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Calling broadband support costs consumers up to £4 million a year
Monday 08 November 2010 16:05:00 by John Hunt

Calling for help with broadband costs consumers up to £4 million a year according to a report by uSwitch. With over 18 million homes now with a broadband connection, the industry has seen a 25% increase in the number of calls to technical support lines this year. The survey by YouGov questioned over 7,500 customers and these saw that the average call is around 15 minutes, with 5 minutes of this time being spent waiting to get through to an operator. Whilst this call is free for some users, others can pay up to 86p per call.

Satisfaction of customers with technical support also varies. Just 58% of broadband customers were satisfied with the technical support offered, whilst 12% where not happy. Of course, this varies between providers, with O2 and PlusNet coming out top of this survey (at 74% satisfaction rating) whilst Orange came bottom with just 43% of customers satisfied. TalkTalk customers reported the longest hold time to speak to an advisor with an average wait of 7 minutes.

"It's outrageous that at a time when everyone is having to keep a very close eye on what they spend, many consumers are having to pay their broadband provider for customer support calls! Research that we conducted with YouGov last year highlighted how much of a problem this is - 9 out of 10 consumers stated that they shouldn't have to pay to get a problem fixed - and I am really disappointed that in 12 months the industry hasn't moved on.

At KC we firmly believe that it is wrong for consumers to have to pay for the privilege of reporting a problem that needs to be fixed, and we would like to assure our customers that they will never have to pay to contact our customer service lines."

Nick Thompson, (Director of Consumer Affairs) KC


Posted by aditya over 6 years ago
This is really sad, even though I am with sky and have free call to Tech support, sky regularly charges me for calls made to them and then refunds them when I lodge a complaint. There technical support team is rubbish, most of them dont even understand what the problem is, they keep beating around the bush and u keep paying for there incompetencies. I have complained to sky many times but it has always fallen on deaf ears.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

You pick a bad ISP it's your fault, pay peanuts, get peanuts.
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
Very happy with tech support at AAISP. Service isn't the cheapest, but I can use IRC (or phone calls which are included in my calling plan on mobile) to chat with named staff who chase things up, call/text you back etc.

You get what you pay for.
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
Coincidentally I've taken to calling companies who only advertise 0870/0845 numbers before taking out any kind of contract and asking if they'll give an 01/02/03 or freephone number and if they don't point blank stating that I have no intention of becoming their customer then. It might get the joke that is 0870 and friends fixed one day...
Posted by EnglishRob over 6 years ago
@awoodland, I tend to check to see if the companies have an alternative number. Doesn't always work (for instance one company I tried calling had about 5 numbers which didn't work) but the majority of the time it does work.

Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
I keep meaning to write an android app that searches saynoto0870 automatically when you start to dial
Posted by jelv over 6 years ago
No doubt O2 and Plusnet will be bragging about how they came top, but surely the best should score more than 74%
Posted by Blognorton over 6 years ago
Of course as with other types of help lines, a very large proportion of these calls are unnecessary, being made by people whose immediate reaction is to get on the phone rather than exercising their brains. The vast amount of dross calls serve to block out those with real problems.
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
@jelv I'm sure some others would do better, however the survey was a bit limited in its number of users and therefore spread of ISPs.
Posted by TWeaKoR over 6 years ago is a godsend, and almost always solves this problem. Probably the biggest exception is Sky, however, as someone there actually checks the site for listed numbers and changes them, usually within the hour. Sky *really* don't want you to call them without paying for it.

@awoodland I like your idea there. Not sure if I'd stick with it as steadfast as you do, but I should start doing that.
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