One-in-two telco customers have had issues with poor technical, customer service and complaints handling and one-third of them were displeased with their treatment, according to a new report.
A New Galaxy research project, commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has found 2.3 million customers were unhappy with the way their telco handled a problems with their phone or internet service in the past year.
Two-thirds of people that called their telco provider to complain about their issue were dissatisfied with the way the telco handled the problem. But only 4 per cent of the customers, about 230,000 people, escalated the issue to the Telecommunications Ombudsman.
“In broad terms, we already know telco customer service and complaint handling across this industry has a very bad reputation,” ACCAN director of policy and campaigns, Elissa Freeman, said in a statement. “This data would suggest internal complain figures are very high and this is resulting in some very unhappy customers.”
ACCAN is urging the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to introduce a complaints handling standard for the telco space.
Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, took the opportunity to spruik his consumer safeguards bill currently before the Senate.
As well as the forced structural separation of Telstra, the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010 also pushes for performance benchmarks by telcos.
“If the Liberals and Nationals are serious about ensuring telco consumers get a better service they should support the competition and consumer safeguards legislation currently before the Parliament,” Senator Conroy said in a statement.
Last week, ACCAN, pushed for a new principles-based regulation regime to better protect consumers dealing with their telco providers.
The concept was put forward as part of the Telecommunications Protection Code (TPC) review managed by telecommunications industry group, Communications Alliance.