Umbrella company complaints – what is fair, and what is fussy?

Umbrella company complaints – what is fair, and what is fussy?

Unsurprisingly, umbrella companies are frequently subjected to complaints. After all, payroll is something that you always want to run smoothly! However, while some umbrella companies may be acting inefficiently, others are subjected to complaints that aren’t justified. This article will look at some of the most frequent complaints we’ve come across by reading online reviews. We’ll share our opinion on whether or not the umbrella company compliant is justified. Some umbrella companies deserve scrutiny. Others deserve a break!

What have we done to assess umbrella company complaints?

We’ve been nosy and have looked at numerous reviews for FCSA accredited umbrella companies online. Most of the umbrella companies we’ve looked at have stellar reputations. However, almost every umbrella has a few unhappy employees who have taken to the internet to share their bad experiences. We’ve shared some quotes taken from negative reviews and have voiced our opinion on whether they’re justified or not. Hopefully, this article will help you identify the worst umbrella companies in the UK.

“Opted me in for pension scheme without my permission.”

Umbrella companies are legally required to opt employees into a pension within 12 weeks. It’s as simple as that. Umbrella employees are well within their rights to opt-out of pension contributions, but they can only do this once they’ve made their first contributions. Pensions are often a significant cause of concern for umbrella employees – but it’s not the umbrella companies fault that they automatically enrol their employees into a pension scheme – it’s a government requirement.

Our opinion: Assuming communication was good, an unjustified compliant.

“Wage estimates don’t match the actual amount…”

Umbrella company take home pay calculations are just that – an “estimate”. Until an umbrella company processes an employee’s payroll and uses their tax code (via PAYE), they will not know the exact amount they’ll be paying the worker. Ethical umbrella companies will do everything possible to ensure calculations/estimates are as accurate as possible, but they will not be 100% accurate.

Our opinion: An unjustified compliant.

“Poor communication.”

Umbrella companies provide a payroll service. Employers should be committed to providing their employees with an excellent experience, including great communication.

Our opinion: A justified complaint.

“Refused to give me a payslip…”

Umbrella companies are legally required to provide their employees with a detailed payslip showing all deductions (and gross/net salary). Any umbrella company that refuses to distribute payslips are breaking the rules, and they could be hiding something. Report any umbrella company that refuses to hand out payslips – immediately!

Our opinion: A justified complaint.

“Rang up for a quote… 24 hours later still no reply.”

This comes back to the bad communication review we commented on earlier. 24 hours is a long time to wait. However, did the umbrella company say they would contact the worker in 24 hours? Or did they say they would be in contact the same day but fail to meet their timeframe? The chances are, this umbrella has failed to provide the customer service expected of them, and in turn, they’ve lost this worker’s interest.

Our opinion: Probably a justified complaint.

“My direct debits bounced because of them today!”

There are two sides to this. Did the umbrella promise they would process a payment on a specific date? Or, has the agency/end-client failed to send funds to the umbrella company? We would need more information regarding this review to comment fairly.

Our opinion: More information required.

“Aggressive marketing and phone calls as late as 8pm.”

Nobody likes being harassed! Umbrella companies can have a tricky time contacting employees because, unsurprisingly, employees are working during the day! However, marketing calls as late as 8:00 pm sound unreasonable. The fact this reviewer mentioned “phone calls” implies this has happened on multiple occasions. This is unacceptable. If an umbrella has struggled to get hold of someone genuinely interested in their services, a late call isn’t the end of the world. However, multiple late calls against someone’s wishes – this isn’t good.

Our opinion: Probably a justified review.

“Rude staff.”

This comment is down to interpretation. Were the umbrella company representatives rude, or was the employee rude? There are two sides to this. If the umbrella staff were being disrespectful, short, unhelpful and aggressive – shame on them! However, it may not surprise you to hear that some umbrella companies receive very aggressive calls from employees. The umbrella may be at fault here, or the caller may not have liked the answers they received and have accused the umbrella representatives of being “rude” unfairly.

Our opinion: Possibly a justified complaint.

“I don’t even have anything to do with them and they keep bombarding me with calls every day.”

Assuming the reviewer has told this umbrella to leave them alone and remove their contact details from the system – the umbrella is clearly at fault! Hopefully, this is just down to a misunderstanding, and the poor reviewer is left in peace!

Our opinion: A justified complaint.

“The last 7 or 8 months I have not had a single pay check paid to me on time.”

This is very concerning to read. Late payments could be down to several factors, including incompetence by the recruitment agency or end-client. Mistakes happen! However, to have not had any payments on time for months – this is terrible! The umbrella in question should address these issues and identify the problem to ensure they don’t continue.

Our opinion: A justified complaint.

“Why am I paying towards their national insurance?”

Employment costs are deducted from the assignment rate – the rate agreed between the worker and agency before any deductions are taken into account. The assignment rate needs to account for employment costs, as well as Holiday Pay.

Our opinion: Potentially a justified complaint. The umbrella in question should have explained how employment costs work during the onboarding process. The criticism is unjustified if they did this thoroughly because the worker was informed regarding Employer’s National Insurance Contributions. However, if there was a lack of information provided to the worker – the complaint is fully justified.

“Do not use this agency…”

Umbrella companies are not agencies – they’re umbrella companies. Therefore, this reviewer seems to have either used the wrong terminology or reviewed the wrong company within the supply chain. We urge all reviewers – get your facts right before posting something online!

Our opinion: Not a justified complaint.

Choose a compliant umbrella company

We highly recommend you only consider using an umbrella company with accreditation from either the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) or Professional Passport. Both these bodies are highly respected and are committed to ensuring the supply chain of temporary workers is compliant with UK tax law. Any umbrella company that holds one of these accreditations has successfully proven they operate in the best interests of their employees.

Top 10 umbrella companies

There are over 500 umbrella companies in the UK. With so many to choose from, how do you know which umbrella company is best? We’ve collated a list of top 10 umbrella companies that we think you’ll find helpful. Each of our top 10 is compliant with HMRC’s rules and regulations, and some have special offers at the moment. Check them out!

The Complete Umbrella Company Guide - Download Now

Click here to see our top 10 umbrella companies!

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