Australian telephone service complaints soar

Complaints about telephone services to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have rocketed in the past 12 months.The TIO’s annual report, released today, reveals it received 149,742 complaints in the 2007-2008 financial year, representing an almost 50 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.,24897,24535827-15306,00.htmlau: Telcos ring up complaints record
Complaints against telecommunications providers have reached an all-time high, with Telstra attracting more than 50,000 complaints alone over its landline, internet and mobile phone services over the past year.In comparison, the telco’s nearest rival, Optus, attracted less than half that number of complaints, according to statistics revealed in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s annual report released today. increase in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman [news release]
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has recorded the biggest rise in complaints for the past 10 years.In the 2007/08 financial year, Ombudsman Deirdre O’Donnell’s office received almost 150,000 complaints from consumers and small businesses who could not resolve a problem with their landline, internet or mobile phone service provider. This compares with 102,463 complaints logged by the TIO in the 2006/07 financial year.”Only four years ago, the TIO was handling about 60,000 complaints a year,” Ms O’Donnell said.Mobile phone services, which now outnumber landlines in Australia, caused the most concern, with the TIO logging 47,300 complaints this year compared with 33,670 last year.Another 13,899 complaints were received about mobile premium services. “A significant proportion of mobile premium service complaints were from people who said that they had not requested the service in the first place or if they had, they were unable to unsubscribe,” Ms O’Donnell said.”I have been concerned about the level and nature of mobile premium service complaints for some time. I look forward to the outcome of the review of the draft industry code that would regulate this service.”Despite a move by consumers away from landlines, complaints about this service increased by almost 60 per cent, from 34,116 to 54,326, easily outstripping growth in internet complaints, which rose from 27, 591 in 2006/07 to 34,217 this year.”It’s pleasing to see that the 83 per cent rise in internet complaints that occurred last year has not been repeated this year,” Ms O’Donnell said.Each complaint to the TIO may raise several complaint issues. For example, someone complaining about a landline fault may also say that the provider failed to action their request, which is recorded as a customer service complaint issue.Customer service complaint issues led the landline and mobile service categories, and were second only to billing and payments complaint issues in the internet category.”I’m dismayed that complaints that could easily be resolved by providers are ending up with us,” Ms O’Donnell said.”Many complaints are caused by basic customer care failures, such as providers giving callers the runaround through multiple transfers and hold queues, not responding to enquiries or simply failing to apologise for errors.”Ms O’Donnell said the TIO would soon be launching a major campaign to encourage telecommunications service providers to do more to address these problems.The complete annual report is available here.This news release was sourced from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman website at

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