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07 February 2021 Posted by 

As if the Pandemic wasn’t hard enough, small business battles internet

SMALL business is battling through the most challenging period in almost a century and problems with phone and internet services are adding to the burden.
With businesses forced on to the internet by the Pandemic shutdown and increasing competition from online shopping, telecommunication problems resulted in a 5.7% increase in complaints in 2020.
Between October and December 2020, residential consumers and small businesses made 30,564 complaints about phone and internet services.
While this is a decrease of 11.2% compared to the previous quarter when the Pandemic was in full swing, the seasonal comparison shows the  5.7% increase when comparing July to December 2020 against the same period in the previous year.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s Complaints Report shows the barbs from small business increased to 17% of total complaints. This is the highest proportion of phone and internet complaints from small businesses in the last five quarters.
After a high reliance on internet services during the early phases of the Pandemic, internet complaints have dropped 20.7%. Mobile has become the leading service problem with 10,118 complaints. The volume of mobile complaints remains steady compared to the previous quarter and to Q2 2019-20. 
All top 10 issues have decreased in volume compared to the previous quarter, apart from contract variations by providers, and consumers having no working service. The issue of providers being uncontactable decreased 40%.
For small business, complaints about the disconnection of services have appeared in the top 10 issues, replacing complaints about number problems. This quarter also showed increases in the volume of complaints about business loss and having no working service.
Complaints about the top 10 providers decreased in volume compared to the previous quarter, although some providers saw increases compared to Q2 2019-20. Complaints about Dodo declined 23% compared to Q1 2020-21 and TPG closely followed with a decrease of 21%. 
Commenting on the Q2 results, Ombudsman Judi Jones said the decline in complaints this quarter was pleasing to see.
“Although we often see complaints decrease this time of year due to the summer break, after the challenges of 2020, this is a significant accomplishment. The industry, government, regulators, advocates and Ombudsman have demonstrated a commitment over the past year to ensure continuity of service for consumers in the face of great change,” Ms Jones said.
“Small business owners and Telco’s have done it tough through the Pandemic. While the slight proportional increase in small business complaints isn’t yet cause for concern, it is important that small business owners have access to reliable phone and internet services, as many depend on these services to operate.
“The impact of phone and internet problems can be significant for small business owners who don’t have a back-up plan,” Ms Jones said.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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