Telco survey suggests some consumers not exercising their right to complain

While fewer telco and internet consumers are experiencing problems with their service, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is concerned about its latest research finding that some customers are not exercising their right to complain.

The survey of 1,100 phone and internet consumers found that a reasonably high number of people still experience problems—46 per cent of telco consumers had a problem to do with billing, payments, contracts, customer service, complaints-handling or technical issues in 2015—though this represents a decrease from 55 per cent in 2010.

Consistent with findings from 2010, about two-thirds of consumers will complain to their provider when they experience a problem. Since 2010, there has been a small rise in the number of consumers escalating their complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)—from seven to nine per cent.

Consumers should be aware that both providers and the TIO must handle complaints about a telco or internet service at no cost to the consumer.

Pleasingly, there were significant falls in customer service problems (15 per cent, down from 26 per cent) and complaints-handling problems (eight per cent, down from 21 per cent). These issues were a significant focus of the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customerpublic inquiry in 2011. Subsequent improvements have come about due to the implementation of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.