[LINK] ACCAN re the Failure of Self-Regulation
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Nov 8 12:26:31 AEDT 2011
[Here's one to keep on hand when people like the Australian Press
Council asks whether the TIO is a model that should be used for the
media as well.]
ACCAN Media Release
Telco industry scores an 'F' on annual complaints scorecard
Tuesday, 08 November 2011
The telco industry had more than 197,000 new complaints from its
customers lodged with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in
the last financial year, representing a 17.8% increase on the
previous year's result and making this the highest number of
complaints on record.
The top three issues for consumers were again customer service,
complaint handling, and billing and payments.
"The telco industry has scored another 'F' this year for customer
service and complaint handling for failing to address its customers'
problems in a timely manner," ACCAN Chief Executive Officer Teresa
Corbin said today.
"Worryingly still, while complaints are higher than they have ever
been, research tells us these complaints are only the tip of the
iceberg. There any many more customers who are unaware of the TIO's
existence or simply worn down by the many hours spent trying to
resolve complaints over the phone with their telcos."
ACCAN says while Vodafone's well-publicised network issues have
contributed to the 51.4% rise in the number of complaints about
mobiles, complaints are up across the board for all of the top ten
telecommunications providers, with the exception of the nation's
biggest provider, Telstra, which has had a 3% decrease in complaints.
ACCAN says now is a crucial time for the industry, which has been
given a February deadline by the telecommunications regulator, the
Australian Communications & Media Authority, to ensure adequate
consumer protections are put in place through the industry's own Code
or face regulatory intervention.
"This consistently high level of complaints year-on-year to the
Ombudsman and the length of time it takes the average customer to
have a problem fixed is an untenable situation," said Ms Corbin.
"Consumer detriment has been so significant over such an extended
period in this area that we believe the introduction of regulation in
the form of a complaints-handling service provider determination or a
standard is the only way the industry is going to change."
Research released by the TIO earlier this year found than more than
60% of customers surveyed who had filed a complaint with the
Ombudsman had spent three or more hours unsuccessfully trying to
solve their complaint before approaching the TIO, with one in five
having spent more than nine hours trying to resolve their complaint.
"This dire situation cannot be allowed to continue where you have
hundreds of thousands of Australian customers receiving the short
shrift from companies providing essential communication services."
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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