Vodafone tops New Zealand's most complained about traders
Just 21 traders were the subject of 20 per cent of all complaints to the Commerce Commission in the 12 months to the end of June, and giant telecommunications company Vodafone topped the list.
The latest edition of the Consumer Issues report outlines the areas of interest the consumer watchdog is currently focusing on.
But it also reveals a list of the most complained about corporates in the country, with telcos Vodafone and Spark taking the top two places.
The commission is careful to warn the public not to jump to conclusions about the businesses which make the top 20.
"Many of these traders are large retailers with a national presence and a high volume of sales," the commission said.
"While a higher volume of sales might reasonably be expected to generate a higher number of complaints, this is not always the case."
Vodafone issued a statement which said it was disappointed with its ranking.
"Vodafone serves nearly three million customers and our chief priority is to deliver a great experience to all of them.
"We benchmark our progress constantly, and our own numbers show a 15 per cent reduction in inbound calls and a 42 per cent drop in consumer complaints made to Vodafone compared to this time last year."
It said the industry was working with the commission to determine a "newer, more accurate" framework for measuring and addressing customer service issues across the telecommunications sector.
And, the giant telco added: "The teething issues that come with big technology and network upgrades can be a real pain point for our customers and we've seen that theme come through this year."
People complaining to the commission do so because they believe a trader has broken the Fair Trading Act, but the commission cautioned that high levels of complaints do not necessarily indicate companies have broken the law.
Among those most complained about were telecoms companies (themes include incorrect billing, slow broadband, and mobile phone termination fees), supermarkets (advertised special prices on products which appear to have been incorrectly priced on in-store shelves or charged incorrectly at check-out), and online shopping sites.
1. Vodafone: Last year's second-placed company edged Spark out for the top spot. There were 186 complaints against Vodafone, compared to 133 in the previous year.
2. Spark: Topped the chart in 2016, but garnered six fewer complaints than Vodafone.
3. Foodstuffs: The 98 complaints against the owner of Pak 'n Save and New World was a rise of 39 on the previous year, when it was placed eighth.
4. 2degrees Mobile: Was placed 20th last year, but the challenger to Spark and Vodafone saw the number of complaints against it rise to 88 from just 29 the previous year.
5. Noel Leeming: Owned by the Warehouse, Noel Leeming climbed 13 places from 18th in last year's report with 82 complaints.
6. Air New Zealand: Down from 5th last year with 77 complaints.
7. Vocus Group: Owns the Slingshot, Orcon and Flip brands. The Australian telecommunications group says: "Our goal is to be the most loved Telco". It"s a distant third in terms of market share behind Spark and Vodafone. It got 68 complaints.
8. Progressive Enterprises: Up two places, the owner of Countdown sparked 66 complaints to the commission compared to 48 the previous year.
9. Wilson Parking: The international parking company received headlines this year for even ticketing cars in car parking spaces it did not manage. It prompted 62 complaints, compared to 50 the previous year.
10. Viagogo: The event ticket resale site, which charges huge mark-ups, is a new entry to the top ten. It has featured prominently in news items this year on TV, radio and in print as people have overpaid for tickets, some of which didn't even get the buyers into the concerts they hoped to see. It prompted 57 complaints.
Places 11 to 20 were occupied by: Sky TV (56 complaints), TV shopping sales operation Brand Developers (51), Danish online trader LuxStyle Aps (51), Harvey Norman (45 down from 117), TradeMe (45), Fitlink, a fitness training education provider, now under new ownership (43), The Warehouse (40), Gibraltar-based PTMO Limited (37), Trustpower (36), Contact energy (33) and tech-retailer PB Technologies (32).