NOT HAPPY: According to the According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Australian residential consumers and small businesses made 158,016 complaints in the last financial year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017). NSW customers made 50,537 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.6 per cent.
NOT HAPPY: According to the According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Australian residential consumers and small businesses made 158,016 complaints in the last financial year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017). NSW customers made 50,537 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.6 per cent. Supplied

41% increase in phone and internet complaints

IF POOR technology, mobile, landline and internet services make you feel like throwing your phone or laptop across the room you are not alone.

According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Australian residential consumers and small businesses made 158,016 complaints in the last financial year (1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017).

In New South Wales there were 50,537 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.6%.

The TIC reported during this period, complaints about landline phones, mobile phones and internet services increased by 41.1%.

In the TIC's 2016/17 Annual Report, Ombudsman Judi Jones said customers were tired of unreliable technology and services.

"The picture the complaints show is we are frustrated when we cannot rely on technology to stay connected, to be informed, and to do business," Ms Jones said.

"Sharing high quality videos immediately, holding an online meeting or watching Netflix on the way home, is now the norm and part of our daily routine."

Ms Jones said this report revealed it's the first time, complaints about internet services are now higher than complaints about mobile phones.

"Residential consumers and small businesses still have too many complaints about their customer service, a bill or faults (while) complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network more than doubled, and while this is somewhat to be expected given the accelerating roll-out, the increase is a cause for concern," she said.

"The national broadband network project is complex, and it is important all parties involved work together to ensure a great consumer experience."

TIC Highlights for the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 include:

  • Complaints about landline phones, mobile phones and internet services all increased.
  • For the first time, internet services were the highest source of complaints.
  • 87.8 per cent of complaints were from residential consumers.
  • 11.9 per cent of complaints were from small businesses.

Landline phones, mobile phones and internet services complaints all increased in 2016/17.

  • 41,824 complaints were recorded about landline phones, a year on year increase of 30.1 per cent.
  • 52,300 complaints were recorded about mobile phones, a year on year increase of 27.5 per cent.
  • 63,892 complaints were recorded about internet services, a year on year increase of 64.8 per cent.
  • Customer service, billing and payments, faults and complaint handling were the most common complaints about phone and internet services.

Small Business

In 2016/17 small business complaints increased 31.3 per cent in 2016-17 to 18,789.

  • This increase was driven largely by internet and landline service complaints.
  • The main issues affecting small businesses were customer service, faults, and billing and payments.

Complaints by state (in alphabetical order):

  • Australian Capital Territory made 2,612 complaints, a year on year increase of 42.3 per cent.
  • New South Wales made 50,537 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.6 per cent.
  • Northern Territory made 1,043 complaints, a year on year increase of 29.7 per cent.
  • Queensland made 28,988 complaints, a year on year increase of 42.7 per cent.
  • South Australia made 12,526 complaints, a year on year increase of 51 per cent.
  • Tasmania made 2,964 complaints, a year on year increase of 38.4 per cent.
  • Victoria made 43,565 complaints, a year on year increase of 41.1 per cent.
  • Western Australia made 13,623 complaints, a year on year increase of 49.1 per cent.

The top 10 service phone and internet providers accounted for 90.9 per cent of complaints in 2016/17:

  • Telstra received 76,650 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.5 per cent.
  • Optus received 28,766 complaints, a year on year increase of 31.2 per cent.
  • Vodafone received 10,684 complaints, a year on year increase of 37.5 per cent.
  • iiNet received 10,170 complaints, a year on year increase of 79 per cent.
  • TPG received 6,995 complaints, a year on year increase of 44.9 per cent.
  • Dodo received 3,309 complaints, a year on year increase of 1.1 per cent.
  • Southern Phone received 2,068 complaints, a year on year increase of 266.7 per cent.
  • Primus received 1,917 complaints, a year on year increase of 32.1 per cent.
  • M2 Commander received 1,704 complaints, a year on year increase of 25.3 per cent.
  • Virgin Mobile received 1,354 complaints, a year on year decrease of 11.6 per cent.

Services delivered over the national broadband network

As the national broadband network rollout widens, complaints about landline phones and internet services delivered over the network have grown.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman started recording and reporting complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network from financial year 2013/14.

Key highlights include:

  • 27,195 complaints were recorded about services delivered over the national broadband network, a year on year increase of 159.3 per cent.
  • 16,221 complaints were recorded about faults in services delivered over the national broadband network. This is 6.7 fault complaints per 1,000 premises activated.
  • 11,224 complaints were recorded about connection delays to services delivered over the national broadband network. This is 8.3 connection delay complaints per 1,000 premises activated.
  • Delays to connections are the main cause for complaints, followed by internet and landline faults for services delivered over the national broadband network.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is a free and independent dispute resolution and complaint handling service for residential consumers and small businesses who have an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service in Australia. www.tio.com.au or 1800 062 058.


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