When something goes wrong with your mobile phone or broadband service, resolving the issue can often be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal. It can mean hours of waiting on hold and writing endless emails, and this can often make you more frustrated than you were about the problem in the first place.
If you’re wondering how best to complain about your mobile or broadband provider, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to make a complaint and get your problem resolved.
Step 1: Contact your provider
When you’re frustrated with your service, be it over a slowdown in speeds or a billing issue, you might want to storm off directly to a higher authority. However, your first step when something goes wrong should always be to contact your provider directly.
Most mobile and broadband providers have a procedure in place for dealing with complaints, which can usually be found on the help pages of their websites. Before you pick up the phone, make sure you read up on the company’s procedure and work out in advance what you want them to do to resolve the issue.
When you speak to your provider, it’s a good idea to write down the time and date of your calls, the names of the people you speak to and the details of what was said. These may be needed down the line if you’re forced to escalate the case.
It’s also important to keep records of the issue you’re having. If, for example, your broadband connection is providing intermittent service, keep a note of the times and dates that the connection fails.
Below are all the contact details you’ll need to get in touch with your provider:
Contact BT’s customer service
By phone: 0330 123 4567 (mobile), 0800 111 4567 (landline)
By post: BT Correspondence Centre, Providence Row, Durham, DH98 1BT
Online: You can contact BT via a form on its website.
Contact EE’s customer service
By phone: 0800 079 0126 (mobile), 0800 079 0125 (landline)
By post: EE Customer Services, 6 Camberwell Way, Sunderland Tyne and Wear, SR3 3XN
Online: EE runs a live chat service and has a complaints form on its website.
Contact O2’s customer service
By phone: 222 (mobile), 0344 8090202 (landline)
Online: O2 runs a live chat service on its website.
Contact Sky’s customer service
By phone: 0333 759 2883 (mobile), landline (03300 413 019)
By post: Customer Complaints, Sky Subscribers Services Ltd, PO Box 43, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 7DD
Contact TalkTalk’s customer service
By phone: 0345 172 0088
By post: TalkTalk (TTR), PO Box 675, Salford, M5 0NL
By email: email@example.com
Online: TalkTalk runs a live chat service on its website.
Contact Three’s customer service
By phone: 333 (mobile), 0333 338 1001 (landline)
By post: Three Customer Complaints, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, PO Box 333, Glasgow, G2 9AG
Online: Three runs a live chat service on its website.
Contact Virgin Media’s customer service
By phone: 0345 454 1111
By post: Virgin Media, Sunderland, SR43 4AA
Online: You can fill in a complaints form on the Virgin Media website
Contact Vodafone’s customer service
By phone: 033 33 040 441
By post: Customer Relations Manager, Vodafone Limited, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Online: You can fill in a complaints form on the Vodafone website.
Step 2: Make a formal complaint
According to Ofcom, which doesn’t deal with individual complaints regarding mobile or broadband service, the next thing you should do if you’re still unhappy is to go through your provider’s formal complaints procedure. If you don’t receive a reply within a reasonable amount of time, or the company provides an unsatisfactory response, it’s time to escalate the case further.
Step 3. Letter of deadlock
If your problem can’t be resolved by dealing with your mobile or broadband provider directly, ask them for a ‘letter of deadlock’.
This document is a written final response from the service provider, which may be sent to you via post, email or a text message.
You have 12 months from the date of the letter to pursue your complaint with an ombudsman, also known as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme or ADR.
Step 4. Contact the Ombudsman
If eight weeks have passed since you first formally complained, or your provider has sent you a letter of deadlock stating they are not going to investigate your complaint further, you can contact the ombudsman.
There are two ombudsman services that deal with mobile phone and broadband complaints: The Communication and Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) and Ombudsman Services: Communications. Using these ADR schemes is free of charge.
Find out which one your mobile provider belongs to, as this will be the one you'll need to use to escalate your complaint. You can do this on the Ofcom website.
It’s worth noting that these ombudsman schemes only deal with complaints about providers, not about third-party retailers such as the Carphone Warehouse or Currys PC World.
When contacting the ombudsman, be it via letter or online complaints form, make sure you include all of the following information:
Your full name and address
Full name and address of your mobile provider
Full details of your complaint and what the company did/didn’t do
How you’ve been affected (personal injustice, financial loss, hardship or inconvenience)
What you want your mobile provider to do to put things right.
Copies of any relevant letters, emails, invoices or receipts.
Below are the contact details you’ll need:
By phone: 020 7520 3814
Online: You can fill in a complaints form on the CISAS website.
Contact Ombudsman Services: Communications
By phone: 0330 440 1614
By post: Ombudsman Services: Communications, PO Box 730, Warrington, WA4 6WU
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online: You can fill in a complaints form on the Ombudsman Services: Communications website.
Step 4. The waiting game
Once the ombudsman has examined the evidence provided by both sides, it will write to you and the company with details of the ‘award’. If the award is in your favour, this will include details of what the company must do to put things right, be it issuing an apology or providing financial reimbursement.