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Worst broadband firms revealed: is your supplier on the list?

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25/03/2019
If you’re a BT, Sky, TalkTalk or Virgin Media broadband customer, you’re most likely to be getting a bad deal.

That’s according to new research, which reveals that the largest providers come out bottom when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Consumer group Which? surveyed more than 8,000 members about whether they were satisfied with their provider and whether they would recommend them.

TalkTalk and Sky came bottom of the rankings – with both firms earning a customer satisfaction score of only 50%.

Despite having a reputation for cheap deals, TalkTalk was panned for the quality of its customer service and tech support and failed to score well in any category, including value for money.

TalkTalk customers were also the most likely to suffer from very slow speeds (27%) and frequent connection dropouts (21%) in the last 12 months.

Sky fared slightly better than TalkTalk in most categories, but more than two-thirds of Sky customers (67%) surveyed said they were likely to switch broadband provider.

More than one in five (22%) Sky customers also said they had experienced issues with very slow connection speeds.

BT also received a dismal score (51%), with customers particularly unimpressed by the value for money they were getting.

The UK’s biggest broadband provider also offers disappointing customer service – and one in five customers experienced problems with very slow speeds (20%) or connection dropouts (20%), according to the Which? survey.

Virgin Media fared only slightly better, with a customer score of 58%. But Virgin customers were by far the most likely to complain about price increases – with more than half (54%) highlighting this as a problem.

The sharpest fall in the rankings came from Vodafone, which earned a customer score of 58% but crashed into the bottom half of the rankings, having been joint fourth in the consumer champion’s spring 2018 survey.

It returned mediocre ratings across the board and was also recently named the most complained-about broadband provider between July and September of 2018 by regulator Ofcom.

How providers fared

In contrast, smaller players dominated the top of the rankings, with Zen Internet named the most popular provider, followed by Utility Warehouse and Plusnet. Check out the table below to see the full table:

Which? ranking Provider
1 Zen Internet
2 Utility Warehouse
3 Plusnet
4 John Lewis Broadband
5 SSE
6 Post Office
7 (Joint) Virgin Media
7 (Joint) Vodafone
9 BT
10 (Joint) Sky
10 (Joint) TalkTalk

Source: Which?

Loyalty doesn’t always pay

Seven out of 10 (71%) people surveyed said that they had been with their provider for more than three years.

Which? previously found that customers who have been with their broadband provider for a long time without haggling for a better deal are the most likely to be overpaying – potentially by hundreds of pounds a year.

Ofcom is currently reviewing pricing practices in the broadband market. It has also set out proposals which would require providers to advise customers when their contract is coming to an end and tell them about the best tariffs available to them.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and Services, said: “It’s outrageous that the biggest providers are still letting their customers down with shoddy broadband, especially when we know that longstanding customers are the most likely to be overpaying.

“Anyone who is unhappy with their current provider should take back control and switch to a better deal – you could get better service and save hundreds of pounds a year.”

Dani Warner, broadband and TV expert at comparison site uSwitch, pointed out that it is possible for millions of broadband customers to walk away from their current provider free of charge because they are out of contract.

“When deciding on a new provider, consider the customer service reputation they have along with the speeds they can offer, because should things go wrong it is important to be able to rely on your concerns being dealt with promptly and efficiently.”

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