Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) are on the up but the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) acknowledges the trend is beginning to change direction. But this is the third consecutive year that consumers have voiced discontent with the services provided by their telco.
Almost 170,000 residential and small business internet users have had to ask the TIO to intervene in their customer complaints.
ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin said "We’ve seen a 6.2 per cent increase in complaints to the TIO from the previous financial year. Although the last quarter has shown improvement, this is the third year in a row that the complaint numbers have climbed. It is time to draw a line in the sand – consumers deserve better from their telco providers".
Almost 60% of the companies handled by the TIO concern mobile phone and internet services. In response ACCAN wants an expansion of the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) to include broadband and mobile services. The CSG only requires providers to meet minimum performance requirements for specified landline phone services. This is clearly an antiquated view of what consumers expect from the telecommunications industry.
Complaints are down on the April to June 2018 quarter by 17.8 per cent on the January to March 2018 quarter. ACCAN said the new Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) complaint handling standard and record keeping rules for NBN services contributed to this trend, setting an expectation for a continued drop in complaints.
ACCAN said a number of carriers have had a decrease in complaints including Vodafone, iiNet, TPG, Dodo, and Southern Phone. Conversely but that they are disappointed that Optus and MyRepublic have had a significant increase in complaints.
I'm not sure whether things are actually better or whether people have more or less given up on complaining about the NBN. And fewer complaints to the TIO doesn't necessarily mean there have been fewer installation issues - it may mean telcos are getting better at handling problems themselves. The TIP process costs telcos significant money so it makes sense to both reduce the number of problems and to improve internal processes for dealing with them.
What's your view? If you're on the NBN have service improved? If you've had to complain to your RSP how was the process handled? Have you needed to escalate to the TIO? Let us know in the comments.