The UK’s worst pay TV providers

Updated on 22 November 2019 | 22 Comments

We take a look at the worst (and best) pay TV providers, based on complaints data from telecoms watchdog Ofcom.

While many of us enjoy the extra channels we get with a Freeview box, there are plenty of people willing to shell out for a pay, or subscription, TV service from the likes of Sky or Virgin.

But just because they pay a monthly fee it doesn't mean they're always getting a premium service, as the latest complaints data shows.

Search for a cheaper Sky package today – don't overpay!

Which pay TV firm has the unhappiest customers?

Every three months Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, publishes info on the number of complaints it receives about the biggest pay TV providers.

The latest figures include companies with a market share of at least 1.5%, so the very smallest providers are excluded.

The table below shows which providers have the happiest customers, and which have a lot of room for improvement.

Remember, these figures are only for complaints escalated to the regulator as the company has failed to resolve a customer's problem.  

So, while these may appear low, the actual number of complaints made to each firm will likely be far higher.

The highest and lower number of complaints to Ofcom about Pay TV providers. (Image: Ofcom)

Virgin Media received the highest amount of complaints at 11 per 100,000 customers between April and June 2019, knocking TalkTalk off the top spot.

The number of complaints about Virgin Media has risen sharply from seven in the first quarter of this year to 11.

It’s not been a good quarter for Virgin, with Virgin Mobile recently being named the UK’s worst mobile provider.

Opinion: leaving Virgin Media is far harder than it needs to be

Virgin Media customers complained specifically about how their grievances were handled, as well as issues related to billing, pricing and charges.

The overall industry average has risen from four complaints per 100,000 in the first quarter of 2019 to five between April and June.

BT’s level of complaints was unmoved at 10, while TalkTalk complaints fell from 14 to nine.

Sky once again received the fewest complaints compared to its rivals, with levels well below the industry average at two complaints per 100,000 customers.

But this does mark a slight increase compared to the previous quarter (one).

The media giant is also the UK's best broadband provider, which you can read about here.

If you fancy joining Sky, you can head this way to see its latest deals (this is an affiliate link, meaning we may be paid for any service you sign up for).

Complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 customers over the last 12 months


Q3 2018

 Q4 2018

 Q1 2019

Q2 2019

Virgin Media




















Industry average





Ditch and switch

If you suspect you’re paying too much or suffering from a rubbish service from your pay TV provider, don't just accept it – switch!

You can compare deals available in your area with

So, there you have it, your round-up of the worst pay TV firms.

If you'd like to find out which companies topped the home phone complaints list, head this way, while this article will highlight the worst broadband providers.

This article is regularly updated

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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The UK's best and worst broadband providers

How to cut the cost of your Sky TV, broadband and phone bills

How to save money on your BT phone, broadband and TV bills


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