Small business complaint percentage inching upwards in latest TIO figures

Overall complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman have increased by 5.7% compared to last year.

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The proportion of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) from Australia's small business sector has continued to slowly increase, with the percentage of complaints from the sector failing to go backwards across a range of metrics.

Overall, the TIO received 30,546 complaints in the second quarter to the end of December 2020, up 5.7% compared the same time last year, and down 11% quarter-on-quarter. Of that number, 17% came from SMBs, which is a high over the past twelve months.

It is a similar story for the 9,687 complaints related to internet services, where small businesses now make up 11% of complaints, a new high; for landlines, SMBs make 38% of the 3,481 complaints received; while for the 10,118 mobile complaints the TIO received, small business hovered around the 10% mark for most of the year; and the makeup of complaints about multiple services remained steady at 24% from small business.

The TIO said small business were increasingly complaining about having no working service, business losses incurred, and having services disconnected.

"Small business owners and telcos have done it tough through the pandemic. Whilst the slight proportional increase in small business complaints isn't yet cause for concern, it is important that small business owners have access to reliable phone and internet services, as many depend on these services to operate," TIO Judi Jones said.

"The impact of phone and internet problems can be significant for small business owners who don't have a back-up plan."

Earlier on Wednesday, Optus has rebranded the ability of its users to pay back a device purchase over a number of years as OptusPay, which will definitely not be confused with general payment solutions, such as Samsung Pay or Apple Pay.

"OptusPay is as simple as a click of a button to use. We'll be including the OptusPay visual icon across our various digital and retail touch points, to signify when customers are eligible to opt into OptusPay for their device repayments, e.g. at point of sale in retail stores, and online including the My Optus app," the company said.

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