Massive Fines For Optus And Telstra Over Poor Service

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Mobile phone carriers in Australia have been hit with massive fines after failing to deliver adequate service for mobile phone owners. As a result, Comms and Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy has threatened further reforms of the telecommunications industry after the massive spike in complaints from customers reported by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

TIO Deidre O’Donnell said she had responded to 230,065 complaints from consumers and small businesses in 2008-09, a 54 per cent rise on the previous year. Telstra was the worst offender with 103,831 complaints, close to half the 230,065 total received by the TIO.

“This report is an absolute shocker,” Conroy told Network Ten yesterday. He said the Rudd Government would consider taking action to ensure greater competition and a better deal for consumers. But he would work with the TIO to decided what was needed to crack down on companies that continued to mistreat their customers.

Telstra and Optus are already copping pretty hefty penalties over the TIO complaints ­ the ombudsman’s office charges the telcos for each complaint handed. O’Donnell’s report shows that in 2008-09 Telstra was invoiced $14.2 million with its BigPond online operation copping another $3 million, for a total of more than $17.2 million.

Optus copped a $4 million bill, while AAPT was invoiced $563,547 and ISP iiNet received a demand for $137,906.

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