Virgin Media gathers most complaints in Q3 2023

25 January 2024 16:11   By Lyndsey Burton

Ofcom's latest quarterly complaints data shows Virgin Media received the most complaints for broadband, landline, and pay TV services.

Virgin Media received the most complaints to Ofcom of all major providers in the third quarter of 2023 for their broadband, landline, and pay TV services.

NOW Broadband and TalkTalk were also called out for receiving higher than average complaint levels, although TalkTalk has improved in broadband and pay TV sectors.

Sky again received the fewest complaints for broadband, landline, and mobile, while TalkTalk's TV service beat Sky to least complained about pay TV provider.

ofcom mobile phone
Source: Ofcom

Most complained about

Virgin Media was the most complained about provider for the Q3 2023 complaint figures, receiving 32 complaints per 100,000 customers for broadband, more than twice the industry average of 15.

They also received 19 complaints per 100,000 customers for landline, with an industry average of 8, and 20 complaints per 100,000 customers for pay TV, with an industry average of 7.

The complaint figures are noticeably high, with the second most complained about broadband provider, NOW Broadband, receiving 18 complaints.

Virgin Media's complaints have been fairly steady for a while now, with the last spike in the first quarter of 2021. At the time, Virgin Media said they had made a number of improvements to their customer service, including hiring more than 500 care agents, and that complaint figures had then decreased by 70%.

The reason for the latest spike seems to be mostly due to Ofcom's announcement they were investigating Virgin Media in July 2023. Fergal Farragher, Ofcom's Consumer Protection Director, said, "The launch of our investigation into Virgin Media in July, looking at difficulty cancelling and complaints handling, has led to more customers coming forward to share their experiences with us."

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson also said, "Our number one priority is to provide an excellent service to our customers, and we accept that the rise in complaints in the third quarter falls far short of our expectations.

"As Ofcom acknowledges, the rise is largely due to its investigation announcement in July which subsequently generated a higher number of complaints than would ordinarily be expected. However, it should be noted that overall complaints about Virgin Media and O2 products still represent a very small proportion of our customer base.

"As well as engaging fully with Ofcom's ongoing investigation, we are investing in every area of our business to give our customers the best possible experience, with a real focus on resolving any issues at the first time of getting in touch and making it easier for them to get support when they need it."

Other providers

Virgin Media aren't the only provider showing slight cause for concern, with complaints increasing for NOW Broadband too.

NOW Broadband received 18 complaints per 100,000 customers for broadband, and 11 complaints for 100,000 customers for landline, making them the second most complained about provider for both services.

Complaints per 100,000 customers Q3 2023
Sky 5
EE 9
BT 11
Plusnet 11
Shell Energy 13
Vodafone 15
TalkTalk 15
NOW Broadband 18
Virgin Media 32
Industry average 15

Ofcom don't give a reason for the rise in complaints against NOW Broadband, with the increase in complaints over complaint handling largely driven by Virgin Media.

When NOW Broadband entered Ofcom's complaints data in Q1 2022 they had below average complaints, with just 8 complaints per 100,000 customers. Since then, they've remained fairly steady, consistently reporting below or in line with the industry average.

It's also noticeable that the parent company of NOW Broadband is customer service super heroes Sky, so it's a shame their untarnished track record isn't being passed down to NOW.

Sky once again had the fewest complaints for broadband, landline and mobile services, while they came second for pay TV complaints beaten only by TalkTalk's TV service.

Shell Energy Broadband, TalkTalk, and Vodafone, have all shown improvements since being the most complained about provider in Q2 2022, Q1 2023, and Q2 2023 respectively.


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