaints, and overall fault concerns were all reduced as well.
“This is the second successive year we have seen telco complaints decrease, and complaints to the TIO are at their lowest since 2008 to 2009,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said.
“A clear commitment from telcos to do better by their customers, an improved industry code and a focus on compliance are paying dividends.”
Among the positives, the TIO states that more than half the complaints it received included customer service issues, with the vast majority resolved quickly by referral to senior complaints handlers within services providers.
Cohen said the high number of single complaints resolved by TIO referral reflects the ongoing opportunities for telcos to improve the way in which they manage customer complaints.
The TIO claims these reductions come despite a 58 per cent increase in consumer awareness of the organisation.
Against the overall trend of reduced disputes, extreme weather events contributed to more complaints about Internet fault (up 18.3 per cent to 18,963), landline faults (up 19.1 per cent to 9553), delays in new Internet connections (up 58 per cent to 4710), and delays in new landline connections (up 40 per cent to 3743).