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Sky outperforms all other UK providers in Ofcom's latest complaints report

Sky outperforms all other UK providers in Ofcom's latest complaints report

Ofcom’s latest complaints report reveals the providers that have been the most and least complained-about in recent times.

It remains a great resource if you’re looking for more information about UK broadband, pay-TV, landline and mobile services — highlighting trends in complaints and which providers need to work to improve their customer experience.

The most recent report looks at the figures for January - March 2021, which is when the UK was in its third national lockdown. While we were more familiar with working from home and staying indoors by this point, the need for a good broadband service was still very important.

This was made clear in the report, as broadband and landline complaints hit a three-year high. Meanwhile, complaints about pay-TV services also increased, whereas complaints about mobile services remained mostly stable.

Volume of customer complaints - Ofcom

But which provider did the best, and which did the worst?

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Virgin Media receives the highest number of complaints for all its services

One of the driving factors behind the jump in the total number of customer complaints was the number levied against Virgin Media services.

Complaint broadband ofcom

Unfortunately, it was Virgin Media’s name at the bottom of each list, receiving the most complaints for broadband, landline, and pay-TV services; though it performed slightly better than Three when it came to mobile service complaints.

There is quite a significant difference between Virgin Media and the next runner-up in both fixed broadband and pay-TV complaints. Virgin Media received 33 complaints per 100,000 customers for fixed broadband, compared to 24 for both TalkTalk and Vodafone.

For pay-TV complaints, Virgin Media received 17 per 100,000 customers; a big jump up from BT’s eight and a long way off the top-performer Sky which received only two per 100,000 customers.

Complaints pay tv ofcom

The main complaint drivers for Virgin Media’s broadband service were complaints handling (39%); fault, service, and provisioning issues (33%); and billing, pricing, and charging issues (13%).

It was a similar case for both landline and pay-TV complaints, with complaints handling being the main driver for both services, causing 31% and 47% of complaints respectively.

However, it's not all bad news. The impact of the COVID lockdown was felt hard by providers, and the results of Ofcom's report could be just what some providers need to re-invest in their services.

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.”

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Sky tops the list in all four categories

Complaints Landline ofcom

Virgin Media’s biggest competitor is arguably Sky, which offers the most comparable telecoms services. Fortunately for Sky customers, it maintained its position with the least complaints per 100,000 customers across all four telecoms services: fixed broadband, pay-TV, landline and mobiles services.

While it tied with other providers for first place in most categories, Sky’s performance across the board is both impressive and consistent. The satellite TV and broadband provider is one of the largest and most-established providers in the UK, and it appears to be doing a decent job at keeping its customers happy.

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Customer service is more important than ever

The past 18 months haven’t been easy for anyone, and broadband providers were put under a lot of pressure from the very start of lockdown to deliver and maintain services that were very much a lifeline to those stuck at home.

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.”

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