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Oftel complaints stats bad news for 3, BT, Vodafone

Some customer service bright spots but unanswered complaints a no-no
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

Some customer service bright spots but unanswered complaints a no-no

Telecoms regulator Oftel has published its consumer complaints figures – and the picture isn't rosy for 3, Vodafone and BT's internet units.

When it comes to whinges about ISPs, BT Openworld and BT Broadband clocked up the most complaints per 1,000 users at 0.7, while on the mobile front, Vodafone acquisition Cellular Operations picked up the Oftel wooden spoon with 1.4.

When it comes to who actually had the most complaints, third-generation operator 3 could well be in the lead. Oftel said that while it had received 552 complaints about Hutchison Whampoa's UK 3 network, it didn't have customer numbers to allow it to perform an accurate comparison. Back in August, 3 announced that it had 155,000 customers – which would put it bottom of the league at around 2.8 grumbles per 1000.

The most common complaint made about mobile companies was the fact that customers were ignored when they complained, followed by objections over pricing and handsets. The white knight of the mobile operator world turned out to be Virgin Mobile, which didn't even manage a whole 0.1 complaint per 1,000 users.

On the internet side, customers most often aired their grievances to Oftel over billing – but the second biggest bugbear dogging web users was a sporadic or non-existent broadband connection, followed again by companies adopting the "La la la, I can't hear you" approach to their users' complaints.

However, moans about ISPs have actually dropped by around 12 per cent since six months ago, racking up 4,700 this time round, compared to 5,325. The winners of the best web customer service award are two of the largest ISPs, according to the Oftel numbers – AOL and Telewest – who only managed to get 0.1 complaint per 1,000 users each.

The statistics cover complaints made by business and residential users to the watchdog from 1 April to 3 September.

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