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Drop in Australian telco complaints pleases ACCAN
Mon, 16th Oct 2023

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has expressed approval over findings revealed in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)'s latest Annual Report. The report showed a significant reduction in complaint numbers in the last 12 months.

The TIO's recently published data demonstrated a 16.5% dip in complaints in 2022-23 compared to the previous year. A promising trend overall, despite the fact that mobile service complaints now make up nearly half of all complaints lodged with the Ombudsman. Presently, this is the highest it has been in over six years.

ACCAN CEO Andrew Williams commented on the data, saying, “While we understand this was partly due to the September 2022 Optus data breach, we concur with the Ombudsman's view on the necessity for consumers to have ready access to these services and obtain help when complications arise.”

Williams continued, “It is positive to see an aggregate fall in complaints to the Ombudsman, with the decrease in complaints from small businesses being a particularly pleasing outcome." However, he also pointed out that the rise in complaints related to financial hardship is worrying. "This shows that the current cost of living situation continues to put pressure on households. This underscores the importance of the Government’s current initiative to strengthen consumer protections in this area.”

The ACCAN CEO emphasised that, while the decline in TIO complaint numbers is a commendable progress, it is essential to continue monitoring the situation. “This year alone Australians have lodged over one million complaints to their telecommunications providers. ACCAN concurs with the ACMA that this number remains too high. We look forward to collaborating with the sector to maintain focus on reducing this further.”

The annual report from the TIO evidently serves as an essential barometer in evaluating the performance of the telecommunications industry and understanding the areas requiring more attention. With the present decrease in total complaints and a concerning increase in those relating to financial hardship, the government and ACCAN’s initiative to fortify consumer protection regulations is of utmost importance.