By Sophie Boot
Vodafone and Spark are rubbing their internet customers up the wrong way by being difficult to contact, but people stick with them all the same as it's too hard to compare services, according to a survey by Consumer NZ.
A survey of the consumer lobby's 8600 members has ranked 12 internet providers, with Spark and Vodafone customers the least happy.
Vodafone fared worst in the survey, with just 30 percent of 3000 customers satisfied, compared to an average of 44 percent across all providers.
More than a quarter of Vodafone customers did not feel they were getting good value for money, and 51 percent felt the company was not easy to contact, with long wait times when calling customer service.
Spark also fared poorly, with just 35 percent of 3400 customers satisfied with the country's biggest telecommunications company. Some 45 percent found Spark hard to contact, and about a third felt they were not getting good value for money.
Despite dissatisfaction, most respondents had been with the same provider for at least two years, with about 60 percent staying for five years or more.
This was not down to loyalty so much as companies making it difficult for consumers to compare and switch between providers, the consumer group said.
The happiest customers were with smaller companies, although there were fewer of their customers surveyed.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they were very likely to move to an ultra-fast broadband plan, and 17 percent had already made the switch.
The major telecommunications providers performed better on mobile, although they still lagged behind average. An average of 49 percent of consumers felt "very satisfied" with the services they were getting across all providers; for Spark, this dropped to 41 percent, and 42 percent for Vodafone.