BT Complaints Rise Following BT Sport Launch

Complaints about BT’s landline, broadband and pay TV service increase, according to Ofcom

BT could be top of Santa’s naughty list this Christmas after complaints to Ofcom about the telecom’s landline, broadband and pay TV services rose during the third quarter of 2013, with the launch of BT Sport blamed for many of the grievances.

The total number of complaints made to the industry regulator increased slightly during the period between July and September, although those about mobile services actually decreased, according to the latest edition of Ofcom’s league table of complaints to telecoms service providers.

It was in Pay TV where BT had the most problems, with 0.56 complaints per thousand customers – more than double the figure it recorded in Q2. The number of complaints peaked in August, when BT Sport launched, and was far more than its main rivals Virgin Media and Sky, who recorded 0.05 and 0.02 respectively.

Broadband and landline

BT Sport (4)The number of complaints about BT’s broadband service increased from 0.28 to 0.41 quarter-on-quarter, almost as much as Orange and EE, which generated 0.45 complaints per 1,000 customers, up from 0.31 in Q2, but far less than the peak of 0.70 recorded in Q4 2012. Former perennial winner TalkTalk placed third with 0.27, with Sky and Virgin Media generating 0.09 and 0.08.

However TalkTalk did not leave Ofcom’s dubious awards empty handed. It was the most complained about landline service, with 0.31 complaints per thousand customers. This is still above the industry average, but it is the lowest number recorded by the company since Ofcom began publishing data more than two years ago. BT’s figure of 0.23, up from 0.17 last quarter, was also in excess of the industry average, while Sky posted 0.11 and Virgin Media 0.8.

Mobile issues

T-Mobile, one of the brands used by operator EE, was responsible for the most pay monthly mobile complaints with 0.13, mostly relating to billing and, unsurprisingly, complaints handling. Sister brand Orange posted 0.12, while Virgin Media was above the average for the first time in two years with 0.09.

O2 had the lowest figure of 0.03, followed by Vodafone with 0.05 and Three with 0.06, but Ofcom has not published data about pay-as-you-go complaints as it did not receive more than 30 per month. However the regulator says it will continue to monitor any issues raised by consumers.

“We’re committed to providing valuable and transparent information to help consumers make an informed decision when considering an alternative provider or a new service,” said Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer Group. “We also hope this data will incentivise providers as they work to address issues driving complaints and improve their performance.”

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