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UPDATE Huge Jump in UK Calls to Broadband ISP Technical Support Lines

Posted: 08th Nov, 2010 By: MarkJ
uk isp broadband support satisfactionThe latest study of over 7,500 broadband ISP customers from price comparison site uSwitch.com has revealed a 25% jump in the number of calls to internet provider technical support lines in the UK this year. Overall some 20 million calls were made, which lasted an average of 15 minutes each with 5 of those minutes being spent on hold. However O2 and PlusNet came top for support satisfaction.

Costs were also found to vary drastically between ISPs. Some internet providers offer a free service, while others would charge up to 86p per call. In total, calling for help is costing consumers up to £4 million a year on top of their regular broadband bills.

uk_isp_broadband_call_charges.gif

Sadly it still requires at least two calls to fix most broadband problems, just 37% are resolved during the first call. As you might expect from those statistics, more than 2 million customers were not happy with the available support; Orange and TalkTalk customers were the least satisfied.

Ernest Doku, uSwitch's Communications Expert, said:

"It is disappointing to see major broadband providers still charging their customers for calling their helplines. We are not talking about simple set-up problems – customers are calling because their service is down. It seems ludicrous that customers are the ones to be penalised when it’s likely to be a fault on the network.

Broadband is no longer a novelty - it’s a life essential. When things go wrong consumers need to know their provider will go the extra mile to get their service back up and running quickly and at no extra cost. In such a competitive arena it’s surprising that they haven’t wised up to the fact that customers expect more from their broadband service than a cheap deal. If they are not happy they will simply switch away."

Nearly 7 million broadband customers (36%) have called for technical help over the last year, with network connection problems being the most common complaint. Overall, 58% of broadband customers are satisfied with the technical support offered by their ISP and more than two million (12%) are not happy.

UPDATE 9th November 2010

A comment from KC ( Karoo ).

Nick Thompson, KC's Director of Consumer Affairs, said:

"It’s outrageous that at a time when everyone is having to keep a very close eye on what they spend, many consumers are having to pay their broadband provider for customer support calls! Research that we conducted with YouGov last year highlighted how much of a problem this is - 9 out of 10 consumers stated that they shouldn’t have to pay to get a problem fixed - and I am really disappointed that in 12 months the industry hasn’t moved on.

At KC we firmly believe that it is wrong for consumers to have to pay for the privilege of reporting a problem that needs to be fixed, and we would like to assure our customers that they will never have to pay to contact our customer service lines.

Hitting consumers in their pocket for customer service is never on, but to do it in the current economic climate seems very unfair. We are urging other broadband providers to follow our lead and to stop charging for customer service calls. Users should vote with their feet and say enough is enough. If they don’t, the UK consumer may soon be added to the endangered species list."
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