back to article In a surprise to no one, BT and TalkTalk top Ofcom's whinge-list

BT and TalkTalk are the providers most moaned about, according to UK comms regulator Ofcom's quarterly whinge data between April and June – a result that will surprise no one. Ofcom receives 300 complaints a day for mobile, broadband, phone and paid TV services. Out of every 100,000 customers for fixed broadband services, BT …

  1. Whitter

    Compenation for failure to provide minimum target, not pretendy maxima

    "The regulator has proposed requiring providers to pay automatic compensation to landline and broadband customers who suffer slow repairs, late installations or missed engineer appointments."

    Until there are fines for breaking minimum bandwidth / latency thresholds (in a meaningful manner, most notably at times you are likely to be using them rather than 04:00am) then I don't see the industry getting much better.

  2. Tromos

    Regulator needs to damn well regulate.

    Make the worst provider each quarter refund all customers 50% and the second worst 25% (and no hiking the prices to compensate). If that doesn't bring about some improvement, nothing will.

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Regulator needs to damn well regulate.

      If that doesn't bring about some improvement, nothing will.

      Contrary to popular income, telecoms retailing is a fairly low net margin business - less than 4% PBT margin for Talk Talk last year, and they thought that a good performance

      So any material refund of customers bills would bring about two bankruptcies each quarter. Obviously assets and customers would get bought up by a vulture fund, or a competitor under SoLR rules that Ofcom probably have. But would that get you more competition and better service? I think not.

      There are other remedies Ofcom should consider - like restricting new customer sales. I can assure you that REALLY frightens services retailers.

    2. Cereberus

      Re: Regulator needs to damn well regulate.

      Make the worst provider each quarter refund all customers 50% and the second worst 25% (and no hiking the prices to compensate). If that doesn't bring about some improvement, nothing will.

      Or it could just send that provider bust as by fining them you remove 50% (not taking into account profit share etc.) of the funding to make improvements so they will consistently under perform due to lack of funds to solve the problems making them the consistent worst performer.

      A better option would be to enforce a restriction on profits, dividend payments and so on and make the provider spend more on investment to improve the service.

      We have targets set by a government agency, which if missed result in potentially millions in fines. All this means is we have less to spend on infrastructure and keeping the service we provide running, which leads to more problems, which leads to bigger fines, and so on.

      By forcing investment (overseen to ensure it is proper investment and not just a paper exercise) the result should be an improved service, which results in happier customers, more customers joining that provider due toa better service (hopefully) leading to more income leading to higher profits leading to happier investors - theoretically.

      The mechanics of doing so I will leave to others to work out. :-)

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    BT - still too much of a monoply in ways taht bite you

    BT are pants (& I don't even have my broadband with them)

    Last time I changed accommodation, BT had phone number of place I lived in assigned to a different building (next door neighbour, just a few yards away on same street - fat fingered data entry typo presumably)

    (I assume this was never picked up by previous bill payer as, if doing bills online then never an issue of paper bill so wrong address)

    Because phone number was (BT fault) assigned to wrong address there was a ludicrously long wait for BT to sort out their database screw up before "my" broadband provider was able to supply me with a service.

    Even though BT were offered the chance to prove their cock up e.g. ring me and neighbour (esp as BT had his details & never wondered why (in his case) a bog standard non shared residential address had multiple phone numbers assigned & adjacent building had none), or (to avoid scenarios of myself & neighbour pulling a fast one / being imposters) we implored them to send out an engineer to check the physical connections as bits of wire don't generally lie.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Jane Rumble, Ofcom's director of consumer policy,"

    Good name.

    Let's see how combative she can be.

    But remember British chums there are 400+ ISP's in the UK.

    Personally I wouldn't trust BT due to Phorn and Stalk Stalk with it's send-every-web-page-touch-to-China "security" sceme. Vermin (Phorn also) or Sky

    Incidentally did PlusNet turn to s**t before or after BT bought them?

    1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re: "Jane Rumble, Ofcom's director of consumer policy,"

      Incidentally did PlusNet turn to s**t before or after BT bought them?

      After, unsurprisingly.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Incidentally did PlusNet turn to s**t before or after BT bought them? "After, unsurprisingly."

        That would have been my bet, but there was always a slight chance they went down and BT swooped in.

        A nice demonstration that corporate s**t behavior is contagious.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virginmedia increasing prices AGAIN!!!!

    They gave me a speed boost I didn't ask for, followed by an incremental price rise I don't want. I'm voting with my feet... 17mbits/s is fine, who the hell needs 70mbs when most websites won't supply files at 1/10 of that speed?

    1. getHandle

      Re: Virginmedia increasing prices AGAIN!!!!

      Trouble is, where ya gonna go??

  7. cb7

    Think about it

    Let's say there's 20 million copper pairs in the ground in the UK. Most of those were laid donkeys years ago. ie not costing a lot nowadays.

    Let's also say (round figures) it's £15 line rental a month per line. That's £3.6Bn of revenue per annum rolling in pretty much for free. Take off some rates and odd bit of maintenance, that still doesn't sound like low margin to me.

    Calls and broadband are charged separately and not cross subsidised if we believe Ofcom.

    Little wonder they cling on so desperately to Openreach and can't be arsed improving customer service.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Think about it

      "Little wonder they cling on so desperately to Openreach and can't be arsed improving customer service."

      Yup. The New Zealand experience quite nicely showed up the lie of Openreach being a liability:

      Within 3 months of the split there, the NZ version of Openreach had its credit ratings upgraded, whilst the former parent telco had its DOWNGRADED - this is the opposite to what Telecom NZ claimed would happen and unsurprisingly BT is parroting the same bogus claims (also the same bogus claims about pension liabilities)

      5 years on the lines company is doing OK, whilst the former monopoly telco is looking decidedly ill.

  8. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    there may be 400+ ISPs but with the exception of maybe 40 they all rely on the pile of pants infrastrucutre delivered by OftenBreach.

    and if you have a fault you get some incompetent from some sub contractor 3-4 times before a properly trained Oftenbreach engineer comes and works out what you need, but doesn't have the time to do it....

    this same thing happens unless your ISP has their own infrastructure.

    BTW BT+EE+Plusnet is huge in terms of subscribers

  9. paulf Silver badge

    Don't believe it until it's officially denied

    FTA: " Updated to add. A TalkTalk spokesperson got in touch and said: "We do not recognise these comments. Our biggest security priority has always been protecting our customers.""

    "We do not recognise those [figures|comments|etc]." is Govt speak for yes, you're right but you're one digit away so we'll push out a flimsy complete denial so we can put our fingers in our ears and sing LALALA as YOU'RE WRONG!!1111!

    1. paulf Silver badge

      Re: Don't believe it until it's officially denied

      Turns out this update was added to this story incorrectly - it makes more sense in this story.

  10. Robert D Bank

    BT, awful, just awful

    had months, literally months trying to get BB dropout issues resolved. It was blindingly obvious it was a water ingress issue because it was worse every time it rained without fail, which was confirmed only recently when a decent engineer finally turned up. But try and explain this to the robotic script repeaters on the help lines, NFC. And then all the false promises of follow up calls etc. If 4G providers could price more sharply they could take a huge slice out of the physical BB market I'm sure.

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