light waves internet cable broadband

Broadband complaints hit three-year high during lockdown; Virgin Media rated worst

Image credit: DT

Virgin Media has been rated as the worst telecoms supplier for the first three months of this year by regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom's latest league tables on the number of complaints it received about the UK’s major home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV firms took place during the third UK-wide Covid-19 lockdown, when millions of people were heavily reliant on their telecoms services.

While complaints about mobile services remained broadly stable, broadband and home phone complaints hit a three-year high, while complaints about pay-TV services also increased.

This was largely driven by Virgin Media, which was the most complained-about broadband, home phone and pay-TV provider. The main reason customers complained to Ofcom about Virgin Media was to do with how the company handled their complaints.

Joint second on the list of the most complaints were TalkTalk and Vodafone, with 24 complaints per 100,000 each, followed by Plusnet with 21 complaints per 100,000 customers.

Virgin Mobile was also the most complained-about mobile operator, along with Three; while Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and EE generated the fewest complaints. Sky and EE were also the least complained-about broadband and home phone providers. Sky also attracted the fewest complaints for pay TV.

Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Consumer Protection Director, said: “These complaints figures are from the peak of the pandemic, which was a difficult time for everyone, including businesses, but some providers clearly struggled with customer service more than others and we understand how frustrating that must have been for their customers at a time when they needed their communications services the most.

“We have been clear to providers that we expect performance to now return to at least the levels we saw before the pandemic hit – or even better.”

Virgin Media said: “Since Ofcom collected its data for this report, we have made a number of improvements to our customer service, including hiring more than 500 care agents, which has seen complaints decrease by 70 per cent, putting them at their lowest level since 2018. We will keep investing and making improvements to give our customers the high-quality service they rightly expect.”

Last month, the Government announced a £5bn plan to upgrade approximately two million rural homes with gigabit broadband.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles