VOTING FORM: The Wooden Spoon Awards for the company with the worst customer service in 2022

VOTING FORM: The Wooden Spoon Awards for the company that provided the worst customer service in 2022

Have you fallen victim to one of our most complained companies in 2022? Let your voice be heard. It’s your chance to help us name and shame the worst of the worst, with the ‘winner’ receiving our Wooden Spoon Award in the new year.

Learn more about why each company was chosen as the worst of the bunch

You can scroll down for a quick reminder of the nominees and don’t forget to add your thoughts in the comments.

If you are reading on a third-party mobile app or site please vote here

An overview of companies in the dock:

British natural gas

Inaccurate billing and tortoise-shell phone answering propelled the company to the top of Money Mail’s most-complained energy firm. Concerned customers saw unexplained increases – a household’s direct debit skyrocketed from £80 a month to £800 – while others complained of being on hold for almost an hour.


The phone giant that doesn’t answer its phones. Customers who call the outage helpline are routinely forced to wait on hold for up to 45 minutes and more when they try to contact the telecom giant to complain about broadband problems and engineers not showing up.

DWP – Directorate of Work and Pensions

The year has seen a catalog of blunders – from poor retirees waiting months for much-needed retirement credit and new retirees waiting months for their first payment due to “staff issues.” But the big one was the historic scandal of more than 237,000 women who underpaid their state pensions, many of whom had to wait another five years for their money.


Pressured, even ‘harassed’, to have smart meters installed, incredibly difficult to reach, with a customer on hold for 80 minutes, and sending a pair of socks to customers worried about rising energy prices. The company had to apologize for that blunder in January. It has not been a good year for this energy company.

John Lewis

This old beacon of customer service lost its luster in that department by forcing its most loyal customers to reapply for their existing Partnership credit card, many of whom were subsequently rejected. It also announced that it was discontinuing its “never knowingly undersold” price comparison policy, which had been a unique selling point for the company for nearly a century.

Passport office

By June, the backlog of applications had ballooned to 550,000 as simple routine renewals took months. The delays derailed vacation plans, business trips and weddings as customers struggled to get through the phone and book appointments. Long queues formed outside the London office and emergency hotlines were closed in what MPs described as a ‘complete failure’.


It’s a quick way to pay, but can be the opposite if you want to get your money back. Complaints usually relate to failure to resolve disputes or process refunds, with some accounts being blocked without warning. But worst of all? Almost every customer found it difficult to contact someone to get help – often through a chatbot that can take several hours to respond.


The banking giant slashed the weekday hours of hundreds of high street branches and slashed its Saturday opening to half a day by hundreds more. In addition, it has come under fire for its slow response to fraud – it has no dedicated fraud hotline and told a scammer victim, who stole her Santander bank card from a safety deposit box, that the subsequent £8,000 outlay was her fault.

Read the full report with responses from the company’s representatives

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