The UK’s best & worst pay TV providers


Updated on 09 September 2020 | 7 Comments

Sky customers happiest while BT subscribers have the most gripes, latest complaints data from telecoms watchdog Ofcom reveal.

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, BT or Virgin.

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

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

How complaints are calculated

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.

Because it takes a while for Ofcom to publish its findings, this data only covers the first three months of 2020 so it's by no means representative of the latest trends.

Indeed, it will be interesting to see what the figures for the next quarter – April to June – look like when they're published in the winyer, as these will reveal the true extent of problems endured by customers during the lockdown.

As anyone who has tried to contact their pay TV provider in recent months can attest, call waiting times have gone through the roof, while some firms are even insisting you read through online forums first before they'll even allow you to wait to speak to someone!

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.

Pay TV complaints (Image: Ofcom)

Most complaints

Having generated the most complaints for nine straight months, Virgin Media has been replaced by BT as the Pay TV firm with the unhappiest customers.

According to Ofcom, BT complaints jumped from seven per 100,000 customers to nine in the first quarter of 2020, which is almost double the industry average (five complaints per 100,000).

Virgin isn't far behind though, with eight complaints per 100,000, and neither is TalkTalk (seven).

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

Least complaints

Sky once again far better than its three main rivals with two complaints per 100,000 customers.

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).

However, please read up on the latest rules if you think it's likely you'll need to have an engineer visit as the rules are constantly changing during the pandemic. And as we mentioned earlier, if you want to talk to someone on the phone be prepared for a lengthy wait.

Below are the results over the past six quarters in full to give you a clearer picture of how well (or not) the various pay TV providers treat their customers over time.

Complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 customers over the most recent 18 months

Provider

 Q4 2018

 Q1 2019

Q2 2019

Q3 2019

Q4 2019

Q1 2020

Virgin Media

10

7

11

14

9

8

BT

12

10

10

12

7

9

TalkTalk

7

14

9

8

8

7

Sky

1

1

2

2

2

2

Industry average

4

4

5

6

4

5

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 broadbandchoices.co.uk.

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

*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.

More from loveMONEY:

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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