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Ombudsman Services Records Rise in UK Telecoms Complaints

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 (4:48 pm) - Score 545
telephone support rage and complaints

Ombudsman Services, one of Ofcom’s two approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) consumer complaint handlers, reports that it has so far received a total of 15,542 complaints about UK phone, mobile and broadband providers in 2015 and Q3 complaints were up 35% from three years ago.

However as a year on year change the increase is less dramatic and reflects an annual increase of just 5%. Broken down further we note that, in the three months from July to September 2015 (Q3), complaints actually decreased in the quarter by 9% to 4,751 (down from 5,194 in Q2).

Nearly a third of complaints in September (31%) related to billing issues (e.g. complicated invoices, direct debit amounts or incorrect account details), while service issues were the second most common gripe with consumers (23%) and contract issues (i.e. cancellations and mis-selling) came in third on 16%.

This year people in the Midlands have been most dissatisfied with their communications providers, bringing 1,480 complaints (10% of all complaints made). After the Midlands, the telecoms users who complained the most were those in the North West (8%), South West (8%) and Inner London (7%).

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said:

There are differences between individual companies but the overall trend shows an increase in communications complaints. This is worrying given the recent Ofcom report shows there is significant room for providers to improve their signposting to ADR providers. Many may still be suffering in silence because they think it’s too much hassle or don’t know what they can do to take their complaint further.

Dissatisfied customers have a right to approach an ombudsman to complain if their provider has failed to solve a problem, and it seems that companies are failing to make people aware of this. From billing issues to complaints about poor service, we’re here to help.

Ombudsman Services exists as a quick, free and easy way to resolve ongoing complaints with communications providers, which can provide advice and help to solve peoples’ issues. We’re now working with EE along with more than 350 other UK providers and are dedicated to working with them all to ensure people get better service, and that the complaints procedure runs smoothly when things go wrong.”

Ofcom generally requires all ISPs to be members of an approved ADR and further details can be found under our ISP Complaints and Advice section. Related schemes are designed to supplement (not replace) the ISPs own internal complaints procedures and are only used after a dispute has gone unresolved for 8 weeks (aka – Deadlock).

ADR’s are free and can order your ISP to either fix the problem or pay compensation, although providers see them as a double edge sword because win or lose the ISP is still forced to pay hundreds of pounds in fees to the ADR company.

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