by Byron Connolly

124,000 complaints about telco services last year

Oct 09, 2015
Technology Industry

Australians made 124,000 complaints about mobile, internet and landline services last financial year, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) said.

Although the numbers are high, the total number of complaints about telcos dropped by 10.5 per cent in 2014-15, according to the TIO’s latest report.

But Acting Ombudsman, Diane Carmody, said there is still room for improvement in the telecommunications industry.

“More than 124,000 is a huge number of complaints and shows the telecommunications industry has a long way to go,” Carmody said.

There was a 21 per cent decrease in the number of complaints about mobiles with significant improvements in key problem areas including coverage and excess data charges.

This follows telco investment in infrastructure and monitoring tools for consumers required by the industry’s Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code.

“Improved coverage through telco investment in mobile towers and usage and spending alerts that help consumers control data and phone usage have contributed to this improvement,” Carmody said.

While mobile phone complaints went down, there had been slight increases in landline and internet complaints, the report said.

“The landline issues that we are most closely watching are connection delays and faults, which have been rising for three years,” Carmody said.

Meanwhile, there was a 70 per cent increase in the number of NBN-related complaints. The most common NBN issues that consumers reported were delays in connections to the network and installation appointments that technicians have not attend.

New complaints about Telstra dropped 4.3 per cent to 55,529 during the year with sharp decreases in mobile and internet services, the report said. Landline complaints decreased by 3.9 per cent.

Vodafone new complaints decreased 46.2 per cent to 19,311 during the year compared to 35,876 in 2013-14. This is its lowest complaint level since 2009-10.

Reductions were due to fewer issues about coverage, excess data charges and poor contract information.

Vodafone’s director of service, customer operations, Errol van Graan, said that the telco’s aim is to provide the best possible service and while there is more work to do, results show how far the company has come over the past five years.

“Our continued investment in our network and customer service operations, together with our industry-leading bill shock initiatives and more simplified products are contributing to a dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction,” he said.

Meanwhile, new complaints about Optus increased by 31.6 per cent to 18,601 during the year compared to 14,144 in 2013-14, which was the telco’s first complaint increase in five years.

Complaints about internet services increased by 52.4 per cent, followed by a 35.2 per cent increase in complaints about landlines, and a 24.1 per cent increase complaints about mobile services.

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