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Ofcom’s latest data on consumer gripes about telecoms and broadband suppliers has revealed a dip in total complaint volumes at the end of 2015, but showed little change in which providers people were complaining about.
On broadband services, EE and Plusnet continued to generate the highest complaint volumes per 100,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter to 31 December 2015.
EE’s main complaint drivers related to fault, service and provision issues; complaints handling procedure; and billing, pricing and charging complaints. It received 34 complaints per 100,000 subscribers.
Plusnet – which saw a massive spike in complaints following a major service outage at the beginning of September – was singled out again for fault, service and provisioning issues. It received 32 complaints per 100,000 subscribers. However, owing to different methodologies used to compile customer numbers, this performance may be comparable with EE’s, noted the regulator.
TalkTalk and BT generated above-average levels of complaints, at 31 and 28 per 100,000 users respectively. Virgin Media and Sky generated the lowest relative volumes, at seven and six per 100,000 customers.
On fixed line telephony services, TalkTalk generated the highest volume of complaints, with 30 per 100,000. Plusnet, EE, BT and Post Office HomePhone were also above average. Virgin Media, again, had the most satisfied customers.
Vodafone was the most complained about mobile network operator, with 32 complaints per 100,000. Every other operator scored below the industry average of 10, with virtual operator Tesco receiving the fewest complaints. Vodafone’s complaint volumes spiked massively in the second half of 2015, up from 15 per 100,000 in Q2.
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An Ofcom spokesperson said: “Our complaints data allow consumers to make meaningful comparisons that can be useful when looking for a new provider.
“We expect providers to make customer service and complaints handling top priorities and are continuing to work to drive up industry standards.”
Ofcom – which is copied in on around 300 complaints a day on average – said overall levels of consumer satisfaction with their communications services tended to hover around 90%.
It is important to note that consumers tend to approach Ofcom when they have difficulty resolving their complaint directly with their provider, and so the statistics may not give a completely accurate indication of total complaint volumes.