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The biggest paid-telly and broadband suppliers have been put through their paces by UK regulator Ofcom, which has published a complete rundown of complaints from customers which reveals that, while Sky, BT and EE are performing pretty well in customers’ eyes, Virgin Media has some serious work to do when it comes to keeping its users happy.
The full-fibre internet firm has come bottom of the pile across almost all categories – from Home Broadband, Landline Phones, and Pay-TV. In each of these, Virgin Media registered the most complaints.
To make matters worse, Virgin Mobile was also the most complained-about mobile operator, sitting last with Three. Meanwhile, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile, and EE generated the fewest complaints from customers.
Ofcom publishes this report every three months. The latest covers the period from January to March, which means it includes the third nationwide lockdown across the UK at the start of 2021. This period saw millions of people told to stay inside to work and study at home using their broadband connection.
Ofcom says that, overall, complaints about mobile services remained broadly stable. However, broadband and landline complaints hit a three-year high, while complaints about pay-TV services also increased during that same period.
Worryingly for those who have signed up for a contract with Virgin, the spike in complaints was largely driven by the firm alone, which was the most complained-about broadband, landline and pay-TV provider. According to the report, the main reason customers complained to Ofcom about Virgin Media was to do with how the firm handled issues.
Speaking about the stats, Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Consumer Protection Director, said: “These complaints figures are from the peak of the pandemic, which was a difficult time for everyone, including businesses. But some providers clearly struggled with customer service more than others, and we understand how frustrating that must’ve been for their customers at a time when they needed their communications services the most.
“We have been clear to providers that we expect performance to now return to at least the levels we saw before the pandemic hit – or even better.”
Virgin says that a number of its call centres were forced to close earlier this year due to the pandemic and it has since hired more staff
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “Providing a great customer experience alongside fast, reliable services is our number one priority. Since Ofcom collected its data for this report, we have made a number of improvements to our customer service, including hiring more than 500 care agents, which has seen complaints decrease by 70% putting them at their lowest level since 2018. We will keep investing and making improvements to give our customers the high-quality service they rightly expect.”