The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will launch a dedicated team to assist small businesses next month.
The TIO’s small business team will go live on 1 April 2019 to address the recent increase in complaints from small businesses over the last two years.
In 2017 and 2018, complaints from small businesses increased 8.7 percent to 20,433, driven largely by issues like non-action or delayed action from service providers and disputed charges for a service or equipment.
“Small businesses are relying more than ever before on phone and internet services to be accessible, be informed, and to do business,” ombudsman Judi Jones said.
“It is critical they are able to rely on the phone and internet services they sign up for, and to have access to a free, independent, and effective complaint resolution service when their complaint is unresolved.”
The increase in small business complaints were higher than the total complaints across 2017 to 2018, which saw a six percent increase. The main complaints stemmed from sustomer service, service and equipment fees, service delivery and delays.
“Resolving small business complaints can involve complex phone, internet and equipment setups, and an understanding of how these issues impact business loss,” assistant ombudsman of dispute resolution Jillian Brewer said.
“The Small Business Team will deliver a dispute resolution service that is responsive to the high impact phone and internet problems can have on the day to day operations of small businesses.”