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TalkTalk tops broadband and phone complaints list … again

Ofcom says TalkTalk complaints have dropped significantly, but they still outstrip BT, BSkyB and Virgin, which had fewest

TalkTalk was the most complained about telephone and broadband provider in the first six months of 2011, according to telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The company, which currectly sponsors ITV’s The X-Factor, had more complaints about its phone service between April and June than BSkyB, BT Retail and Virgin. More of its broadband customers also complained during that period than those of BSkyB, BT Retail, Virgin and Orange. Virgin was the least complained about provider in both cases.

This was the second quarter running that TalkTalk topped Ofcom’s complaints list for both services.

TalkTalk’s landline service had 0.8 complaints for every 1,000 customers, while it’s broadband division had 0.58 complaints for every 1,000 customers. This compares to Virgin with 0.15 complaints in both cases.

Although the number of complaints about TalkTalk has fallen significantly over the past year, the latest data will still come as a blow to the company which, along with its subsidiary Tiscali UK, was last month fined £3m for incorrectly billing 65,000 customers for services they had not received. It is the largest financial penalty ever imposed on a telecoms provider by Ofcom.

Andrew Ferguson from the website thinkbroadband said: “Information on the level of complaints for a firm is obviously a key factor when people are buying broadband or a telephone/broadband bundle – though based on the growth in numbers of customers it is often outweighed by price for many people.”

He added: “The figures for TalkTalk on both broadband and telephone line complaints clearly put them ahead of the other providers, but when you look at the trend over the last nine months TalkTalk has improved a great deal, and if improvements continue they could be on par with BT Retail at the end of the next quarter.”

Mike Wilson, manager of mobiles and broadband at, said: “[TalkTalk] have obviously made significant improvements, but there is still a big gulf between them and the rest of the market and this report shows they still have an awful lot of work to do.”

Broadband and landline provider Plusnet fared well in a recent Guardian report on the best telecoms providers based on price, though it is not included in the Ofcom complaints data.

The mobile network that drew the most complaints was 3UK, which has seen the number of dissatisified customer increase steadily since October 2010. “[This] appears to be driven by complaints relating to disputed charges and customer service issues,” the Ofcom report said.

The least complained about mobile provider over the same period was O2, with 0.02 complaints for every 1,000 customers compared to 0.14 in the case of 3UK.

The Ofcom data covers 89% of the fixed telephone, fixed broadband and mobile markets, and was widened this quarter to include providers with at least a 4% market share (it was previously 5%) who generate at least 30 complaints a month.

The data only covers telecoms complaints that consumers have chosen to report to Ofcom, and does not represent complaints consumers may have made directly to providers.

Consumers with a complaint should initially follow their provider’s complaints process. If it isn’t resolved after eight weeks the next step is to take it to an independent resolution service: the Ofcom-approved scheme CISAS can settle disputes with its member companies, which include Virgin, Orange and T-Mobile; Ombudsman Services: Communications resolves complaints against its participating businesses, which include TalkTalk and Vodafone. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds