What to do if you are stuck without internet service and are between contracts with different providers
Following an unhappy month with Tesco broadband and phone, I applied to return to Plusnet. The Tesco service was terminated on 25 October but Plusnet said it couldn’t reconnect my landline or internet connection until 23 January 2013. Both companies claim they followed the proper procedures. I am stuck with having to use a 3G adapter in the attic (to achieve good reception), which is far more expensive.
Mr Ward has since cancelled his Plusnet account and ordered a new service from Talk Talk, which started on 10 December. But he was angry because neither Tesco nor Plusnet would take responsibility for the mess. He checked with the ombudsmen for the communications industry. These are Cisas and Ombudsman Services: Communications (OSC), which used to be called Otelo.
Both bodies ask consumers to try to resolve the situation with the internet service provider (ISP) before logging a complaint. The wording of the statement is a bit ambiguous and Mr Ward thought he had to wait eight weeks before escalating his complaint. That’s not the case. If the customer has tried and failed to resolve the situation with the ISP, they can ask the ISP or phone provider for a ‘deadlock letter’ even if it has been only a couple of weeks. The letter sets out the ISP’s formal response to the complaint including details of any proposals to resolve it.
Mr Ward wants to claim compensation because of the higher cost of using his mobile phone for internet access. There are three ways he can do this online.
The most practical road to take is to contact the ombudsman – ISPs are required to register with either Cisas or OSC, and both have powers to order an ISP to issue financial compensation.
Mr Ward can also contacted the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), which can often act more quickly to resolve a dispute but cannot order an ISP to pay damages.
The final option is the regulator Ofcom. It will not act on Mr Ward’s behalf but will consider his complaint, and monitor the company. If necessary they can also fine it.
How to lodge a complaint against an ISP
Industry ombudsman services provide information including companies registered with them and the type of information consumers must provide.
• Cisas member companies | Complaints procedure
• ISPA member companies | Complaints procedure
• OSC member companies | Complaints procedure
• Ofcom member companies | Complaints procedure
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