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ISP TalkTalk Tops Ofcom Broadband Complaints Table for Q2 2020

Friday, November 13th, 2020 (10:57 am) - Score 5,976
complaint UK consumer broadband isp and phone gripes

Ofcom’s new Q2 2020 consumer complaints report is out today, which names UK ISP TalkTalk as attracting the most gripes for both home broadband and landline phone, while Three UK did the same for Pay Monthly Mobile services and Virgin Media came bottom for Pay TV.

The following report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to either an ISP, ISPA or ADR complaints handler (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 raise a concern.

NOTE: Ofcom received c.84,000 calls and items of correspondence directly from consumers in 2019/20 (down from 96,000 in 2018/19).

Overall, we’re happy to report that the total volume of complaints across all service sectors has decreased again since the Q1 2020 report. Meanwhile the overall level of consumer satisfaction with communications services is listed as 85% for landline phone, 85% for broadband and 93% for mobile.

As these results reflect the spring of 2020 then they will have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result should perhaps be considered as somewhat of an exception. We recommend readers check out our ISP Complaints and Advice section for more information on how, where and when to submit a complaint.

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.

A TalkTalk Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“As Ofcom notes in its report, the sudden lockdown restrictions introduced in the UK and overseas at the start of the pandemic meant that our customer services were significantly impacted, as they were across the industry. Our priority was the safety of our colleagues and partners. These were exceptional figures in exceptional circumstances. We’re pleased that service levels are now back up to normal and that we’ve seen some of our highest ever customer satisfaction levels during the past few months.”

We should add that Ofcom also tracked 53 complaints about BT’s provision of the broadband USO during the quarter, although the regulator has not included this figure into BT’s overall total below as it’s still in early deployment and is a separate solution that they’re legally required to offer. In addition, Ofcom received 7 complaints about BT’s USO provision between 20th March 2020 (launch) and the beginning of April.

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Overall TalkTalk attracted the most complaints for fixed broadband connectivity and most of those were about complaints handling (41%). The other main drivers of TalkTalk’s complaints were faults, service and provisioning issues (33%) and billing, pricing and charges (16%).

On the flip side both EE and Sky Broadband attracted the fewest complaints from consumers.


Fixed Line Phone Complaints

Once again TalkTalk were top of the naughty boys’ club for home phone services, attracting the most gripes for poor complaints handling (38%), faults, service and provisioning issues (28%), and issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (19%). On the flip side EE and Sky Broadband continued to return the fewest complaints of any listed ISP.


Mobile Complaints

For the first time in a long while Three UK has made it to the top of this quarter’s naughty pile – their main complaints drivers were complaints handling (30%), issues relating to changing provider (22%) and issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (21%). Meanwhile Tesco mobile continued its historic trend of generating hardly any complaints at all.


Pay TV Complaints

Sadly, Virgin Media has returned to being the most complained about pay TV provider in the UK, with most of the gripes against them being related to complaints handling (49%). The other main drivers were issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (24%) and faults, service and provisioning issues (13%). Meanwhile Sky TV maintained their favourable position with the least complaints, well below anybody else.


Ofcom’s Consumer Complaints Report Q2 2020

UPDATE 4:02pm

Added a comment from TalkTalk above.

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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
19 Responses
  1. Miss Jessamy Pollock says:

    Please could YOU explain as To Whom Post Office has to Pay for access to their broadband.?
    I had to leave TalkTalk 8 years ago because of tampering Locally ( byOpenReach etc…….)
    My PostCode=

    SN15 1PH.
    I am in my 89th. year now and struggle with all technologies on my own.
    I have(today) been told to check a number for Crosslines Check (17070) to see if a neighbour may be using my Line.
    What is this?
    Because I have been charged for 38 minutes ringing my sister on HER Mobile on 10th. October. Which is extremely Unlikely as I have a Mobile so I never use Landline /Mobiles.

    What is Crosslines Check???
    And could Talk Talk be mixed up woth MY Landline?

    1. Miss Jessamy Pollock says:

      I am waiting for a Response via
      email Please..

      Jessamy Pollock

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      News comments aren’t really here to provide personal technical support, but rather commentary on the article content above.

      I believe that at present most people on the Post Office’s broadband service will be connecting via TalkTalk’s wholesale platform still, but this is not to be confused with TalkTalk’s own retail ISP business.

      As for crossed lines, when you dial 17070 the number given in the automated message should be yours, but if it’s not then you’d need to ask your ISP to have an Openreach engineer fix the problem. But I’ve never tried this on the Post Office’s platform, so I’m not sure if it works for that, and it may not work at all for detecting such issues (sometimes does).

    3. The man says:

      The 17070 is a phone test. Most providers call this Zoey. It can do serveral functions like check the phone number you have. Another way of doing the same check for your phone number is from a landline phone if you have one and phone a mobile. The mobile will come up with the landline number coming into your house. Then you can compare the phone number on the mobile, to the phone number of the line that should be coming into the house. If your phone number you see is different to the one that the provider has giving you. It would tell me you have the wrong line coming in your home as the phone line been crossed over somewhere outside.

  2. André says:

    It’s pretty much always TalkTalk, isn’t it? Have they ever not been the worst?

    1. Burble says:

      If you looked at the graphs you would see it has hardly if at all been TT who have been worst in the past. I can however confirm that for me they have become considerably worse recently than at any time in the past.

    2. Bob says:

      From Q3 2018 to Q4 219, Plusnet and Vodafone were worse than TalkTalk. Does that answer your question?

  3. Craig says:

    I thought it was Vodafone for ISP complaints?

  4. Mal says:

    I must be one of the lucky ones, I’ve never had a single issue with TT, neither phone nor broadband. I also find their charges very reasonable.

    1. Richard Walton says:

      Same here.

      I’ve been working from home for 6 months and it’s been solid, unlike my work colleagues who moan about Virgin all the time.

      There’s a lot of people out there who don’t have a clue about technology. I wonder how many issues are user error.

  5. Mark says:

    Only time I’ve had problems with them, it’s been Openreach engineers messing in their ducts and cutting us off!

  6. mr pinfield says:

    hardly a surprise really, we’ve had nothing but problems for 2 weeks now as every evening our internet speed tanks to less than a meg. looks to be a common issue looking online, luckily we have a backup adsl.

    1. Mark says:

      I too have been suffering with this as have my neighbours and a few family members also on TalkTalk. Looking online it seems TalkTalk are aware of the issue and are looking for the cause, they haven’t specified what the problem is though. Not sure if Mark Jackson knows anything about it?

  7. Henry Strachey says:

    We have been with TT since we
    moved to Swansea in July, really bad customer service and now we have multiple household problem with Openreach about 100 homes affected. We have not been contacted either by TT or Openreach What should we do

    1. Richard Walton says:

      Email their CEO
      It’s easy enough to find

  8. Sarcastic twit says:

    Come on Fiona Bruce. … I want YOU to tell me how many covid cases on MY street. Pull your finger out love. I’ll add a year to my age if it makes it quicker.

  9. Sherlock says:

    Regarding “UPDATE 4:02pm” from TalkTalk… This update from TalkTalk is utter NONSENSE.

    You can clearly see TalkTalk complaints situation IMPROVED when during the Covid impact and their bedlam handling of Covid19 is derisory and shows all levels of “management” in this company are exceptionally poor. TalkTalk Complaints dropped probably as you couldn’t even get hold of their staff to raise a complaint with in the first place.

    In my opinion TalkTalk have knowingly and deliberately tried to deceive ISPReview about their performance handling here, not realising the graphs start from 2018 where it shows they are a consistently appalling telecoms company year-on-year in all areas of their laughable “support”.

    As much as I dislike Sky, their dish paytv complaints vs cable or TalkTalk paytv is absolutely remarkable in comparison. Hugely impressive win for Sky and even I am a very critical forensic type person.

  10. Blanca zapata says:

    Good morning I hope you and your team work are fine and safe.

    I am desperate, because of the pandemic I work from home, I have had problems with the Talk Talk server for several months, I have requested a repair and they do not solve the problem 100%, I am harming myself in my work, they want to charge me a fine from an engineer He never came home, I have asked to cancel the contract due to dissatisfaction and loss of services and they ask me to pay another fine.  

    I urgently need to change to BT and they cannot install the services because Talk Talk blocked the line. Help me please my work depends on additional internet the landline of the house phone has not worked for many weeks and it is not repaired either.  

    I’m nervous about this situation, because I am mother alone with family responsabilities.

    I have records of the chats with customer services (4 hours every day) email, screenshot call line customer services until 30 minutes.

    Thank you for you time and help.

    Kind regards.

    Blanca Zapata

  11. Ian Brown says:

    I have a contract with TalkTalk for 2 mobiles (one is for my wife) my mobile has been blocked, though my wife’s continues to work. I have complained to TalkTalk about this phone before as the volume control has not worked for some time. I have now returned this phone to them, but have no response yet. They are continueing to take money for 2 mobiles, from my bank via direct debit.

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