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Voda continues to struggle coming last in latest Ofcom complaints chart

James Pearce
September 22, 2015

Tesco Mobile retains top spot as least complained-about mobile operator for three months ending June 30

Vodafone has remained the worst complained about mobile operator in the UK, according to the latest figures from industry regulator Ofcom.

The UK’s third biggest operator received 0.14 complaints per thousand customers in the three months ending June 30- the same number it received during the previous quarter – well above the industry average of 0.07, which was down from 0.08 in Q1.

According to the regulator, most Vodafone customers complained about pricing and charges (34 per cent), complaints handling (27 per cent) and concern around faults, provisioning and service (17 per cent). It is the third consecutive quarter in which Vodafone has been the most complained about mobile provider.

image011 (1)A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “We are always disappointed when customers need to raise complaints with us and then when we do not resolve them effectively first time. We aim to provide our customers with a great service every time but we are clearly not there yet. 

“We have taken significant action over the last six months to improve our customers’ experiences: investing another £1 billion into our network and services this year; adding an additional 1,000 customer service colleagues and concentrating particularly on improving their training; we are also conducting a major upgrade to our IT billing system.

“We believe this investment is now starting to deliver a step change in customer experience which we hope our customers are starting to feel. However, we remain committed to do what is required to deliver our goal of best customer experience in our industry.”

EE, Virgin and Talk Mobile were all also above the industry average for complaints, with 0.075, 0.08 and 0.12 complaints per thousand customers respectively.

EE continued to see its number of complaints for mobile fall. During Q2 2014, EE was the UK’s most complained about network with 0.16 complaints per thousand customers, but it continued to reduce the number of mobile complaints.

Ofcom director of content and consumer Claudio Pollack said: “Our complaints data allow consumers to make meaningful comparisons that can be useful when looking for a new provider.

“While it’s encouraging to see a continued decrease in the total number of complaints, there is still room for improvement. We expect providers to make customer service and complaints handling top priorities.”


Tesco had least complaints

According to the figures from Ofcom, Tesco continued to be the least complained about mobile provider with just 0.01 complaints per thousand customers. It has been the least complained about operator since Q2 2014, the first time Ofcom recorded its number of complaints.

O2 edged out Three to retain its position as the second least complained about network, with 0.03 complaints per thousand customers.

An O2 spokesperson said: “Ofcom’s report shows that we’re the best network operator with the least number of complaints. We’ll continue to deliver for our customers and ensure they receive the best possible service and experience.”

Overall, the total number of complaints for the mobile sector fell for the second consecutive quarter.

A Three spokesperson said: “We’re committed to improving the experience we provide to customers and this latest report shows that we continue to perform well against the rest of the industry.

“Our recent introduction of 4G Super-Voice, which allows customers to make calls in places that previously had poor or no signal, is a key example of our efforts to provide customers with the best possible service, while allowing them to get the most out of their devices.”

Fixed line and broadband

EE continued to be the most complained about provider in both fixed line and broadband, despite seeing its number of complaints fall in both categories.

EE received more than twice the industry average number of complaints (0.34 to 0.13 complaints per thousand customers average), down from 0.39 per thousand customers in the previous quarter.

The main complaint drivers for EE landline customers were problems changing provider (32 per cent), concerns about faults, service and provision (29 per cent) and complaints handling (17 per cent).

A spokesperson for EE said: “We’re working hard to improve service and apologise to any broadband customer who has not received the very best service from us.

“Last week we announced the launch of a comprehensive programme that includes a new Broadband Operations Hub which, together with the creation of 500 new roles, is aimed at improving Service levels for all of our broadband customers.”

Sky (0.06 per thousand customers) and Virgin Media (0.07 per thousand customers) were the only providers with complaints volumes below the industry average. Sky continued to generate the lowest number of landline customer complaints.


EE also topped the list of the most complained about broadband providers with 0.45 complaints per thousand customers, compared with an industry average of 0.16. This is despite reducing complaints down from an all-time peak of 0.51 complaints in Q1 this year.

Problems relating to faults, service and provision (40 per cent), billing, pricing and charges (20 per cent) and complaints handling (20 per cent) were the main drivers of complaints about EE broadband.

TalkTalk’s complaints volume increased slightly from 0.26 to 0.27 per thousand customers, while both BT and Plusnet saw a reduction in the number of complaints, from 0.25 to 0.22 per thousand and from 0.22 to 0.20 per thousand respectively.

Sky was also the least complained about broadband provider with 0.05 complaints per thousand customers, while Virgin was the only other provider below the industry average of 0.16.

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