Complaints to Commerce Commission over NZ telcos at eight-year high

Complaints to the Commerce Commission are at an eight-year high, with grievances over customer service making the top of the list.

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It comes after Parliament gave the Commerce Commission new powers to look closely into whether consumers are getting a fair deal. Source: 1 NEWS

There were 2802 complaints made about New Zealand telecommunications companies in 2020 compared to 1810 in 2013, the Commerce Commission said today in a press release.

In the first half of 2020, 499 - or 40 per cent - of the complaints were related to customer service, the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme (TDR) said.

Billing came in second, making up 373 - or 30 per cent - of the complaints.

Credit management came in a distant third with 92 - or 7 per cent - of the complaints.

Customer service complaints have overtaken billing as the most common complaint received by the TDR service compared to previous years.

"The increase in complaints indicates that telecommunications providers need to lift their game to improve outcomes for consumers," Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said today in a statement.

The Commerce Commission is now calling for New Zealanders to express their views on the key pain points being experienced by consumers and what needs to be done to address them across all dimensions of customer experience, the commission said.

It includes the selection and buying of telecommunications services, the day-to-day performance of the service and provider, changing to another provider and the complaints process.

The commission is also seeking views on how the TDR scheme could be improved for consumers as part of a formal review of the current arrangements.

“We look forward to working with industry and consumer stakeholders to produce a plan for improving consumer outcomes – so we get satisfaction levels up and complaint levels down.”

It comes after Parliament in 2018 gave the commission new powers and a clear direction to improve consumer outcomes in retail telecommunications markets.

Feedback on consumer pain points and how they can be remedied is due on February 26, 2021, while feedback on the TDRS is due by December 18, 2020.