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TalkTalk most complained about telecom provider in UK
Thursday 21 April 2011 16:04:49 by John Hunt

Ofcom has released details of the most complained about telecoms providers in the UK which show that TalkTalk received the most complaints for both their telephony and broadband services. Virgin Media received the least amount of complaints in each category.

The data comes from what will be published as quarterly complaints based on the 450 or so issues that Ofcom receives a day from consumers and covers the period October 2010 to February 2011. Ofcom have limited the data to providers with a market share of 5% or above, which means it only includes BSkyB, BT Retail, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media. They do warn that it should be taken with a pinch of salt as it only covers complaints that users choose to raise with Ofcom. The law of averages suggests though that this should even out across providers and not cause one provider to be more heavily weighted than another.

The graph below shows the complaints for fixed-line telephony services which demonstrates that TalkTalk receive significantly more than the other providers, with a large spike in November which saw the number of complaints at more than five times other operators.

Fixed telephone line complaints per 1000 customers/connections October 2010 - February 2011, Source: Ofcom
Fixed telephone line complaints per 1000 customers/connections October 2010 - February 2011, Source: Ofcom

Similarly, for broadband (show below), a similar trend is seen, with a large increase in complaints in November and complaint levels at nearly five times higher than that for Virgin Media who performed best.

Fixed broadband complaints per 1000 customers/connections October 2010 - February 2011, Source: Ofcom
Fixed broadband complaints per 1000 customers/connections October 2010 - February 2011, Source: Ofcom

TalkTalk have put the higher level of complaints down to the migration of customers from Tiscali and their brands onto the TalkTalk network and billing platform, a process that has seen the company repay over £2.5 million to customers (and former customers) who had been incorrectly billed.

"We recognise that in the period in question not all customers received the service they deserved as we completed the complex task of moving them to our network and a new billing platform.

We are sorry for the disruption this caused and, while it is encouraging to see the number of complaints decreasing towards the end of this period, we continue to work tirelessly to improve."

TalkTalk spokesman

Virgin have performed considerably better than TalkTalk who came out worse, and their level of complaints was nearly half that of BSkyB and BT over the period concerned. Ofcom state that next time more operators should be included, and the with some of the smaller players on board, Virgin may not hold on to their lead. This is something they are aware of as they intend to improve on these statistics.

"Since the formation of Virgin Media in 2007, our mission has been to put our customers at the heart of everything we do. Delivering outstanding customer service has been our highest priority and we're pleased to see Ofcom's report demonstrates our approach is generating the right results."

Neil Berkett, (Chief Executive Officer) Virgin Media

Similar statistics were also collated for mobile operators, and included 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone. Of these, O2 performed the best with over 3 times less complaints than Three who reached 0.15 per 1000 customers. Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile performed relatively comparatively averaging around the same each month, apart from a large spike in January from T-Mobile which is related to the changes to their fair usage policy for data usage.

The full report with complete statistics can be found on the Ofcom website.


Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
you know you're in trouble when the y-axis would be way smaller without your results.
Posted by mattewan over 6 years ago
haha yeah!

Considering the amount of unhappy talktalk customers there are on these forums, I'm not surprised at all by these results
Posted by mabibby over 6 years ago
OMG Shock!

Not lol....

Posted by mervl over 6 years ago
Remind me: apart from counting them what do Ofcom do with complaints they receive?
Posted by Capn over 6 years ago
Turn them into graphs with hideous colours
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
No surprise about TalkTalk.
Posted by mike41 over 6 years ago
No surprise at all ... if TT put half the effort into looking after customers that they do in trying to acquire them they wouldn't have such an appalling public image. They are truly the Ryanair of the BB world.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
And if/when this fibre network of theirs and Virgin's takes off, you'll have combined two of the UK's worst outfits for customer service. Together, they beat Santander. Well, almost.
Posted by baby_frogmella over 6 years ago
The problem with Talktalk is that when people sign up to their broadband/landline service, they expect AAISP/Zen/IDNET quality support yet only pay £3.49 per month for broadband. That is never ever going to happen with talktalk as long as they have overseas call centres....talktalk would have to considerably raise their monthy charges (to have UK technical support) which would mean the masses would leave them. Many people join Talktalk for the price only.

Posted by baby_frogmella over 6 years ago
I joined talktalk 6 months ago (broadband+phone) and been very happy with them. Unlike the masses, i thoroughly researched them before i joined and i knew that their phone support was pants....but their web forum support is very very good (UK based). Why did i join them? Simple...they are the only LLU broadband provider at my exchange, now i get 17 meg broadband with talktalk rather than 8 meg with a BT (spit) ip-stream based ADSL1 service. I would happily pay more to talktalk if it meant that their phone support improved drastically but i suspect the masses won't :(
Posted by bosie over 6 years ago
No surprises about Three either, they probably have the worst customer services of all the providers put together. Shame because they also have a unique product - better data allowance and no compression.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Actually you can get TT LLU via a reseller.


I'm with Three currently, I would only recommend them for PAYG/Sim Only, support-wise for changing addons etc. they've been very good.

For mobile broadband/contract it will always be Vodafone.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Complaints about TT do not just relate to persons who have opted for cheap internet. Don't forget that many of the complaints come from customers they have purchased such as Pipex, Nildram, F2F etc.

My parents were with Pipex but thanks to some back office errors their service was cut off. It took over 4 months before they were refunded and compensated for the error and they had to have a new line installed. Now I understand that error do get made from time to time but the way they were treated by the TT group was totalling unacceptable.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Doesn't necessarily have to be cheap to be bad, the ones you listed are terrible providers as well as BT/TT etc.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
I pay £25 for line rental + BB from Xilo, that's cheaper than TT although still via their system and the service is well...Xilo.
Posted by baby_frogmella over 6 years ago
"Posted by otester
I pay £25 for line rental + BB from Xilo, that's cheaper than TT"

Errrr....not quite. You are not comparing like for like. TalkTalk's plus package (around £27 pm) also includes free anytime landline calls, free 0845/0870 and free international calls to ANY landline or mobile (wink wink nudge nudge). Whereas Xilo's just includes basic line rental.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 6 years ago
A lot of Talk Talk's problems are down to over expansion they tried to expand customer numbers by both organic growth & take overs and made a mess of both. With the organic growth they took on more customers then they could sensible manage and then went in for take over which added to the problem as they then had a large number of different call centres & support & accounts systems and they have never really recovered from it
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

I use mobile for calls so that isn't an issue for me, equaling price, £2 gets you 4 hours call time and you also have English customer support.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Also a quick search will get you the 01/02/03 equivalent of 08 numbers and that doesn't include mobiles (yes I just checked).
Posted by baby_frogmella over 6 years ago
Well many people (incl myself) prefer a fully inclusive landline calls package due to the crystal clear call quality offered by a landline. Anyway i was only correcting you; you said Xilo's £25 broadband/line rental is cheaper than talktalk's equivalent. But Talktalk's nearest equivalent is "essentials" which is £20pm; though this has 40gb download allowance (xilo has 50gb) but also offers free evening/weekend calls (which Xilo doesn't)
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Guess it comes down to personal opinion, call quality over 3G is very good, well at least for me it is and the network quality + english support factored in as well...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Oh and the Xilo contract is only 1 month (£50 exit fee), considerably less than leaving TT.
Posted by mikeupd over 6 years ago
I'm so glad I kicked TT into touch about a year ago, absolute rubbish setup. Now with VM, no complaints.
Posted by starrken over 6 years ago
What are we talking about here, is it billing debacle or line performance.
All the problems I have had in 3 years with TT has been Openreach's final copper from the exchange.
Although I have to say that once reported from TT to Openreach, their repair service has been great. I had an outage one Friday and I saw the O/reach guy sitting at the access hole on the pavement at 10 at night. Would not even accept a cup of tea.
BTW, my monthly bill on Anytime hovers around £23 - 24 ish.
Posted by etass over 6 years ago
At least you have copper! The last BT engineer visiting our village in Somerset told me that our "last mile" is mainly, in fact nearly all aluminium cable! I'm approx 3.5 mls from the exchange and am lucky if I get 2Meg on my broadband. One of the joys of living in the country I guess. I'm with Madasafish (now part of Plusnet) and their service & support is good but they can't do anything about the aforesaid line conditions.
Posted by Royf over 6 years ago
Virgin media are a cable connection so should not be compared . I had the virgin land line broad band and the service and connections were awful. After an initial problem with talktalk I have no complaints at all and I have gone from 100k download via Virgin to 17 meg from TT and it is far cheaper with anytime calls including USA Canada and many other countries.
Posted by thexyone over 6 years ago
I can't wait for my contract to be finished with Talk Talk. The biggest mistake I made in years was signing up with them.
Posted by marcellarhughes over 6 years ago
I would like to sign up for a Business Broadband any suggestions for which ISP would be the best in UK? I have found a site which offers a business broadband please let me know if this is okay, here is the site:
Posted by alantt over 6 years ago
if you just use a mobile for all your calls
use 0800 number buster dial
012492000800(p) then the 0800 number then#
(p)=pause on your mobile
Posted by Guest_Again over 6 years ago
Tsk..Tsk is the worst ever. They should be stopped. End of.
Posted by 24042189 over 6 years ago
Well I cannot think what the fuss is all about, TALKTALK has been very good to me , sure they are cheaper but what the hell! I have good enough speed for all my needs, What do you want to do? Fly to Mars---
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