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July - December 2018 Six Month Update

Phone and internet complaints down between July and December 2018

Summary
Australian residential consumers and small businesses made 60,998 complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the last six months of 2018 (1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018). In this period, complaints about landline, mobile and internet services, decreased by 27.7 per cent compared to the same six month period in 2017.

Download the full report here

Publishing the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s Six Month Update today (Thursday 11 April, 2019), Ombudsman Judi Jones said “While I am pleased complaints decreased in the period, this report is a snapshot in a much more complex story. The final quarter of this reporting period showed a slight increase in complaints about internet services against the general downward trend. This shows the telecommunications sector must continue to focus on meeting the needs of the residential consumers and small businesses that are increasingly reliant on being connected to phone and internet services.

Ms Jones continued, “Complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network have decreased compared to the same six month period in 2017. While this decrease is encouraging we continue to work with phone and internet service providers, the telco industry, and regulators to address issues as they arise and to improve the customer experience.”  

Complaint highlights for the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018 include:  

  • 60,998 total complaints received, a decrease of 27.7 per cent against the same period in 2017
  • The October to December quarter showed a slight increase in internet service complaints from 9,002 in July to September to 9,648 in October to December.
  • The proportion of complaints from small businesses increased from 11.7 per cent during July to December 2017 to 15.2 per cent.
  • Complaints from small businesses decreased 6.4 per cent from 9,901 in 2017 to 9,270 in 2018.
  • Complaints from residential consumers decreased 30.5 per cent from 74,238 in 2017 to 51,560 in 2018.
  • 4,217 complaints were recorded about connections or changing providers for a service delivered over the National Broadband Network. Complaints about connections or changing providers per 1,000 premises added to the Network decreased from 9.2 to 6.7 compared to the July to December 2017 period.
  • 9,666 complaints were recorded between July and December 2018 about service quality on the National Broadband Network. Complaints about service quality per 1,000 premises on the Network decreased from 4.1 to 2.1 July to December 2017 period.

 

Complaints about landline, mobile, internet, multiple services* and property*

Complaints about service types in the six month period fell compared to the high levels of 2017. However, between October and December 2018 the overall decline slowed and internet service complaints and small business complaints about landline services increased.

  • 7,709 complaints (12.6 per cent) were recorded about landline phone services, a decrease of 18 per cent.
  • 19,936 complaints (32.7 per cent) were recorded about mobile phone services, a decrease of 19 per cent.
  • 18,650 complaints (30.6 per cent) were recorded about internet services, a decrease of 21 per cent.
  • 14,223 complaints (23.3 per cent) were recorded about multiple services*, a decrease of 45 per cent.
  • 480 complaints (0.8 per cent) were recorded about property*, a decrease of 24 per cent.

What people complained about

The top five complaint issues for the period were:

  • 18,845 complaints were about no action or delayed action by the service provider.
  • 18,324 complaints were about disputed charges for a service or equipment.
  • 8,025 complaints were about no working phone or internet service.
  • 7,202 complaints were about delays with connections or changing providers.
  • 6,387 complaints were about intermittent service or dropouts.   

Complaints from residential consumers  

Complaints from residential consumers decreased 30.5 per cent to 51,560 compared to the same period in 2017.

  • The proportion of complaints from residential consumers decreased to 84.5 per cent of total complaints, compared to 88 per cent during July to December 2017.
  • Complaints about landline, mobile, internet, multiple and property decreased.
  • Residential consumers complained about lack of action by the service provider to resolve their complaint, issues with disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, and delay in establishing a service.

Complaints from small businesses  

Overall complaints from small businesses decreased 6.4 per cent from 9,901 to 9,270.

  • The proportion of complaints from small businesses increased from 11.7 per cent during July to December 2017 to 15.2 per cent.
  • Complaints about landline phone services increased 18.6 per cent to 2,562 compared to the same period in 2017.
  • Small businesses complained about no action or delayed action by the service provider to resolve their complaint, disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, and delay in establishing a service.

 

 

Complaints by State

All states and territories in Australia saw an overall decline in complaints in the last six months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

Complaints by state (in alphabetical order) are as follows:

  • Australian Capital Territory made 911 complaints, a decrease of 22.8 per cent
  • New South Wales made 19,321 complaints, a decrease of 27.9 per cent
  • Northern Territory made 339 complaints, a decrease of 35.9 per cent
  • Queensland made 11,585 complaints, a decrease of 29.1 per cent
  • South Australia made 4,615 complaints, a decrease of 29.2 per cent
  • Tasmania made 994 complaints, a decrease of 38 per cent
  • Victoria made 17,639 complaints, a decrease of 26.1 per cent
  • Western Australia made 5,580 complaints, a decrease of 25 per cent

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

For all media enquiries please contact Sarah Carnovale on 0437 548 540 or mediaenquiries@tio.com.au 

New Reporting

*From 1 July 2017, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman changed the categorisation of service types and issues about complaints received from residential consumers and small businesses.

The new categorisation has improved data collection, provided opportunities for better analysis of complaints, and improved reporting to the telecommunications industry, Government, and residential and small business consumers.

About the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) provides a free and independent dispute service for small business and residential consumers who have an unresolved complaint about their telephone or internet service in Australia.

Residential consumers and small businesses should contact www.tio.com.au or 1800 062 058.

The Telecommunications Industry Sector

The Telecommunications industry regulators are the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) http://www.acma.gov.au Media enquiries to (02) 9334 7719 or media@acma.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)  https://www.accc.gov.au Media enquiries to 1300 138 917, media@accc.gov.au After hours 0408 995 408.

Government and the regulators set policy and regulations for the telecommunications sector.

Communications Alliance is the peak body for Australian communications industry http://www.commsalliance.com.au Media enquiries to Sefiani Communications, (www.sefiani.com.au) 61 431 478 558.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation representing individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit groups as consumers of communications products and services. http://accan.org.au/index.php Media enquiries to 0409 966 931 or 02 9288 4000.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples from all nations of this land.