Telecoms complaints up 16% on last year

by Communications Team | Jan 12, 2015

  • Complaints made in 2014 rise 16% on 2013 levels
  • Service related complaints most popular

Thousands of mobile phone and broadband users have experienced frustrating problems as demonstrated by the rising number of complaints recorded in 2014, which rose 16% on levels recorded during the previous year.

The total number of complaints made to Ombudsman Services: Communications, the largest dispute resolution service operating in the telecoms industry, which covers 826 telecoms companies, reached 18,616 in 2014, its highest on record.

The number one grievance for customers was problems relating to their network coverage, including loss of service, which accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of all complaints (5,239)  - an increase of 45% compared to 2013 numbers (3,621). Issues with contracts were also a source of pain for customers, responsible for 18% of all complaints received (3,427) – representing a 27% rise on 2013 levels (2,702).

Despite an overall rise in the number of complaints recorded, those relating to customer service fell by 38% compared to the previous year, suggesting that companies are making improvements in the way they deal with customers. Ombudsman Services handled 3,239 complaints in 2014, accounting for 17% of all complaints.

Ombudsman Services: Communications can investigate disputes that have been ongoing for eight weeks or more or those that have reached deadlock stage. Consumers must contact their supplier directly in the first instance before approaching the ombudsman.

Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith commented: “It is encouraging to see that the number of complaints owing to problems with customer service has fallen on the previous year’s levels suggesting that companies have been working hard to improve the way they deal with customers. However 2014 represents a record number of complaints in total, so there’s still more to be done to improve overall standards.

“It’s important for consumers to know where to go if they do have an unresolved issue and to know that they have somewhere to turn if things do go wrong. Our message is clear, if a customer raises a problem with their supplier and the complaint remains unresolved after eight weeks then we are here to help. Our service is impartial, easy to use and completely free to the customer regardless of the outcome.”