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Virgin Media and Three named worst for complaints by Ofcom

Both providers received high levels of customer complaints to the regulator

Virgin Media and Three named worst for complaints by Ofcom

Virgin Media and Three have been named as the worst providers for customer service by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, in its latest report on complaints in the telecoms sector covering January to March of 2021.

Ofcom uses a combination of interviews with customers and information given by providers to produce its league table of results, reporting on them every three months.

While complaints about pay-monthly mobile phone providers have remained constant, complaints about broadband services rose at the start of 2021, reaching a three-year high. The report covers the UK’s third lockdown, when many people were required to work or study from home.

The findings support our research that shows some providers simply don’t stack up when it comes to customer service, reliability and value for money.


Read our overview of the best mobile phone providers and best broadband providers to see which came top in our own extensive surveys.


Best and worst broadband providers

According to Ofcom, Virgin Media was the most complained about broadband provider – it topped the league table with 33 complaints per 100,000 customers. Most of these complaints related to the way Virgin Media handled complaints made to it directly, or faults and service issues.

Virgin Media told us that since Ofcom collected its data it has made a number of improvements to its customer service, including hiring an additional 500 staff. It says it has since seen complaints decrease significantly and will continue to invest and improve in its customer service.

TalkTalk, Vodafone and Plusnet also generated above-average levels of complaints. Meanwhile, EE and Sky received the lowest level of complaints of the providers big enough to be included in Ofcom’s analysis – both received seven complaints per 100,000 customers.

Broadband provider Number of complaints per 100,000 customers
Virgin Media 33
TalkTalk 24
Vodafone 24
Plusnet 21
BT 15
Sky 7
EE 7
Industry average 19

When we surveyed over 4,000 broadband customers about their provider, only two companies received four stars for both customer service and technical support. Compare all of the big providers on everything from service to broadband speed and value for money using our broadband provider reviews.

If you’ve had enough of mediocre customer service from your broadband provider, use Which? Switch broadband to browse the best broadband deals available in your area.


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Mobile phone providers compared

The industry average number of complaints for pay-monthly customers was much lower than for broadband – just three per 100,000 customers.

Here, Three took top spot in Ofcom’s league table with six complaints per 100,000 customers. A large proportion of the complaints about Three related to issues with billing, pricing and charges, though complaints handling was also an issue..

Of the mobile networks included in Ofcom’s analysis, EE, Sky Mobile and Tesco Mobile shared the lowest level of complaints – each received just one per 100,000 customers.

Mobile phone provider Number of complaints per 100,000 customers
Three 6
Virgin Mobile 5
iD Mobile 5
Vodafone 4
BT Mobile 3
O2 2
EE 1
Sky Mobile 1
Tesco Mobile 1
Industry average 3

Don’t put up with substandard service from your mobile provider – use Which? Switch Mobile to compare the best mobile phone deals.

You can also read our in-depth guide on how to switch mobile provider for advice on switching whether you’re in or out of contract. It also lays out how to make sure you get a good signal with your new provider.

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