Telco complaints down but excess data charges an issue

Less complaints are being made about telcos overall, but excess data charges are emerging as an issue.
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01.Exceeding data usage

Smartphone with a dial saying credit is nearly empty

Complaints about mobile phone services to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) are declining, with a drop of 19.4% for the January to March period compared with the same period last year. 

"The reduction in mobile phone complaints is mainly due to fewer complaints about faults, which have almost halved compared to the same time last year," said ombudsman Simon Cohen.

Despite what appears to be an improvement in mobile faults such as slow data speeds, excess data usage is emerging as an issue. Complaints about excess data charges increased 30% compared with the same period last year. As the speed of phones and networks has increased, so too has the amount of data consumers are using on their phones. Mr Cohen said the plans consumers sign up for may not be matching their needs.

Under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, major telcos are required to send notifications when users reach 50%, 85% and 100% of their data or expenditure allowance, within 48 hours. But you could still be racking up excess data charges during that 48-hour window. It also doesn’t apply to usage outside of Australia.

Another emerging issue where the TIO has seen an increase in complaints is in relation to internet services. Many complaints related to having to pay for a faulty service, or one that hadn’t been connected on time. 

"Where services are not connected or operating, it is not fair for consumers to be charged for the service," Mr Cohen said.


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