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Mobile complaints drop as new tools, rules take effect

09 October 2015

Consumers made more than 124,000 complaints about mobile, internet and landline services last financial year, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reported as it launched its Annual Report 2014-15 today.

While the total number of complaints about telcos dropped 10.5 per cent in 2014-15, Acting Ombudsman Diane Carmody said there was 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,” Ms Carmody said.

Although the numbers are high, 2014-15 was the fourth consecutive year of decreasing complaints to the Ombudsman, the TIO reported.

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,” Ms Carmody said.

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

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

There had been an almost 70 per cent increase in the number of NBN-related complaints – highlighting a communication breakdown between retailers; the wholesaler, nbn; and consumers. 

The most common NBN issues that consumers reported were delays in connections to the network and installation appointments that technicians have not attended. 

“While the numbers of NBN-related complaints are relatively small at 6,700, they have a big impact on consumers,” Ms Carmody said. “It can be extremely frustrating and inconvenient for consumers when technicians do not show up for scheduled appointments, particularly if the consumer has taken a day off work.” 

“The challenge for nbn and retail service providers is to ensure the roll out of this highly anticipated technology is a positive experience for consumers.” 

*NBN refers to the National Broadband Network, while the network wholesaler trades as nbn.

Media queries:Mirjana Jovetic, TIO Communications Manager
03 8600 8378

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