Understanding the causes of complaints - case studies 

Max's complaint
Elle's complaint

Max's complaint

When his two-year contract for an ADSL service was due to expire, Max approached his provider to upgrade to an ADSL2+ service on a $50 plan. He claimed that for half the money of his previous service, he was promised faster speeds and a greater data allowance than he had been paying. It was an offer that was attractive to him because he watched news from his home country over the internet, and it would be convenient for the videos to load quicker.

However, he claimed that when he started using the service he experienced slower speeds than he got through his previous service. At the same time, he was being billed $100 a month – the same amount as his old service. He told us that he tried to contact his service provider 20 to 30 times over three months to gain a resolution, but was unsuccessful every time.  Before he could get to talk to anyone, he claimed he would have to spend a long time on hold.

When he got through to the customer service department, he claimed the staff were of little help. They told him that the age of wires connecting his telephone service might be affecting the speed of his internet service. His service provider said that the speeds were within “the range of what is acceptable” and it would not send a technician to investigate the situation. Regarding his billing error, he was promised that a member of their senior complaint handling team would ring him back. When they called, he was unavailable. He returned the call, but it rang out and he was unable to leave a message.

When Max rang the TIO, we wrote to the service provider, which then acknowledged that he was not being billed in accordance with the ADSL2+ service and it would credit the $150 he had been overcharged for the previous three months. They also provided a goodwill credit for the poor customer service he experienced and performed troubleshooting that improved the speed of his internet service.

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Elle's complaint

She said she had signed up at a store for a month to month service which offered 8GB a month for $49. As she was required to submit all her assignments electronically, it was a service that she could not do without. Another reason she claimed she signed up for the service was that it would be cut off after she exceeded her 8GB limit.

Ellie claimed that she did not receive a SIM card for the modem until a month after her service was to start and was then charged $100 for the wireless modem. She claimed she had to pay $80 for a wireless broadband connection from another provider during the first month, as her original service had failed to work. A few months later, her provider barred the service because she hadn’t paid the $100.

She claimed that she called her service provider several times to try and get the service reactivated and the charges waived. Each time she called her service provider’s representatives they claimed they had no evidence of the point of sale advice stating there would be no charge for her modem or excess usage charges.  

When Ellie contacted the TIO, the service provider had sent her a bill for $249. During the TIO’s investigation, the provider agreed to waive excess charges Ellie had incurred, bringing her bill down to two months worth of actual spending, or $98. As a gesture of good will, they also agreed to reimburse the money for the second service she bought in the first month that the SIM card had not been sent.

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