Complaints driven largely by mobile phone growth

 

Responding to today’s release of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) annual report, the mobile phone industry acknowledged that the number of mobile phone complaints had risen in 2004-05, however, as the TIO had pointed out, the rise in complaints “generally reflect the increase in the number of mobile phones”.

The CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Graham Chalker, said the mobile phone industry in Australia is very competitive and it is not in the companies’ interests to have customer complaints about services, contracts or billing practices that cannot be resolved satisfactorily.

“The number of mobile phone subscribers in Australia is expected to reach nearly 19 million by the end of this financial year.

“We should put the TIO’s statistics into context. The TIO’s Annual Report says there were 40,254 complaints about mobile phones in 2004-05. This is 0.2 per cent of total subscribers.

“No complaint is acceptable and the industry funds the TIO scheme to ensure customers who may feel dissatisfied have recourse."

Mr Chalker said the mobile phone industry had adopted a number of measures to meet the concerns of consumers in the past 12 months.

Through the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF), the industry has developed a new contracts code, which is registered with the industry regulator, to make contracts simpler and fairer.

The industry is working with the regulators, governments and consumers on a new credit management code, which will introduce new rules and protections aimed at managing customer spending to try and avoid unexpected high bills.

Mr Chalker said: “The industry, including mobile content providers, is introducing new consumer safeguards to help protect young consumers from accessing inappropriate content on mobile phones. A ‘stop’ command will help ensure that consumers can quickly unsubscribe from premium messaging services and there will be information giving the cost associated with services.

“The new practices will include procedures to make clear who is responsible for resolving a dispute with a customer.”

The mobile phone industry has introduced other measures to assist people manage their mobile phone spending, they include:

  • Pre-paid mobiles
  • Capped deals
  • Online bill checking
  • Spending alerts
  • Consumer tips to help people manage their mobile phone spending

For more information contact Randal Markey, Manager, Communications, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550