BT tops broadband and pay-TV complaints again

BT Image copyright BT
Image caption BT attracted a high level of complaints despite promising users "faster wi-fi connections" than rivals

BT has continued its run as the UK's most complained about home broadband provider, according to data from the regulator Ofcom.

The company attracted 28 complaints per 100,000 customers for the service across the months of April to June.

That meant BT was ranked worst out of the UK's major six providers for the fifth quarter in a row, despite the figure being lower than for the previous period.

Its pay-TV service also struggled.

BT TV attracted 13 complaints per 100,000 subscribers over the three months. The service has now had more complaints than its rivals in every Ofcom report since mid-2015.

The industry average figures for the second quarter were:

  • 21 complaints per 100,000 customers for broadband
  • four complaints per 100,000 customers for pay TV

Ofcom's data represents only complaints consumers have chosen to escalate by referring them to the watchdog - and not those sent to individual firms or separate ombudsmen - so probably underplay the level of discontent.

The body does not publish details about individual cases.

But it said that common grievances against BT had included:

  • technical faults
  • billing issues
  • the way it had handled complaints made to its own staff

"We apologise to customers we've let down," said BT in a statement.

"We care about service and we've invested heavily to make improvements, including hiring 2,200 extra people, which is helping us answer calls more quickly than ever before - over eight out of 10 are now being answered in the UK and Ireland."

Ofcom's consumer policy chief did not refer to BT by name in her summary, but appeared to signal she wanted further action.

"We expect providers, particularly those who have been consistently under-performing, to make service quality and complaints handling their number one priority," said Jane Rumble.

One market-watcher noted that BT's broadband service shared the same infrastructure - provided by its Openreach division - as Sky and EE, which were the two least complained about providers.

"The data we have from speed tests indicates BT isn't giving people a worse experience than others," said Andrew Ferguson from the ThinkBroadband news website.

"That suggests it's not got a broadband problem so much as a customer-service one - including the length of time it leaves people on hold... or worse when people try to call support, it takes them four or five times to get through."

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