Telcos have drawn the Communications Minister's ire for failing to deal with ‘small' complaints before they are escalated to the telecommunications industry ombudsman (TIO).
The TIO reported today that the number of complaints it received increased by only 1.8 percent in the past three months, compared to a 46 percent rise in 2007-08.
Ombudsman Deirdre O'Donnell said although the overall number of complaints appeared to have stabilised, further action was needed.
That message was backed by the Minister Stephen Conroy, who voiced concerns about high numbers of what he called ‘Level 0' complaints being escalated to the TIO.
These were relatively small issues that "should be easily resolved by the telco prior to TIO investigation", Conroy said.
"These are the simplest and smallest issues - frustrations like not fixing billing errors, not providing information when asked, inconsistencies within an organisation, and failure to cancel accounts when asked," Conroy said.
"It's worth remembering that the TIO was established as an ‘escalated' complaints handling body.
"Industry always has the first and best opportunity to address consumer concerns at an early stage."