No drop in landline complaints

Complaints about landlines, broadband and pay TV have failed to drop over the last quarter, with Ofcom telling providers to "continue to work to improve their performance".

TalkTalk generated the most complaints among landline providers during the first quarter of this year, increasing slightly from 0.36 to 0.39 per 1,000 customers - around double the industry average.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Complaints about BT landlines stayed level quarter on quarter at 0.2 per 1,000 customers in Q1 2013, remaining just above the industry average. Among broadband providers, Orange/EE generated the most complaints as a proportion of its customer base for the third consecutive quarter at 0.57 per 1,000 customers.

Complaints were mainly driven by difficulties in changing provider and service issues. TalkTalk and BT's broadband also continued to generate above average complaints at 0.36 and 0.33 complaints respectively. BT Vision drew the most complaints among pay TV providers at 0.29 complaints per 1,000 customers, six times greater than the industry average and partly driven by problems with service provision and billing issues.

Ofcom received the most pay-monthly mobile complaints from T-Mobile customers, at 0.19 per 1,000 customers, largely driven by issues related to billing and complaints handling. Orange and Three also generated complaints in excess of the industry average.

It is Ofcom's ninth quarterly report which aims to help consumers make informed decisions about their communications providers. Broader figures show complaints about broadband and landlines have dropped significantly since the first quarter of 2011 while those about pay tv and mobile pay monthly and pay as you go have remained static or dropped slightly.

Ofcom's consumer group director Claudio Pollack said: "It's important that providers continue to work to improve their performance. We're committed to providing consumers with valuable information to help them choose a provider that best suits their needs. Consumer complaints also help us to identify where to target any necessary enforcement action and ensure that providers comply with our rules."

A TalkTalk spokesman said: "We've made significant improvements across the business over the last year and we're pleased this continues to be reflected in the Ofcom data. Complaints about both landline and broadband services have substantially reduced and are almost half compared to the same quarter last year.

"We've invested in our online customer support and over 70% of customer service contacts now take place online. When issues do arise, we fix them first time in approaching three-quarters of cases. We continue to look for ways to better serve our customers and make further improvements in our service, whilst continuing to provide the great value we're known for."

A BT spokesman said: "BT's TV services are growing rapidly. When you have more new customers, you do see more problems in early life. Where customers have experienced problems, we have identified and fixed the causes. But we are not complacent. We are working towards even greater reliability and providing compelling and convenient sport, film and TV, that costs less and is better value than our competitors."

Most complained about financial products
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No drop in landline complaints

Figures from charity Age UK show that 29% of those over 60 feel uncertain or negative about their current financial situation - with millions facing poverty and hardship.

Even though saving for retirement is not much fun, the message is therefore that having to rely on dwindling state benefits in retirement is even less so.

To avoid ending up in this situation, adviser Hargreaves Lansdown recommends saving a proportion of your salary equal to half your age at the time of starting a pension.

In other words, if you are 30 when you start a pension, you should put in 15% throughout your working life. If you start at 24, saving 12% of your salary a year should produce a similar return.

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