Research from consumer body Which? into the UK’s biggest broadband providers has found that Virgin Media customers were the most likely to have experienced a problem with their broadband service over the last 12 months, with issues affecting seven in 10 people.
The latest results of its broadband survey of more than 7,000 customers found that price increases, slow speeds, connection dropouts and router problems were the most common grievances across the 12 biggest broadband providers.
While Virgin Media customers were the most likely to say they’d been affected by an issue, nearly two out of three TalkTalk and Sky customers also told Which? they’d experienced issues.
After two price hikes in 2018, Virgin Media customers told Which? that price increases were their biggest complaint about their broadband service, with almost half (45 per cent) of those surveyed reporting they have experienced this issue.
Router problems were cited as the second-biggest issue for Virgin customers, impacting 21 per cent of customers. One in six customers (16 per cent) told Which? that they had been left without an internet connection at all for hours or even days at a time. TalkTalk’s broadband service proved to be almost as problematic as Virgin’s, with 64 per cent of its customers reporting an issue with the service.
The biggest issue for the TalkTalk customers Which? surveyed was ‘very slow speeds’ – 28 per cent told Which? they’d experienced the problem. Sky’s broadband service only fared slightly better than TalkTalk. Three in five (63 per cent) Sky customers reported an issue with their broadband. Price increases were the most common problem and had affected a third of Sky customers surveyed.
Overall, Which? found that the majority of broadband customers have experienced some issue with their service in the past year. Of the 12 providers included in the survey, Zen Internet customers had the fewest complaints about their service, but problems still affected a third of its customers.
The Which? survey also found that 81 per cent of respondents had been with their provider for more than two years. After two years with the same provider, you’re more likely to be out of your minimum contract period – and paying more as a result.
Almost nine million broadband customers are collectively overpaying £1 billion, according to Ofcom figures. Ofcom estimates that two in five broadband customers are out of contract and have been rolled on to a higher tariff.
Currently, broadband providers are not obliged to notify customers when their contract might be up, which means some risk unwittingly being moved onto a deal that’s poor value. Which? research has found that some of the most loyal customers are with providers that they express the least satisfaction for.