Telco complaints drop, TIO says

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reports drop in complaints across mobile, landlines and Internet services

Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman have dropped to an eight-year low, according to new statistics released this morning.

In the three-month period ending December last year the TIO received 29,560 new complaints; the lowest number for a three month period since July-September 2007.

“This welcome drop is due in part to fewer mobile users with billing problems coming to the TIO,” ombudsman Simon Cohen said in a statement.

“Innovative new products that reduce unexpected high charges, stronger industry rules to inform consumers about their usage and a TIO that is active in identifying and acting on systemic issues are some of the reasons for this positive outcome,” Cohen said.

“We welcome this continuing trend in falls in complaints about excess data charges, which when put in the context of a 97 per cent increase in the volume of data downloaded via mobile handsets in the past year, is a good performance on any measure,” said the CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Chris Althaus.

“Consumers are becoming more aware and informed of their use of data on mobiles. Their awareness of usage patterns assists them in choosing a plan that suits their needs,” the AMTA CEO said.

“The mobile telecommunications industry has co-operated in efforts to make consumers more aware of their data usage via alerts, which are issued to customers when they reach 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their data usage limit to keep them informed so they can avoid bill shock.”

Complaints related to mobile services registered a drop of 1.9 per cent compared to the prior quarter. The TIO said that the drop was due to fewer billing issues, “including fewer complaints about excess data charges”.

There were 14,743 mobile-related complaints in the quarter. This compared to 7971 landline-related complaints and 6846 Internet-related complaints. Those figures represent declines of 7.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent for the three-month period ending September 2014, the TIO said.