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Vodafone Created Most UK Complaints in Q3 2019 – Ofcom Study

Friday, Jan 24th, 2020 (10:28 am) - Score 3,093
call centre fail

Ofcom has today published their latest Q3 2019 consumer complaints report, which reveals that UK ISP Vodafone attracted the most gripes for fixed line broadband, home phone and mobile (Pay Monthly) service. Meanwhile Virgin Media took the most flak their Pay TV service.

The following report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to either an ISP, ISPA, ADR complaints handler (i.e. Ombudsman Services or CISAS) or other agencies. Ofcom does not itself deal with individual complaints but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a concern.

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

Otherwise the results below reflect a proportion of residential subscribers (i.e. the total number of quarterly complaints per 100,000 customers per provider), which makes it easier to compare providers in a market where the largest ISPs can vary in size. The regulator’s study only covers feedback from the largest ISPs – those with a market share of at least 1.5% – due to limited data.

Overall the total volume of complaints across all service sectors has increased since the Q2 report and the overall level of consumer satisfaction with communications services is listed as 86% for landline phone, 83% for broadband and 93% for mobile. We recommend readers check out our ISP Complaints and Advice section for more information on how, where and when to submit a complaint.

Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy, said:

“People have never had more choice in the phone and broadband markets. It’s also never been easier to switch your service. So companies that don’t prioritise great service could see customers leaving them for ones that do.”

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Overall Vodafone continued to generate the highest volume of fixed broadband complaints, with most of their related gripes being about faults, service and provisioning issues (38%). The other main drivers of Vodafone’s complaints were complaints handling itself (26%) and issues related to switching ISP (15%). The only good news is that the level of complaints they received has reduced.

However we couldn’t help but notice that Virgin Media is suddenly attracting a lot more gripes, which could be related to the fact that they raised their prices during the same period. Meanwhile EE and Sky Broadband deserve some praise for generating the lowest volume of fixed broadband complaints.


Fixed Line Phone Complaints

Sadly Vodafone also managed to increase their complaint levels to become the most moaned about provider for home phone services too. Vodafone’s main complaint drivers were faults, service and provisioning issues (31%), complaints handling (23%) and issues related to switching provider (23%). Once again the same surge in Virgin Media’s complaints, which we touched on above, can also be seen below.

As above, both EE and Sky Broadband deserve praise for once again generating the lowest volume of landline phone complaints.


Mobile Complaints

As if things weren’t bad enough, Vodafone have made it a triple whammy by managing to attract the most moans for their Pay Monthly mobile service too. Vodafone’s main complaints drivers here were complaints handling (35%), issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (26%) and issues related to switching provider (20%).

Overall quite a few providers showed a rise in complaints this quarter, while Tesco Mobile generated the lowest volume of complaints.


Pay TV Complaints

Virgin Media has seen gripes against their TV service surge so much that they’ve now become the most complained about provider again. Most of the gripes against them focused upon issues with complaints handling (44%), as well as billing, pricing and charges (21%), and faults, service and provisioning issues (17%). Meanwhile Sky TV continued their trend of being the provider with the fewest gripes.


Ofcom’s Consumer Complaints Report Q3 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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    Are we at the stage of the Vodafone cycle where they make a big deal about bringing their customer service back in-house and investing in their services, only to undo it all a few years later when the shareholders get upset?

  2. Avatar photo CarlT says:

    This might put Tony Gupta in a bind.

    1. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      Not really, I think he’s too busy gathering eggs from his chickens and putting them into boxes to notice. 😉

  3. Avatar photo kaptainkandikat says:

    this is well deserved, vodafone couldnt even bill me correctly for a 30day sim, sufficed to say they are where they belong

  4. Avatar photo Rahul says:

    Why am I not surprised?

    I had nightmares trying to sign up to Vodafone FTTC a few weeks ago for which I had to go with TalkTalk instead.

    Here are the problems I got when trying to sign up.

    “We’re sorry, but we can’t place your order at this time.

    We were unable to verify your identity, but if you believe this is an error, please try to checkout again and amend your details.”

    “Regrettably, your order was unsuccessful

    Your order has not been placed and no payment has been taken because your credit check failed. Learn more about our credit check process.”

    This is an absolutely atrocious customer service and website programming. I failed on all 3 accounts in my household, first with the errors in identity verification and then the credit check error. We can’t fail to sign up due to credit check failure on all 3 accounts.

    Vodafone support chat told me I can sign up via telephone service. But in doing so I would not be able to claim the £100 voucher gift card. They also could not tell me how I failed the credit check but only told me that I have to wait until April to try again.

    I switched to TalkTalk last week and I passed the credit check there which will go live in February. Even in thinkbroadband https://www.thinkbroadband.com/isps/compare barchart Vodafone is the worst performing ISP of all major providers. I wasn’t informed earlier, but now I definitely don’t regret not being able to switch to them.

    I guess only their FTTP service via CityFibre is good. No wonder they have only 667,000 subscribers. Bad administration, 85% negative reviews on Trustpilot says it all.

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Thought you had a small property empire. How come you failed a credit check just for broadband?

    2. Avatar photo Rahul says:

      Well these complaints are on the Vodafone forums as well. I have a HSBC account and my parents have Barclays and all 3 of us failed the credit check and that is despite having excellent credit ratings.

      It even says in the article 15% have trouble switching, I’m guessing the credit check is the biggest cause of Vodafone’s problem.

      There are 85% of negative reviews on Vodafone on Trustpilot https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.vodafone.co.uk

      Many of them have had the same problems.

      Switched to TalkTalk via support chat and no problems at all.

      Modleen: I will need to perform an external credit check under your name. Do you allow me to do so?

      After giving my details…

      Modleen: Credit check passed – We may contact you if we require any further information.

      I wasted hours trying to switch to Vodafone because I was attracted by the £100 gift voucher offer, but I guess I was being naive! Not a very good service I guess, when they are making such offer to try and lure customers. They don’t realize their system is broken.

  5. Avatar photo Jon G says:

    Id never go with vodafone again . Made the same mistake twice. Worst customer service from a company ever

  6. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

    None of this will surprise Voafone customers, remember it was in 2016 that Ofcom hit Vodafone with its largest fine of £4.6m for failing to credit PAYG customers’ accounts after they paid to top up their mobile phone credit, and for poor complaints handling.

    On a personal front I was outraged when Vodafone made its ‘Roam-further’ price plan mandatory (so you could no longer opt out) and I was hit with a £5 for sending a single text. I’m no longer a customer.

Comments are closed

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