There was slap on the wrist for Vodafone and Spark in The Commerce Commission's annual consumer issues report. For the second year in a row the telecommunications sector was the most complained about industry.
Vodafone topped the list being on the wrong end of 186 complaints. Spark wasn't far behind with 180 complaints. 2degrees had 88. Collectively the telecommunications sector racked up 603 complaints out of a total of 7270.
One in four of the companies was about incorrect billing and one in five related to additional fees for matters such as late payments, credit card use or charges for paper invoices.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the report is that the telecommunications sector is getting worse. The number of complaints were up by almost a third compared to a year earlier.
This has lead to the Commerce Commission making telecommunications a priority in the next year.
The Telecommunications Forum wasted little time responding to the report. CEO Geoff Thorn issued a statement pointed to Commerce Commission comments saying the level of complaints is, in part, down to the scale of the industry and the fact that people interact with its products every day.
Thorn says the industry plans a number of moves to improve customer service.
One is to improve the Telecommunications Dispute scheme. This is a free complaints and mediation service for consumers and small businesses. It's paid for by the industry and customers are pointed at the scheme on their telecommunications bills.
The TCF also intends to develop a more customer-centric code for fibre installation along with consumer education and adding metrics to measure customer service performance.