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Shell Energy Takes Flak in Q4 2021 Study of UK Broadband Complaints

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 (10:35 am) - Score 2,280

Ofcom’s latest Q4 2021 (calendar) study of UK consumer complaints has named Shell Energy as attracting the most gripes for fixed broadband services, while TalkTalk did the same for landline phone and Virgin Mobile took flak for Pay Monthly mobile services. Finally, Virgin Media (VMO2) were on the naughty step for Pay TV.

As usual, this report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to an ISP, the ISPA or one of the two Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) complaints handlers (i.e. Ombudsman Services or CISAS). Ofcom does not deal with individual complaints, but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a concern.

NOTE: Ofcom received c.96,051 calls and items of correspondence directly from consumers in 2020/21.

Overall, the total volume of complaints for fixed broadband, landline, mobile and pay TV services continued to fall during the quarter. The report also lists the level of consumer satisfaction with communications services as 77% for landline phone, 80% for broadband and 90% for mobile, but this is based on old data from 2020.

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 ISPs can vary significantly in size. But sadly, the study only covers feedback from the largest ISPs (i.e. those with a market share of at least 1.5%) due to limited data.

We should add that Ofcom also tracked just 9 complaints about BT’s provision of the 10Mbps+ broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) during the quarter (down from 10 in Q3 2021), although the separate nature of this service means that they haven’t included this data into their totals below.

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Shell Energy generated the highest volume of fixed broadband complaints, with the main complaint drivers being related to faults, service and provisioning issues (44%). But it should be said that TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone weren’t far behind their level. As usual, Sky Broadband and EE both continued to enjoy the lowest volume of gripes.


Fixed Line Phone Complaints

TalkTalk generated the highest volume of landline complaints (albeit just ahead of Shell Energy), with TalkTalk’s main complaint drivers being related to faults, service and provisioning issues (29%). Once again, Sky Broadband and EE both continued to enjoy the lowest volume of gripes.


Mobile Complaints

Virgin Mobile generated the highest volume of pay-monthly mobile complaints, with their main complaint drivers being related to complaints handling (32%). By comparison, EE, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile attracted hardly any complaints from consumers.


Pay TV Complaints

Virgin Media generated the highest volume of pay-TV complaints, which were mainly related to gripes about their complaints handling (28%); billing, pricing and charges (28%); and faults, service and provisioning issues (24%). By comparison, Sky TV was the only provider that managed to stay under the industry average.


Ofcom’s Consumer Complaints Report Q4 2021

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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.
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9 Responses
  1. Richard Branston says:

    It’s not just Shell’s broadband service that’s rubbish – I’ve not managed to get a bill out of them for more than 6 months for gas and electricity.

    1. Ian Alcock says:

      Because of bank and serous Heath problems your virgin media has got to be the worst customer service when trying to sort out basic problems, U.K. based customer service please

  2. Jonny says:

    Has there been much comment on how relevant these Ofcom complaint statistics are? Their website makes it clear that they can’t actually help you and encourages people to complain directly or use an ADR scheme, and to only contact Ofcom if you want to contribute to the statistics.

    If they aggregated complaints from the ADR schemes and required ISPs to produce reports I could see that being useful.

  3. Nationalisation of costs privatisation of profits. says:

    I can’t speak of Shell’s broadband offering however I unfortunately can of their utilities.

    Due to the privatised energy market being unfit for purpose with practically zero resilience to global shocks, my prior domestic energy supplier entered into administration in September 2019, thus OFGEM shifted me to Shell via the ‘supplier of last resort’ mechanism.

    It’s been nothing but a continual battle to get my name on my account, accurate opening meter reads, being able to enter on going meter reads which are actually accepted, my first bill and then subsequently any bill which reflects my actual usage.

    Fortunately I kept my bills from my previous supplier and have photographs of my meters. I pity those who did and do not, as their battles will be far more challenging than my own.

    Shell are an omnishambles of the highest order.

  4. Bernard Shaw says:

    I recently moved to a small village in Staffordshire and the main providers could only offer 0.4 to 0.9 megabouts Broadband at £24.00 a month I seen a provider advertising in the local Parish magazine Kijoma offering WiFi broadband with a internet phone for £24.00 a month with a package of broadband of between 60 to 80 megabouts for s set up charge of £164.00 very pleased with the results my neighbour has also now joined Bernard

  5. Carl says:

    I have Shell Fibre and it’s very good now working. Initially it didn’t work and I was without broadband for 4 days. Took a visit from open reach to sort out. Their support was pretty good.

  6. S miah says:

    I have shell broadband and have never experienced one problem at all.

  7. C sale says:

    Not getting Incoming calls for 6/8 weeks

  8. ad47uk says:

    My brother use Shell broadband, he got it from Currys, to be honest I was a bit worried about it, but it have been ok since he had it and for the price it offers good value for money, and they are also not changing the price or asking him for another contract. So that is good.
    My only problem with it is the router, it is large and looks cheap, but to be honest, it does what is required.
    would I go for shell broadband? I might if Plusnet don’t give me a good offer when my contract ends, I can always change the router.

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