Problems Persist but Hold Steady – TIO 3rd Quarterly Report

Man at desk with phone, laptop, and coffee
Man at desk with phone, laptop, and coffee

Original media release from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on 10/05/2023.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) Quarter Three Complaints Report shows residential consumers and small businesses made 17,777 complaints about phone and internet services between January and March this year. While complaints have remained steady compared to the previous quarter, the results show an almost 19 per cent decrease against the same period last year.

Download the Quarter Three Complaints Report

Problems with internet services increased 8.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Internet complaints about having trouble getting connected to the NBN network, and experiencing problems with service quality once connected, increased 13 per cent.

Complaints about having intermittent service or drop-outs increased 32 per cent across NBN and non-NBN networks compared to the previous quarter. There were also significant increases in complaints about failure to cancel a service, slow data speeds, and billing for services and devices. 

With current cost-of-living pressures facing consumers, the TIO has highlighted trends in complaints about financial hardship and will continue to do so in future quarterly reports. This period, 433 complaints were made by consumers experiencing financial hardship, mostly about problems with a mobile service.   

Other key points include: 

  • Mobile continued to be the most complained about service type, making up 47.5 per cent of all complaints. 
  • Mobile complaints about misleading conduct increased 12.8 per cent compared to the previous quarter, and 34.9 per cent compared to the previous year. 
  • Landline complaints increased 7 per cent. 
  • Complaints about Optus decreased 17 per cent. Optus, iiNet and TPG were the only telcos to see decreases in complaints. All other top ten telcos increased.  
  • Complaints about Southern Phone increased 83.1 per cent, from a low volume of complaints. 

Quote attributable to Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert: 

“This quarter we saw a dramatic increase in consumers complaining to us about problems with the quality of their internet service. Substantial increases were recorded in complaints about getting connected to an NBN service, problems with a bill, and service quality issues such as drop-outs and slow data speeds. 

“While complaints about mobile services decreased this quarter, these problems continue to make up just under half the complaints we receive. Given the importance of mobile phones to Australian consumers, it is concerning this proportion continues to remain high.  

“I encourage the telcos to keep working on their customer service to ensure that these problems get resolved before people need help from my office.”