Ofcom reveals which broadband, mobile and landline firms get most complaints from customers

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  •  Virgin Media received by far the most complaints out of any service provider
  •  Ofcom said its investigation into the firm may have affected complaint figures
  •  Customers say that poor complaint handling is the main cause of grievances

Virgin Media has received the most customer complaints of all providers in the broadband, landline and pay-TV categories, according to the latest data from regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom said Virgin Media saw a considerable rise in complaints between July and September last year compared to the previous quarter, with complaint handling proving the main driver of complaints against Virgin in all three categories.

Ofcom publishes complaints data every three months to help people compare providers when they shop around – and to shame firms into improving customer service.

Unhappy customers: Virgin Media's complaint handling has been the focus of complaints

Unhappy customers: Virgin Media’s complaint handling has been the focus of complaints

For broadband services, Virgin Media received 32 complaints per 100,000 customers during the three-month period. 

This was well ahead of the second-highest, Now Broadband, which got 18 complaints, and more than double the industry average of 15.

Sky, EE and BT all came in with the fewest complaints at five, nine and 11 respectively.

Complaint handling was the cause of 46 per cent of broadband complaints against Virgin Media, compared with an industry average of 37 per cen

But only 20 per cent of complaints against the company were due to faults, service and provisioning, coming in below the industry average of 32 per cent.

Complaint handling caused 49 per cent of grievances in landline services, streaking ahead of 38 per cent for the rest of the industry. 

Ofcom said Virgin Media saw 19 complaints per 100,000, versus just two for Sky.

In pay-TV, Virgin saw 20 complaints per 100,000, double the 10 received by BT, Sky and TalkTalk combined. 

Complaint handling was once again the most common cause.

In July last year, the regulator launched an investigation into how Virgin Media manages customer complaints and customer difficulties in cancelling their contracts.

Total number of complaints within landline, broadband and pay-TV services
Service provider Total number of complaints per 100,000 customers
Virgin Media 71
TalkTalk 26
BT 25
Sky 9

Customers previously said they were struggling to get through to Virgin on the phone, while some had their calls dropped mid-way through or were put on hold for a long period of time.

Ofcom said its investigation may be a factor in the complaints figures for Virgin Media during the quarter, but said it is ‘also aware that our investigation was in part based on complaints that customers had already made about Virgin Media’s services.’

A spokesperson from Virgin Media said: ‘Our number one priority is to provide an excellent service to our customers, and we accept that the rise in complaints in the third quarter falls far short of our expectations.

‘As Ofcom acknowledges, the rise is largely due to its investigation announcement in July which subsequently generated a higher number of complaints than would ordinarily be expected. 

‘However, it should be noted that overall complaints about Virgin Media products still represent a very small proportion of our customer base.

‘As well as engaging fully with Ofcom’s ongoing investigation, we are investing in every area of our business to give our customers the best possible experience, with a real focus on resolving any issues at the first time of getting in touch and making it easier for them to get support when they need it.’

In pay-monthly mobile, O2 and BT Mobile came back as the most complained-about operators, with O2 receiving 31 per cent of complaints due to its complaint handling, above the industry average of 30 per cent.

BT saw 36 per cent due to complaint handling, but 45 per cent as a result of difficulties in changing provider.

Overall, Sky was the least-complained about provider during the quarter, with the fewest complaints in both broadband and landline, as well as joint-fewest in both pay-TV and mobile.

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