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Complaints increase in January-March but down overall

Consumers made 31,297 new complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the January-March 2016 quarter, the TIO reports today.

The result was a 32.8 per cent increase from the previous quarter, but a 5.6 per cent decrease from the same time last year.

"January-March is traditionally the TIO's busiest quarter, but we are experiencing a sharper than usual increase this year," Ombudsman Judi Jones said. "Overall, complaints are continuing to trend down."

The increase is both seasonal and due to more complaints from consumers reporting problems with their internet services.

The TIO received 10,985 new complaints about internet services in January-March 2016. The proportion of internet complaints has grown to 35 per cent, from 26 per cent at the same time last year. Many of those complaints included consumer reports of faulty services and connection delays. The TIO received:

  • 2,159 issues of slow data speeds
  • 2,125 issues of unusable services, and
  • 2,079 issues of connection delays.

"These three issues were the top reason that brought internet users to the TIO in January-March 2016," Ms Jones said.

"Consumers told us about internet services that performed at much lower speeds than they were promised, and long waits for connections and repairing unreliable services."

Meanwhile, the TIO received 9,248 landline complaints. The proportion of landline complaints in January-March 2016 grew to 30 per cent from 28 per cent at the same time last year.  

The issues in landline complaints were similar to those in internet services. Consumers reported:

  • 1,725 issues of unusable landlines, and
  • 1,605 issues of new landline connection delays.

The TIO also recorded 11,064 complaints about mobile services in January-March 2016, a year-on-year drop. The proportion of mobile service complaints decreased from 46 per cent in January-March 2015 to 35 per cent in January-March 2016.

The ratio of complaints made about mobile services over the past four years has decreased 48 per cent, while services in operation in Australia have increased 8.5 per cent in that time.