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Complaint statistics January - March 2015

08 May 2015

We recorded 33,141 new complaints from January to March 2015. While this is 12.1 per cent higher than the previous quarter, the number is still lower than the number of new complaints recorded in the same quarter in 2014 - by 8.6 per cent - or any other January-March quarters since 2007. 

To see our Dashboard, see our Statistics page. 

Mobile new complaints

After six consecutive quarter-on-quarter reductions, new complaints about mobile services increased by 2.4 per cent from the previous quarter with 15,096 new complaints recorded between January and March 2015. This is however, a reduction of 20.2 per cent year-on-year.

New complaints about excess data charges increased by 4.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter, from 1,991 to 2,078. However the year-on-year, new complaints about excess data charges are down by 41.6 per cent.

The most substantial increase was recorded in new complaints about disputed third party charges, with 701 new complaints, 87.9 per cent more than the previous quarter and 77.0 per cent more year-on-year. This category includes new complaints about disputed mobile premium services and other content services charges.

Mobile premium services

Mobile premium services (MPS) are information and entertainment content services delivered to a mobile phone. Examples include: ringtones, horoscopes, tarot readings, pictures, chat services, quizzes and competitions.

Tips on how to avoid problems with mobile premium services (MPS)

If you don’t want MPS, ask your provider to bar this service.

If you want MPS, before you opt-in to any service:

  • Check what you are actually purchasing
  • Check the cost of the service
  • Check if it is a subscription or one-off
  • Check if your phone is compatible
  • Check the terms and conditions
  • Ask questions if you are unsure
  • Keep records of what you opt-in / opt-out for.
  • Text ‘stop’ at any time to cancel.

For more tips, visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website.

Internet new complaints

We recorded 8,740 new complaints about internet services last quarter, an increase of 27.7 per cent from the previous quarter and an increase of 3.8 per cent from the same quarter last year. This is the second highest number of quarterly internet complaints recorded in four years.

Significant increases were recorded across all categories of internet faults and connection issues. For example, new complaints about fully unusable internet services were up by 45.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter, from 1,249 to 1,820. New complaints about delays in connecting new internet services were also up by 41.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter, from 992 to 1,404. 

Landline new complaints

Increases were also recorded across most categories of landline fault issues. We received 9,305 landline new complaints, the highest quarterly number recorded in two years. This is 16.7 per cent higher than the previous quarter and 4.3 per cent more than the same period last year. 

New complaints about fully unusable landline services were up by 37 per cent quarter-on-quarter, from 1,096 to 1,501. New complaints about delays in connecting new landline services were also up by 13.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter, from 1,011 to 1,145. 

Complaints by provider

Complaints about Telstra, VHA Group, and Optus made up 74.3 per cent of all our new complaints recorded in the period.

Provider Complaints Jan-Mar 2015 % change from Oct-Dec 2014 % change from Jan-Mar 2014
Telstra  14,830 +9.9 -1.5
Optus  5,340 +44.4 +50.2
VHA Group (Vodafone, 3, Crazy John’s)  4,457 -16.8 -55.1

For a detailed list of complaints by providers see our Statistics page. 

NBN-related new complaints

We received 1,635 NBN-related new complaints in the last quarter, 15.6 per cent more than in October – December 2014. Connections continued to be the most common issue about NBN-related new complaints, reported in 792 cases or 44.8 per cent of all NBN-related new complaints. 

As at the end of March 2015, the number of premises activated to the NBN (391,107) increased by 21.3 per cent compared to the end of December 2014 (322,391). [Source: NBN Co.]

NBN-related complaints include those registered to retail service providers (RSPs) and cases registered to NBN Co. While complaints identified as NBN-related arise from services provided over the NBN, this may not mean it has been directly caused by the NBN or NBN Co.

Trending issues

Fault issues in landline and internet new complaints

Fault issues in landline and internet new complaints continue to increase this quarter, with increases year-on-year. Over the past few years, we generally see an increase in fault issues in new complaints about landline and internet services during the third quarter of any given financial year due to seasonal weather conditions.

When contextualised against services in operation, we also see an increase in landline and internet fault complaints per one million services in operation (SIO), particularly over the past one year. For example, there were 166 landline fault complaints per one million SIO and 138 internet fault complaints per one million SIO in February 2015 (the month with the highest reports of these issues). This is significantly more than for mobile services, where there were 41 new complaints with at least one fault issue per one million SIO in February 2015.

At this time, the cause of this increase in landline and internet fault complaints and whether it requires any response is unclear. There is the usual seasonal trend, with increased complaints for internet and landline services resulting from summer weather events. The increasing proportion of these complaints reflects in part the general reduction in complaints to the TIO, and that these complaints have not reduced, or reduced to the same extent. NBN-related complaints do not figure substantively in the statistics. We will continue to monitor these trends over the coming quarters. 

Fault issues in new complaints per one million services 

Mobile

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Poor contract information
1,751
Quarter-on-quarter: -23.8%
Year-on-year: -24.3%

Unfair enforcement of contract terms
838
Quarter-on-quarter: -9.7%
Year-on-year: -7.6%

Disputed contract termination charges
835
Quarter-on-quarter: -9.0%
Year-on-year: -18.8% 

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Excess data charges
2,078
Quarter-on-quarter:  +4.4%
Year-on-year: -41.6%

Disputed recurring service charges
768
Quarter-on-quarter: +7.1%
Year-on-year: -23.8% 

Disputed third party charges (including MPS)
701
Quarter-on-quarter: +87.9%
Year-on-year: +77.0% 

Landline



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Disputed connection charges
176
Quarter-on-quarter: -2.8%
Year-on-year:  -13.3%

Suspension/disconnection of services with disputed charges
157
Quarter-on-quarter: -2.5%
Year-on-year:  +3.3%

 

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Fully unusable landline service
1,501
Quarter-on-quarter: +37.0%
Year-on-year:  +28.0%

Delay in connecting a new landline service
1,145
Quarter-on-quarter: +13.3%
Year-on-year:  +14.2%

Disputed recurring service charges
762
Quarter-on-quarter: +14.4%
Year-on-year: +4.5%

Internet



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Financial over-commitment
91
Quarter-on-quarter: -26.6%
Year-on-year:  -53.6%

Suspension/disconnection of services with disputed charges
77
Quarter-on-quarter: -12.5%
Year-on-year:  -3.8%

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Fully unusable internet service
1,820
Quarter-on-quarter: +45.7%
Year-on-year: +37.8%

Delay in connecting a new internet service
1,404
Quarter-on-quarter: +41.5%
Year-on-year:  +11.0%

Slow internet speed
1,296
Quarter-on-quarter: +22.4%
Year-on-year: +4.3%

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