The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has reported for the first time on NBN-related complaints in its Annual Report, released today.
Consumers made 3,982 new NBN-related complaints during the 2013-14 financial year. Most were about new connection delays, with 1,122 internet users and 783 landline consumers reporting a delay. More than 500 consumers complained about missed appointments.
“Complaints increased every quarter over the financial year. This is predictable given an increased roll-out of the National Broadband Network,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said. “A theme in these complaints has been communication breakdown, with consumers often reporting that they don’t know who to turn to solve their problem.”
NBN-related complaints proved difficult to resolve, with 800 conciliations and 98 investigations. More than 18 per cent of all TIO investigations concerned NBN-related complaints.
“Resolving these complaints often takes time, and it can prove very difficult to put connections back on track when something goes wrong,” Mr Cohen said. “The TIO has established a specialised NBN team in 2014, and is trialling new procedures to increase the cooperation between service providers and NBN Co to solve consumer complaints.”
The TIO’s Annual Report also shows the organisation’s solid progress in meeting key performance measures of timeliness and consumer satisfaction:
- 90 per cent of complaints new complaints were referred in one business day and 88 per cent of conciliations were completed in 30 business days.
- 90 per cent of consumers were satisfied with the TIO’s handling of their complaint.
“We have improved our performance in areas that are important to consumers and service providers, acting quickly on new complaints we receive,” Mr Cohen said.
In 2013-14, the TIO also:
- made 10 binding determinations (up from one in 2012-13)
- decided on 14 land access objection decisions (up from seven in 2012-13)
- intervened in 73 potential systemic issues (up from 41 in 2012-13)
- referred three service providers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for non-compliance with TIO determinations, and
- reported 19 telcos to the ACMA for not joining the TIO as required by law.
The TIO's Annual Report follows the publication in September 2014 of overall complaint trends. The Year in Review reported new complaints at a six-year low, with 138,946 cases registered in 2013-14.