TIO: Accessibility a major issue

Telco-related complaints continue to decline

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Simon Cohen

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Simon Cohen

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has flagged accessibility as a major focus with new TIO, Simon Cohen, arguing that new technologies are required to ensure the telco sector complaints office can keep place.

According to Cohen, accessibility was a key issue for Australia’s most vulnerable groups as they were the least likely to gain assistance in resolving complaints with telecommunications providers.

“One of the emerging challenges… is to make sure the TIO’s complaints gateways keep pace with new technologies so that we remain relevant, especially for young people who have an issue and may require our assistance,” Cohen said in a recent TIO publication.

“We also need to keep a strong focus on reaching communities that may encounter barriers in accessing the TIO, such as elderly people, young people and those communities where English is not a first language.”

Cohen said telecommunication service providers and the TIO had a shared responsibility to provide information about providers’ complaints processes, and to make sure consumers were aware of the TIO’s services.

“The TIO serves both consumers and service providers, and we can provide solutions and resources to help service providers deal effectively with, and get value from, complaints,” he said.

The announcement follows the Federal Government’s launch of its Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy which will see federal, state and territory governments compelled to make their websites accessible by a wider cross-section of Australian society.

The TIO also reported that the number of complaints the office receives has continued to decline.

In the September 2009 quarter, the total number of complains was 61,248, in the December quarter it was 54,287 and in the March 2010 quarter it was 52,730.

Mobile phones continue to be the most complained about telecommunications service at 43 per cent in the March quarter, followed by landlines (28.8 per cent), Internet (26.1 per cent), and mobile premium services (1.9 per cent)

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