back to article Pisspoor EE customer service earns it a cool £1 MILLION Ofcom fine

Ofcom has whacked EE with a £1m fine for failing to comply with the regulator's rules on handling customer complaints. Between July 2011 to 8 April 2014 EE did not provide certain customers with accurate information about their rights to use an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme. The company also failed to inform its …

  1. elaar

    I bet they have artwork hanging in the loo at the headoffice that is worth more than the fine.

    Seriously, £1 million, that must be 1 board of directors' quartely bonus.

    1. Chris Miller

      Seriously, £1 million, that must be 1 board of directors' quarterly bonus.

      But that won't be where the fine is taken from.

  2. Richard Jones 1

    Do They Even Try To Do Customer Service?

    I was not aware they even tried to do customer service, is this something new or something left in an old cupboard?

    They sent me a new router to fix problems at their end, which they did fix after an hour or so and before the router was delivered. Then they wondered why I had not reset all the NAT side set up to be able to connect it into my network.

    1. PeterM42

      Re: Do They Even Try To Do Customer Service?

      NO! (they don't).

  3. LucreLout
    Thumb Down

    Can we have...

    .... a regulator with some teeth? Fine a company like EE £1 Million and it makes no difference to them at all. Fine them enough that they need to cut the dividend and they'll quickly learn to play by the rules.

    EE have the dubious honour of being the only company I've ever had to take to court due to breaches of contract and followed by horrific customer service. I've seen nothing that indicates they've changed their culture, or even tried to do so. Even Vodafone weren't as bad! Avoid.

    1. Ashton Black

      Re: Can we have...

      The problem with fining such that profit margins are squeezed, where they would pass on those costs to their shareholders, is that they wouldn't. Firstly as the board is most likely shareholders themselves. What is more likely is that to protect the share price, they'd just cut back in some other area or even pass the cost on to their punters, well before lowering the divvie.

      1. ShortLegs

        Re: Can we have...

        Of course. And until the Government changes legislation that enables OFCOM and other regulators to hold 'C'- level executives (or 'Directors' as they used to be known) personally responsible, the situation will never change. The fines need to be big enough to be markedly noticeable on the EOY accounts, and excluded from being taken from revenue but from profit, or they need to be paid from the board level remuneration pool.

      2. LucreLout

        Re: Can we have...

        What is more likely is that to protect the share price, they'd just cut back in some other area or even pass the cost on to their punters, well before lowering the divvie

        The cost can't go to the punters or they'd just leave for another provider that wasn't being fined. Those under contract are already protected from such price increases.

        Passing the cost onto staff might work once, but they'd expect meaningful behavioural change to follow, or else seek employment elsewhere.

        After that, it'd have to come from the dividends, or retained earnings. Cutting the former is immediately noticeable and would lead to demands from shareholders to replace the C suite. Cutting the latter reduces dividend cover (how many multiples of the dividend did the company earn as profit), which inevitably leads to reductions in the dividend sooner or later, and with the same result.

      3. DaLo

        Re: Can we have...

        "or even pass the cost on to their punters"

        If they could do that without a problem they would've just increased the costs already. It's not like they can send a letter to all their subscribers saying:

        Dear Customer,

        We recently go given a really large fine from Ofcom due to our customer service being so poor. Unfortunately our shareholders would prefer it if this didn't affect our profits so we are unfortunatley going to have to make a one-off charge of £15 on your bill next month.

        I'm sure you'll appreciate that we are only doing this due to the fine from Ofcom. Thanks for your understanding.


        P.S. please don't complain about this as Ofcom might feel the need to impose an even larger fine and then we'll have to make another charge.

        1. dotdavid

          Re: Can we have...

          "If they could do that without a problem they would've just increased the costs already"

          Good thing they have that "we can increase our contract costs in line with inflation" clause now safely written into their contracts! Even if their costs go down they can just keep jacking up prices every couple of months to cover this sort of fine :-)

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Wardy01

    Get some teeth OFCOM ... What a joke!

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    "He added that complaints to Ofcom about EE have fallen by 50 per cent in the past year."

    That's because all of your customers have f**ked off to Vodafone and Three.

    1. I Like Heckling Silver badge

      Re: ...

      and I'm one of them... Got a better deal from 3 for 60% less than T-Mobile... sorry EE were offering. All this after 16yrs of custom, never taking a free upgrade phone (I prefer to buy my own and steer clear of long contracts)... I also had a joint account as I supply a phone for my pensioner mother who's not great with technology and she'd been a customer for 10yrs.

      26yrs custom combined and their 'customer' service couldn't give a crap about retaining it.

      3 on the other hand are excellent... never had a single issue that's required me to phone them and never tried to tack on extra charges nor put the monthly price up.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the pinnacle of poor customer service still has to be Scottish Power though.... OMG talk about terrible.

    such a small fine is ridiculous - let's make the number huge and pay a big % directly back to their customers. If it increased costs are passed on later people will vote with their feet. Then the real damage is done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "the pinnacle of poor customer service still has to be Scottish Power though.... OMG talk about terrible."

      But look at what the energy regulator did - twelve day sales ban. To the dribblers who only think a fine with "hundred million" on the end is an incentive, I can assure you that a relatively short sales ban REALLY concentrates directors minds. During that time customers continue to churn away, but they can't sign up new ones. All the sales staff are being paid to sit on their backsides, and watch any commission targets start to slip. Directors start to worry that their targets for market share, churn, or new sales won't be met. Morale takes a hammering in the business, with everybody blaming everybody else. External reputation takes an enormous hit because all of the sales partners and intermediaries have to be told, and have to tell potential customers that company X isn't allowed to sign up new customers due to their piss poor service.

      That's what OFCOM should have done to EE. A million quid won't even be a rounding error on their end of year results.

  8. Paratrooping Parrot

    A new idea for fines

    Instead of fining the company for say £1 million, how about saying that board of directors' pay must be cut by 25%. Plus, the board of directors cannot quit the company until they have sorted out the problems. Then once the issues have been fixed and there are no problems for a year, then it can be reinstated. This way, the company will really try to sort out issues, and hopefully the customers don't lose out.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge


    "EE generated the most complaints for its broadband and mobile phone service as a proportion of its customer base during the first quarter of 2015."

    "While this in no way excuses it, it is important to note that we identified issues in our complaints handling and began our programme to tackle these problems head on in 2013, before Ofcom started its investigation. We have made considerable improvements since then."

    Does anyone see any disparity between the above two world views? Or is just that they are now very shitty instead of extremely shitty?

  10. adam 40 Silver badge

    Not Fine By Me

    All this "fine naughty companies" business gets my goat.

    So I got poor service from EE. Maybe my case contributed to the evidence they used. Where is my cut of this "fine"?

    These fines are turning into an extra tax on the population. This is how it works:

    a) Customer gets shoddy service and complains

    b) Customer should really get an ex-gratia apology refund - but doesn't.

    c) Govt fines company

    d) Govt keeps the money.

    I have noticed pattern this in the banking sector, insurance, etc etc. Joe public is effectively being turned into tax collectors for the government. Also - as others have commented - these fines are rarely a deterrent, and it's a commercial decision - do it badly and cheap and get fined (maybe), or do it properly/legally but more expensively.

    The public is worse off - they should take the fines and distribute them directly to the affected customers.

  11. PeterM42

    T-Mobile + Orange = EE

    Crap + Crap = Crap squared.

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