Southern Phone takes title of most complained about telco in Comms Alliance report

iiNet remains steadfastly the most complained about major brand in the market.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Communications Alliance

After a six-month stint at the top of the Communications Alliance Complaints in Context report, MyRepublic has relinquished its title of Australia's most complained about telco, with Southern Phone picking up the mantle.

The latest instalment of the report states that overall complaints returned to 7.1 complaints per 10,000 services in operation for the first quarter of 2020, the same level recorded between July to September 2019, with a drop to 6.2 for the quarter in between. The report covers nine months as it has moved from voluntary participation by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Amaysim, and Pivotel to compulsorily covering the 10 telcos with the most complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), along with any other companies that volunteered to participate.

Across the nine months, Southern Phone saw complaints per 10,000 services in operation move from 25.3, down to 20.1, to now sit at 22.5 between January to March. Over the same time, MyRepublic trended steadily downward, moving from 29.3 to now 18.7 complaints per 10,000 services.

Of the major telcos, iiNet has a clear lead, sitting at 12.2 complaints per 10,000 services, followed by iPrimus with a large spike from 6.2 to 11.8. Telstra had 8.4, TPG had 7.5, Optus had 6, and Vodafone was on 3.

In line with the trend of the overall complaints number, most telcos dipped in the period from October to December to return close to the levels reported in the July to September 2019 quarter.

Last month, the TIO said bushfires and floods were to blame for a 13% increase in complaints recorded between January to March.

During the period, the TIO received a total of 32,441 complaints, down from the same period last year when it recorded 37,599 complaints, but up on the previous quarter, when it received 28,720 complaints.

The TIO said last week that complaints from small businesses around Australia rose as a percentage received to almost 15%, with over 19,000 complaints filed.

Of that number, 885 complaints are related to a business being disconnected due to a stuff up by a telco, a report released by the TIO said.

One of the factors in these disconnections was businesses sharing a location ID in the NBN location database with another business.

"This is because in the pre-NBN environment, one phone line could supply multiple services to separate businesses. To successfully connect each business to the NBN, an individual location ID must be created for each business address," the report said.

"Small businesses often become aware of a location ID issue when another business sharing the same phone line applies to connect to the NBN using the common location ID and unintentionally disconnects their service."

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