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Vodafone And BT Get Most Complaints For Mobile And Broadband

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

List of shame….Vodafone, BT, TalkTalk top complaint table, as Sky remains the goody two shoes

The bad boys of the UK’s communications industry has been revealed once again with the publication of Ofcom’s latest complaints figures.

The telcos who received the unwanted accolade of most complained about providers included Vodafone (most complaints for mobile), BT (most complaints for broadband and Pay TV), and TalkTalk (most complaints for landlines).

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List Of Shame

For the first quarter of 2017 (January to March 2017), Ofcom’s table showed that BT remains the most complained about ISP for broadband services with 34 official complaints filed per 100,000 subscribers.

TalkTalk (29 per 100,000) was the second most complained about broadband service provider, closely followed by BT owned subsidiary Plusnet (25 per 100,000) in third place in the Ofcom list of shame. The broadband operator which gets the fewest complaints is Sky at just 8 complaints per 100,000 subscribers.

Moving away from broadband and looking at the mobile sector, it seems that Vodafone remains a persistent offender for gaining the most consumer complaints.

Indeed, Vodafone seems to be doing little to stop itself from being the most complained about mobile operator. This time last year for example Vodafone blamed the huge rise in Ofcom complaints on its new billing system.

But over a year later and Vodafone still remains the operator getting the most consumer complaints (17 per 100,000) which admittedly was reduced from the average number of complaints in the previous quarter. And Vodafone is not the only culprit in the mobile sector.

TalkTalk is the second most complained about mobile operator (8 complaints per 100,000 users), followed by Virgin Mobile in third spot, and then EE, O2 and Three. The mobile operator which gets the fewest complaints is Tesco Mobile.

On the landline side, TalkTalk replaced Plusnet as the most complained about service provider. BT is the most complained about Pay TV provider, followed by Virgin Media.

“Our report shows that, for a number of providers, there is still much room for improvement,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director. “Phone and broadband companies must take all possible steps to improve their complaints handling and customer service, and we expect this to be their number one priority.”

Industry Responses

Silicon UK emailed a number of the firms named in Ofcom’s complaints table to get a response to the findings.

BT

“We apologise to customers we’ve let down,” a BT spokesperson told Silicon UK. “BT cares about the service it gives and we’re investing heavily to make improvements. We’re on track with our plan for 90 per cent of customers’ calls to be answered by advisors in the UK and Ireland, which involved recruiting more than 2,200 people.”

“We’ve invested in a major upgrade in the software our call centre advisors use,” the spokesperson added. “Customers are seeing an improvement as these initiatives take effect. Although Ofcom received more complaints about BT, we note that Ofcom state this data provides only one lens on performance and that their own research published in April indicates that other providers’ customers may have had more reason to complain than BT’s and in many cases other providers are less effective at resolving complaints.”

Vodafone

“The latest Ofcom report shows that our focus on improving customer service is gaining traction,” said a Vodafone spokesperson. “We expect that trend to improve further as our 2,000 new UK based customer service roles come on line and as we continue to invest in making it easier for our customers to interact with us. We know we still have more to do and we are committed to making additional improvements for customers throughout this year.”

TalkTalk

“We’re determined to give our customers the best experience possible and continue to invest and improve services,” said a TalkTalk spokesperson. “Our extensive improvement programme is leading to fewer faults, higher customer satisfaction levels and public-voted awards for our TV service. However, there is always more to do and we will never stop striving to do better for our customers.”

Plusnet

“It’s good to see the changes we’ve been working on have led to a drop in the number of both broadband and landline complaints,” a Plusnet spokesperson said. “However we know we can do more, we’re committed to delivering a brilliant customer experience.”

Ofcom Pressure

In March Ofcom revealed that it wanted landline and broadband service providers to provide automatic compensation for British customers when problems occur.But the British communication’s regulator is also not shy of handing on fines.

Earlier this year for example Plusnet was fined £880,000 for continuing to bill customers for broadband and landline services after they had cancelled their contracts. Vodafone and EE have also felt Ofcom’s wrath, with both fined millions of pounds for overcharging.

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