TIO Complaints Are Down, But Prices Are Up

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reports that Aussies made fewer complaints to it this year, but when we did complain, it was about really serious bill shock. Anyone fancy a $147,908 phone bill?

Picture by Lazurite

The TIO publishes its findings in its quarterly publication titled “TIO Talks“, and the latest edition suggests that fewer complaints are actually making it through to the TIO, although whether that’s a factor of our telcos making fewer mistakes, or simply rectifying them beforehand isn’t clear. Given that a TIO-level complaint costs a telco money, there’s a strong incentive for companies to solve problems before they reach this level. Between April and June decreased by “nearly 19 per cent”, and then fell a further 11 per cent between July and September.

So we’re complaining less in an aggregate sense, but that doesn’t mean that TIO operatives sit around the office all day dunking biscuits; the calls it does get appear to be getting more costly. Headlining the disputes was a customer who requested a $129/month plan for a nine-week European holiday, only to be slugged with a $147,908 bill on her return. If you’re planning an overseas trip, we’d strongly suggest Lifehacker’s Top 10 Ways To Avoid Global Roaming Rorts — although it sounds in this case as though somebody at the telco in question stuffed up rather grandly.

Over the past fifteen months the TIO’s seen around $8 million in disputed charges related to mobile roaming, so it’s clearly still a very big problem. New South Wales is narrowly the state with the highest level of complaints, narrowly pipping out Victoria 11,063 to 10,280, although adjusted for population Victoria squeaks ahead. [TIO Talks]

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