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TalkTalk comes off worst in Ofcom complaint stats

The company's landline and broadband services inspired more complaints to the telecoms regulator than those of any other major provider, Ofcom has said
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

TalkTalk's customers have lodged more complaints with Ofcom than those of any other landline and broadband provider, according to statistics from the telecoms regulator.

On Thursday, Ofcom said it receives a total of 450 complaints each day about mis-selling, billing errors, lack of service and customer service problems from customers of all companies.

Between October 2010 and February 2011, 1.78 out of every thousand TalkTalk customers complained to the regulator about the company's landline services — the second-worst figure was for BSkyB customers, with just 0.41 out of every thousand, while Virgin Media had the lowest level of complaints at 0.21 per thousand customers.

On the fixed broadband front, TalkTalk also had the highest level of complaints, at 1.27 complaints per thousand customers. BT Retail was next at 0.61 per thousand, while Virgin Media again had the lowest level at 0.2 complaints per thousand customers. Only the big four fixed-line providers were evaluated.

"Consumers should have access to as much information as possible to allow them to choose between providers and to take full advantage of the competition in the sector," Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said in a statement. "By publishing complaints data, Ofcom aims to provide useful information to consumers, and also to give telecoms providers an incentive to improve their customer service."

TalkTalk said on Thursday that it had "grown rapidly thanks to [its customers'] recommendation", but it recognised that, in the period in question, "not all customers received the service they deserved as we completed the complex task of moving [former Tiscali customers] to our network and a new billing platform".

We're sorry for the disruption caused and, while it's encouraging to see the number of complaints decreasing towards the end of this period, we continue to work tirelessly to improve.
– TalkTalk

"We're sorry for the disruption this caused and, while it's encouraging to see the number of complaints decreasing towards the end of this period, we continue to work tirelessly to improve," the company said.

Ofcom's data also covered the big five mobile operators: T-Mobile, Orange, 3, Vodafone and O2. Here, no operator inspired more than 0.15 complaints per thousand customers — the complaint level for 3. O2 had the lowest complaint levels, at 0.04 per thousand customers.

The regulator uses the complaints it receives to identify market problems rather than investigating specific complaints. Customers with an issue that needs resolving should complain to their provider first. If the problem remains unresolved after eight weeks, customers should take it to one of the two dispute resolution services — Cisas or Ombudsman Services: Communications.

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