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EE remained the UK’s most complained about fixed broadband supplier in the third quarter of 2015, with BT-owned budget ISP Plusnet running a close second, according to the latest consumer complaints figures from Ofcom.
Ofcom’s statistics for July to September showed that EE generated 45 complaints per 100,000 customers, with Plusnet generating 37, BT 35, and fourth-placed TalkTalk 33. The industry average was 22 complaints per 100,000, while at the bottom of the pile were Sky and Virgin Media, with seven and six complaints, respectively.
Plusnet saw a notable spike in dissatisfied consumers during the quarter, up from 22 per 100,000 in the April to June period following a major domain name system (DNS) malfunction at the start of September, which left its services unusable for a number of days.
Similarly, TalkTalk saw an increase in angry calls to its customer services department after a high-profile and costly data breach that – although not as bad as first feared – seriously harmed its reputation. BT also saw a significant uptick in complaints during the quarter, mostly relating to faults, service and provision.
Ofcom’s statistics, which also covered landline telco and mobile network operators (MNOs), showed that on landline telephones, EE and Plusnet both performed badly.
Most complaints about EE landlines related to faults, service and provision; switching provider; and complaints handling. Plusnet was criticised largely for the same reasons.
Of the MNOs, Vodafone was the most complained about, generating 20 complaints per 100,000 customers, mostly relating to billing, pricing and charging; complaints handling; and faults, services and provision.
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EE was the only other operator to generate more complaints – nine per 100,000 – than the industry average of eight. Virgin Mobile, Talkmobile, O2, Three and Tesco were all below average, with Tesco at the bottom of the list for the seventh successive quarter.
Noting the overall increase in complaints volume compared with the first and second quarters of 2015, Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s director of content and consumer, said the situation was “disappointing”.
“We expect providers to make customer service and complaints handling top priorities,” he said.
“Consumers have a right to expect good service and will rightfully complain when that standard is not met.
“Ofcom is continuing work to make switching easier and our complaints data allows consumers to make more meaningful comparisons that can be useful when looking for a new provider,” said Pollack.