Communications Alliance today welcomed signs of recent improvement in telecommunications complaint figures, against the backdrop of the disappointing overall results outlined in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Annual Report.
The TIO Annual Report, released today, showed a 15% reduction in complaint volumes in the fourth quarter of the financial year, compared with the previous quarter.
The TIO report also showed a pleasing 14.8% reduction in the total number of complaints that required investigation by the TIO – a demonstration of improved responsiveness by service providers when complaints are raised.
Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said the increase in the annual total of new complaints received by the TIO was a disappointing result driven by a range of factors, including high rates of service growth in the sector, the explosion of mobile data usage in Australia and the well-publicised network problems encountered by one mobile provider.
Mr Stanton said he expected the downward trend in complaint volumes to continue in the current financial year. He said the annual result highlighted the urgent need to implement the revised and strengthened Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code that has been developed by industry, consumers and regulators over the past year, and which was recently released for public comment.
The new Code includes a strong new compliance framework and squarely addresses the problem areas that are driving complaints to the TIO. Among a swathe of improvements, the Code:
- provides stronger controls over the accuracy and clarity of advertising content;
- imposes tighter deadlines and processes for the resolution of customer complaints;
- provides spend-management tools to help consumers manage their expenditure and avoid so-called “bill shock”;
- improves the pre-sale information provided to customers; and
- provides for a unit-pricing system to help consumers more easily make comparisons between different providers and product plans.
Mr Stanton said Communications Alliance would review input received during the public comment period before finalising the Code and submitting it to the ACMA for registration in early 2012.
ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.