Phone and internet complaints continue to decline in second quarter of 2019 | The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
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Quarter 2 report

Phone and internet complaints continue to decline in second quarter of 2019

Summary
Residential consumers and small businesses made 28,746 complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the last quarter of 2019 (1 October to 31 December 2019). The Quarter 2 Complaints snapshot released today (Wednesday 12 February 2020) shows complaints about phone and internet services declined 12 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

The seasonal comparison shows a steady 1 per cent increase when comparing July to December 2019 against the same period in the previous year.

On a more granular level, the quarter 2 report shows mobile replaced internet as the most complained about service type for the first time in five quarters.

Failure to cancel a phone or internet service was an issue across internet, landline and multiple services. This means residential consumers and small businesses continue to receive bills for a service they are no longer using.

Small businesses continue to report issues with reliability of their phone and internet services, and the financial consequences of these issues. The results of a systemic investigation into the drivers of phone and internet complaints from small businesses will be released next quarter.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said, “When looking at the half year on half year comparison it’s pleasing to see there was no significant increase in overall complaint volumes. Underneath this picture, the quarter 2 data is showing the impact on consumers of rapid changes in technology, regulation and in providers’ systems and processes.

“Fault and connection complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network continue their downward trend. ‘Missed appointments’ has dropped out of the top 10 issues, so consumers are telling us it’s no longer the critical issue for them. These results are a positive indicator of ongoing provider, government and regulator efforts to address the disruption of the past few years.”

Ms Jones continued: “Reporting this information in a timely manner provides a valuable tool for the phone and internet providers to address the issues we are seeing. This is creating a stronger foundation for building consumer confidence in the telecommunications industry.”

Complaint highlights for quarter 2 2019

  • 28,746 total complaints were received from residential consumers and small businesses, down 12 per cent on the previous quarter.
  • Mobile was the most complained about service type of quarter 2, the highest it has been in five quarters.
  • “Missed appointment” dropped out of the top 10 issues (to no. 13), replaced by “Failure to cancel a service*” (no. 8).
  • Small businesses accounted for 16 per cent of complaints, the largest proportion in five quarters.
  • "Business loss*" (no. 5) and "Failure to cancel a service*" (no. 10) appear in the top 10 issues for small businesses, replacing "Misleading conduct" (no. 11) and "Termination fees" (no. 12).
  • Overall faults and connection complaints for services delivered over the National Broadband Network continued to decrease across internet, landline and multiple service types.
  • MyRepublic dropped out of the top 10 providers (to no. 12), replaced by Boost Tel (no. 9).
  • “Misleading conduct” (no. 11) and “Termination fee” (no. 13) dropped out of the top 10 unresolved issues, replaced by “Business loss*” (no. 8) and “Failure to cancel a service*” (no. 9).

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For all media enquiries please contact the Media Team on 0437 548 540 or mediaenquiries@tio.com.au

About the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman provides a free and independent dispute resolution service for consumers and small businesses who have an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service. 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, 0434 652 063 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

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.