Complaints about landline, mobile, and internet services decreased by 27.7 per cent compared to the corresponding six-month period in 2017, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) latest six-month update.
During the six-month period between 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018, the TIO received 60,998 complaints. Of that, 74,238 were made by residential consumers who complained mainly about the lack of action by the service provider to resolve their complaint, issues with disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, and delays in establishing a service.
However, the proportion of complaints from residential consumers decreased to 84.5 per cent of total complaints, compared to 88 per cent during July to December 2017.
Similarly, the 9,270 complaints that were made by small businesses were also about no action or delayed action by the service provider to resolve their complaint, disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, and delays in establishing a service.
All states and territories in Australia saw an overall decline in complaints in the last six months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
TIO Ombudsman Judi Jones said while overall complaints decreased in the period, the final quarter of the reporting period did show a slight increase in complaints about internet services against the general downward trend.
“This shows the telecommunications sector must continue to focus on meeting the needs of the residential consumers and small businesses that are increasingly reliant on being connected to phone and internet services,” she said.
Complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network per 1,000 premises also decreased from 9.2 to 6.7 compared to the July to December 2017 period.
According to Australian Communications Consumer Action Network CEO Teresa Corbin, the decrease in NBN complaints could potentially be due to the ACMA’s NBN Testing Determination that was introduced in late September 2018.
Under the Determination, telcos have a series of obligations to consumers to ensure their NBN service is working as promised after installation. This includes an internet speed test that ensures customers are delivered the speeds they are paying for.
“As we head towards 2020 with the aim of connecting every Australian household to the NBN, it’s positive to see that steps such as these by the ACMA are making a difference to consumers’ NBN experience,” Corbin said.