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The telecoms sector is one of the most complained about industries in the UK, the Ombudsman Services have revealed.

According to the organisation, consumers made 55 million complaints against companies last year - three million more than in 2015.

Retail was the subject of the most grievances, accounting for 24 per cent of those received by the Ombudsman Services in 2016.

However, telecoms came second in the list, as it was responsible for 13 per cent of complaints.

This put it well ahead of the likes of energy, transport and banking when it came to angering customers.

The figure is particularly concerning for telecommunications providers such as broadband firms, as they may be in danger of losing these customers and never winning them back.

Indeed, 79 per cent of consumers polled said they would be unlikely to go back to a brand if it had handled their issue badly.

Another potential worry for consumer-facing businesses is that the number of complaints received by the Ombudsman Services might not be an entirely accurate reflection of customer satisfaction.

Figures showed that a further 75 million issues were ignored during 2016. More than a quarter of those who did not complain said they took no action because they could not be bothered, while one in five said they did not think they would be listened to.

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: "It is great that the government is pursuing a responsible capitalism agenda, but this research shows that much more needs to be done to make the customer 'king' from a customer service point of view. 

"The problem is that 63 per cent of consumers feel disillusioned and feel resigned to poor service, and no longer trust businesses to do the right thing.

"At the moment, consumers feel that complaining is often a waste of their time, because they see no change in the behaviour of big business. By putting consumers at the heart of what they do, businesses can prevent customers from taking their custom elsewhere, which is good for consumers and good for business." 

In the broadband sector specifically, BT, Plusnet and EE were recently identified by Ofcom as the most complained about providers in the third quarter of 2016.

The total volume of complaints it received about landline and broadband providers went up between Q2 and Q3 2016.

BT was the most complained about broadband provider during this period, with 36 complaints per 100,000 subscribers between July and September.

Plusnet was responsible for 30 complaints per 100,000 subscribers, while EE racked up 26 complaints per 100,000 subscribers. These were all above the industry average of 20 complaints for every 100,000 customers.

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