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Mobile phone complaints to Ombudsman increase by nine per cent

tiocomplaintsThe Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has recorded a rise in the number of mobile phone complaints in 2011-2012 while complaints against telcos have dropped in the same period.

Consumers made 122,834 complaints about mobile phones – a nine per cent increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile there were 193,702 new complaints against telcos for a decrease of two per cent year on year.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has recorded a rise in the number of mobile phone complaints in 2011-2012 while complaints against telcos have dropped in the same period.

Consumers made 122,834 complaints about mobile phones – a nine per cent increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile there were 193,702 new complaints against telcos for a decrease of two per cent year on year.

“There has been a clear trend, since April 2012, of reduced complaints, with the last quarter of 2011-12 being our quietest for almost two years,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said.

“This is a positive sign that reflects the focus by a number of telcos on improving their customer service.”

The TIO’s annual report showed billing and credit card issues related to mobile services along with complaints about billing accuracy and usage charges also on the rise.

These include the following specific issues:

* Financial over commitment because of inadequate contract management tools – 15,752 issues (double that of the previous year).

* Bill amount disputes – 13,943 issues (33 per cent increase).

* Internet data usage dispute – 10,556 issues (150 per cent increase).

* Roaming charges – 4,186 issues (69 per cent increase).

“Complaints about unexpectedly high bills and unnecessary financial overcommitment point to the urgent need for strong spend management rules, including those that are included in the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code,” Mr Cohen said.

“While these rules do not apply until 2013, or in certain cases 2014, it is a positive sign that some service providers have already taken steps to introduce better consumer notifications about high usage.”  

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