TalkTalk remains the most complained about UK broadband service provider according to regulator Ofcom.The ISP has “topped” the list for four consecutive quarters, although it has been reducing the number of complaints over the past six months.
In the same period, Ofcom found that 3 was the most complained about mobile operator, driven by disputed charges and customer service issues.
Virgin Media also saw an increase in mobile complaints over the past year.
Ofcom bases its data on complaints sent to the regulator rather than to individual operators. In general, mobile services are less complained about than fixed line or broadband.
The regulator’s quarterly report aims to inform consumers as well as incentivise telecoms providers to improve their performance. Ofcom only monitors complaints against telecom providers with a market share of more than 4%.
Complaints about TalkTalk’s broadband service peaked for the first three months of 2011 with an average of 0.81 per 1,000 customers. This fell to 0.55 by the third quarter of 2011.
LANDLINE COMPLAINTS Q3 2011
- TalkTalk – 0.77 complaints per 1,000 customers
- BT Retail – 0.29
- BSkyB – 0.28
- Virgin Media – 0.19
A lot of the problems experienced by TalkTalk are blamed on billing errors following its amalgamation with Tiscali in 2009.
As a direct result of the 1,000 complaints it received last year, Ofcom fined TalkTalk and its Tiscali UK subsidiary £3 million for incorrectly billing more than 65,000 customers for services they had not received.
It was the largest fine that the regulator has given to a telecoms firm.
TalkTalk has since paid more than £2.5 million in refunds and goodwill payments to affected customers. Last month it admitted that it had lost more than 43,000 customers as a result of customer service issues.
The ISP was also the most complained about provider when it came to landline services, with 0.77 complaints per 1,000 customers in the third quarter of 2011, again driven by billing and customer services issues.
MOBILE COMPLAINTS Q3 2011
- Three – 0.14 complaints per 1,000 customers
- Orange – 0.07
- Virgin Mobile – 0.07
- Vodafone – 0.07
- T-Mobile – 0.06
- O2 – 0.02
The least complained about provider for the fourth quarter in a row was Virgin Media with 0.19 complaints per 1,000 customers.
But in mobile, Virgin Media saw its complaints rise from 0.03 complaints per 1,000 customers from of 2010 to 0.07 by the third quarter of 2011.
It has some way to go to catch 3, which was the most complained about operator over all four quarters. Its complaints have been on the rise, up from 0.09 per 1,000 customers from October to December of 2010 to 0.14 by the third quarter of 2011.
O2 remained the least complained about mobile operator over the year.