Natural disasters and extreme weather delay landline repairs and connections.
Twenty-three providers have declared mass service disruptions due to natural disasters or extreme weather between July 2012 and March 2013, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reports in the latest issue of TIO Talks, released today.
These declarations have resulted in service providers being exempt from legislated times for landline connections and repairs set out in the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) Standard. The CSG Standard generally requires connections or repairs to be carried out within two to 20 working days – depending on the type of connection and where the consumer lives.
Reasons provided for declaring exemptions from the performance standards include heavy rains and flooding in New South Wales, the effects of bushfires in Tasmania, and redeploying technicians from Victoria to restore services in flood-affected areas.
“I am very aware of the frustration for consumers when there is a delay in getting a telephone or internet service repaired or connected,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said. “However, when there are natural disasters or extreme weather events affecting infrastructure, it may be unreasonable and unrealistic to hold a telco provider to a performance standard such as the CSG.”
Consumers made 40,021 new complaints to the TIO between January and March 2013, a 4.5 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter, but a 23.3 per cent decrease compared to the same time in 2012.
New complaints about mobile phones in particular reduced, with almost 30 per cent fewer than the same time in 2012, with all complaint categories, and especially complaint handling, reducing.
Complaints about faults in landline and internet services were the only area of significant increase. Complaints about fully unusable services increased to 2,507 issues, and those about delays in connecting new services increased to 2,339 issues.
Media inquiries – contact Mirjana Jovetic, TIO Communications Manager: 03 8600 8378