Telecoms complaints rise 37%

8th May 2024

The number of complaints made against telecom providers has increased by more than a third (37%) in a year, according to a freedom of information request filed by Broadband Genie to Ofcom.

Ofcom received over 24,800 complaints against telecom providers in 2022, but that rose to 34,000 in 2023. The majority of complaints to Ofcom usually centre around how the providers handle customer complaints.

YouFibre was found to offer the best customer service with 95% positive reviews for the operator, closely followed by Trooli (94%), Zen (89%), Plusnet (82%) and Three (79%).

While challenger providers are performing well when it comes to customer service, many are still falling behind when it comes to how easy it is to find information on their websites. Only a fifth of customers of the challenger provider Origin said it was easy to find the information that they were looking for, followed by Gigaclear (25%), Trooli (33%), Community Fibre (36%) and Shell Energy Broadband (44%).

Ease of contact is another metric highlighted in this year’s Broadband Genie Telecom Customer Service Report. This was another area where Origin fell short, with 40% of customers reporting that it was ‘difficult’ to get in touch with their customer care. This was followed by Gigaclear (38%), Virgin Media (24%), KCOM (23%) and Shell Energy Broadband (22%). Zen leads the way on ease of contact, with 80% of customers saying it was easy to reach them, followed by Hyperoptic (75%) and Plusnet (72%).

Alex Tofts, Broadband Expert at Broadband Genie, said “This freedom of information request highlights a worrying trend of escalating complaints made against the telecoms industry and we need to see providers take decisive action to nip it in the bud.

“Ofcom measures its complaints data based on how often consumers turn to them to help resolve issues that weren’t already fixed by their provider. This could be anything from complaints handling to consistent problems with the speeds and service they receive.

“Businesses have faced mounting costs over the past few years, and the telecom industry was not immune to that. We understand that some providers have turned towards outsourcing customer service departments or have even been forced to cut staff levels.

“Our research sheds some light on customer care in the broadband industry and aims to pick up from where Ofcom has left off when it comes to their reporting on the quality of service.

“While it is disappointing to see some of the smaller providers fall short on some aspects of customer service, it is worth bearing in mind that the number of customer service agents will be much smaller than the bigger providers and the websites will also be smaller in scale.”