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TalkTalk Tops Ofcom’s Broadband Complaints Table for Q1 2023 UPDATE

Thursday, Jul 27th, 2023 (10:41 am) - Score 2,928
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Ofcom’s latest quarterly (Q1 2023) study of UK consumer complaints has named and shamed TalkTalk for attracting the most consumer gripes about both fixed line broadband and landline phone services (making a change from Shell Energy), while BT did the same for both Pay Monthly Mobile and Pay TV services.

The regulator’s report only covers complaints that Ofcom itself has received and not those sent directly to an ISP, the ISPA or an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) complaints handler (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 76,135 calls, web forms, emails and letters directly from consumers in 2021/22 (down from 96,051 in 2020/21).

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.

Take note that the proportion of people who were satisfied with their communications services in 2023 was 77% (unchanged from last year) for landline services, 82% (down from 83%) for broadband services and 87% (down from 91%) for all mobile services.

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Sadly, TalkTalk attracted the most broadband complaints in Q1 2023, with related complaints against the ISP mainly being driven by gripes about faults, service and provisioning (33%), complaints handling (29%) and billing, pricing and charges (16%). On the flip side, Sky Broadband continued to attract the fewest complaints of all the listed providers.

  Q2 2022 Q3 2022 Q4 2022 Q1 2023
BT 8 10 10 12
EE 6 6 7 7
NOW Broadband (NOW TV) 9 7 10 9
Plusnet 12 13 10 12
Shell Energy 31 27 27 16
Sky Broadband 3 4 5 5
TalkTalk 18 18 18 20
Virgin Media 16 18 14 15
Vodafone 18 12 19 16
Industry Average  11 11 11 12

Fixed Line Phone Complaints

TalkTalk also attracted the most complaints for fixed line phone services, which was mostly driven by gripes against their faults, service and provisioning (31%), complaints handling (31%) and billing, pricing and charges (19%). By comparison, Sky Broadband once again attracted the fewest complaints.

  Q2 2022 Q3 2022 Q4 2022 Q1 2023
BT 5 6 6 8
EE 3 3 3 5
NOW Broadband (NOW TV) 8 5 5 6
Plusnet 8 8 7 7
Shell Energy 23 20 25 10
Sky Broadband 2 3 2 3
TalkTalk 11 11 11 13
Virgin Media 10 11 7 9
Vodafone 10 7 8 7
Industry Average  6 7 6 7

Mobile Complaints

Mobile operators enjoyed lower complaint levels than fixed line providers, but BT Mobile still attracted the most gripes, with issues around their complaints handling (21%), changing provider (30%), and billing, pricing and charges (18%) driving most of it. By comparison, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile jointly attracted the fewest gripes (both are O2 based MVNOs), which seems to be a trend for Sky.

However, it’s worth pointing out that BT no longer sells mobile plans to new customers, and instead they re-direct new customers to EE.

  Q2 2022 Q3 2022 Q4 2022 Q1 2023
BT Mobile 4 4 4 7
O2 2 3 3 4
iD Mobile 1 3 2 4
Sky Mobile 1 1 1 2
Tesco Mobile 1 1 2 2
Three UK 2 3 2 3
Virgin Mobile 3 4 3 4
Vodafone 2 2 2 3
EE 1 1 2 3
Industry Average  2 2 2 3

Pay TV Complaints

Finally, BT also attracted the most complaints for Pay TV, with gripes about complaints handling (19%), billing, pricing and charges (23%), and changing provider (20%) being the main drivers. On the flip side, Sky TV attracted the fewest gripes.

  Q2 2022 Q3 2022 Q4 2022 Q1 2023
BT 6 7 7 11
Sky 1 1 1 2
TalkTalk 3 3 3 4
Virgin Media 10 9 8 9
Industry Average  4 4 3 5

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s UK Chief Executive Officer, said: “The hallmark of great customer service is consistency and reliability and across pay-TV, broadband, landline and mobile we continue to receive the fewest complaints compared to our competitors. This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of our customer service teams who continue to perform to the highest standards.”

Ofcom’s Consumer Complaints Report Q1 2023

UPDATE 11:40am

We’ve had a comment from TalkTalk.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said:

“We have seen an ongoing trend of material improvement in customer satisfaction due to a series of major initiatives. Complaints are down 31% over the past five years. A large number of copper to fibre installations resulted in a small uplift this quarter.”

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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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11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Richard says:

    I left TT after over 20 yrs, includes time at AOL.
    Connection was fine.
    I just couldn’t do with the hassle when speaking with customer service, it was dreadful.

    1. Avatar photo Craig says:

      Yup I have problems with the connection dropping explained i have tried another router and modem the line is dropping as the lights turn orange but they won’t listen following a script. So sending another router out which there is no point won’t fix the fault.

  2. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    Dealing with them between April – June 0n what should have been the simplest thing in the world I can confirm TalkTalks customer service really is the pits. Nobody knows what they are doing so they just try and get you over to another department.

  3. Avatar photo M R says:

    When TT is working its great, ok not the best speed but fast enough for our family.

    But God help us when there’s a problem……. such rubbish so called customer service.

  4. Avatar photo Jason says:

    I’ve been with TalkTalk for several years until recently and couldn’t fault the service at all up until the point the router packed up.

    Getting a new router from TalkTalk was almost impossible. I explained to several of their “agents” that the router wasn’t lighting up at all and they refused point blank to come off the script! They all insisted on running a test on the line and then started instructing me to plug the router into the BT test socket!! They just would not listen!!

    I managed to borrow a Netgear router from a friend and just kept using that for a few months until I got a better deal elsewhere

  5. Avatar photo Patrick says:

    Been with TT for about 18 years. The connection itself is fine, no issues with the connection ever. However, when I renewed my contract in August 2022, I had an issue with the Netflix bundle that stalled the pending order. It’s nearly a year later and when I go to the TalkTalk dashboard the pending order is still there. I’ve tried many times over webchat to get it fixed, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is best to leave it. Their support really is useless.

  6. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    Never been with them myself, but I had plenty of discussions with them on behalf of other people and that put me off Talk Talk. Also had a run in with their reps in the city centre once, just after Talk Talk was hacked by a teenager. ADSl Talk Talk was awful, which is why I had so many run in with them on behalf of other people, they did get a bit better with FTTC. According to Talk Talk we don’t have Openreach FTTP here, strange then that my next door neighbour have BT fibre

    1. Avatar photo T says:

      How do you mean on behalf of other people is that your job pal?

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @T, as I said on behalf of other people, people I know that have had problems with Talk Talk or any provider, asks me to explain the problem on their behalf.

  7. Avatar photo Mr A says:

    I agree with what others have said. The connection works perfectly. Its the customer service that gives you a headache.

  8. Avatar photo antony says:

    vergin talktalk shoud not be aloud so serve the public .on all broadband fiber packages and what they advtise you dont .just truble.stress

Comments are closed

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