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Data and complaints terminology

This section explains the finer points of our data and defines the terms we use in our reports.


Where we talk about complaints, these:

  • are expressions of dissatisfaction about a provider when the consumer has contacted the provider and is not satisfied with the outcome. We send complaints to specialist teams at providers for another attempt at resolution. Most complaints are resolved in this process
  • may include more than one issue
  • do not include enquiries, enquiry referrals or withdrawn complaints.


Where we talk about contacts, these:

  • include calls, emails and online forms that come through our public portals
  • exclude calls and emails to individual staff members and abandoned calls
  • exclude identified data anomalies within the financial year
  • include all contact up until a complaint is classified as unresolved.

Data updates

Complaint data is calculated as at the end of the current reporting period.

Previous quarters/financial year(s) may be adjusted if a complaint or enquiry is cancelled or reclassified before the end of the current period.

Data does not reflect cancellations or reclassifications that are processed by the TIO after the most recent period end date. Subsequent cancellations or reclassifications will be reflected in the next reporting period.

Dispute resolution is where we work with providers and consumers to resolve escalated complaints.

Early resolution is where we take initial contacts from consumers and log them as enquiries or send complaints to providers.

Enquiries include enquiries and enquiry referrals.

Enquiry referrals are complaints that have not been raised with the provider before a consumer contacts us. We send these complaints to providers but give providers a longer time to try to resolve these.

Escalated complaints are a subset of unresolved complaints that proceed to dispute resolution. Some unresolved complaints are not escalated – this can be because the issue is resolved before escalation, the issue that remains unresolved is not a matter we can assist with, or the consumer decides not to proceed with the complaint.

Complaints that are reclassified before the end of the financial year will be removed from the total count of escalated complaints. Complaints can be reclassified if they are escalated in error (for instance, the issue was already resolved).

Network Issues are complaints that include issues from the connection, no service, and poor service quality keywords. These are only counted once, regardless of the number of issues raised in the complaint.

Internet complaints relate to services delivered over fixed-line or fixed wireless internet connections. These complaints do not include internet services delivered by mobile devices or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services delivered over the internet.


A single complaint can have more than one issue. Where we talk about complaint numbers, we only count complaints once. Where we talk about issues, we count all the issues.

Issues in complaints are recorded based on six broad categories that follow the lifecycle of a consumer’s relationship with their phone or internet provider. From September 2019 we introduced new keywords to better capture the emerging issues in complaints.

Landline complaints includes complaints about voice services delivered over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and voice services delivered over the National Broadband Network (VoIP services delivered over fixed-line internet connections are also included).

Member groupings

Telstra group includes “Telstra Limited” and “Telstra Corporation Limited”. Optus group includes “Optus Internet Pty Ltd”, “Opus Mobile Migrations Pty Ltd”, “Optus Mobile Pty Ltd” and “Optus Networks Pty Ltd”. TPG group includes “TPG internet Pty Ltd” and “TPG Network Pty Ltd”.

Member status

If members are currently undergoing cessation to terminate their membership, they are not included in the count of active members.

Mobile complaints are complaints relating to a mobile telephone device or service, including complaints about internet accessed through a mobile telephone service.

Multiple complaints relate to complaints about more than one service type with the same provider.

Online includes all web forms and emails.

Percentages within the report have been rounded, so totals may not add to 100%.

Property complaints includes complaints about damage to a provider’s or landowner’s property, or a dispute about use of property by a carrier.

Top 10 providers by complaints

Where we talk about the Top 10 providers by complaints, we mean those member companies we received the most complaints about in the latest reporting period.

Provider complaints includes complaints made by consumers against member organisations. The data does not reflect the number of customers or services in operation. A consumer making a complaint does not necessarily mean a provider or network operator is at fault.

Small business and others includes small businesses, not-for-profits, and charities.

Unresolved complaints

An unresolved complaint is a complaint or enquiry referral that the consumer tells us was not resolved after we referred it to the provider. Most unresolved complaints proceed to dispute resolution and are called escalated complaints. Some unresolved complaints are not escalated – this can be because the issue is resolved before escalation, the issue that remains unresolved is not a matter we can assist with, or the consumer decides not to proceed with the complaint.