The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) Quarter One Complaints Report shows between July and September 2022, residential and small business consumers made 16,310 complaints, a decrease of 8.6 percent compared to the previous quarter, and a decrease of 23.9 percent compared to the same. during last year. TIO inquiries increased 9.1 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Mobile complaints continue to be the most complained about service type, accounting for a proportion of 47 percent of all complaints. The number of complaints about internet, landline and many services has decreased significantly.
Mobile complaints about non-receipt or delayed action by a provider rose 19.9 percent this quarter, and complaints about misleading marketing practices rose 25.4 percent.
The last week of the quarter saw the start of the impact of the Optus data breach on mobile consumers. Mobile complaints about unauthorized disclosure of personal information are five times higher than in the previous quarter, with a lower number of complaints for this issue. Mobile complaints about termination fees also increased by 28.5 percent.
Other important points include:
- Across all types of services, complaints about not receiving or delayed action by a provider increased 6.8 percent, and complaints about failure to cancel a service increased 2.6 percent compared to the previous quarter.
- The proportion of complaints about error and connection problems fell to 40.5 percent of total complaints, compared to 47.9 percent in the previous quarter.
- Complaints from small businesses decreased by 7.8 percent this quarter.
- Complaints about Optus and Southern Phone increased by 27.6 per cent and 12.5 per cent respectively compared to the previous quarter. All the remaining providers in the top ten saw a decrease in complaints.
- Complaints about Telstra are down 20.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter, and 42.3 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.
As Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert stated:
“It’s great to see overall complaints down this quarter. There are also continuing to be some good developments from the industry, with many telcos recording a reduction in complaint numbers.
“We are starting to see the impact of the Optus data breach on our mobile complaint issues. Complaints about privacy breaches have entered our top five complaint issues for mobile services for the first time. This is an evolving situation, and issues related to data breaches will continue to arise in the coming quarters.
“It’s very scary to disclose your personal information. We have set up a dedicated team to look specifically at these complaints, and we work closely with Optus and the relevant parties so that we can resolve complaints as efficiently and effectively as possible, in a timely manner which is already depressing the consumers.
“The Optus data breach gives all telcos the opportunity to review how they collect and store consumers’ personal information. These are essential services, and phone and internet consumers need to know their data is safe. “