Increase in TIO complaints underlines need for stronger consumer protections 

As the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Quarter Two Complaints Report reveals a noticeable increase in complaints about telecommunications companies,” Consumer Action is reiterating its call for more effective consumer protections for the telco sector.  

The Report released today shows a 9.9 per cent increase in the number of complaints (17,903 in total) received between October and December 2022, from residential and small businesses, with more than half the complaints about mobile services. Complaints about mobile services increased 19.1 per cent and internet services 10.2 per cent compared to the previous quarter. 

“Telecommunications are an essential service, indispensable for work, education, health and social connection, and a key point in TIO Report is that complaints about customer service failings, with no or delayed action continue to be a dominant concern,” said Stephanie Tonkin, CEO Consumer Action. 

“We regularly hear from callers to the National Debt Helpline who have been disconnected from their telco service or refused hardship when they need support. 

“The TIO Report also points to the Optus data breach and the unauthorised disclosure of personal information as a driver for complaints, which is particularly concerning in an age of rampant online scams.  

“For too long, telcos have been self-regulated, and this means that much of the basic consumer protections are set by the industry themselves, rather than by an independent regulator or government authority. 

“It is time the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland took steps to ensure telcos are subject to safeguards that are consistent with other essential services, like electricity, gas, and water. 

“Australian telcos can and must do better and we clearly need Government reform of the system to drive this. This will drive down complaints at the Ombudsman.” she said.  


Media contact: Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Adviser, 0413 299 567,

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