Talk Talk tops Ofcom's crap list

TalkTalk is the telco Ofcom has had the most complaints about – overwhelmingly.

The ISP received the most complaints over its competitors, with 1.78 complaints per 1000 customers from October 2010 to February 2011, in a naming and shaming report conducted by the communication watchdog

The main complaints with the provider were billing problems, with Ofcom claiming it saw a peak of miffed customers in November 2010, following its investigation into the company for incorrectly billing consumers for cancelled services.

Next up on the worst list was BSkyB. BT also proved that sometimes it wasn’t good to talk, coming in at third. The least complained about provider over the same period was Virgin Media with 0.21 complaints per 1000 customers.

In mobile, Three soared above the rest – topping the charts for the most complaints. It received 0.15 complaints per 1000 customers October 2010 to February 2011, while  T Mobile, Orange and  Vodafone came second, third and fourth.

Saintly O2 had the least grumblings with 0.04 complaints per 1000 customers.

On average, Ofcom receives 450 telecoms complaints per day, including mis-selling, billing errors, lack of service and customer service problems, which reflects the complexity of the telecoms market.

Alex Buttle, director of mobile phones and broadband at comparison website, says we have to continue to play a part in “keeping networks and broadband providers on their toes”.

That favourite British past-time of complaining is good for the rest of us, he reckons, and that ultimately we should be “switching providers if we are unhappy.”

“The Ofcom report suggests that many people are languishing with providers and networks that are not serving them well,” he added.

He said the company’s own research found that six out of ten broadband subscribers were not planning to switch providers any time soon because they did not believe they could get a better deal elsewhere.

Another 13 percent admitted they wouldn’t know where to start. A further 13 percent cited money as a cause for concern, worrying that switching could cost them moolah.

12 percent said they were just too lazy to switch.

Ofcom does not investigate individual telecoms complaints but uses consumer complaints data to identify whether there is a particular point in the market or a problem with a provider that needs looking at.

It can then take action either by introducing new regulations. This includes mobile mis-selling or by investigating a company. Consumers who have a complaint about their provider should follow their provider’s complaints process and, if the complaint isn’t resolved after eight weeks, can take it to an independent resolution service – CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said that consumers should have access to as much information as possible to allow them to choose between providers and to take full advantage of the competition in the sector.

He said that by publishing complaints data, Ofcom “aims to provide useful information to consumers, and also to give telecoms providers an incentive to improve their customer service.”

Social media complaints are also reflecting similar trends, with the key culprits outlined in the Ofcom report also showing up in a Webtrends report.

Christian Howes at Webtrends tells TechEye: “Social media reflects the mood of customers, and is a key barometer of how people feel about their experiences with service providers. Social media isn’t taken seriously by many telco companies, and it’s something that should be.”

Here are the major complaints within the past 30 days.

webtrends 1

And all mentions in the past 30 days: