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Ombudsman: Telco Problems Cost Small Businesses Time And Money

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s latest report has found that small business complaints related to telcos have increased steadily, and that problems with telecoms services significantly impact businesses’ ability to operate.

In the last financial year small businesses made over 19,000 complaints about their phone and internet services, many of which had a significant impact on their ability to operate.

From September 2019 and March 2020 there were 1,100 complaints involving claims for business loss compensation.

“We carried out this investigation before the devastating bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to so many small businesses. While the top complaint issues reported to us by small businesses are so far unchanged, the impact of these issues may very well be greater,” said Ombudsman Judi Jones.

“During government restrictions to curb the pandemic, many small businesses became solely reliant on phone and internet services to continue operating. As we begin the return to workplaces, our guidance around working together to fix faults and having a back-up plan may be crucial at this time,” Jones said.

Following the report, the Ombudsman has made the following recommendations for small businesses and phone and internet service providers:

  1. Work together to properly identify the business’s needs, consider suitable options, and focus on key relevant terms before an agreement is signed;
  2. Minimise the risks when connecting new services by checking the business address is correct, communicating expected connection timeframes or delays, and planning for enough connection time;
  3. Adopt a collaborative approach by fixing faults and actively communicating; and
  4. Minimise financial loss by ensuring there is a back-up plan in place if phone or internet services are disrupted.
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