Mobile Complaint Investigation Report Released

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Mobile Complaint Investigation Report Released

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) received more than 63,000 complaints about mobile services between July 2020 and March 2022. The TIO said this went against the trend of overall complaints, which have declined over the period, while mobile service issues began to dominate all other types of complaints.

The number of complaints about misleading telecom operator behavior and inappropriate payment options was higher for mobile services than for internet, landlines and multiple services combined. The TIO has published a report highlighting the main drivers of complaints.

The Investigate complaints about essential mobile services report identifies four key issues driving complaints about mobile services:

  • The mis-selling of mobile services results in poor outcomes for consumers.
  • Information on the reliability of mobile service is not always provided.
  • Customer self-service is not available to all consumers.
  • Automatic payment methods may result in loss of service or disadvantage.

Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said the high-impact nature of mobile service issues is likely driving the trend.

“We don’t see the same improvements in complaints about mobile services as in other types of services. This is concerning because when something goes wrong with a mobile service, the impacts can be very disruptive to people’s lives.

“The past few years have catapulted Australia in terms of the use of our mobile services and what we expect from them. In today’s world, mobile phone services are essential not only for everyday life – such as banking, shopping, accessing health and government services, and social connection – but also for security. in an emergency such as a bush fire or flood.

Gebert said while improvements have been made, work is still needed in key areas.

“While telecom operators have made improvements in recent years, my office’s investigations show that there is still work to be done on responsible selling of mobile services, effective communication about service reliability, removal barriers to accessing human assistance when trying to contact a telco and ensuring that automatic payment methods do not negatively impact consumers,” he said. she declared.

The report highlights important stories from consumers who attended community outreach events, in a first for a systemic investigative report. These stories illustrate the challenges consumers face to stay connected during devastating disasters, or in rural or remote areas.

The report also offers advice for telecommunications operators and consumers to help reduce problems associated with mobile service.

Guidance for telecom operators includes:

  • During registration, help consumers decide if the product is right for them.
  • Be clear with consumers about the quality of service they can expect.
  • Make sure self-service options have a clear path to a person.
  • Notify consumers of upcoming direct debits and contact consumers who miss a payment.

Advice for consumers includes:

  • Research new mobile services before you buy, such as checking coverage maps and available payment methods.
  • If anything about the new mobile service isn’t what you expected, let your phone company know.
  • If you need flexibility for your next payment, contact your phone company to discuss this before the payment is due.
  • If you cannot reach your telco, contact the TIO.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Khunatorn

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