David Howarth, a senior policy officer at Choice, said the consumer group’s own surveys had also found deep dissatisfaction with the industry’s behaviour. The survey’s 1100 respondents said they did not pursue redress because they did not believe it would achieve anything, they thought it was too hard or they were unaware a solution existed. MORE than half of all customers have had a problem with their phone or internet service provider in the past year, and one in three of them was dissatisfied with how their complaints were resolved. How to make a complaint that gets heard

The survey found the main complaints involved technical problems and, ironically, how telephone companies and ISPs handled the complaint. Those unhappy customers – 2.3 million people – were entitled to seek redress from an industry ombudsman, but few did, according to research by the advocacy group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. ”It’s evidence of increasing problems being experienced across the industry.”

She said the research showed only 7 per cent of dissatisfied customers turned to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, despite generally high marks from those who did. She said unless consumers used the right ”buzz words” some companies were neglecting to direct people to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. ”So for every person who makes it to the [ombudsman], there are more than a dozen others who are worn down by the frustration of dealing with their telco,” Ms Freeman said. The industry’s self-drafted code requires members to tell unhappy customers about the ombudsman scheme, but the wording is ambiguous, said Elissa Freeman, the network’s director of policy and campaigns. ”Every way you cut up complaints figures in this industry tells us there’s something wrong,” Ms Freeman said. Nearly a third of people threw up their hands without even bothering to lodge a complaint.