TalkTalk And 3 Lead Ofcom Complaints Table

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TalkTalk and 3 are the top two telecom providers that us Brits complain about the most

Ofcom has named and shamed the most complained about major telecom providers operating in the United Kingdom.

The Ofcom findings will make uncomfortable reading for the ISP TalkTalk and mobile operator 3UK, each of which headed up their respective list of user complaints.

The findings were based on all consumer complaints received by Ofcom between October 2010 and February 2011.

List Of Shame

Ofcom’s findings revealed that there is a lot of disaffection with our service providers, as it receives on average 450 telecom-related complaints per day. Complaints cover a range of subjects including billing errors, lack of service, mis-selling, and customer service.

So who were the main culprits then?

Well on the fixed-line side TalkTalk was overwhelmingly the most complained about provider of landline and broadband services. Its landline service had 1.78 complaints for every 1,000 customers, while its broadband offering had 1.27 complaints per 1,000 customers.

In second place was BSkyB with 0.41 (fixed line) and 0.39 (broadband) complaints for every 1,000 customers). Next was BT Retail with 0.37 (fixed line) and 0.61 (broadband), while Virgin Media attracted the lowest number of complaints with 0.21 (fixed line) and 0.20 (broadband) for every 1,000 customers.

TalkTalk is currently the third largest ISP in the UK after BT and Virgin Media. It seems that it gathered the bulk of the complaints last November as it struggled to absorb Tiscali, following its acquisition back in 2009.

Indeed in late February Ofcom revealed that TalkTalk and Tiscali UK had paid almost £2.5 million in refunds and good will payments to thousands of consumers who were incorrectly billed for cancelled services.

Mobile Operators

On the mobile side, it seems that Brits complained most about the operator 3UK.

3UK scored 0.15 complaints for every 1,000 customers during the same period. Second was T-Mobile with 0.13; third was Orange with 0.10; Vodafone was fourth with 0.9; and O2 achieved the happiest customer rating with just 0.04 complaints per 1,000.

“Consumers should have access to as much information as possible to allow them to choose between providers and to take full advantage of the competition in the sector,” said Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards. “By publishing complaints data, Ofcom aims to provide useful information to consumers, and also to give telecoms providers an incentive to improve their customer service.”

Findings Welcomed

Meanwhile consumer groups were quick to welcome Ofcom’s decision to name the telecom providers that gathered the most complaints.

“Last year the Panel called on Ofcom to publish data on the numbers of consumer complaints to telecoms providers, so today I am happy to welcome this first step by the regulator towards greater transparency,” said the acting chair of the Communications Consumer Panel, Bob Warner.

“Publishing the numbers of complaints by provider is good news for consumers, who will now be able to make an informed choice about the provider that is best for them – and give telecoms providers an incentive to improve their service,” said Warner. “I would encourage Ofcom to look at ways in which the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes could also publish data that is meaningful to consumers in the future.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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