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EE Top of the Worst in Ofcom’s Q1 UK Telecoms and TV Complaints Report

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 (11:01 am) - Score 1,211
angry uk internet user

The communications regulator has today published their latest Q1-2015 consumer complaints report, which saw overall complaint volumes continue to fall across most of the major UK mobile, pay tv, fixed line phone and broadband sectors. But the news isn’t so good for EE, which has seen gripes surge.

As usual Ofcom’s report focuses on a handful of the markets biggest providers, specifically those that hold a customer market share of at least 1.5% (only a few can fit into that bracket). The complaints themselves are reported per 1,000 subscribers, thus providers described as generating the most or fewest complaints therefore do so in relative terms, per 1,000 subscribers.

Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Content and Consumer Group, said:

Publishing provider-specific complaints data is one way we’re able to help consumers make informed choices about the services on offer to them. The reduction in the total volume of complaints is welcome, but there is still room for providers to improve their performance.

This report is one of a number of ways we seek to give providers incentive to address areas of customer dissatisfaction.”

Take note that, on average, Ofcom receives just under 300 telecoms complaints a day from consumers. But the regulator is not itself setup to deal with individual complaints, which is more the responsibility of the ISPs and external ADR complaints handlers (more information).

The Results

The biggest disappointment this quarter appears to be EE, which has seen their complaint volumes rise sharply since the start of this year. Meanwhile Sky Broadband and Virgin Media continued to hold a fairly steady position at the low volume end, which is good news as it means they’re not attracting as many gripes.


It’s a similar story again where fixed line phone services are concerned, with EE showing a clear increase in unhappy customers. But in this category there’s also another surprise in that EE are close to being joined as top of the worst by PlusNet, which is an ISP that tends to be reasonably well rated in other surveys; at least with respect to the big providers.

An EE Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

Our Customer Service Improvement programme is producing positive results but we know there is more work to do. We’re very pleased the number of mobile complaints has fallen significantly and we expect to reflect this downward trend in complaints across landline and broadband. Our aim is to offer every customer the best possible service.”

We do note that PlusNet had a bit of a customer service blip earlier this year and that may continue when we get the results for Q2 2015, which could be fuelled by all their negative service changes (e.g. reduced FTTC upload speeds, loss of 24/7 UK based support and today’s price hikes). But they have recently committed to hiring another 200 support staff, which should help.


On the mobile front there’s not a lot to report, except for Vodafone’s spike in complaint volumes (Ofcom has recently launched two separate investigations into Vodafone, looking at its compliance with their rules on complaints handling, metering and billing, and sales and marketing practices). Otherwise the sector appears to be fairly steady.


Finally, the Pay TV market appears to have shown most improvement, with almost all operators continuing to report a steady fall in consumer complaints. Never the less BT and TalkTalk still top the table, but they both have improved significantly over the years.


Ofcom’s Complaints Report Q1 2015

UPDATE 12:01pm

Added a comment from EE above.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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1 Response
  1. Avatar dragoneast

    EE do in my opinion need to employ someone who can communicate in plain English. I find the greatest difficulty is in finding the information (distinct from the marketing blurb), and then trying to work out what they are trying to say. Hint, try reading it before you publish it, EE.

    That being said, when I had to ring CS twice to get a data block removed on my second account (set up wrongly – due it seemed to me to an antiquated system which had both a data set up switch and a separate data block switch – why, if the set up switch is off, then it’s blocked isn’t it?, presumably it’s built up layer on layer over time); despite being offered the option of paying for expedited service, which I didn’t, my calls were answered within 30 seconds, during the morning peak. The first call was cut off due to a poor line, but the second agent could not have been more helpful, efficient and knew his stuff. He understood and was on to the problem straight away. And I’ve had that experience with Orange, before. Lucky me.

    And there’s the rub, modern life is complex and we all understand it better if we’ve “come across it before”. And CS are only as good as their systems, they can’t give you information they haven’t got. For all of us, and CS is no exception, the first time is always the most difficult. The next most difficult thing is trying to explain what you’re on about when calling, and getting the story straight. It always helps to use that thing called a brain first, but so few of us do. Always best to keep the drama out of it. Life ain’t a soap opera.

    It seems to me that with all technology, the engineers build it for themselves, without a thought for the public that has to try and deal with the consequences. You need a pretty strong management to overcome that, but it’s usually the same engineers, or if you’re really lucky a clueless salesman.

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