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Telco Complaints Skyrocket, NBN Tops List

Complaints lodged to the Australian Telecom Industry Ombudsman have skyrocketed in the last financial year – concerns about the NBN tops the list, with complaints about landlines, mobile phones and internet services soaring 41.1%.

Overall, complaints about the NBN lodged with the industry Ombudsman more than doubled over the past year – increasing nearly 160%, jumping from 10,487 in 2015/16 to 27,195 in the most recent financial year.

Most complaints received by the Ombudsman concerned connection delays, service downgrades, or connections being “unusable”.

Synonymous with the NBN rollout, for the first time complaints about internet services rank higher than those concerning mobile phones.

Ombudsman Judi Jones states of the NBN’s effect on industry complaints:

“Complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network more than doubled, and while this is somewhat to be expected given the accelerating rollout, the increase is a cause for concern”

“For the first time, complaints about internet services are now higher than complaints about mobile phones. Residential consumers and small businesses still have too many complaints about their customer service, a bill or faults”.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s 2016/17 Annual Report – published today – revealed 87.8% of complaints derived from residential consumers, and 11.9% came from small businesses.

National telco complaints have now reached the highest levels since the 2012/2013 financial year.

Complaints lodged in 2016/2017 jumped to 158,016, compared to 111,949 in 2015/16.

For the most recent period, complaints in South Australia saw the highest national increase (increasing 51%), followed by Western Australia (rising 49.1%). Tasmania saw the least increase, though complaints still jumped a notable 38.4%.

The report revealed the nation’s top ten service phone and internet providers represented 90.9% of complaints within the 2016/17 period.

· Telstra received 76,650 complaints, a year on year increase of 43.5 per cent.
· Optus received 28,766 complaints, a year on year increase of 31.2 per cent.
· Vodafone received 10,684 complaints, a year on year increase of 37.5 per cent.
· iiNet received 10,170 complaints, a year on year increase of 79 per cent.
· TPG received 6,995 complaints, a year on year increase of 44.9 per cent.

Reports state the NBN Co pre-empted the recently published TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) data on Monday, when advising that its customer service investment had not scaled at the same pace as infrastructure expansion.

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton states:

“Industry, including service providers and NBN Co, are working intensely on a range of customer, service and process initiatives to improve the overall consumer experience”.

Last week, the Australian government set a meeting with senior personnel from the NBN Co & ISPs to consider resolutions for the NBN Co’s customer service issues.

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