The types of complaint Ofcom deals with

Published: 26 October 2023

We make sure you get the best from your broadband and phone. We also oversee TV and radio, wireless airwaves and the post.

However, we may not be able to deal with individual complaints for each of these areas. Here’s an overview of what we do and don’t do.

We deal with complaints from people and businesses, which helps us to take action against firms when they let customers down.

Parliament has not given us powers to resolve people’s complaints about their phone or broadband service. Instead, these can be dealt with by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services.

Although we don’t investigate individual complaints, by highlighting problems you play a vital part in our work and we might investigate a company if monitoring reveals a particular problem.

Complain about mobile, phone or internet services

There are various types of unwanted calls and messages, but Ofcom is only responsible for monitoring silent and abandoned calls.

Other organisations deal with other types of unwanted calls and messages.

Find out how to report or protect yourself from them by selecting the relevant type of call or message in our complaints hub.

Complain about unwanted calls and messages

We make sure:

  • a range of companies provide quality television and radio programmes that appeal to diverse audiences;
  • viewers and listeners are protected from harmful or offensive material on TV, radio and on-demand;
  • people are protected from unfair treatment in programmes, and don’t have their privacy invaded; and
  • UK-based video-sharing platforms take appropriate measures to protect their users from harm.

We consider every complaint we receive from viewers and listeners. Often, we investigate further. Sometimes, we find broadcasters in breach of our rules.

We regulate BBC content (except the BBC World Service), but you must register complaints about it with the BBC first. If you are not satisfied with the BBC’s response, you can contact us about it. Find out more about how we deal with BBC TV, radio and on-demand complaints.

We accept complaints directly about other TV and radio broadcasters we regulate. Find out more about how we deal with other TV and radio complaints.

Read our rules for broadcasters.

Complain about TV, radio or on demand services

Although we regulate the postal industry, we cannot investigate individual complaints about postal operators.

Any regulated postal operator must have a complaints procedure on its website.

If you want to complain about Royal Mail, please contact it directly. We don't regulate Parcelforce and Post Office Limited.

In exceptional circumstances, we may investigate interference to radio equipment where we're satisfied that:

  • the interference is harmful;
  • it is outside of your control; and
  • all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise the effect.

We may send out an engineer to investigate. However, you could be liable for the cost of the investigation if we find that the criteria above have not been met.

Before reporting interference to Ofcom, and to minimise the risk of incurring costs subject to our terms and conditions of undertaking an investigation, you should:

  • keep a log of all incidents including the time, the date and the station or apparatus affected (ideally for two weeks);
  • establish that the source of harmful interference is not within your control (e.g. within your own property); and
  • ensure the affected station or apparatus is functioning correctly (e.g. installed, maintained and engineered).

Complain about wireless interference

Ofcom is the regulator for online safety in the UK. Our job is to make sure that online services, like sites and apps, meet their duties to protect their users.

We regulate video-sharing platforms (VSPs) that are established in the UK. A VSP is a service that allows users to upload or share videos with other people. A full list of notified VSPs is available on our website.

You can find out more about how we regulate online services, including VSPs.

Complain about online services, websites or apps

We don’t handle:

  • individual disputes between you and your home phone, broadband or mobile provider - they will be dealt with via an ADR scheme;
  • premium-rate telephone services – these are regulated by the Phone-paid Services Authority;
  • standards of advertising on TV, radio or the internet – these are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority;
  • the BBC World Service;
  • the BBC licence fee;
  • post offices; or
  • newspapers and magazines.

We always do our best to meet the needs of businesses, consumers, viewers and listeners.

But sometimes things can go wrong – or we can fall short of our own high standards.

If this happens we have procedures to handle your complaints about Ofcom.

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