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Aussie Telcos Received 125,000 Complaints Against Them In 2020

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has issued a warning to Australian telcos after receiving 125,000 complaints about “unclear and misleading selling practices” in 2020 alone.

These complaints were uncovered after 32 systemic investigations carried out during the 2020 financial year, found advertising materials used by telcos fall short.

“The findings of this investigation show consumers do not always understand what they are buying and this leads to problems,” Ombudsman Judi Jones said. “Phone and internet products and services are essential to our daily lives. Telcos must advertise products accurately and make clear information available about what they are offering.

“Telcos are offering a vast range of innovative products and services to keep Australians connected and it can be difficult for consumers to keep up,” Jones continues.

“If you are signing up for a new product or service, don’t feel pressured to sign up on the spot. If something is advertised as ‘free’ or ‘included’ check if there are any conditions. Get clear information on costs and inclusions before you decide if the product is right for you.”

The TIO also found consumers unknowingly sign up for superfluous products and services, and $1.4 million in promised credits were not added to accounts.

“Consumers have very different levels of knowledge and experience with telco products and services,” the report stated.

“While some consumers might be familiar with a product or service, others might rely on the provider giving them the information they need.

“Some consumers tell us that when they are unsure which product or service is best for them, they prefer to discuss their needs with a provider in-store or by phone.”

These findings follow Telstra’s landmark $50 million Federal Court penalty, for unconscionable conduct.

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