Telcos need to resolve complaints faster, says watchdog

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Telcos need to resolve complaints faster, says watchdog

Telcos need to do a better job of dealing with complaints effectively and quickly, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has said in a statement.

This comes in response to new data from the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) showing that although the overall number of complaints to telcos reduced by 25 percent, the number of days to resolution has increased by 17 percent, and the number of complaints escalated to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman by 6 percent.

One telco had the highest rate of escalated complaints at 52.7 percent.

“It’s great to see that the volume of telecommunications complaints from consumers has decreased by nearly 25 percent when compared to the same period last year,” said ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin. 

“However, the ACMA’s report also shows some worrying increases in the complaints data. Telecommunications are an essential service. When consumers are having phone or internet issues, they need to have these complaints resolved quickly and on the first try.

“It should not take nearly 20 days to resolve a consumer complaint, as was the case with one of the telcos highlighted in the ACMA’s report. It’s simply not good enough.”

ACCAN also highlighted the dramatic increase in complaints per 10,000 services in operation for fixed-line voice services, which increased 84.2 percent from the same period last year.

“We know that it is primarily older Australians who are still heavily reliant on fixed-line voice services. For these customers, having a landline phone outage can leave them cut off from family and vital assistive services,” Corbin added.

“This is a serious concern, and we will be liaising with the ACMA to find out more about this issue.”

The only other area that saw a rise in complaints was NBN voice-only services, which saw a 3.7 percent increase per 10,000 services. 

NBN Broadband had a 36.8 percent reduction in the number of complaints per 10,000 services, beating out other fixed-line broadband services which fell by just 3.7 percent.

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