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Revealed: The best and worst broadband and mobile phone companies

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Shell Energy was the most complained-about broadband and landline provider between October and December last year, Ofcom data has shown.

It received 27 complaints per 100,000 customers, more than in the third quarter of 2022. They were mainly about faults, the service provided, and customers trying to get new services installed.

Vodafone was the second most-complained about for broadband services, with 19 complaints per 100,000 customers. It was followed by TalkTalk with 18, and Virgin Media with 14. The industry average for complaints was 10 per 100,000 customers.

At the other end of the scale, Sky received the smallest number of complaints for broadband services, with five per 100,000 customers.

Mobile moans

BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and O2 received the most complaints for mobile services, with four complaints per 100,000 customers for BT and three for the other two providers. The industry average was two complaints per 100,000 customers.

These were mainly about how complaints were handled for BT and Virgin, and customer experiences with faults and getting services connected for O2.

Sky Mobile, EE, Tesco Mobile and Three had the lowest number of customer complaints regarding mobile phone services. Sky had one complaint per 100,000 customers and the other providers all had two.

Pay-TV problems

For pay-TV services, Virgin Media had the highest number of customer complaints with eight in every 100,000 customers, followed by BT with seven. Sky received the fewest with a figure of one complaint in every 100,000.

Landline laments

Shell Energy received 25 complaints per 100,000 customers for its landline services, the highest figure recorded for the quarter. It was followed by TalkTalk with 11, and Vodafone with eight. The industry average was six.

EE and Sky were bottom for the number of complaints about landline services.

Overall mobile phone customers were most likely to be satisfied with the service they receive, and 87% said they were satisfied overall compared to 82% of broadband customers and 77% of landline customers.

The average number of complaints to Ofcom either fell or stayed the same for most providers in 2022, when compared to 2021. Average call waiting times were just under two and half minutes in 2022.

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said: “Our number one priority is serving our customers, and Ofcom’s data shows the vast majority are satisfied with their overall service.

“We know there is more we can do to improve the service we offer and resolve any customer issues more quickly and more efficiently, and that is why we’re investing in every area of our business to create an excellent customer experience.”

‘Concerned about Shell Energy’s persistently high complaint volumes’

A statement from Ofcom said: “We remain concerned about Shell Energy’s persistently high complaint volumes. We have been engaging closely with the provider on its plans to improve its customer service, and expect to see results of this in the coming months.

“The numbers of complaints we received during this period were similar to the previous quarter. Complaints about landline and pay-TV services decreased slightly, while complaints about broadband and pay-monthly mobile services stayed the same.

“Year on year, the numbers of complaints we received about broadband services increased slightly, while complaints for landline, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services stayed the same.”

Shell Energy had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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