TalkTalk and Plusnet have been named as the worst broadband providers in Britain for customer satisfaction by a watchdog.
Ofcom said the two firms failed to hit the right tone with account holders after complaints soared between April to June this year.
It’s the fourth consecutive time TalkTalk has been caught out for poor customer service – with 24 people per 100,000 customers escalating concerns about the telecoms giant over the three months. This number, however, is slightly down compared to January to March’s 29 total.
The network also failed once again in the landline stakes, with 17 escalated complaints per 100,000 people, followed by the Post Office which jumped from fourth worst to second worst for customer grievances in the same time frame.
Plusnet and its owner BT meanwhile swapped places, with BT taking in slightly less complaints this quarter compared to the start of the year.
And when it comes to the most improved services, Sky received the fewest broadband complaints for the second quarter running with complaints also down across the board. Virgin reported 11 complaints per 100,000 compared to a previous 12, while EE went from 13 to 11.
A TalkTalk spokesman described today’s figures as “disappointing”.
“While these historical numbers by Ofcom are disappointing, it doesn’t reflect the current situation as we continue to invest heavily to improve the service we provide.
“Based on the most recent data, we’re on track to receiving our lowest ever number of complaints and more customers than ever are choosing to stay with us.”
Britain’s most complained about landline providers
Ofcom’s latest report, which covers April to June 2018, also includes complaints made about providers of landline telephone, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services.
Britain’s most complained about mobile providers
Britain’s most complained about TV providers
Virgin Mobile, iD, BT and Vodafone topped the list for most complaints for the second time this year on mobile, with Virgin BT and TalkTalk also failing to satisfy customers in the TV department. Sky received the fewest complaints with just 1 for every 100,000.
Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy, said: “Although we’re encouraged that complaints are at their lowest levels since we started shining a light on this, some telecoms and TV companies are still falling short.
“We expect those providers to up their game and deliver better service to all their customers,” Rumble added.
‘My Broadband is SO slow’ – what can I do about it?
If your broadband provider is failing to deliver the speeds quoted at the start of your contract, they may be in breach of contract.
Call or write to them to explain the situation. Explain that the statements made to you at the start of your contract were ‘misrepresentations’.
Your provider will then open an investigation into your complaint – and get back to you (usually) within 14 days.
If you don’t get a satisfactory solution after this period, go through its formal complaints procedure. Keep records of all verbal or written communication as this can help your case should you need to take it further.
If you still have no luck, after eight weeks you can take your complaint to the relevant alternative dispute resolution ADR scheme.
All broadband providers have to sign up to an (ADR) scheme. Your provider will either be signed up to a scheme operated by CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications.
If you’re considering using the ombudsman, this is how to open a case.
Ofcom also offers a complaints and disputes platform for customers that have been let down by their provider – this includes cases where you may have been mis-sold, billing issues and blackouts whilst switching networks.
The regulator says that any provider using the Openreach network: BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk, must deliver the expected range of speeds. If they’re unable to do so, you have the right to exit your contract penalty-free.
Unfortunately, cable providers, such as Virgin, are except from this rule.
To make a complaint, you’ll need to head to Ofcom’s complaints page where you’ll be asked to follow relevant the steps.
Broadband: Your rights
“If you are unhappy with your telecoms provider, let them know,” Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, told Mirror Money.
“And if they aren’t able to resolve your complaint internally, there are still options.
“People have a right to contact the free-to-use independent resolution scheme for their provider to get things sorted – in telecoms this will either be CISAS or Ombudsmen Services.”
Your broadband provider has a legal obligation to deliver what you pay for – and what you were sold. These are your rights (you may want to use these when following the steps above):
All goods and services must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, delivered as described, and provided to a proper standard of workmanship. In other words, your broadband should work.
Both you and your broadband provider must comply with the terms on your contract. If you consider your provider to be in breach of the contract – e.g. if you’re not being delivered consistent service – you have the right to cancel it.
The contract with your broadband provider must be fair.
You have the right to cancel your contract at any point – though in some circumstances you’ll need to pay a fee.
I want to cancel my broadband
You can terminate a broadband contract whenever you want, but if you’re still within the minimum contract length, that can mean a hefty fee, usually equal to the cost of the remaining bills on the contract minus VAT.
There are, however, some exceptions to this rule:
If your contract started less than 14 days ago – You’re allowed a ‘cooling off’ period during which you can change your mind and cancel it. This must be done in writing.
If your provider has raised your monthly bill, more than just in line with inflation – You can cancel without penalty if you do so within 30 days of being notified of the change.
If you believe your provider is in breach of contract and hasn’t done enough to solve your issues – Again, you’ll need to tell them in writing.