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Plusnet holds off spirited charge from Vodafone in broadband complaint charts

BT-owned outfit attracts a little less customer ire but still not doing customers proud

In Brit comms regulator Ofcom's quarterly summary of broadband and landline whinges, Plusnet retained its complaint crown despite a strong challenge from Vodafone.

The results (PDF), measured in terms of complaints per 100,000 subscribers, placed BT-owned Plusnet as the most-griped-about, running well over twice the industry average of 13 moans with a mighty 31 complaints.

To be fair, that's down from the impressive 43 of the previous quarter (PDF), but still ahead of the pack. Vodafone consolidated its second place, just one whinge behind Plusnet at 30 complaints per 100,000, up from 25 at the end of 2018.

Plusnet's showing was driven by its ongoing billing woes, with almost 4 in 10 broadband complaints pertaining to the company's billing, pricing and charges. A swift look at Plusnet's forums indicates those issues continue to cause wailing among its users despite the company's best efforts to, you know, actually let customers see their bills.

As one would expect, Plusnet wasn't overly impressed with the figures and told The Register: "We're very disappointed with this result from earlier this year, as we've been working hard to make it easier for our customers when there's a problem."

The hand-wringing went on: "We're very sorry as we know this isn't the service our customers have come to expect from us. We are committed to continuing improving our service and the most recent data shows we have taken a big step forward."

That "big step forward" has left the company still, er, top of the grots when it comes to grumbles.

Still, at least Plusnet's score is an improvement from its earlier outing. Second-placed Vodafone appears to have staged a charge in the first quarter of the year but missed out on the not-at-all-coveted most-complained-about broadband provider by that all-important single moan. Better luck next quarter, team.

Vodafone was more keen to point to its also poor showing in the pay-monthly stakes, in which its complaint count dropped from 7 per 100,000 to a still-twice-the-average 6. While an improvement, the company still shares the top spot with Virgin Mobile, something it seemed inexplicably pleased about when it told us: "The latest Ofcom scores reflect the continued improvements and investment we have made in the last few years in our customer services for our mobile services."

El Reg is sure the consolidation of customer services teams will provide the requisite motivation to ensure the incumbents do their best.

Ofcom, on the other hand, noted that the biggest driver behind Vodafone's mobile score was complaints handling followed by pricing, billing and charges.

The company was, however, less impressed with its broadband numbers even while trumpeting its growth: "We're also the UK's fastest growing broadband provider. Whilst this high level of growth has resulted in some issues with our processes, we're committed to fixing these."

Those "issues" have seen the company consolidate its position in the fixed broadband whinge-list, ahead of third and fourth placed (but still over the industry average) TalkTalk and BT.

However, despite Vodafone's best efforts, Plusnet continued to ride high in the most-complained-about league. As the company's tagline states: "We'll do you proud." ®


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