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Shell hell: Ofcom publish Q4 2022 broadband complaints

Shell has once again topped the Ofcom league table for the most customer complaints about its fixed-line broadband service. The ISP generated 27 complaints for every 100,000 customers, far worse than the average, or even the next ISP with the second highest amount; Vodafone with 19 complaints for every 100,000 customers.

Shell customers cited faults, service and provisioning as the main reasons for their complaints. But bills, pricing and charging were sore points and Shell Energy complaints for these were far above the industry average, at 25%.

(source: Ofcom Q4 2022 fixed line broadband complaint table)

This is very much the calm before the storm. This Ofcom data takes into accounts complaints registered between October and December 2022. It excludes any complaints linked to the huge mid-contract price rises affecting the majority of broadband customers and high-profile outages that have recently hit Virgin Media and Vodafone.

If you would like to make a complaint about your broadband provider, follow the steps in our guide to broadband complaints.

Broadband customers shouldn't settle for poor or below-par customer service. When shopping for a new broadband contract, there's a plethora of information out there. Review sites such as Trustpilot can give you a great idea of customer happiness and our Broadband Awards give each provider a score when it comes to speed satisfaction, value for money, customer care and reliability.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, comments: “This latest data, recording complaints from the end of last year, shows the calm before the storm for broadband customers.

“Shell Energy broadband continues to generate the most complaints, but the future of the provider is in doubt, with a takeover rumoured for its gas and electricity business.  

“Despite the generally settled picture painted by the figures, trouble is on the way. This month, millions of households have seen double-digit increases in their bills, while customers with Virgin Media, the UK’s third-biggest broadband provider, have been plagued by multiple service failures.

“As budgets are stretched further, consumers are questioning where their extra money is going and may be more likely to complain if they’re not getting what they pay for. We’ve recently seen a steep increase in enquiries from Virgin customers looking to cancel and move to another supplier, so expect these figures to rise in the coming months. Providers delivering poor service or seen as resting on their laurels will deservedly face more scrutiny.

“A big problem seems to be a lack of urgency in what is now a mature industry. A prime example is the One Touch Switch scheme — designed to make it easier for consumers to move suppliers — which having missed its deadline this month, is now unlikely to be seen until autumn.

“If you’re unhappy with your broadband provider, the worst thing to do is suffer in silence. Make your feelings known through the company’s customer support and, if you are out of contract, consider switching.

“Smaller companies are traditionally more responsive to complaints than major providers, and in many cases can match up against the major providers on speed and price too.

“If you do vote with your feet and regret your decision, remember you have a 14-day cooling-off period in which to cancel from the date your new broadband is activated.”

Meet the author:

Broadband Expert

Alex came on board in October 2016 and in that time has risen to Broadband Genie’s resident broadband expert. For the last 7 years, he has appeared all over the UK press, giving expert advice about anything and everything related to broadband.

Specialist subject: Fighting the consumer's corner on all things broadband.

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