The volume of complaints from small businesses to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reached a three-year high during the 12 months to 30 June, rising 6.6 per cent to 19,689.
According to the TIO’s Annual Report 2020-21, complaints about delayed or no action by providers were the most complained-about issue by small businesses at 8,102, an increase of 28.2 per cent on the 12-month period prior, making up 41.1 per cent of all complaints by the group.
This comes amid a decline in overall telco complaints of 6.1 per cent, down from 127,151 complaints during the 2020 financial year to 119,400.
Residential complaints were also down, falling 8.2 per cent to 99,711 complaints.
“The complaints picture for this year is mixed. Overall complaint volumes are down 6 per cent on last year, and we have seen significant reductions in some of the problems faced by consumers,” Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones said. “It’s been a challenging year for telcos and consumers, and we acknowledge industry efforts to reduce complaints.
“However, we saw an increase in the proportion of complaints returning to us as unresolved, which challenged our response times. This resulted in frustration for consumers wanting to have their phone or internet problems addressed quickly.
“The trend in small business complaints is concerning. Small businesses need reliable phone and internet services and useful support when those services aren’t working as they should.
“Telcos need to continue focusing on giving great customer service. This includes making it easy for customers to complain when there’s a problem and providing an effective complaints process to fix that problem,” she added.
As it has the most customers, Telstra was the telco with the most complaints at 74,135 or 62.1 per cent of the total amount. Additionally, its complaint volumes increased by 11.3 per cent from the financial year prior.
Meanwhile, the telco with the largest complaint percentage increase was Aussie Broadband, with its complaints increasing by 37.2 per cent, to 1,047. However, this was only 0.9 per cent of the total complaints.
As for the telco with the best yearly complaint reduction, this accolade went to iiNet, as it managed to reduce the number of complaints about its services by 48.8 per cent, to 2,959.