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28 October 2020

Small business complaints against telcos unacceptably high: Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says too many small businesses are getting a raw deal from their phone and internet service providers, following a spike in the number of small business customer complaints in Q1.

Fresh data from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) office reveals a 28% hike in small business complaints against their telecommunications provider in the latest quarter.

“The number of small business complaints to the TIO are unacceptably high and telcos need to improve the small business customer experience as a matter of urgency,” Ms Carnell says.

“Clearly our telcos have a major problem when more than 5,500 small business customers have made complaints against their providers in the space of a few months.

“Phone and internet are essential services to small businesses, particularly during the COVID crisis when so many Australian small businesses are working remotely and struggling to stay afloat.

“The highest volume and proportion of small business complaints for the quarter were recorded against ‘multiple services’. These are bundled packages including services such as phone, landlines and internet that are essential to small business operations.

“I share the TIO Judi Jones’ concerns that any issues between a small business and their provider can have significant consequences.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for small businesses and many have made huge efforts to digitise their business in order to survive.

“It is critical telecommunications providers take greater steps to support their small business customers and to promptly assist when an issue arises.”