Shell Energy most complained-about broadband provider, claims Ofcom


Regulator Ofcom has published the latest figures for complaints about the UK’s major landline, mobile, broadband and pay-TV providers, covering the period between October and December 2022.

Here’s a summary of what this latest complaints data shows:

  • Shell Energy continued to be the most complained-about landline and broadband provider, attracting more complaints about its service than in the previous quarter (July to September 2022). Customer complaints were mainly about faults, service and getting services installed.
  • Sky continued to generate the fewest broadband complaints, with EE and Sky continuing to be jointly the least complained-about landline providers.
  • BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile and O2 were the most complained-about mobile operators, with customers primarily complaining about how their complaints had been handled (BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile), their experience with faults, service and getting services connected (O2), as well as issues changing provider (BT Mobile). Sky Mobile, EE, Tesco Mobile and Three attracted the fewest complaints in the mobile sector.
  • Virgin Media and BT were the pay-TV service providers that attracted the most complaints. Virgin Media customers were most likely to be unhappy with how it handled their complaints, while BT customers complained about their experiences of faults, service and getting services installed. Sky received the fewest pay-TV complaints.

Ofcom remains concerned about Shell Energy’s persistently high complaint volumes. It has been engaging closely with the provider on its plans to improve its customer service, and expects to see results of this in the coming months.

The numbers of complaints Ofcom received during this period were similar to the previous quarter. Complaints about landline and pay-TV services decreased slightly, while complaints about broadband and pay-monthly mobile services stayed the same.

Year on year, the numbers of complaints it received about broadband services increased slightly, while complaints for landline, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services stayed the same.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.comcomments:

“It’s good to see the downward trend in customer complaints continuing in some areas into Q4 2022. 

“This shows that providers are listening, and pushing forward with innovations, which is ultimately good news for consumers. 

“Sky is consistently a top performer and is also one of the few providers that lets you cancel a broadband contract penalty free if they increase prices mid-contract. It would be great to see the rest of the industry follow their lead.  

“EE also performed well across mobile, broadband and landline, reflecting their win for Best Broadband Provider for Customer Service in the Uswitch Telecoms Awards 2023.

“In general, mobile complaints were consistently less frequent than landline complaints, with Sky, EE, Tesco Mobile and Three all faring well. Credit should be given to the comprehensive roll-out and reliability of the UK’s 4G network, however this also highlights the equal importance of broadband reliability at home.

“It’s concerning to see consistently poor feedback for Shell Energy, which received over five times as many complaints as the leading provider for broadband.

“Given the massive shift to remote working over the past few years, it’s unacceptable that ‘faults, service and provisioning’ remains the most complained about broadband issue across the industry, by a distance (44%). 

“With millions of consumers facing major price increases in 2023, the very least they should expect is a service that they can entirely depend on.”


Chris Price
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