New figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) show that Australian telcos received over a million complaints in the 2022–23 financial year.
The 1,037,823 complaints represented an increase of 2.3 per cent compared to complaints received in 2021–22. However, the number of complaints per 10,000 services remained steady at 58 as the number of telco services also increased at the same rate over the period.
The data covers the period of the September 2022 Optus customer data breach. While the ACMA does not report complaint numbers at an individual provider level, Optus has previously indicated publicly that it received a large number of complaints during that period.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the report data showed that the telco industry needs to remain focused on bringing down customer complaints.
“While there are some positive improvements in the figures, a million complaints is still far too many and a strong indicator that Australian consumers expect more of their telco providers,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“People rely on their telecommunications services to access work, education, health, government services and keep connected with their family and social lives. High complaint numbers are an indication that consumers are still experiencing too many issues with their services.”
The data, published in the ACMA’s annual telco complaints report for 2022–23, also showed it took telcos on average 5.2 days to resolve complaints, down from 7.4 in 2021–22. The number of complaints that were escalated to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reduced to around 64,000 from almost 78,000 the previous financial year.
“This downward trend is encouraging but some telcos were still averaging more than eight days to resolve complaints, which is not good enough,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
Consumers who wish to make a complaint are advised to contact their service provider in the first instance. If the complaint is not resolved by the provider, the consumer can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) to seek help settling their dispute.
The full telco complaints report 2022–23 contains customer complaints data for the top 34 Australian telcos by services supplied and has been published on the ACMA website.