Telco complaints drop partially, reverses first quarter increase

Industry is still lower year-on-year, but it is above the complaints ratios registered during the latter half of 2018.

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(Image: Comms Alliance)

After a significant increase in complaints per 10,000 services in operation (SIO) during the first quarter of the year, Australian telcos have undone most of the increase during the second quarter.

According to the Telecommunications Complaints in Context report released by the Communications Alliance on Tuesday, the industry averaged 6.6 complaints per 10,000 SIO from April to June, compared to 7.5 complaints last quarter, and 7.5 for the same period last year.

In terms of rankings, the telcos are unchanged. Optus still leads the way with 7.7, Telstra is close behind on 7.2, Vodafone continues to trend downwards with 2.7, Pivotel bucked the trend by doubling in complaints from 0.5 to 1.0, and Amaysim kept it low at 0.4 complaints per 10,000 services.

The Communications Alliance said the overall numbers were the lowest for the second quarter since 2016.

With a revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code arriving in August, this is the last installment of the Complaints in Context report that relies solely on telcos volunteering their data.

"In addition to stronger selling practices, stricter credit assessment, and increased financial hardship provisions, the revised TCP Code will expand our quarterly Complaints in Context report to the top 10 providers who received the most TIO complaints last year, in addition to any volunteers," Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton said.

"To this date, all participants have been volunteers, and we appreciate their ongoing participation in this valuable report."

Last week, the Comms Alliance disclosed a further 27 agencies that have attempted to access data retained under Australia's metadata laws despite not being explicitly authorised to so, which added to the list released in November.

The Comms Alliance said non-enforcement agencies trying to access metadata was a "serious and persistent phenomenon" and one that "continues to grow in magnitude".

Last week, Optus confessed it received an exemption to keep its legacy systems free from encryption when complying with the metadata laws.

"The legislative provisions which allow for certain exemptions to be granted were an important factor in Optus achieving compliance in an efficient and timely manner," Optus said in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security review of the mandatory data retention regime.

"Because part of its overall data retention architecture involved storing some data in legacy systems, Optus applied for and received limited exemption from the encryption obligation."

The telco said there had been no reported "security incident or breaches" related to the retained data.

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