Australians Made Over 1 Million Telco Complaints Last Year

Australians Made Over 1 Million Telco Complaints Last Year

There are two organisations we turn to for stats on telco complaints, those are the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Today, both of those organisations have given us something to chew on, releasing their respective reports on the top issues for phone and internet customers in Australia.

There are rules and guidelines that telcos must follow when managing consumer complaints, and there are steps customers must take. The first step as a customer is to contact your telco; the TIO should be your last resort if you are not happy with the result from your telco. The TIO can then hand the case over to the ACMA if it deems it worth pursuing enforcement. But, as part of its role as a watchdog, the ACMA receives stats from the telcos on all complaints they receive, not just the ones escalated.

So let’s start with what the ACMA. There was a total of 1,037,823 complaints made to telcos in 2022-23. But, the data covers the period in which Optus suffered its data breach (Optus has previously indicated publicly that it received a large number of complaints during that period), so the data is definitely skewed.

In its telco complaints report 2022-23, the ACMA said the most complained about service type was fixed-line voice, followed by fixed-line broadband. Telcos on average took 5.2 days to resolve complaints.

Of those one million-plus complaints, the ACMA said the number of complaints that were escalated to the TIO was around 64,000.

In its 121-page annual report, the TIO said it received 66,388 complaints, which was a decrease of 16.5 per cent year on year. Complaints that were escalated were also down, by 10.2 per cent, to 9,429. The most complained about type of service was mobile, accounting for 31,649 of the total, but internet wasn’t far behind. The complaint issue was mostly that there was no action, or a delayed action, by a customer’s provider on the issue they had. The second highest complaint was over service and equipment fees.

Over the span of the year, there was 26,837 complaints about Telstra, 20,323 about Optus, 5,069 about Vodafone, 2,222 for TPG, 1,874 for iiNet, 1,044 for Southern Phone, and 890 for Aussie Broadband. Complaints about Optus increased 29.5 per cent in in the previous financial year – but the telco did have that whole data breach thing, so that would skew the complaints quite a bit.

Surprising no one, NSW had the most complaints, with 20,486, and Victoria had 19,325.

The takeaway? Complaints getting escalated to the TIO are decreasing and we hope it’s because telcos are getting better not that people just can’t be bothered to escalate that complaint.

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