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Major hang ups: Telecoms complaints rise by a third

Peter Griffin, Editor. 06 October 2022, 9:34 am

Vodafone may be rebranding itself and Vocus has undertaken a merger with 2Degrees.

But the latest report from the Telecommunications Disputes Resolution service, a free and independent port of call for telecoms consumers, suggests our telcos have more work to do getting the basics right for mobile and broadband services.

The TDR received 1,253 enquiries in the first six months of the year up 33% from the second half of 2021 and 34% higher than the same period last year. Enquiries are now similar to pre-pandemic levels (1,231 in 2020 and 1,341 in 2019).

That may in part be down to a publicity campaign to build awareness of the TDR’s role, following criticism that not enough consumers knew of its existence and were employing its services. But it also comes as contact centres hit with ongoing staff shortages across the board struggle to deal with an avalanche of customer enquiries as we emerge from pandemic disruption.

Screenshot 2022-10-06 at 8.57.50 AM.png

Source: TDR

The two big topics of complaints included billing (42.7%) and customer service (16.7%).

“Disputed charges in relation to billing continues to be the top recurring complaint theme, with 282 people enquiring about a charge on their bill,” the TDR noted.

“Account errors were also prominent with 108 people raising this issue. Faults (13.5%) have seen an increase from 8.8% since our last report. Some examples of faults reported include delays in service restoration, issues with equipment, and network faults,” the TDR added.

Luckily, most TDR complaints are dealt with through facilitation and mediation, with just 2% progressing to the adjudication stage where the TDR has to make a decision about how the telco should address the matter.

Of the TDR’s bigger members, Vodafone has the highest rate of complaints per 10,000 subscribers, suggesting the mobile and broadband provider's X-squad still has work to do overhauling its customer service. Vocus saw a spike in complaints related to its broadband service in the second quarter.

Screenshot 2022-10-06 at 8.58.11 AM.png

Source: TDR

And how did the TDR itself perform? It measures customer satisfaction using a Net Promoter Score, a scale of -100 to +100 and scored +74.


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