/ Technology

Britain’s biggest broadband and phone complaints

Phone customers in maze

Broken broadband router? Internet unexpectedly cut off? Out-of-the-blue price increase? Poor customer service that doesn’t actually fix your problem? If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone.

I’m not really a home phone user, but my broadband and mobile are both invaluable to me, so if something goes wrong it’s a right old pain.

Well, in the past six months we’ve had nearly 1,000 complaints from Which? members about broadband, home phone and mobile providers. The most common problems over all these services were revealed to be…

Top five broadband and phone complaints

Character with phone‘My provider’s putting up the price but I’m still in contract’ – providers can raise prices periodically even if you’re in a fixed contract. Some won’t let you exit without penalty. We think that’s wrong and we’re campaigning for fixed to mean fixed.

‘My broadband router or phone has stopped working’ – many broadband and mobile deals come with a router or handset as part of the price, but if it goes wrong it can seem difficult to get it replaced or fixed.

‘I’ve received poor customer service’ – this can cover a wide number of complaints, but if it boils down to you feeling that you’re being treated badly by a company you’re paying to provide you with a service, something’s gone very wrong.

‘My service has been cut off unexpectedly’ – whether you’ve been cut off by mistake or your broadband or phone network has gone down, it can be very frustrating.

‘I have problems with my billing’ – have you ever seen charges you don’t recognise popping up on your bill? Maybe you’ve been faced with a huge bill for data or calls?

We took these top complaints to 2,000 members of the general public, and overall one in 10 said they had experienced one of these above problems. Of course, there are problems that don’t cross all telecoms services. Our survey found that the top mobile phone complaint was poor network coverage, and the top broadband service complaint were connection problems and slow speeds.

Which customers are most likely to have problems?

Our research found that broadband customers seem to suffer the most, with half of the people we asked saying they had a problem last year.

As for the broadband companies that people are most likely to have problems with, our survey found that over the past year it was AOL Broadband and Orange. For mobile phones, it was Vodafone. And, as far as home phones go, it was Sky. Are you surprised by the appearance of any of these companies?

Customer service is key

All of the above problems are potentially as annoying as each other, but it’s poor customer service that I find most infuriating. After all, if you have a problem, you want to get it sorted. If your provider doesn’t seem helpful, that can be very frustrating.

I’m not saying that encountering a problem isn’t a pain, but if you can make a simple phone call to your provider and have it sorted in a matter of minutes then I probably wouldn’t think of them too badly. In fact, I might actually come away from the experience feeling more positive about them. Sadly it can often take days, weeks, even months of poor customer service and chasing to get a straight answer – never mind the problem actually being solved.

Have you suffered from any of the above broadband and phone problems? Do you have any top tips for getting a problem solved quickly?

alison says:
24 October 2016

I have just signed up with think telecom, anyone ant dealings with this company, seems a bit to good to be true.

Think IT simple Limited
I have been cold called by this company and through a voluminous sales talk they led me think they are a part of BT which they are not (I googled it after the call). I agreed on the phone to transfer service to them, but after receiving their “paperwork” by post the next day, I changed my mind. I could not really understand the offer, it was not clear whether the billing for broadband stays with BT which would mean being billed by both BT and Think IT Simple. So I declined the offer and stayed with BT.

Have just been cold called by them, and wonder what is your experience after a couple of months?

Philip, you are better doing your own research and contacting them directly yourself if you are interested. Cold calling telecoms companies are often not who they say they are and it is never a good idea to enter into any financial transaction from a cold call.

I have regularly got calls from “o2” to renew my contract for several years now. If they were o2, they would know I didn’t have a contract, and when questioned they do admit they are calling on behalf of o2 which is probably another lie.