EE tops Ofcom’s latest complaints figures as BT continues to struggle with TV issues
Ofcom received more complaints about EE than any other broadband or landline provider between April and December last year, while the company’s mobile network also received the most complaints over the same nine month period.
EE was included in the broadband figures for the first time after Ofcom decided to include providers with a minimum of 1.5 percent market share rather than the four percent threshold used for previous reports.
This change also saw Plusnet and the Post Office also included in the landline category for the first time, Plusnet make its debut in the broadband charts and Tesco and TalkTalk make the pay monthly mobile list.
EE received 0.33 landline complaints per 1,000 customers during the fourth quarter of 2014, more than double the industry average of 0.14. Customers cited problems with changing provider, service faults and billing as reasons for their grievances.
Plusnet, TalkTalk, BT and the Post Office all generated above industry average levels of complaints, while Sky received below average and Virgin Media the least of all with 0.06 per 1,000.
In the broadband market, EE received more than double the industry average of 0.16 with 0.42 complaints per 1,000 thanks to problems with changing provider, service faults and, unsurprisingly, the handling of complaints. BT, Plusnet and TalkTalk were all above average while Sky and Virgin Media generated just 0.06 per 1,000.
Vodafone was the most complained about mobile provider for the fourth quarter of 2014, but EE topped the list in Q2 and Q3, receiving the highest average across the nine month period. Three, O2, and Virgin Media all received less than the industry average, with Tesco Mobile receiving just 0.02 complaints per 1,000.
BT and TalkTalk’s expansion into the pay TV sector has not been without teething problems. BT TV received 0.15 complaints per 1,000 users in Q4 – five times the industry average – while TalkTalk received 0.19. Virgin Media came in below average at 0.04 while Sky’s experience in the market was demonstrated with its score of just 0.01.
Ofcom says it hopes that by publishing the figures, consumers can make better choices about their communications and that service providers will be encouraged to improve customer service.
The last set of figures revealed EE was he most complained about mobile and broadband provider, while TalkTalk generated the most landline complaints and BT still had its unwanted crown as the most whinged about TV provider. However, Ofcom says the number of complaints it receives as a whole, is declining.
“Complaints figures help inform consumers’ choices of telecoms and pay TV services,” says Claudio Pollack, director of Ofcom’s content and consumer group. “There are now more providers included in our report, so people can compare complaints figures for all the biggest companies.
“While operators still have room to improve their performance, it’s encouraging to see a continuing decline in the total volume of complaints.”
Analysts say Ofcom should do more to make it easier to switch communications providers in a bid to reduce consumers’ grievances.
“Naming and shaming will encourage telecoms providers to strive to deliver a better service, but it’s clear from this report that industry-wide changes could also make a big difference,” said Ewan Taylor-Gibson, telecoms expert at uSwitch. “Problems with changing provider is mentioned several times as a customer complaint, which shows it’s about time telecoms fell in line with other sectors, where the provider you’re moving to handles the switch, rather than the provider you’re leaving.
“Ofcom is making improvements to switching broadband from June, which will hopefully improve some customers’ experiences of moving to new providers. However, this won’t include mobile, pay TV or Virgin Media’s broadband network, so there will still be plenty of room for improvement.”