Australia sees 29% increase in telecom complaints in 6-month period

Australia sees 29% increase in telecom complaints in 6-month period

According to the TIO's half-yearly report for 2017-18, this tripling in complaints numbers is "not surprising", as NBN is increasingly responsible for delivering fixed-line services.

Due to the way it has changed its complaints recording process as of July a year ago, the TIO also said it is "not possible to compare complaints at the service type and issue levels with previous reports".

Rather than focusing on the year-on-year increase in complaints, NBN pointed to a 16 percent drop-off over the previous six-month period, in addition to the fact that less than 5 percent of the complaints made to the TIO were sent to NBN to resolve.

The biggest gripe? Provider response, suggesting that ISPs are being a little coy when it comes to helping once they've got you on your contract but poor service quality sits in second place with nearly 40 percent of complaints showing the NBN itself still has a ways to go before it can claim it is delivering the internet that Australians are clamouring for.

This was over a period (six months to 31 December 2017) that saw a 39 percent increase in NBN premises activated.

Of those complaints, 14,055 were about service quality and 8,757 were about problems establishing a connection.

"The telecommunications industry in Australia continues to experience significant change".

"Industry is keen to engage closely with relevant stakeholders on all parts of the review to produce an efficient and fit-for-purpose framework for consumer safeguards - including through the use of updated industry codes", Communications Alliance director of program management Christiane Gillespie-Jones said in a statement.

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The most common issues complained about by small businesses were charges and fees (presumably things like being charged for services not ordered or received, higher than expected charges, and early termination fees being charged when the customer was already out of contract), and provider response (hardly surprising - our experience is that the so-called customer service staff at the big-name providers behave as if they have been trained to avoid complaint resolution, and that the only way to get your problem escalated to someone who can deal with it properly is to get the TIO involved).

Comparisons with the pattern of complaints in 2H16 can not be made due to changes in the TIO's categories.

The number of complaints regarding telecommunications services increased in every Australian state and territory, most significantly in Queensland and Western Australian.

Separated out into the five new service type categories, multiple services received the highest number of complaints, at 26,112, followed by mobile phone services, at 24,923; internet services, at 23,785; landline phone services, at 9,447; and access or damage to property, at 647 complaints.

More than a million premises have signed up for high speed broadband in the last four months alone.

Of that total, around 14,000 involved service quality, with nearly 9,000 about connection delays.

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