Bill shock complaints falling into place

youngwomanonphoneoutside jpgThe ACMA commends Optus for reducing complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) over two consecutive years. The 52.8 per cent decrease in complaints by Optus mobile customers in 2013–14 is particularly encouraging.

The TIO stated in its annual report that excess data charges have become the top core complaint issue. Optus’s complaints on mobile excess data charges bucked this trend, falling by 43 per cent in 2013–14.

Optus’s efforts to simplify its plans and offer more options to avoid bill shock have clearly made a positive impact.

After acknowledging that the industry had become increasingly reliant on ‘breakage’ (excess use) revenues, Optus’s (then) CEO Kevin Russell foreshadowed ‘tough decisions’ and change intended to build customer loyalty.

A month later, Optus introduced its innovative mobile plan, My Plan, to help its customers prevent bill shock. My Plan does this by automatically moving customers who exceed their monthly plan limit to the next plan level. This typically costs customers between $5 and $10. At the start of the following month, customers revert to their original plan level.

The ACMA is pleased that Optus has taken steps to simplify its plans and address bill shock—identified as key drivers of complaints in the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customer public inquiry into customer service and complaints-handling. It’s also pleased that these steps are working for Optus and its mobile customers.