Telecoms customer complaints have risen 35pc since 2012

Madeline Ratcliffe
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Mobile phones: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them (Source: Getty)
It might not come as a surprise, but there are plenty of unhappy telecoms customers – 15,542 of them have complained over the past nine months, a 35 per cent increase over the past three years.

The Ombudsman Services will release figures today showing that there has been a five per cent increase from this time last year in the number of complaints.

However, the number of complaints between July and September was down nine per cent to 4,751, from 5,194 in the previous quarter.

Nearly a third of complaints in September were about billing issues, including overly-complicated invoices and challenging the amount debited. Many reported problems with incorrect billing details.

Service issues were also a common gripe, accounting for 31 per cent of issues, while 16 per cent of complaints were about mis-sold contracts and problems cancelling an account.

Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, released a report last month that said there was “significant room for improvement” within the industry when it came to dealing with customer complaints.

It found that in 75 per cent of cases, customers were not informed when their complaints were being investigated.

The Consumer Action Monitor, which came out earlier this year, showed that the total number of consumer complaints, across all sectors, almost doubled between 2013 and 2014, to 66m, reflecting today’s findings.

Lewis Shand Smith, chief ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “The increase in communications complaints shows that consumers are more willing to speak up about poor service than ever before, but many may still be suffering in silence because they think it’s too much hassle or don’t know what they can do to take their complaint further.”

He pointed to the fact that the Ombudsman now works with more than 350 telecoms providers in the UK, including EE, to oversee disputes.

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