The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has received fewer complaints regarding Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throughout the past twelve months, according to new data issued in February.
The TIO is the complaint-handling body for consumers who have issues with their ISPs which require mediation and further action. The regulator handled 16,704 complaints in relation to new broadband subscription plans throughout the final three months of 2011. The figure represented a 45 percent decrease compared with the same period in 2010.
The most marked decrease was in relation to complaint handling, with a 62 percent drop. This figure indicates that ISPs are improving the way in which they deal with customer complaints before they require TIO intervention.
The lowest decrease however was around fault-related complaints, where the number of reported complaints fell by only 33 percent.
Compare Broadband, the home internet and broadband comparison specialist, believes that this is because ISPs have worked hard to enhance their customer service operations throughout the past year.
Compare Broadband spokesperson, Sarah McDonald, comments: "Comms service providers have in the past taken flak for giving misleading information to their subscribers, and then not being particularly helpful when problems happen. The new TIO figures however seem to indicate that ISPs have been paying attention and are addressing the problem."
Direct complaints levied at specific ISPs were also revealed to have dropped in the new figures. Club Telco subscriber complaints were down by 72 percent, Eftel complaints down 65 percent and iiNet complaints were down 62 respectively.
TIO does not record numbers of complaints made per customer figure, making comparisons of different broadband providers' customer service levels difficult. However, ISP size can skew the figures somewhat - Telstra broadband is comfortably the largest Australian ISP and as such receives the most complaints in total.
Conversely, Vodafone ranks third in most-complained about ISP, which is inconsistent with its actual size. TPG and iiNet both boast greater numbers of subscribers yet receive fewer complaints.
Vodafone has endured a difficult year with many customer complaints relating to dropped calls and slow 3G speeds. However, the provider is investing in its network and complaints about its service fell 41 percent over the final three months of 2011 in comparison with the same period of 2010.
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