Consumer awareness of the TIO has more than doubled in the past four years, recently completed research has revealed.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed on behalf of the TIO in September 2012, more than 33 per cent said they would contact the TIO if they could not resolve a complaint with their service provider (unaided awareness). This figure was 15 per cent at the last public awareness survey conducted by the TIO in 2008.
When reminded of possible avenues of recourse, 57 per cent of respondents said they had been aware of the TIO before taking part in the survey (aided awareness). This was an increase from 36 per cent in 2008.
Awareness of the TIO was highest in Tasmania (79 per cent) and Victoria (63 per cent), and considerably lower in Western Australia (39 per cent).
The likelihood of being aware of the TIO also rose with the age of the respondent. Younger respondents aged 12–18 years (21 per cent), 19–24 years (43 per cent), and 25–34 years (48 per cent) were all significantly less likely to be aware of the TIO before completing the survey.
Older respondents aged 35–60 years (63 per cent) and 61 years or older (67 per cent) were significantly more likely to be aware of the TIO. Older respondents were also more likely to bring their issues to the TIO (45 per cent), while younger respondents were more likely to simply change providers.
“The increase in awareness of the TIO is a terrific result,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said. “We have been working hard through our media, outreach and stakeholder engagement activities to raise awareness of the TIO’s services and it is paying off.
“However, the research has identified some consumers that we need to focus more on – including young people and West Australians – and we will work on strategies to achieve that.”
The survey demonstrates that 60 per cent of consumers know they must contact their provider to solve their complaint before the TIO can become involved.
The survey also found that 80 per cent of respondents had experienced a problem with their phone or internet provider in the past. Of those, 17 per cent contacted the TIO. The reasons why consumers brought their grievance to the TIO included:
- the provider didn’t solve the problem in a reasonable time
- the provider refused to solve the problem
- the consumer was overcharged or had an account problem
- the consumer wanted to have a last chance at solving the complaint, and
- the consumer was fed up with the poor service of the telco.
“While the survey shows some positive results, it also lays out challenges to the TIO to continue to promote awareness of our services and to make it simple for consumers with unresolved complaints to access the TIO’s service,” Mr Cohen said.