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Telecommunication providers are coming in for more investigation over the manner in which they treat their clients.
The Commerce Commission has published a document indicating how it will implement new legal provisions created to improve the quality of service provided by telcos.

The commission intends to get the complete picture of the exact quality of service provided to users, the priorities it should focus on and the tools that should be used in case of the needed involvement.

“Retail telecommunications is a commission priority, in particular in the areas of billing, switching, contract terms, and marketing. Parliament has now given us more tools to improve retail service quality and safeguard consumers,” telecommunications commissioner Stephen Gale said.

Monitoring elements of service quality including performance, speed and accessibility, customer support as well as installation and billing processes is a part of the new provisions.

Creating retail service quality codes, in case the industry-led codes are incompetent, is also allowed.
“We receive lots of consumer inquiries and complaints about telecommunications providers and have responded over the past few years through Fair Trading Act warnings and prosecutions. The new provisions will help us encourage telcos to compete more on retail service quality, not just on prices,” Gale said.

The most complaints to the Commerce Commission in the previous year were referencing telecommunication companies.
The new monitoring and controlling by the commission would enable customers to better compare the services offered by providers.

The research found that 33 percent of surveyed users received poor service by their distributer, while 61 percent waited on the phone for too long in order to get help from the customer service support.

Gavin Male, of broadband comparison website BroadbandCompare, said the industry did not deserve its poor reputation, though.

“If you look at the number of complaints received, every household in the country has at least one or two accounts with these telcos. The percentage is a tiny amount. While it’s the most complained about industry it’s the industry with the most customers.”

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