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Plusnet Shamed for Q1 2019 UK Broadband and Phone Complaints

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 (10:06 am) - Score 5,708

A new report from Ofcom has revealed that Plusnet attracted the most UK consumer complaints for fixed line broadband and phone in Q1 2019, while Vodafone attracted the most gripes for Mobile and TalkTalk for Pay TV services. On the flip side Sky Broadband (Sky TV) and EE generated the fewest fixed line moans.

The latest quarterly report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to an ISP or one of the two ombudsman providers (i.e. Ombudsman Services or CISAS). Ofcom does not itself deal with individual complaints but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people inform them of a problem.

Meanwhile the results below are said to be reflected as a proportion of residential subscribers (i.e. the total number of quarterly complaints per 100,000 customers), which makes it easier to compare providers in a market where the largest ISPs can vary significantly in size. The regulator’s study only includes feedback from the largest ISPs (i.e. those with a market share of at least 1.5%).

Overall the total volume of complaints across all service sectors has declined since the start of 2018. Meanwhile the overall level of consumer satisfaction with communications services is listed as 86% for landline phone, 83% for broadband and 93% for mobile.

NOTE: Ofcom received around 96,000 calls and items of correspondence directly from consumers in 2018/19.

People who are unable to resolve a complaint with their provider can (after 8 weeks) raise a case with one of the two ombudsman operators under the Alternative Dispute Resolution process. The ADR handler will then investigate the issue at no cost to yourself.

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Vodafone will be pleased to note that they’re no longer top of the complaints pile now that Plusnet has dislodged them, although the latter saw their complaint volume fall in the quarter while Vodafone’s increased. Almost four in ten of Plusnet’s complaints were about billing, pricing and charges (38% of complaints). The other main drivers of Plusnet’s complaints were complaints handling (28%) and faults, service and provision issues (26%).

Meanwhile Sky Broadband and EE deserve some praise for returning proportionally fewer complaints than any of the other providers.


Fixed Line Phone Complaints

Plusnet also comes top of the naughty list for landline phone services, which is hardly a surprise since these are often directly linked with broadband issues due to the shared copper lines that most ISPs still use. Over four in ten of their complaints were about billing, pricing and charges (44%). The other main drivers of Plusnet’s complaints were complaints handling (28%) and faults, service and provision issues (16%).

Once again Sky and EE both enjoyed the position of being the least complained about providers.


Mobile Complaints

On the most front most operators saw their quality complaint figures decrease during the last quarter, while Vodafone and Virgin Mobile (Virgin Media) generated the highest volume of gripes. The main drivers of Vodafone’s complaints were complaints handling (35%), followed by issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (33%) and issues relating to changing provider (13%).

On the flip side Tesco Mobile generated the lowest volume of pay-monthly mobile complaints per 100,000 subscribers. Meanwhile Sky Mobile has entered the table and they appear to have seen a rise in complaints, although they remain just on the industry average line.


Pay TV Complaints

Out of nowhere TalkTalk has suffered a sharp doubling of their complaints during the first quarter and are now the most moaned about of the Pay TV providers. At the same time BT and Virgin Media saw a sharp reduction in complaints, which is positive news. A third of TalkTalk’s TV complaints were about complaints handling (33%) and the other main drivers included issues relating to contracts (27%) and issues of billing, pricing and charges (18%).

Sky was the only Pay TV provider to sit below (well below) the industry average line.


Ofcom’s Complaints Report Q1 2019

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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.
Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Y says:

    What were the Virgin Mobile complaints? Can say for certainty it’s a shit service

    1. Cheeky Monkey says:

      Thanks for your technical assessment.

    2. Mike says:

      What’s shitty about 500Mbps?

  2. Bob says:

    I’ve always had good service from Plusnet and have been with them for years (many years). I do know that they have had billingvl problems since the end of last year which has given them a lot of problems. I wouldn’t write them off totally.

  3. Buzby says:

    Are you BT in disguise. Yes indeed.

  4. Pissed right off says:

    Plusnet what a joke I’m on fibre and download speed of 8 and up load is faster 9 it’s ment to be 30 plus

    1. Web Dude says:

      What exchange ? Did the estimated speed suggest 8 Mbps or higher? They have a “promise” so if you don’t get the estimated speed, you have the option to cancel. Did you get a higher promise and did you not decide to leave them at minimal cost when you could?

      I was given a promise of 27.4 Mbps download speed, but at the time (March 2018) was getting only 25 Mbps. It was fine as far as I was concerned rather than limited to half that or less. However it went up to 40 Mbps download and reliability dropped to 50% with pages not always loading, YouTube videos and so on not starting with one click and concern over any financial transaction (started switching to connect via my mobile as I found it would be more reliable and no chance of needing to reload a page with possibility of being charged twice for something).

      I’ve been with Plusnet over 16 years and this is the first time I have considered moving, but with the growth in numbers I can understand a higher proportion of complaints will make them look bad (and customer services, having stopped operating 24 h a day, will also have caused problems over delays and stress for customers and staff).

      I hardly consider them a joke – they seem more honest these days than many other ISPs and I would never touch certain firms, based on the experiences I’ve had speaking to some on behalf of my clients. Plusnet staff are generally far friendlier and helpful than staff of some of the other ISPs I have dealt with

  5. Edward Harris says:

    plusnet 4x phone calls for broadband quote 4x different prices non would send me a quote on email my phone company charged me £14.00 for 1 call to plusnet going though uswitch on a 0845 number, then when cancelling after joining on line they implied it was my fault for getting 4 different prices because i phoned 4 times.awards for customer service, really??

  6. anon says:

    5 years with plusnet only 2 drops for firmware updates when i used the hub and 1 when the openreach engineer was in the cabinet for 20 seconds, cannot fault it! Live about 2.1km from the exchange and sync at 76.2mbps down and 20.mb/ps up! Can’t grumble really never had an issue with billing oddly even though like the person before has stated they did have major issues with that and i was aware of this but was never affected

  7. Lost Customer says:

    Several years with Plusnet & for the last 12 months my speed has dropped 30%. For 5 weeks they completely ignored my complaint & only acted when escalated to their CEO. Too little, too late Plusnet – you’re becoming your owner.

  8. penny Madge says:

    Amazing incompetence-for 9 months they have cut off my phone each month and charged me a reconnection fee because they were unable to set up a standing order !Finally someone with a scrap of intelligence successfully took the payments with my card.6 months later it has all started again!The staff have no idea how to handle an irrate customer.I have had enough and am changing companies

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