TIO names and shames Australia's worst telcos

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TIO names and shames Australia's worst telcos

Complaint data reveals best and worst of the sector.

The Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has released a report that reveals how Australia's top ten telcos have fared when it comes to resolving customer complaints.

Since January 2009, a program called Connect.Resolve has monitored complaints to telecommunications providers, with monthly reports delivered to participating telcos.

The TIO described the 1.8 percent increase as "an overall stabilisation in complaint numbers" when compared with a 46 percent rise in 2007-08.

Six out of the ten telcos involved in the program demonstrated an increase in customer complaints.

Telcos that showed an increase in customer complaints were Dodo (+33.2%), Hutchison 3 (+22.4%), Optus (+18.4%), Vodafone (+13.6%), GoTalk (+9.1%) and AAPT (+6.3%).

Dodo's complaint numbers increased from 283 to 377 during the Connect.Resolve program. It was the top contender when it came to a percentage rise in complaints. 

"As with any business with a large customer base we understand some level of complaints will always surface," said Larry Kestelman, Dodos Managing Director.

Telcos that showed a decrease in customer complaints throughout the six month period were Soul (-43.1%), Virgin Mobile (-21.5%), Primus (-12.8%) and Telstra (-1.7%).

Telstra's CEO, David Thodey, said that although customer complaints had decreased he was "disappointed with Telstra's results".

Thodey said that "the recent level of complaints to the TIO means that Telstra is not doing a good enough job to successfully resolve our customers' concerns to their satisfaction.

"This needs to change and I have asked my senior management team to make further and substantial improvements in this area," he said in a letter to the ombudsman [PDF].

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy, said that the increase in complaint statistics over the past 18 to 24 months suggested that consumers "do not have confidence in their service providers".

It is understood that the name and shame tactic will be used by the Minister and if no improvement is seen "regulatory options will be considered if consumer interests are not adequately protected". 

"It will take six to twelve months before the impacts of the Connect.Resolve campaign will be fully reflected in complaint statistics," Senator Conroy said.

Around 20,000 complaints per month were received by the TIO throughout the six month period.

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