Telstra and Optus complaints jump: Comms Alliance

A quarterly complaints report from Comms Alliance and the TIO has found that complaints jumped across Optus and Telstra, and rose slightly for Vodafone during the first three months of the year.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telco complaints have grown from 6 per 10,000 services in operation (SIO) to 7.5 complaints in just one quarter, according to the latest quarterly report from the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and Communications Alliance.

Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone Australia all clocked in with higher complaints ratios -- with Optus' rise being the highest, from 6.9 to 9 complaints per 10,000 SIO.

During the quarter to March 2019, Telstra had a complaints ratio of 8.2 per 10,000 SIO, up from 6.6 last quarter. Vodafone's rise in complaints was only marginal, growing from 3 to 3.1 complaints during the quarter.

Pivotal and Amaysim both remained at just 0.5 complaints per 10,000 SIO.

According to Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton, the January to March quarter usually sees a higher number of complaints.

"Some of our members have reported that the latest result has been influenced by adverse weather events and natural disasters. Nonetheless, we acknowledge there is more work to be done by all players in the supply chain to ensure a positive experience for Australian telecommunications consumers, including during transition from one network to another," Stanton said.

"The proposed upcoming registration of a revised and strengthened Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code by the industry regulator will provide additional consumer protections and an expanded Complaints in Context report, driving continued improvements through the co-regulatory system."

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently looking to revise the TCP Code.

Every quarter, the TIO in conjunction with Comms Alliance publishes a Complaints in Context report covering landline, mobile, and internet service complaints from residential and small business consumers.

The new report follows the TIO's annual report in October saying telco complaints, including those about the National Broadband Network (NBN), are "turning a corner".

"I am pleased to report that the number of complaints about telecommunications services in Australia appear to be turning the corner, with complaints trending down in the latter part of the year," Ombudsman Judi Jones said last year.

For the year to June 30, the TIO received 167,831 complaints in total, with 146,958 from consumers and 20,433 from small business.

Mobile phone services made up 51,328 complaints; multiple services accounted for 49,875 complaints; internet services caused 46,703 complaints; landline phone services 18,736 complaints; and property 1,189 complaints.

For complaint types, customer service made up the most complaints, at 40% overall, followed by payment for a service at 36%; service delivery at 31%; establishing a service at 2%; and property at 1%.

Earlier this month, the TIO also said complaints about the NBN had halved for the six months to December 2018, sitting at 61,000 made between July 1 and December 31, 2018.

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