The Australian telecommunications industry body Communications Alliance is revelling in a three-year low on its Complaints in Context report.
Measuring complaints per 10,000 services made to Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for the period covering October to December 2018, the report now has a metric of 6. Throughout 2018, the metric fell from a high of 9.3 to its current level.
The order of the telcos measured in the report has stayed consisent, with Optus topping out at 6.9 complaints per 10,000 services, followed by Telstra at 6.6, Vodafone with 3, and Amaysim and Pivotel recording 0.5 each.
“A full year of improvement demonstrates without question that the hard work by telecommunications providers is reaping dividends for customers,” Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton said.
“This has been a multi-faceted effort, and collaboration between industry, government, and regulators has been an important part of this success.”
The TIO escaped from being axed last year, when Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review, which focused on complaints handling, saw the Australian government decide against abolishing the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
“[There was] near universal support from both consumers, industry, and other industry Ombudsman schemes for EDR [external dispute resolution] in the telecommunications sector to continue being provided by the TIO, but acknowledgement that improvements could be made to the TIO Scheme,” the review said.
“The review suggests that it would be appropriate to implement reforms to the current TIO scheme rather than establish a new EDR body at this time. This approach would see the existing EDR arrangements maintained, but further reformed and enhanced.”
The TIO received strong industry support during a consultation with the government on whether to axe the Ombudsman scheme.
NBN complaints to the TIO are trending down despite more premises being activated, the TIO has revealed.
Under proposals from ACCAN, telcos and NBN would need to automatically compensate users for missing repair deadlines and appointments.
The TIO has made four recommendations to retail service providers in an effort to prevent them from continually losing consumers’ fixed-line phone numbers during the transition to NBN services.
Following ACMA investigations, 31 telcos face enforcement action for failing to meet the new NBN standards for complaints-handling.