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Your view: your biggest broadband and phone complaints

Blue post-it notes with sad faces drawn on

This week, we’re discussing the biggest complaints you’ve got about your broadband, mobile and phone providers. Has your provider turned a bad experience into a good one?

After we revealed Britain’s top five biggest broadband and phone complaints, you shared your experiences – good and bad – with us.

Irene Bunce hasn’t had much luck with her broadband:

‘BT Infinity is rubbish at times. I can not get on the internet and it’s slow. As soon as the 18 months is up I will change.’

Linda had a bad experience with Plusnet:

‘I moved from Plusnet Value to Plusnet fibre. I found their customer service on par with Carphone Warehouse – i.e. rubbish. Not what I had come to expect from Plusnet. I had to purchase an additional piece of equipment to be able to operate my systems. Will be changing as soon as my contract period is up because of how they treated me.’

Taking the rough with the smooth

Some people had mixed experiences with their suppliers, like David:

‘The main problem I have with Virgin Media is the video buffering. Website videos like YouTube, BBC iPlayer etc always have trouble loading, but everything else is otherwise very fast.’

Christhompson would like to see his prices go down a bit:

‘I have been with Virgin Media for years and overall I find they are OK, but not that cheap. In the past, getting through to complain has been a slow process but waiting times seem to have greatly reduced and the quality of customer service has also improved.

‘I think that more competition from BT may have caused this to improve as we now have a real choice of service. My service dropped for three days recently and Virgin offered a reduction on my subscription for that period and called me once the problem had been rectified.’

Turning problems around

Some commenters turned a bad experience into a positive one by switching to new providers, including Rosemary:

‘At this very moment, I have a BT engineer changing our system so we can move from Virgin Media to Plusnet. This is on the advice of relatives who say we can halve our monthly Virgin bill, which is very expensive.’

Trilly is also having better luck after switching:

‘I received the Which? Broadband survey and put down I was happy with Virgin Media. Two hours later, I opened a letter advising my monthly premium had gone up by nearly £7-a-month. In the contract it says you have 30 days to cancel if Virgin increase the price, which I did. Phone, broadband and TV and went to BT. We already had a BT phone line and I am saving a minimum of £30 a month from what we paid Virgin.’

Alan tried a less well-known supplier and came up trumps:

‘It’s not right at all that they put prices up mid contract. However, Im glad my broadband contract was up because I was having a terrible time with Sky Broadband. Speeds were slow. It kept dropping out and no amount of call outs seem to fix it.

‘There was no Virgin Media in my postcode so I decide to try Yoursuresave broadband. I called them up on 11 January and it was installed a couple of days ago. So far, everything is great. My son is overjoyed with his Xbox connection.’

We agree that prices shouldn’t be raised mid-contract, which is why we launched our Fixed Means Fixed campaign last year. Congratulations Alan – you’re this week’s Comment of the Week and will be featured on the Which? Convo homepage!

Have you suffered many problems with your mobile, phone and broadband provider? Have you managed to solve the problem by switching?


Hate the inability (or is it unwillingness) of providers (especially BT) to answer direct questions with proper answers

I hate TalkTalk.

richard says:
5 February 2013

I really like Virgin Media – Very reliable and consistent – excellent fast help line with knowledgeable engineers speaking English – On the two times the system failed in something like 20 years (I was the first in my area to sign up when the cable was laid (as Cable and Wireless) it was repaired the next day . In comparison to BT it is brilliant. BT was completely and utterly unreliable and completely rubbish – It was so bad many Bulletin Boards (Before the Internet) refused to allow me to connect as the poor connections put THEM off air – not to mention billing mistakes like charging me for reverse charge charges – I would never ever use BT again.

Annie says:
9 February 2013

Am so disappointed with Pluset. My experience of registering with them recently on behalf of an elderly relative has not been a good one. I was given incorrect information to begin with and since then have had to constanrly chase them up. There appears to be a lack of communication between departments and no hurry to progress things once you’ve signed up and made the initial payments. For an elderly person with only a mobile phone at the moment, to have to deal with this would have been impossible. I’ve spent ages on the phone answering the same questions and we are still waiting for the phone to be connected. One very unhappy custemer!

Plusnet seemed to have been better a few years ago. The call wait one night last week was 45 mins at 9.00pm. I had a disagreement with them. I had stated that I was moving house, and needed phone and broadband at the new address. They informed me that fibre was not available at the location as the BT box had insufficient cabling which may be resolved shortly. Fair enough. They offered me a slow broadband + phone contract – line only which I accepted without question. I then found my call charges shooting up. I had originally been on free evening and weekends. This had gone with the new line only contract. I did not ask for it to be removed, nor do I recall them specifically telling me it would be removed – I would have objected. Evenings and weekend had previously cost £17.99 monthly (+ fibre charge) and was apparently replaced by a new charge of £18.99 for line only + a separate broadband charge. Plusnet insisted that line only was explanation enough. You must not only read their statements, but interpret them or read between the lines. When questioned, they admitted that If I had stayed at the old address, my contract would have been unchanged. They have now offered certain changes which appear to improve matters. However, I still object to what I perceive as subterfuge. Your elderly relative is fortunate to have you to intercede on their behalf. I can no longer recommend them. The words Caveat Emptor come to mind.

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Hi Jennifer. I’m so glad I won comment of the week. 🙂

My advice to anyone who is unhappy would be to switch to a new provider if you possibly can because things won’t change unless you make them.

It’s far less stress switching suppliers than it is putting up with the same terrible connection for ages.


David Braddick says:
5 March 2013

In February I decided to save some money by switching from BT Infinity to Sky’s equivalent. At first all went well and a switchover date of 15 feb was established. However thing soon started to go wrong, and they having told BT to sever my service on feb 14th Sky then delayed my order, thus denying me a broadband service. I was so annoyed with them that I cancelled my order with them and told them I was reverting to BT. I duly order a reconnection with BT and was given a commencement date of March 5, I.e. today. This morning I was told the start up had been put back to March 15 th, both companies blaming the other for this.

Conclusion, you cannot get a cigarette paper between them, they both are totally inept, neither is capable of delivering what they promise, maybe I should give Virgin a try!

KK says:
7 May 2013

Whatever you do I wouldn’t consider going near Virgin!

Sometime last week Virgin (whilst finally supposedly repairing our intermittent phone service) decided that they should take away the phone number we have had for two years and give it to some business. They did this without consulting or informing us and refuse to restore the number!

Would you want to do business with a company that feels that they can change your phone number at will?

Virgin are a disaster.

Robin Redbreast says:
20 March 2013

Plusnet service has deteriorated significantly. Long waits on the telephone support line – I heard a recorded message apologising for the estimated wait of 30 minutes due to floods of enquiries from Scotland where they acknowledged a continuing problem. When I finally spoke to an advisor she told me the delay was because they had “lots of offers on at the moment”. By the time I got through I was ready to cancel the whole phone and broadband service. I was offered the direct line number for Customer Services but told that it would be the same line as the one she could transfer me to. It turned out that she expected me to get fed up of waiting and having the direct line number would allow me to get straight into the queue without having to select options on the keypad – sad when they anticipate poor service levels and the best they can do is save you 20 seconds before an indeterminate wait. I’m typing this after 20 minutes.

Robin Redbreast says:
20 March 2013

Plusnet have just put me in another “music” queue after taking my cancellation instructions so I can find out how much to pay them – 5 minutes into that wait now after 20 minutes waiting to tell them I’m cancelling. Can’t wait to switch to Zen.

Robin Redbreast says:
20 March 2013

Plusnet finally managed to cancel my account after 57 minutes on the phone – I had to pay £25 to be “released from BT” – another charge that I wasn’t expecting – no doubt it was there in the small print.

GordonW says:
28 March 2013

My daughter recently transferred to plusnet. It was at my recommendation but unfortunately the service provided by plus net has been appalling. They messed up on her transfer which took a much longer time than is reasonable. Shortly after the transfer south east water cut her cable on the 13 March and it appears as if it will not be until mid april before it is restored. This is due to them subcontracting the repair to BT whose engineer turned up without anyone having told her that they were coming. Despite this error on their part and the BT engineer subsequently ringing plusnet to say he could revisit they have insisted on rescheduling through the system which means another 2 weeks delay. Throughout they have been very unhelpful with long delays waiting to get through on the phone.

Last November I decided to move away from BT for phone & broadband, but was then offered a huge reduction by BT – so I stayed with them. In January I received a letter from BT offering free Infinity (for 12 months) including free router, new hub, new cabling if necessary and new socket.
Within a couple of weeks an engineer arrived but advised that a new external cable needed to be run to the rear (where the PC is) but he was not allowed to do this.
Over the next 4 months I had 5 engineers (plus 1 who failed to turn up) who either could not use ladders, did not know what to do, or had the bright idea to cut existing internal cabling only to find that this did not work and resulted in gradual slowing and then complete loss of our broadband.

These were all subcontactors and finally we got a real BT engineer. He decided he could just as easily run a new cable and connect us to Infinity. Success ? well not really when we discovered that an upstairs extension phone no longer rang. Initially BT claimed this was my responsibility and I would be charged, but (sub contractor) engineer No 1 could not work out the problem but (proper) engineer No 2 discovered that 2 wires had been transposed when the new Infinity socket was installed.
Success ? well not really. During the 6+ months that all this had been going on BT billed for the free Infinity (that we had not had) , imposed a penalty for premature termination of the previous contract and charged for calls that should have been free under my anytime calls contract.
Eventually after hours of calls, emails and finally a letter ( as a shareholder) to the Chairman, I think I finally got matters sorted plus a small amount of compensation – but with each bill running to many pages with literally dozens of adjustments it would need a forensic accountant to be sure.

The wireless connection of the new hub is not as reliable as the old and we see no beneifts from the increased speed so propose to cancel Infinity next month – if I can face the likely trauma !!

Why didn’t you go to Trading Standards or the small claims court in month 4 or 5?

cheryl says:
12 October 2013

Ive had bt for nearly seven months,at new address.My broadband didn’t work properly,from the start,i could only read emails,and id be lucky,if a page opened.My phone sounded,as if it had water in it.I couldn’t hear anyone properly.For months bt passed me,from post to post,saying it was me,and there was nothing wrong with my line,or broadband.The customer service team,were really rude and kept me waiting for hours on end.I gave them what for,as sick of them.Allways the manger is just coming,Its 100% sorted.Nearly 7 months later,a engineer,came to my house and said my broadband was running as near 0,and there was a fault with part of my line and the wires outside my house,and along street ,right the way to the park behind my house.He was in my street from 10 am till 3pm.He replaced my cable and cables outside.Bt only offered me £30 refund for the whole time,and said notes had only been written on my account since july,although they noted ,there was one note from march.I cant wait for contract to end in march,as ill never use them again.

When you first noticed the problem, did you ask the voice side or broadband side of BT to fix it?

Line faults should always be fixed by the voice side. They’ll look at it properly.

cheryl says:
12 October 2013

The next day 3 bt vans in the village fixing?

Pay in advance for line rental with Virgin Media and it is £120 for the year instead of £180. They wrote to me telling me to pay in advance again before 1 December 2013. Except my previous year in advance was to 19 Jan 2014. So I have now paid 14 months in advance. RIP OFF! I don’t know why the year in advance wasn’t renewable at the end of my current year, not two months before it runs out.

Can’t imagine why Plusnet get a good rating for customer service – it is quite appalling! After getting an inadequate answer to my problem from the Help Assistant I have tried phoning at various times over the last three days. Crack of dawn Sunday morning – on hold with hideous loud music for so long I gave up, 8a..m. 20 mornings running – waiting time 30 minutes! I do not believe they have so many customers waiting at that early hour – they simply do not have enough call staff.

I have emailed constantly and still getting no reply. The only reason I can’t contemplate changing is the prospect of endless hours on the phone.

Chris B says:
14 December 2013

I have had similar problems to others with Plusnet. My broadband came on line OK, but I had terrible problems with the voice side of it. I am now 51 days in, and one letter to the CEO, and I still do not have the features I ordered and paid for. Wait times on the call centre are generally 20-30 mins; the staff are friendly but ineffectual and they do not reply to their messaging service.

Brian P says:
20 May 2014

I was with Orange broadband for 11 years and the last month I was getting 0.2 meg it was so slow I could not even listen to the radio on my PC.I decided to leave and I was given two invalid mac codes this dragged out over seven weeks.As an interim service I decided to have 3G mobile broadband.I paid £36 at PC world and according to the contract I was to pay £15.99 a month for 5 gig of use. After three days I was cut off I phoned the call centre and they said I would have to pay £19.20 which I paid.So I thought I would just use my PC to check bank balance and E-mails.Two days later I was cut off again I phoned call centre and paid another £30,two days later I was cut off again and paid £40 the very next day I was cut off again.I phoned up and had a big row with them and told them I would cancel the direct debit.So I would warn any body to stay away from 3G mobile broadband

John Wignall says:
23 August 2014

EzeTalk have made me an offer for phone and broadband service at
a huge reduction to my current BT deal. Can anyone with experience of
their service comment on their level of satisfaction or otherwise.

I have BT You View. Yesterday as soon as I turned the TV on I got a full screen advert for Television X which is a hard core porn site. How come BT allows this intrusive and offensive advertising?

Just received a BT bill today where at the very end of the bill they have tagged on “Total outstanding from previous bills £48.93”, which was puzzling as I’ve paid all BT bills to date. When I rang BT today about our account I was told we do not owe this £48.93 , and that this £48.93 is not showing on our account. BT was not able to tell me what this £48.93 actually was. If I had not questioned the bill or if I’d been a customer with memory issues we would have been £48.93 poorer. I asked the BT account operative to make a note of this issue as it may be effecting other BT customers.

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There are scam emails doing the rounds that look like they come from real companies that you might deal with so this one might not actually come from BT. They will expect you to log into your account to check the amount outstanding, but could be a copycat BT login page.

If you hover over the links, do they look odd? Did you click any of the links?

I think that is a highly likely explanation, Alfa. This could be a clever scam with an amount pitched just below £50 so it might not arouse any immediate concerns.