Ofcom Reveals UK's Least Favorite Telcos

Regulator's survey names UK providers most consumers complain about

April 21, 2011

3 Min Read

LONDON -- The most complained about major telecoms providers were today revealed by Ofcom, based on all consumer telecoms complaints received by Ofcom between October 2010 and February 2011.On average, Ofcom receives 450 telecoms complaints per day about a range of issues including mis-selling, billing errors, lack of service and customer service problems, which reflects the complexity of the telecoms market.

Ofcom believes that publishing regularly this information about the telecoms complaints it receives will:

  • encourage competition, by letting consumers know about the individual performance of providers;

  • be useful for consumers: alongside other things, this data may be relevant to those considering a new service or provider; and

  • incentivise telecoms providers to improve their performance. In addition to information about telecoms complaints, consumers may wish to consider a range of information when thinking about a communications service, such as price and network quality of service.

    For example, Ofcom accredits price comparison websites and also publishes information about broadband speeds.

    Complaints about telecoms providers
    Ofcom has spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that the data is categorised and presented in a reliable form, although it is subject to limitations as detailed in the report.

    Ofcom’s telecoms complaints report focuses on providers with a 5 per cent market share or more (covering at least 87 per cent of the relevant telecoms market) and looks at all telecoms complaints about these landline, broadband and mobile providers.

    For landline and broadband services, this report looks at BT Retail, BSkyB, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media. For mobile services, it looks at 3UK, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

    The number of complaints is published as a proportion of each provider’s customer base. This enables consumers to compare providers on a level playing field.

    The data published today is from October 2010 to February 2011 and Ofcom intends to publish reports on a quarterly basis. Ofcom also intends to publish more detailed data and for a larger number of providers in future reports.

    Landline services
    Ofcom’s data indicates that across landline providers with a market share of 5 per cent or above, it received the most complaints about TalkTalk Group with 1.78 complaints per 1000 customers from October 2010 to February 2011. Ofcom saw a peak in complaints about TalkTalk Group in November 2010, following its investigation into the company for incorrectly billing consumers for cancelled services.The least complained about provider over the same period was Virgin Media with 0.21 complaints per 1000 customers.

    Broadband services
    Ofcom’s data indicates that across fixed broadband providers with a market share of 5 per cent or above, it received the most complaints about TalkTalk Group with 1.27 complaints per 1000 customers from October 2010 to February 2011. Ofcom saw a peak in complaints about TalkTalk Group in November 2010, following its investigation into the company for billing consumers for cancelled services.The least complained about provider was Virgin Media with 0.20 complaints per 1000 customers.

    Mobile services
    Ofcom’s data indicates that across mobile providers with a market share of 5 per cent or above, it receives the most complaints about 3UK with 0.15 complaints per 1000 customers from October 2010 to February 2011.

    The least complained about provider was O2 with 0.04 complaints per 1000 customers.

    Ofcom

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