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TalkTalk claims wooden spoon for highest level of broadband gripes

Three UK scores most complaints to watchdog in mobile market

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Communications watchdog Ofcom placed TalkTalk at the the top of the list of companies it had received complaints about from UK broadband and landline customers between October 2010 and February this year.

It said TalkTalk had notched up 1.78 gripes per 1,000 of its landline customers during that period.

"Ofcom saw a peak in complaints about TalkTalk Group in November 2010, following its investigation into the company for incorrectly billing consumers for cancelled services," said the regulator.

Virgin Media fared much better in the report, with the least number (0.21 grumbles per 1,000 customers) of complaints about its landline service.

It said 0.37 per 1,000 BT Retail customers had grumbled to Ofcom, compared with gripes of 0.42 per 1,000 BSkyB punters.

To further stick the boot in, TalkTalk unceremoniously scored highest in the fixed broadband category too.

Ofcom said 1.27 per 1,000 TalkTalk customers lodged complaints with the watchdog about the telco's broadband service between October last year and February 2011.

Many of those gripes also peaked in November due to the aforementioned TalkTalk billing debacle.

Virgin Media again claimed the bottom spot in that market, with just 0.20 complaints per 1,000 of the cable company's customers.

Of every 1,000 BT Retail broadband customers, 0.61 of them complained to Ofcom. The regulator also said that 0.39 per 1,000 BSkyB customers contacted the regulator to moan about that service.

In the UK mobile market, Three UK came out as the phone operator with the biggest number of complaints received by Ofcom between October 2010 and February this year.

It notched up 0.15 gripes per 1,000 customers, with T-Mobile just scraping in behind Three UK with 0.13 complaints per 1,000 punters lodged with Ofcom.

Orange, Vodafone and O2 complaints all came in under 0.10 per 1,000 customers, the regulator found.

Notably, Ofcom received far fewer complaints from mobile phone users compared with landline and fixed broadband customers.

The name-and-shame exercise aimed at telcos with 5 per cent or more market share is a new approach from the communications watchdog, which fields about 450 telecoms complaints a day from UK customers.

"This is the first of what we intend to develop into a series of quarterly complaints publications. The initial data is relatively limited in scope and we propose to develop the approach over time. This will enable us to publish more detailed data and data for a larger number of providers in due course," said Ofcom.

So, while Virgin Media's flacks may be celebrating today's Ofcom report (PDF) by cracking open an Easter egg or two, the story could be quite different in the next quarter given all the brouhaha Vulture Central has fielded about the company's Superhub modem/router box in recent months. ®

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