Ofcom’s latest consumer complaints report has found that Vodafone drew the most customer ire for its fixed line broadband and landline phone services across the third quarter of 2018. Sky Broadband attracted the least complaints.
The report found that overall consumer satisfaction is 80% for broadband, 87% for landline phone services, and 91% for mobile phone services.
But Ofcom still received nearly 300 customer contacts a day throughout Q3 of 2018 (1 July – 30 September), most of which escalated into complaints. The report represents the number of complaints registered for telecoms providers as a portion of their subscribers, allowing comparison between market majors and minnows. However, Ofcom only collated this data for firms holding at least a 1.5% market share.
Ofcom found that the total volume of complaints across the telecoms service industry was up slightly from the second quarter of 2018.
Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy Jane Rumble said: “With so much competition in telecoms and TV services, companies that are falling short need to make service quality and complaints handling their priority. Customers who aren’t happy with their provider can shop around and vote with their feet.”
Vodafone, the second largest mobile provider in Britain, launched its fixed line broadband and landline services in 2015, and regularly tops tables of the cheapest broadband tariffs on the market. With 500,000 broadband subscribers, it entered Ofcom’s complaints report for the first time, and promptly generated the highest ratio of complaints to subscribers: 27 per 100,000 subscribers, well above the industry average of 15.
The main complaints driver for Vodafone was difficulties with switching provider, followed by issues with internal complaints handling and service reliability and faults.
A spokesperson for Vodafone UK said: “We are the UK’s fastest growing broadband provider, with the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry.”
“With these high levels of growth, we have however unfortunately seen some issues with the signing on process and this is reflected in the complaints data.”
Vodafone was followed as the most bemoaned broadband services by budget provider TalkTalk, telecoms giant BT, and Plusnet.
Plusnet saw the biggest quarterly increase in complaints, following issues with migration to their new billing system which saw an extended outage of their online portal and customers receiving incorrect bills, some with the names and addresses of other subscribers.
Sky and EE performed best, with Ofcom logging below average number of complaints for their broadband services.
The Post Office was included in the league tables for the first time, after crossing the 1.5% market share threshold, and received below average numbers of complaints.
Landline Phone Services
Vodafone’s landline phone service was almost the most irksome for callers, with Ofcom reporting 19 complaints per 100,000 subscribers, nearly double the industry average of 11. Vodafone landline customers complained most frequently about faults, service, and provision issues and difficulties switching provider.
Again, Sky and EE performed the best among consumers.
Mobile Phone Services
Tesco Mobile generated the lowest volume of complaints per 100,000 customers, while Virgin Movie generated the highest, with customers particularly aggrieved about internal complaints handling, followed by billing, prices and charges, and the switching process.
Pay TV Services
Virgin Media was the most troublesome pay TV service for subscribers in the third quarter of last year, registering both the highest volume of complaints and the biggest uptick in complaints. During the survey period, Virgin TV was engaged in a dispute with UKTV which led to customers temporarily losing access to 10 television channels, including Dave and Gold.
Customers found least to complain about with Sky’s pay TV service.