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Vodafone Attracted Most Broadband Complaints in Q1


Vodafone’s broadband service attracted the most consumer complaints for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The mobile operator’s fixed-line broadband arm generated 23 complaints per 100,000 customers between January and March of this year, according to Ofcom figures.

The telecoms regulator doesn’t handle individual complaints itself but does tally them. Notably, its complaints figures, released quarterly don’t include complaints sent to companies themselves, to the Ombudsman Services or the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS).

Nearly a third (31%) of the complaints about Vodafone concentrated on faults, service and provisioning, while problems switching provider (23%), with complaints handling (22%) and with billing, pricing and charges (21%) were other major drivers of complaints.

Budget ISP TalkTalk was just behind Vodafone, with 22 complaints per 100,000 customers. The industry average was 12.

On the other end of the spectrum, mobile rival EE’s home broadband service attracted the least number of gripes: just three per 100,000 customers. EE and Sky Broadband (with six complaints per 100,000 customers this quarter) have been swapping places as the least complained about ISP for the last two years.

Vodafone also frustrated its mobile customers, attracting five complaints were 100,000 subscribers, above the mobile industry average of three. Common annoyances with Vodafone's mobile service were about complaints handling (31%), billing, pricing and charges (26%) and switching (21%).

Vodafone shared the dishonour with Three, BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile, all of which also attracted five complaints per 100,000 accounts. Three’s customers were irked by complaints handling (29%), BT Mobile’s by botched switching (32%) and Virgin’s by billing and pricing (29%).

Tesco Mobile continued its reign as the UK’s least moaned about mobile provider, with just one customer in 100,000 griping to Ofcom about their service. EE, Sky Mobile and iD Mobile (two complaints per 100,000 customers) were also well-liked by their customers.

In the pay-TV market, BT TV had the least satisfied customers, with nine in 100,000 finding reason to grumble. 

Sky’s television service continues to be the best-received, yielding just two complaints per 100,000 subscribers, below the industry average of five. 

Sky TV’s major rival, Virgin Media, attracted eight complaints per 100,000.

Overall, the number of complaints in all telecoms sectors continued their multi-year tumble, despite disruption caused by the beginnings of the coronavirus crisis, which made customers more reliant on their broadband and mobile services and saw telecoms companies, including their call centres, make a sometimes rocky transition to home working. 

These figures cover only January to March, just as the lockdown was imposed. The true impact of the pandemic and lockdown on telecoms performance and consumer satisfaction will be seen when Ofcom releases figures for quarter two, covering April to June.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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