Complaints received by ANACOM increase 24% in 2009

ANACOM - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações received 41,989 written complaints in 2009, representing an increase of 24% over the volume reported in the previous year. This growth is due to the increased volume of complaints entered in complaint books - complaints entered in complaint books represent 79% of total complaints received.

Over the same period the regulator received 590 requests for information, 45 suggestions, 40 petitions and 178 other types of communications, making a total of 42,842 enquiries.

In addition to this number, ANACOM received a further 6,022 enquiries by telephone and in person through its public attendance service.

Of the complaints received, 79.3% of the total – 32,143 - related to the electronic communications sector (23% more than in 2008); 18% to the postal sector and 2.6% to the information society.

With respect to electronic communications, the Internet access service gave rise to the largest number of complaints per 1,000 customers, 3.27, 45% less than in the previous year. This is followed by the fixed telephone service, with 2.52 complaints per thousand customers, an increase of 2%; and the virtual calling card service with 2.48. The subscription television service gave rise to the fourth highest level of complaints.

In terms of the issues raised by the complaints entered in complaint books, issues related to equipment, customer service, technical support and billing are prevalent. In the case of complaints addressed directly to ANACOM, there was a prevalence of complaints about billing (especially situations of mistakes on bills), contracts (with a high incidence of situations related to contractual alterations) and technical assistance.

ANACOM has decided to disclose, for the first time, information about the operators most cited in complaints. To this purpose it was decided to define bands based on the indicator of number of complaints per thousand customers and to classify each operator based on the ratio reported. The operators cited most often in complaints, with a level of complaints exceeding 4.9 per thousand customers, include TMN in the internet access service and in the fixed telephone services; Vodafone, in the Internet access services and subscription television service; ZON in both the mobile and fixed services; Sonaecom, in the paid television service; PT Prime and PTC in the fixed and Internet service, respectively; and Uniteldata also in the fixed service.

With respect to the postal sector, the largest number of complaints referred to the correspondence service (about half of total complaints). Meanwhile in complaints addressed directly to this authority, the situations leading to most complaints were those resulting from the loss and delay in delivery; meanwhile in terms of the complaints entered in complaint books, the vast majority of situations giving rise to complaints stemmed from problems associated with customer services.

With regard to requests received by ANACOM's Public Attendance Service, 6,022 enquiries were registered, of which 5,232 corresponded to complaints and the remaining 790 to requests for information.  The vast majority of requests were made by phone and were connected to the electronic communications sector, with the telephone service at a fixed location the subject of most complaints.