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Telco Ombudsman complaints rise as consumers rage at non-action

Telco Ombudsman complaints rise as consumers rage at non-action

Internet services and connection issues still plague consumers and SMBs

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Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones.

Credit: TIO

Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) are on the rise again according to the watchdog’s latest quarterly report.

Residential consumers and small businesses made 32,801 complaints in the first quarter between 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019, a 6.3 per cent rise year-on-year.

Almost half of these -- 15,925 -- related to fault and connection complaints, while more than a third of complainants cited no or delayed action by the provider as their primary grievance.

Service and equipment fees were second on the list of complaints, sitting at 10,500, while a delay in establishing a service was the third most pressing issue at 4,500 complaints.

Year-on-year, gripes about fault and connection issues about the NBN increased by 45 per cent, reaching 4,621 in the internet services category.

In the multiple services segment, NBN complaints also rose marginally to 2,988, accounting for 72 per cent of complaints against non-NBN broadband providers.

Across the providers, Australia’s biggest telco Telstra once again topped the complaints list, accounting for more than half, totalling 16,703 altogether.

Optus followed behind with 7,758 complaints, just under a quarter, while iiNet, Vodafone and TPG rounded off the top five.

The majority of complaints came from consumers while SMBs made up 14 per cent. According to the Ombudsman report, 5,420 complaints came back unresolved from providers while 4,225 unresolved complaints were escalated for dispute resolution.

Although Ombudsman Judi Jones noted the 6 per cent rise in complaints, she added it was “too early to tell if this signals an upward trend of complaints”.

“Consumers are telling us problems with their bill and the customer service they are receiving continue to be problematic,” she added. “Delays with getting connected and no working phone or internet service were also recorded as key issues. Additionally, the problems we’re seeing with debt management relating to mobile phone services is concerning."


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