How to make telco complaints step-by-step

If something goes wrong with your mobile or internet service, you can make a complaint to resolve the issue. Here are some tips to get the best outcome from your telecommunications provider for complaints about slow internet speeds, service dropouts, poor coverage, NBN issues, bad customer service and more.

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What’s the issue?

Things go wrong with telcos

In our connected world, we all expect to be able to communicate quickly and easily by phone or internet. The services that telecommunications (or telco) businesses provide are essential. Almost every consumer uses telco services and generally we use more than one. So it’s not surprising that things go wrong sometimes. But losing access to your phone or internet can make a big impact. Luckily there are options for you to make a complaint and resolve the issue.

What do you need to know?

Making a telco complaint

If you have a complaint about your phone or internet service, your telco provider must have a process in place to handle your complaint. Telcos must publish their complaints handling policy on their websites and you can also ask them for a copy. The process has to be easy for consumers to understand.

It’s a good idea to read the complaints process for your telco before making a complaint. But here are some points you can expect to see in there:

  • There are different contact methods to make a complaint to your telco provider.
  • Once you send a complaint, the telco will usually acknowledge that they have received your complaint. This should happen pretty quickly. Ask for a reference number if they don’t provide one.
  • Generally, telcos have to provide a final response to complaints within 15 days. Urgent complaints must be resolved within 2 business days. Urgent complaints might be about financial hardship, priority assistance for a landline or disconnection of a phone service without following the proper process.
  • If you’re not happy with the way your telco is managing your complaint, you can ask about your telco’s escalation process. If you’re still not happy, you can complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
  • You can make a complaint, even if you’re no longer a customer of the telco.
Just a bit more

Lots of consumers try to complain to the NBN when things go wrong with their internet service. But the standard approach is for the consumer to raise the issue with their own retailer (telco provider) first, rather than directly with the NBN. The retailer can troubleshoot the issue as much as possible and then liaise with the NBN if they need to report a fault or request a technician.

What can you do?

Four points to include in a telco complaint

If you’re making a complaint to your telco provider, here are four points you should cover:

  1. What’s the problem? What’s gone wrong with your mobile or internet service?
  2. Is there any evidence you have about the problem?
  3. Has the problem made an impact on you?
  4. What do you want from the telco? How can the telco resolve the problem for you?

Let’s break these 4 points down.

  1. Explain the issue to your provider:

When explaining what your problem is, have a bill handy so that you can provide your account number and the name of the service you are complaining about. It’s important to explain what your problem is, because this will help the telco work out if your complaint is urgent or not. Be clear and specific. So you might say “my phone was disconnected without anyone talking to me first or letting me know”, rather than just “disconnected phone”.

  1. Share how the problem has impacted you and give evidence:

Information about how the problem has impacted you and evidence of the problem will help the telco work out what is a fair resolution to your complaint. For example, you might tell the telco provider that your disconnected phone has impacted your ability to work or enjoy home life. You might also say you’ve experienced lots of stress trying to resolve the issue. Evidence could be a bill (if your complaint is about fees and charges) or a screenshot of a speed test (if your complaint is about slow internet speeds).

Ajust consumer Elizabeth faced issues making phone calls when she had an issue with her telco provider, learn about how Ajust helped Elizabeth here.

  1. Let them know what you would like to happen:

When complaining, it’s also important to think about what result you want at the end. Continuing with the example about a disconnected phone service, you might be happy if your phone is reconnected quickly. Or, you might only be satisfied if your phone is reconnected quickly and you receive a small amount of financial compensation for the stress and inconvenience caused by the situation.

Remember, the telco can’t force you to accept a resolution. If you think the resolution proposed by the telco is not fair, you can escalate your complaint within the telco or you can make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Everyone (and every business) makes mistakes – your phone or internet provider is no exception. The important thing is getting the mistake fixed by your telco, so you can move on. Thankfully, Australian telcos are required to have complaint handling procedures, which you can follow to make sure your complaint gets resolved.

If you need a bit more help, try using Ajust for your telco complaint. Ajust takes the effort out of making a complaint. We know the complaints processes for Australian telcos, so you don’t need to work them out yourself. Plus it’s free for consumers.


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