Pay-TV Firms That Sparked The Most Outrage Revealed

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Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has released its latest report on the most complained-about pay-TV companies in the UK, with Virgin Media topping (from the bottom) this unfortunate list.

The report covers the fourth quarter of 2022 and provides insight into which companies received the most complaints from their customers.

Virgin Media’s pay-TV subscribers were mostly unhappy with the way their complaints were handled, with billing and pricing changes taking second place as the most-complained about topic for the company.

Virgin Media van
Photo: Deposit Photos / Peter Fleming

On the bright side, Virgin Media’s pay-TV complaints fell by 11% compared with the previous quarter.

The least complained about pay-TV company is Sky, with just 1 complaint (to Ofcom) per 100,000 subscribers (see the full list of companies below).

The report also revealed that Shell and Vodafone were the worst-performing broadband providers, with 27 and 19 complaints per 100,000 customers, respectively. 

For Pay-monthly Mobile companies, BT Mobile performed worst with 4 complaints (per 100,000), and Virgin Mobile with 3.

Broadband, mobile and pay-TV companies in the UK are regular targets for consumer complaints. But on a somewhat positive note, Ofcom says the number of complaints they received for the fourth quarter of 2022 was similar to the previous quarter.

Pay-TV Complaints In 2022

Every quarter, Ofcom tallies the complaints it gets regarding telecom and pay-TV companies, with a focus on the largest providers – those that have a market share of at least 1.5%.

Angry woman tv broken no signal

For pay-TV companies in the UK, this means BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

It’s important to note that Ofcom doesn’t look at complaints received directly by the providers themselves – but rather at complaints that customers choose to report to Ofcom, by phone, a letter or an online form.

It stands to reason, however, that these complaints are likely to be made where a consumer has been unable to resolve an issue with their provider to their satisfaction – therefore they usually mark an escalated situation.

For pay-TV, Ofcom looks at complaints made regarding services provided over cable, satellite, digital terrestrial television or over a dedicated broadband connection (such as with Sky Glass or Virgin Media Stream).

Virgin Media O2 Stream with Logo collage
Virgin Media’s Stream

Ofcom’s most recent report, which was published today, covers the period between October and December 2022.

Virgin Media and BT were the pay-TV service providers that attracted the most complaints in the relevant quarter.

Virgin Media customers were most likely to be unhappy with how the company handled their complaints, while BT customers complained about their experiences of faults, service and getting services installed. 

  • Virgin Media: 8 Complaints Per 100,000 subscribers
  • BT: 7 Complaints Per 100,000 subscribers
  • TalkTalk: 3 Complaints Per 100,000 subscribers
  • Sky: 1 Complaint Per 100,000 subscribers

As for the reasons for complaining, Ofcom provided these numbers:

Ofcom complaints pay-TV q-4 2022
Reasons for complaining, Q4 2022

Virgin Media provides both “traditional” and streaming pay-TV services, via its TV360 box and its Stream box – but Ofcom did not specify whether numbers were any different in relation to any specific platform.

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said to Cord Busters: “Our number one priority is serving our customers. We’re investing in every area of our business to create an excellent customer experience, with complaints down across the board in the final three months of last year.

“We know there is more we can do – and will do – to improve the service we offer, resolve issues quickly and efficiently, and make it easier for our customers to get help and support whenever they need it.”

I Have A Complaint About My Pay-TV Company – What Should I Do?

Ofcom does not resolve individual complaints – instead, they “offer advice to people about the telecoms and pay-TV services they use, and the information we receive can lead to us launching investigations.”

Man answering phone calls

If you’re experiencing problems with your landline, broadband, mobile or pay-TV service, Ofcom suggests you should complain to your provider first.

If you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can take the complaint to the Communications Ombudsman, who will look at the case and make a judgment on it.

If you then want to complain to Ofcom as well – you can do so via Ofcom’s website.

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