In the UK, it’s estimated that around 90% of homes that are connected to a broadband service use one of the four biggest providers: BT, TalkTalk, Sky, or Virgin Media.
However, according to a survey carried out by the consumer group Which?, consumers using one of these suppliers are the most likely to be overcharged, be getting a bad deal, or to receive poor customer service.
Last year, broadband providers Virgin and EE were fined around £13.3 million for overcharging its customers, which affected an estimated 482,000 individuals who were overcharged by nearly £8 million in total.
In terms of quality of service, the big four providers get the worst rankings for customer satisfaction in the survey. Some of the most common complaints were slow internet speed, connection issues, service problems, and poor value for money.
Overall, TalkTalk and Sky had the worst rankings, and TalkTalk “failed to score well in any category” – a lot of the complaints relating to TalkTalk were relating to slow speed and connection dropouts.
TalkTalk said in a statement that it has now introduced new online tools to help its customers to resolve problems and queries more efficiently. It said: “We are already seeing more customers than ever staying with us as we continue rolling-out major service improvements.”
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which? commented: “It’s outrageous that the biggest providers are still letting their customers down with shoddy broadband, especially when we know that longstanding customers are the most likely to be overpaying,”
In terms of improving service, it was announced that legal requirements could be imposed on businesses that provide broadband to homes to make sure their internet is high-speed. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been putting pressure on the government to improve the service people receive. This is in line with the government’s target of 10Mbps internet speed being available to the whole country by 2020.
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