Thursday, 11 April 2019 01:30

Phone, Internet complaints down for the last six months of 2018: report Featured

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Phone, Internet complaints down for the last six months of 2018: report Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Complaints by Australian telecommunications users about landline, mobile and Internet services fell in the last six months of 2018 by 27.7% to 60,998 compared to the corresponding six month period in 2017.

The latest six-monthly update report published on Thursday (today) by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reveals that between July and 31 December 2018, complaints  decreased, with both Australian residential consumers and small businesses making just shy of 61,000 complaints for the six months.

And the fall in complaints reported was across all states and territories compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

The TIO report also reveals that issues with “no action or delayed action by the service provider” and “disputed charges for a service or equipment” led the list of the top five complaints for the period raised by consumers and businesses.

But, despite saying she was pleased complaints decreased in the period, ombudsman Judi Jones revealed concerns about what she said was “an 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,” Jones cautioned.

This report notes that the October to December quarter showed a slight increase in Internet service complaints from 9002 in the July to September period to 9648 in the October to December period.

But, Jones was cautiously more positive about services over the national broadband network.

“Complaints about services delivered over the NBN have decreased compared to the same six-month period in 2017," she said.

“While this decrease is encouraging we continue to work with phone and internet service providers, the telco industry, and regulators to address issues as they arise and to improve the customer experience.”

As well as the overall 27.7% decrease in complaints, and the slight increase in Internet service complaints for the October to December quarter, the TIO lists other complaint highlights for the period as:

  • Complaints from small businesses decreased 6.4% from 9901 in 2017 to 9270 in 2018.
  • The proportion of complaints from small businesses increased from to 11.7% during July to December 2017 to 15.2%.
  • Complaints from residential consumers decreased 30.5% from 74,238 in 2017 to 51,560 in 2018.
  • A total of 4217 complaints were recorded about connections or changing providers for a service delivered over the NBN.
  • Complaints about connections or changing providers per 1000 premises added to the network decreased from 9.2 to 6.7 compared to the July to December 2017 period.
  • A total of 9666 complaints were recorded between July and December 2018 about service quality on the NBN.
  • Complaints about service quality per 1000 premises on the network decreased from 4.1 to 2.1 July to December 2017 period.
  • Complaints about service types in the six month period fell compared to the high levels of 2017. However, between October and December 2018 the overall decline slowed and internet service complaints and small business complaints about landline services increased.
  • 7709 complaints (12.6%) were recorded about landline phone services, a decrease of 18%.
  • 19,936 complaints (32.7%) were recorded about mobile phone services, a decrease of 19%.
  • 18,650 complaints (30.6%) were recorded about internet services, a decrease of 21%.
  • 14,223 complaints (23.3%) were recorded about multiple services, a decrease of 45%.
  • 480 complaints (0.8%) were recorded about property, a decrease of 24%.   

What people complained about

The top five complaint issues for the period were:

  • 18,845 complaints were about no action or delayed action by the service provider.
  • 18,324 complaints were about disputed charges for a service or equipment.
  • 8025 complaints were about no working phone or Internet service.
  • 7202 complaints were about delays with connections or changing providers.
  • 6387 complaints were about intermittent service or dropouts.   

Complaints from residential consumers  

Complaints from residential consumers decreased 30.5% to 51,560 compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

  • The proportion of complaints from residential consumers decreased to 84.5 percent of total complaints, compared to 88 percent during July to December 2017.
  • Complaints about landline, mobile, internet, multiple and property decreased.
  • Residential consumers complained about lack of action by service providers to resolve their complaint, issues with disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, & delay in       establishing a service.

Complaints from small businesses  

  • Overall complaints from small businesses decreased 6.4% from 9901 to 9270.
  • The proportion of complaints from small businesses increased from 11.7% during July to December 2017 to 15.2%.
  • Complaints about landline phone services increased 18.6% to 2562 compared to the corresponding period in 2017.
  • Small businesses complained about no action or delayed action by the service provider to resolve their complaint, disputed charges for services or equipment, no service delivery, and delay in establishing a service.

Complaints by state

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.

Complaints by state (in alphabetical order) are as follows:

  • Australian Capital Territory made 911 complaints, a decrease of 22.8%.
  • New South Wales made 19,321 complaints, a decrease of 27.9%.
  • Northern Territory made 339 complaints, a decrease of 35.9%.
  • Queensland made 11,585 complaints, a decrease of 29.1%.
  • South Australia made 4615 complaints, a decrease of 29.2%.
  • Tasmania made 994 complaints, a decrease of 38%.
  • Victoria made 17,639 complaints, a decrease of 26.1%t.
  • Western Australia made 5580 complaints, a decrease of 25%.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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