Sharechat Logo

Telcos still dominate consumer complaints, though online trading attracts more grizzles

Wednesday 13th September 2017

Text too small?

The Commerce Commission's annual consumer issues report shows telecommunications firms Vodafone New Zealand and Spark New Zealand still attract the most ire from their customers, although the rise of online shopping has seen a growing number of complaints in that space. 

The regulator plans to put greater emphasis on retail telco providers in the current year, as the most complained of sector attracted 603 complaints in the 2016/17 year out of 7,270 total complaints. Of that, Vodafone was the most complained about with 186 complaints, followed closely by rival Spark at 180, about twice Two Degrees Mobile's 88. The commission said about a quarter of those complaints were over incorrect billing and a fifth related to various fees charged, such as late payments, credit card use, or paper invoices. 

"Telecommunications continue to be the most complained about industry with the number of complaints increasing by nearly a third on last year," commissioner Anna Rawlings said in a statement. "This trend reinforces our decision to make retail telecommunications a priority focus area for the coming year across both our consumer and regulation work." 

The consumer affairs and competition watchdog's annual consumer issues report identifies current and emerging risks it sees as having the potential to affect consumers and markets.

The report identified the continued growth in online spending attracting a similar increase in complaints, where consumers struggle to work out whether a vendor mispresented the price or goods or services sold compared to the experience in a physical outlet. 

"It is evident from some complaints that consumers have subsequently had doubts whether they purchased from a legitimate trader, particularly if the trader is based abroad and the consumer has been unable to make contact with the trader to resolve concerns about product delivery or quality," the report said. 

Rawlings said "consumers need to research the traders they intend to buy from and pay attention to additional costs such as booking fees, the currency they are paying in, and whether the fine print discloses they have been signed up to a monthly subscription." 

Appliance store retailers were the second most complained about industry with 403 complaints. Common themes to trigger complaints were misleading pricing practices, especially during advertised sales, and misrepresentations over the Consumer Guarantees Act when returning a faulty product. Warehouse Group-owned Noel Leeming topped the complaint board with 82, followed by rival Harvey Norman at 45. 

(BusinessDesk)

  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed; Ryman and Stride gain on results, Port of Tauranga, A2 Milk drop
NZ dollar heads for 1.4% weekly gain on Fed's cautious inflation view
Commerce Commission to appeal High Court decision on price-fixing case
Commerce Commission to appeal High Court decision on price-fixing case
Northport issues 'vision for growth' which would see wharf double in size to accept increased business
Social enterprise Conscious Consumer attracts $2M to fund UK launch
OG Oil & Gas extends offer to allow time for regulatory approval
NZ trade deficit widens in October as demand for imported machinery outstrips primary export growth
NZ structural log prices rise to 24-year high, A-grade export logs hit record
Only the fittest, most savvy retailers will survive - and Warehouse positing to be one of them

IRG See IRG research reports