back to article Brits whinging less? About ISPs, networks and TV? It's gotta be a glitch in the Matrix

The great British tradition of huffing, tutting and whinging is in grave peril. Regulator Ofcom has reported a decline in complaints across telecoms, mobile and TV services. TalkTalk and BT are the most moaned-about home broadband operators, with 29 and 23 complaints per 100,000 subscribers, respectively. Plusnet received 20, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The BT complaints process is a shambles

    Getting nowhere with them is a full time job. Adding another layer of bureaucracy like the Ombudsman, who have no power to make BT less of a fucking Omnishambles probably explains why people complain less. We just move service to someone marginally less shit than BT.

  2. Ed3

    A better informed and empowered customer base?

    Customers are more technically inclined, and therefore better understand the capabilities and limitations of the technology they are using? They are proficient in the use of self service tools and are able to solve their problems without help from the provider?

    Or they have given up complaining and just accept tthings are they way they are with no hope of resolution.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: A better informed and empowered customer base?

      Quote

      Or they have given up complaining and just accept tthings are they way they are with no hope of resolution.

      This one...... have you ever spent time calling the ISP's helpline?

      Then listening to 'John' or 'Sandra' repeat word for word the script in front of them with no deviation

      "Have you turned it off and on?" "Is your computer switched on?" "Have you checked the plugs?"

      And so on and so on for 15 minutes until you say that your PC is using linux where upon they say "we dont support linux" and you add "but I'm using a belkin router connected to your superhup and the superthub in modem mode only" and they transfer you to that call center in Scotland who seem to be able to resolve the problem in about 30 seconds....

      Which makes you think "why dont they just connect you there in the first place!"

      Go through that 3 or 4 times and you give up on the ISP's helpline and use google via your phone.....

      1. Brian Miller

        Re: A better informed and empowered customer base?

        ... until you say that your PC is using linux where upon they say "we dont support linux" ...

        I tell them that I'm running a Mac. Sure, I do actually have a Mac Mini, but that it's unplugged is beside the point.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: A better informed and empowered customer base?

        Which makes you think "why dont they just connect you there in the first place!"

        Yup. The reason why I (finally) left Demon Internet post-borging was their 'help' desk. I knew exactly what the issue was (water in the line box outside the house - it needed to be drained and the connections cleaned and dried - this happened fairly regularly until BT actually fixed the cause rather than the symptom..) but still, painfully, had to go through the scripted process.

        After having the phone put down on me twice by the same person ("You can't speak to me like that"! - I'd asked him to skip to the end of the script and just call BT like had been done 3 times previously and then, when I redialled and got put back through to him again, he immediately put the phone down again..) and having my formal complaint utterly ignored, I went to IDNet since they had proper techies answering the phone and a good reputation.

        While they were good, their prices gradually crept upwards so I eventually moved on to Zen. Which is where I still am.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the people with the complaints just can't get through and give up, so they're never reported?

    I've given up calling Talktalk's support...it's impossible to get them to deviate from their script, and all they do is send me a new router every time...which never fixes the problem.

    I've lost count of how many times they've asked me to "count the screws" on my NTE5 socket. Though of course they don't call it that...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I've given up calling Talktalk's support."

      Who's to blame for them being the people you have to call for support?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Who's to blame for them being the people you have to call for support?

        Well, I tried calling Virgin but they wouldn't listen....

  4. Fred Dibnah

    Sic

    I'm going to whinge about your mis-spelling of 'whingeing'.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Sic

      Winj!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank Pai and Trump!

    Because of the US net neutrality stuff, Brits now realise they have it pretty good!

  6. alcopops

    Less Copper to the premises...

    therefore less problems!

  7. cbars

    Bigger things to worry about

    Brexit?

    Trump?

    ....

    Nah, weather has been nice and footie has been on - people are just in the pub

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bigger things to worry about

      Bigger things to worry about

      Possibly, but there's two big complaints drivers in any industry. The first is mongo customer service fuckups (like the consequences of M&A, or any form of new large scale CRM). The second, and entirely independent of the first is the direction of what customers are paying. If prices are going up, complaints go up. If they go down, complaints subside. I've seen both many times over in different sectors and even different countries. It doesn't have to be prices rises that are the subject of complaints, but price rises set an emotional dynamic that causes people to want to complain.

      You might argue that over this same timescale prices haven't come down, but in terms of average pricing, voice and data have indeed been getting cheaper, and moves to sim-only deals mean customers are paying out less, so they perceive this as "cheaper". In broadband, Vermin Media, complaint numbers have broadly doubled over the past three or so years - and that's because their service remains as mediocre as ever, but prices have risen dramatically.

      There's lots more detail and complexity, but I work in a non-related large scale customer service sector, and these two things are the main drivers of rising and falling complaints over the past thirty five odd years.

      1. cbars
        Joke

        Re: Bigger things to worry about

        you're spot on, the two big complaint drivers round here are rising beer prices and new bar staff who mildly mess up the pour

        ...

        apparently I missed the icon

  8. choleric

    Flipped back

    I think what he meant to say was, "If Donald Trump was doing backflips he'd have an 81 per cent approval rating."

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Flipped back

      His latest verbal backflips don't seem to be helping him that much. Maybe his core supporters are slowly coming to realise that we haven't always been at war with Eastasia.

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Flipped back

        That's because they're at war with Oceania and always have been - I've read it in the news.

  9. iowe_iowe

    We'll leave it as exercise for the reader to speculate why this may have been. Perhaps fewer people know there's an Ombudsman service to resolve complaints. Perhaps people know, but the Ombudsman is perceived as ineffective. Or perhaps service is – dare we say it – actually improving.

    - The second for me. I used to be cynical about Ombudsman services, but realised there'd be no point.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's hard to complain...

    When your phone and Internet don't work.

  11. ravenviz
    Angel

    Vodafone suck

    Been with Vodafone for 22 years. Excellent customer service. £25/m for 4 GB

    Just moved to iD. Poor customer service. £10/m for 8 GB

    I’ll take the cheap data, thanks.

    1. choleric

      Re: Vodafone suck

      I see where you're coming from, but that's what people thought about TalkTalk. And then a job lot of their personal data got shared with the world, cheaply.

  12. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Socialising complaints

    Maybe the whingers just take matters into their own hands?

    Instead of bashing out a complaint to the watchdog, they just post their moaning on social media. Not only is it easier, but it also shows their friends how much they are suffering.

    And the public display of being a victim does seem to be a great motivator - considering the number of people on Twitter and FB who do nothing but complain about things.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Socialising complaints

      So what does that make it when you come on elReg and complain about people complaining about things?

      Meta-complaining?

  13. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Poor reception

    Regulator Ofcom has reported a decline in complaints across telecoms, mobile and TV services.

    Maybe no-one could get through to Ofcom.

  14. Crisp Silver badge

    Regulator Ofcom has reported a decline in complaints

    Due to complaints changing absolutely nothing.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the economy stupid.

    I'd suggest that as a nation (or nation of nations) were maybe more fixated on something else right now that's due to land, for better or worse, in Q2 next year.

  16. Sanctimonious Prick
    Happy

    I Love My ISP

    It operates on the 4G network. I can take my modem pretty much most places I go to, and I'm connected. Mind you the maximum speed is 12Mbps, but hey, Netflix works pretty much fine most of the time, and very rarely have any trouble watching 'cat' videos on YouTube. And my plan is unlimited data. I can sit and watch Netflix all day long, for weeks on end (don't judge me) without an issue.

    Not just that, but my ISP (VividWireless) will sometimes let me go about 10 to 14 days overdue (no payment coz there's nothing in my bank account).

    Most people I know with an ADSL connection have regular problems (funnily enough, it usually just means showing them how to reboot their modem, and then all is good again).

    Though I will say that, with my current ISP, they have from time to time called me on my registered mobile phone number, and asked me to confirm my identity... that has been a little scary, and on the first few times this happened, I told 'em to "bugger off, you called me!"

    Blah, blah, blah.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: I Love My ISP

      and asked me to confirm my identity... that has been a little scary, and on the first few times this happened, I told 'em to "bugger off, you called me!"

      I had that with a (previous) credit-card provider..Got a phone call from someone who identified themselves as "calling from Barclaycard about a special offer on your card". She then asked me to identify myself..

      Being the information-paranoid that I am, my response was "prove to me that you are in fact Barclaycard and I'll identify myself".

      We went round and round for a minute or so, she insisting that I had to identify myself before she could prove her provenance by giving out one of the facts linked to my BC account and me insisting that there was no way in hell I was going to give her any information without her proving her provenance..

      She got quite bolshy in the end, telling me that I was being utterly unreasonable. To which my response was to put down the phone and then phone Barclaycard myself to firstly, complain and secondly, to cancel my card completely, giving their incredibly lax approach to customer engagement as my reason.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: I Love My ISP

      on the first few times this happened,

      Only the first few times? What changed your mind?

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: I Love My ISP

      my ISP (VividWireless)

      Just in case anyone thinks this ISP might be good for them, it's in Australia, and most of us would probably consider changing hemispheres to be an excessive solution to dodgy UK ISPs.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    isn't complaining about the lack of complaints a complaint in itself and would therefore put the numbers back up creating a paradox?

  18. adam payne Silver badge

    TalkTalk and BT are the most moaned-about home broadband operators

    Well you do surprise me :P

    Classic BT approach. Spend an hour on the phone, get transferred through nine people and departments to end up back with the first person you spoke to and for them to then say your package doesn't support DNS. Awesome!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Spend an hour on the phone, get transferred through nine people and departments to end up back with the first person you spoke to and for them to then say your package doesn't support DNS. "

      Lest you think they only do this to home users, their commercial support is just as bad.

      1. adam payne Silver badge

        That was business support.

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