Complaints about broadband to Ombudsman Services 'on the rise' header image

Published: 19th Mar 2015

It appears that Brits are no longer taking problems with their broadband and mobile phone services lying down, with complaints made to Ombudsman Services up by 20 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year.

The body, which covers several sectors including finance, energy, property and copyright licensing, dealt with a total of 19,288 grievances relating to communications services during the course of 2014.

This compares to the 16,107 handled in 2013, 12,909 of which were successfully resolved. While it may seem that almost 4,000 complaints were left open, many consumers decided not to progress their case any further, others settled the issue directly with the provider in question.

According to the Ombudsman, most complaints related to the service customers had received, cited by 28 per cent, contract issues (18 per cent) and customer service (17 per cent), which is unsurprising given how often broadband providers hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

In addition, disputed charges, the price of calls, cost of engineers' visits and data roaming collectively accounted for 15 per cent of the communication grievances handled by the body in 2014.

Research from the Ombudsman reveals that the total number of complaints it has received regarding products and services has almost doubled during the last 12 months, taking the total to 66 million.

A spokesperson for the body said: "Overall, this year’s report showed a marked shift in the willingness of consumers to take action when they have a grievance. We believe this increasing consumer activism is being fuelled, in part, by technology, in two ways.

"Firstly, e-commerce is removing human interaction from many purchases, making minor problems and issues more likely, particularly when it comes to delivery. Secondly, social media gives customers the opportunity to campaign directly if they have a problem."

Last year, almost half (47 per cent) of Brits that complained went to the supplier or third party directly with their grievance, compared to just over one-third (34 per cent) in 2013. More than 5.2 million complaints were made through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and consumer forums, last year.