Penrith locals were among the top complainers when it came to phone and Internet issues in the last financial year.
Overall, complaints from phone and Internet consumers decreased 16.5 per cent in the last financial year ending June 30 2023. In this period, consumers and small business made 66,388 complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, highlighted in its annual report published this week.
Complaints about mobile phone services remained steady against the trend of overall decline. The proportion of complaints about mobile services accounted for 48 per cent of complaints, the highest proportion of complaints in six years. The issues behind the complaint numbers about mobile services were partly related to the Optus data breach in September 2022.
Penrith was fifth in the list of Local Government Areas lodging the most complaints, with 533 complaints lodged in the last financial year.
Canterbury-Bankstown topped the list of Local Government Areas lodging complaints followed by Central Coast, Blacktown and Sydney.
“It’s pleasing that complaints are declining alongside industry improvements for phone and Internet consumers. Despite this trend, complaints about financial hardship are increasing as the cost-of-living crisis puts pressure on Australian households,” said Telecommunications Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert.
“Telcos need to make sure they are offering flexible payment methods and specialised help and support for people who are struggling to pay.
“Most of our complaints about financial hardship relate to mobile services, which now make up nearly half of our overall complaints.
“Phone and Internet services are essential for banking, shopping, accessing health and government services, as well as staying in touch with family and friends. It’s critical that people have access to these services, and consumers can easily get help when things go wrong.”
For all service types, increases in complaints were recorded against poor customer service, failure to cancel a service, inadequate fault testing, and non-financial loss (time lost, inconvenience, stress).
Positively, all other problems in the top 10 complaint issues decreased during the annual report period.
Complaints relating to financial hardship increased 1.2 per cent. The majority of these complaints were experienced by residential consumers who had problems with their mobile service.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.