The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) reported that in 2022, 44 per cent of complaints recieved, pertaining to electronic communication services, were in relation to customer care and faults.
These findings were published by MCA in their Annual Report of 2022. This report served as a comprehensive overview of the achievements, initiatives and regulatory activities undertaken during the past year.
The MCA offers a complaint and inquiry handling service to assist end-users, including consumers and users of services regulated by the authority, with any questions or difficulties they may have regarding communications, postal and eCommerce services.
“To promote transparency, the MCA examines the complaints and inquiries it receives and publishes ‘End-User Reports’ every six months. These reports, not only provide insight into the number and nature of the complaints but also highlight any enforcement actions or monitoring activities undertaken by the MCA. Two reports were published during 2022,” the authority explained.
Overall, during 2022, the MCA received a total of 139 complaints, a staggering decrease of 29 per cent when compared to 2021. Other complaints lodged with MCA were issues related to billing (15 per cent), termination or switching of services (nine per cent) and contractual issues (less than one per cent).
In addition, the MCA handled 689 requests for information, also registering a decrease (five per cent) over 2021.
19 per cent of the complaints were in relation to problems with the provision of free-to-air television service. In Malta there are eight Maltese free-to-air channels: Xejk, F Living, Net, One, Smash, TVM, TVMnews+ and Parliament TV.
In 2022, an issue arose with aerial transmitted free-to-air television, as telecommunication providers decided to switch off a telecommunications hub that used old systems to transmit such services via aerials. However, this decision was reversed by the government earlier this year.
Although not referring to the situation specifically in the report, the authority noted that this type of service is not regulated under rules enforced by the MCA.
“Notwithstanding, the authority continued to provide support to end-users experiencing issues with this service, which in some cases involved guiding complainants to redirect their television aerial to an alternative transmitting station,” explained the MCA.
In addition, in instances where problems persisted, the MCA advised end-users to seek redress from the Public Broadcasting services or the Ministry responsible for broadcasting.
60% decrease in complaints concerning postal services
What is also worth mentioning is that in 2022, the MCA did not receive any complaints related to eCommerce services. On the other hand, it received 17 complaints concerning postal services. Despite so, the number decreased considerably (60 per cent) when compared to 2021, “confirming the trend of the previous year.”
Most complaints in this case were related to undelivered mail (10) along with customer care, redirection of mail, delayed delivery and mis-delivered mail.
Mystery shopping to investigate customer care service complaints
It certainly won’t be the first and the last time that someone wasted a couple of minutes (or hours) trying to solve a problem through a customer care line. But these are not always happy experiences.
In light of earlier findings with regards to customer care services complaints, the MCA’s Consumer team conducted different mystery shopping exercises to identify areas of concern, particularly the quality of customer care provided by different operators.
“In its bi-annual ‘End-User Reports,’ the MCA publishes the results of these mystery shopping exercises carried out throughout the year. These tests measure the time it takes for a customer care agent of major communications service providers to answer a telephone call. If no agent attends to the call within 5 minutes, the test call is terminated,” the MCA explained.
Throughout the year in review, the MCA made an average of five to seven test calls per working day to the call centres of three main electronic communications service providers (Epic Communications Ltd, Go plc and Melita Ltd) throughout different times of the day. These were initially published in MCA’s End-User Affairs reports that covered the periods January to June 2022 and July to December 2022.
|Calls answered within five minutes|
|Jan-June 2022||23 per cent||92 per cent||95 per cent|
|July–December 2022||22 per cent||99 per cent||87 per cent|
|Calls answered within two minutes|
|Jan-June 2022||11 per cent||78 per cent||76 per cent|
|July-December 2022||9 per cent||90 per cent||65 per cent|
In response to this, the MCA “escalated the matter with the provider whose performance falls below the industry average and shall keep monitoring developments until it is satisfied that shortcomings are addressed.”
This, the MCA remarked, is particularly important since the telephone remains the preferred customer care contact channel, as revealed also in this report.
In addition to this, 442 test calls were made to the postal universal service provider’s (MaltaPost) customer care telephony service. This resulted in 81% of calls answered withing two minutes and 95 per cent answered in five minutes. “This confirms the positive trend, improving the previous year’s performance, which measured 67 per cent and 90 per cent respectively for these two indicators,” the MCA concluded.
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