Telcos improve service, but still have to pay



News

By Jessica Stanic

A new report has found that major telecomunnications companies Telstra, Optus and AAPT improved their connection services in the 2008-09 financial year, but were still forced to hand over more than $1 million in compensation to customers for some slow services.

The ACMA’s Telecommunications Performance Bulletin 2008-09 found that Telstra, Optus and AAPT all made significant improvements in customer service guarantees, priority assistance, payphones and network reliability, but still had more work to do.

“Quarterly fault repair performance was variable, but improved across all areas, with performance at or above the 90 percent benchmark for each quarter in rural areas and in all quarters except September 2008 in urban areas for both Optus and Telstra,” the report said.

“Although performance in remote areas was generally lower for most indicators, it still showed improvement in comparison to 2007-08.”

According to the report, telcos are given a set number of days to activate new connections and repair faults in home and business phones, and are forced to pay compensation to customers if they exceed those time limits. Acceptable time limits vary, but generally range from one to three days for faults and up to 20 days for new connections. Customer compensation for late repairs or connections is $14.52 for fewer than five days, and $48.40 for fewer than six days and beyond, while late or missed appointments also trigger a $14.52 penalty.

While the report found the increase in connection and repair rates led to a decrease in the average number of compensation payments for the three, the average amount paid per compensation increased slightly. For AAPT, payments increased 66.8 percent from $71 to $118, while Telstra and Optus averaged payments of $46 and $61 respectively.

All up, more than 200,000 customers were entitled to compensation during 2008-09.

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