Telco complaints continue to decline

TIO says the results are a positive indicator in addressing disruption issues

Telco complaints from consumers and small businesses have decreased a further 12 per cent to 28,746 complaints according to the latest Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman's (TIO) Quarter 2 report from October to December 31. 

This marks a decrease in complaints for the fourth quarter in a row. 

For the first time in five quarters, mobile replaced the internet in the most complained about service type.

The top five issues involved service and equipment fees (9349); no or delayed action by a provider (9106); delay establishing a service (3699); no phone or internet service (3238); and resolution agreed but not met (3198).

Failure to cancel a phone or internet service made it into the top 10 issues across internet, landline and multiple services, meaning consumers and small businesses continued to receive bills for a service they are no longer using, the report said. 

While 84 per cent of complaints came from residential consumers, small businesses accounted for 16 per cent with reliability issues with their phone and internet services as the main sticking point due to the financial consequences of these issues.

TIO ombudsman, Judi Jones, said it was pleasing to see no significant increase in overall complaint volumes, but the report’s data shows the impact on consumers of rapid changes in technology, regulation and in a provider’s systems and processes. 

“Fault and connection complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network continue their downward trend. ‘Missed appointments’ has dropped out of the top 10 issues, so consumers are telling us it’s no longer the critical issue for them,” Jones said.

“These results are a positive indicator of ongoing provider, government and regulator efforts to address the disruption of the past few years.  

“Reporting this information in a timely manner provides a valuable tool for the phone and internet providers to address the issues we are seeing. This is creating a stronger foundation for building consumer confidence in the telecommunications industry,” she added.  

Telstra received the most complaints out of the top 10 telcos listed followed by Optus, Vodafone, iiNet, TPG, M2, Southern Phone Company; Dodo Services; Boost Tel and Exetel.

“All of industry has been working to improve customer experience, and we are pleased to see the significant drop in this last quarter showing the positive impact of these efforts,” Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton said.

“The three months to end-December saw the lowest volume of reported complaints to the TIO since the first quarter of 2017-18.

“While Industry will continue working to improve, this data shows customers are having better experiences with telecommunications faults, connections, and missed appointments.”