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NZ Telco Forum responds to ComCom report complaint numbers

29 Nov 18

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) is calling for more detail in the Commerce Commission’s Consumer Issues Report, so Kiwis can gain a clearer picture of how different industries perform relative to the size of their customer base.

The 2018 Consumer Issues Report, released today, states telecommunications continues to be the most complained about industry, despite the number of Fair Trading complaints received about the industry decreasing by 3% this year, and the number of active connections across the industry increasing.  

With approximately 8.2 million telecommunications connections, the number of complaints per customer remains relatively low across the industry.

TCF Chief Executive Geoff Thorn said it’s important for the Commission to provide deeper analysis of annual complaints.  

Using raw complaint numbers does not provide an accurate picture of the improved performance of the industry.

“Beyond the raw numbers, we think the Commerce Commission should compare the proportion of complaints relative to the size of the industry, to give greater context to the report’s findings.”

When compared with overseas data, the annual number of complaints and enquiries received by the industry complaints body, Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR), as a percentage of connections across the industry, is substantially lower than similar services received in other jurisdictions, such as Australia and the UK.

Overall, data shows New Zealand is well served by its telecommunications industry, with the cost of services for consumers decreasing year-on-year, and ongoing investment in infrastructures such as Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) and mobile networks remaining at one of the highest rates in the OECD.

“As an industry, we are aware that we can be doing better in certain areas, and we are working behind the scenes to improve customer service” says Thorn.

“The complexity of communications services, and the reliance customers place on connectivity, means we constantly strive to provide better and more consistent services across the industry. We take consumer complaints very seriously and work towards improvements in the areas identified by thorough complaints analysis.

“The TCF welcomes the publication of all data on complaints and enquiries. However, we would like to see any published reports, including the Consumer Issues Report, adjusted by industry size, to give a more accurate and fair view of the industry’s performance.”

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