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Worst customer service firms in 2017

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During 2017, Guardian Money received more complaints than ever before. They’ve published an annual roundup of the customer service issues faced by readers over the past 12 months…

Online banking, email and text scams continue to be a growing problem.

Worst company of the year

ParkingEye, manages all Aldi parking as well as that in many other stores, hospitals and car parks around the country. An apparent problem with the technology meant that customers who visited Aldi stores twice in the same day were issued with £70 tickets by the Capita-owned firm. In other cases, disabled drivers stuck in traffic trying to leave have been issued tickets for overstaying the three-hour limit by as little as 12 minutes. 

Worst travel company

British Airways, was the most complained-about airline, not helped by its IT malfunction when a contractor pulled out a cable, causing all its Gatwick and Heathrow flights to be cancelled over the May bank holiday weekend. The company vowed to sort out its customer services last year but many readers complained they were simply ignored by the firm.

Worst phone and broadband provider

BT retained the number one spot for another year – which will partly reflect the fact that it is the biggest, but also because its customer services in too many cases still don’t deal with matters as they should.

Virgin Media continues to be overrepresented in complaints, although it is facing sanction from the regulator Ofcom over its most-hated policy of holding customers to contracts when they move out of a Virgin-connected area.

Who got better v who got worse

John Lewis featured much less in 2017 than in previous years, although its wedding service continues to be the subject of letters.

Scottish Power appears to have sorted out its billing nightmares of the past. But fellow supplier npower continues to suffer complaints – albeit fewer than in previous years.

Too many of the complaints received, particularly those involving fraud, appeared to involve one particular bank – Barclays.

Whirlpool has continued to struggle to deal with the backlash from the tumble drier bursting-into-flames debacle. The fact that there has been no formal product recall or official redress programme is a scandal.

And the very best …

Through the year readers wrote to praise several firms for excellent customer service, but one stood out. In March, Le Creuset, had replaced a 40-year-old casserole dish bought from a charity shop. That’s what you call customer service!

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