Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman: 2013 - 2014 Annual Report
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Nicholas McVey

Nicholas McVey

I manage a team that ensures we are hearing consumers’ complaints in a timely manner by monitoring our queues. It is not an easy task as there can be spikes in demand for our service but we have been quite successful.

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Complaints by provider

Top three service providers

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone account for 80 per cent of all new complaints and all recorded substantial decreases in 2012-13.

Telstra

New complaints about Telstra have decreased for the fourth financial year in a row. We received 57,298 new complaints about Telstra, a 7.6 per cent decrease from the previous financial year.

Telstra has advised us that it maintained this year-on-year reduction in complaints during a period in which its total services in operation increased by more than one million.

There were fewer Telstra complaints about:

Issue2011-122012-13Change
Disputed bill8,3797,22313.8% decrease
Poor contract information
6,6305,28920.3% decrease
Unexpectedly high bill
3,9353,42912.9% decrease

Vodafone

Vodafone complaints decreased 24 per cent to 42,729 compared to the previous year. This was the lowest they have been for three years. There were fewer Vodafone complaints about:

Issue2011-122012-13Change
Disputed internet usage charges6,1505,37512.9% decrease
Unexpectedly high bill
7,5645,30229.9% decrease
Disputed bill5,8274,64420.3% decrease

Despite the overall reduction in complaints, Vodafone continues to receive a high number of complaints about mobile coverage (18,945). Vodafone complaints regarding call dropouts increased 12 per cent to 5,043.

Optus

Complaints from Optus customers decreased 36 per cent in 2012-13, from 41,602 to 26,629. Optus’ reduction in complaints comes after an increase of 47 per cent in 2011-12.

Optus' decreases included:

Issue2011-122012-13Change
Coverage8,3694,31050.7% decrease
Poor contract information
5,2273,24937.8% decrease
Disputed bill4,1863,13625.1% decrease

Other providers

1,000 - 10,000 complaints

We received fewer complaints from most providers in the 1,000 - 10,000 complaints band. Grouped together, these providers accounted for 11 per cent of all new complaints we received in 2012-13. Small increases were recorded for: 

  • Dodo: new complaints increased 1.1 per cent to 2,857, and
  • iiNet: new complaints increased by 5 per cent to 2,298.

New complaints for TPG increased 32.2 per cent to 4,552. TPG has advised us that this was in part due to repair and connection delays caused by extreme weather events and an increase in its subscriber base.

25-999 complaints

New complaints for providers in the 25 to 999 complaints band increased 30.5 per cent in 2012-13. This section accounted for almost 8 per cent of all new complaints we received.

While there were fewer providers in this band in 2012-13 (73 compared to 77 the previous financial year), collectively they are the only group to record an increase in new complaints.

This section saw nine new providers receive more than 25 new complaints in 2012-13.

Our Industry Engagement and Industry Improvement teams are working with these providers to:

  • inform them of their obligations under the TIO Scheme
  • educate them about best industry practice, and
  • recommend addressing issues that may result in complaints.

Our people

Nicholas McVey

Nicholas McVey

I manage a team that ensures we are hearing consumers’ complaints in a timely manner by monitoring our queues. It is not an easy task as there can be spikes in demand for our service but we have been quite successful.

Read full profile