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Vodafone Blames Huge Rise In Ofcom Complaints On New Billing System

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Vodafone takes most complained about accolade for mobile, EE for broadband and TalkTalk for landline in latest Ofcom complaint figures

The number of complaints made to Ofcom about Vodafone’s mobile network increased by almost a third quarter-on-quarter and more than doubled year-on-year during the three months between October and December 2015.

EE also retained the unwanted title of the UK’s most complained about broadband provider.

The industry average for complaints per 100,000 customers in the pay monthly mobile sector is 10 but Vodafone recorded 32 thanks to issues related to billing, complaints handling and service.

Every other mobile provider finished below average with O2 registering 2 per 100,000 and Tesco Mobile just 1.

Ofcom complaints

Vodafone StoreVodafone said the rise in complaints could be attributed to a major project that transferred customers into a new billing system, which it says opened up new services. It has apologised to “any customer” who has had an issue with its mobile service over the past three months.

“We are working hard to improve our customers’ experience and more recent data is showing an improvement,” a spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “Due to new processes we have put into place, helped by significant additional call centre resources, we believe that customers will continue to see further improvements over the coming months.

“Unfortunately, there were some problems during the highly complex migration. Now that the migration exercise is essentially complete, we expect our £2 billion pound investment in our network and services will start to deliver a step change in customer experience.”

Ofcom received 34 complaints per 100,000 users for EE’s home broadband service, a figure only slight worse than Plusnet’s 32 and TalkTalk’s 31. BT’s 28 was also above the industry average of 19, with only Virgin Media (7) and Sky (6).

Investment

EE-shop-frontThere was better news for EE in the landline sector where TalkTalk has supplanted BT’s new subsidiary at the head of the table. TalkTalk received 30 complaints per 100,000, compared to EE’s 25, which is down from 34 quarter-on-quarter – the same as Plusnet. BT recorded 19, while Sky (7) and Virgin Media (5) finished below the industry average of 15.

EE said it was happy with its progress in the mobile industry, but acknowledged it had more to do in other areas.

“There is still work to be done to improve our landline and broadband service,” it admitted. “Last year we introduced a broadband service improvement programme including 500 new UK roles to help provide better service.

“We will continue to invest, increasing the number of customer service agents for broadband and improving our systems to meet our ambition of becoming number one for service in the industry.”

Both BT (15) and TalkTalk (14) posted above-average scores for the Pay TV sector, with Virgin Media (3) and Sky (1) faring much better.”

Ofcom said it receives 300 complaints a day regarding the telecoms sector, a figure which is unchanged from the previous quarter, and says it publishes these figures to inform consumers and encourage communications providers to improve their performance.

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