Wednesday, 12 February 2020 00:40

Phone, Internet complaints decline in Q4 2019, but mobile overtakes Internet as ‘most complained’ service Featured

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Phone and Internet complaints by Australian consumers and small businesses declined in the final quarter of 2019, but there’s been a steady 1% increase in complaints when comparing July to December 2019 against the same period in the previous year.

And mobile replaced internet as the most complained about service type for the first time in five quarters, according to the latest report on complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman..

Failure to cancel a phone or internet service was an issue across internet, landline and multiple services, which the TIO says 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, and the TIO says the results of a systemic investigation into the drivers of phone and internet complaints from small businesses will be released next quarter.

The TIO report show that residential consumers and small businesses made 28,746 complaints to the TIO in the last quarter of 2019 (1 October to 31 December 2019).

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.

“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,” Jones concluded.

Telecommunications industry body, Communications Alliane CEO John Stanton noted that the TIO report showed the number of complaints having decreased for the fourth quarter in a row, commenting that “all of industry has been working to improve customer experience, and we are pleased to see the significant drop in this last quarter showing the positive impact of these efforts”.

“The three months to end-December saw the lowest volume of reported complaints to the TIO since the first quarter of 2017-18.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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