It is the very definition of sod’s law. Last week I write a story about Plusnet, saying how they’re one of the most liked broadband firms. This week, telecoms regulator Ofcom says the number of complaints made about Plusnet broadband have doubled over the past quarter. What has Plusnet done to upset so many of its customers?
What’s gone wrong at Plusnet?
Here’s a graph showing the number of complaints per 100,000 customers Ofcom has received about broadband providers over the past couple of years. If you’re Plusnet’s customer services manager, look away now.
As you can see, Plusnet has suffered a rather nasty spike in complaints in Q4 2018.
That, according to Ofcom, is because Plusnet “experienced issues with a new billing system it launched”.
A quick scour through the company’s forums starkly reveals what those problems are. The number one complaint appears to be customers being cut off because the new billing system refuses to take their money.
It seems the first many customers know of their billing problem is when they attempt to visit a site and Plusnet’s servers redirect them to a web page telling them their payment had failed.
“I’m still sat here with no bloody internet!” wrote one customer on the Plusnet forums in February. “Payment has left my bank and half an hour ago I got a text to say my services are now restricted due to non-payment. Two hours after I rang up to pay!”
Many others are complaining about being overcharged. “I renewed my broadband contract with Plusnet in March, and agreed a price of £18 per month,” writes one victim.
“My first two bills have come through and I have been charged £29.98 on both. I rang after the first bill came through and was told there was a systems issue and that I would be refunded and my account changed so that I would be charged the correct amount. My second bill has come through today and I have been mischarged again!”
The problems don’t seem to have gone away, either. A thread on the forum about ongoing problems with the billing system is now seven months old and is still attracting fresh complaints. “This is nothing new,” writes one customer on the forum. “At least six months and it’s not yet been fixed… not even close to fixing the issue.”
A spokesperson for Plusnet told us: “We’d like to apologise to our customers as we know this isn’t the service they’ve come to expect from us. A small number of customers had issues following the launch of our new billing system at the end of last year. This meant our customer service centres saw an increase in calls, so customers had to wait longer than usual to speak to an advisor.
We worked with Ofcom to keep them informed and to ensure our customers received the best service through this difficult time. This report refers to complaints during that time in October to December, since then we’ve been working hard to get things back on track and the most recent complaints data shows that we are heading in the right direction.”
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