telecoms Utilities

How to complain about broadband speeds/service interruptions

I do believe that there are more people that have complaints about their broadband services than don’t!

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Broadband Speed issues

This can be quite a problem of which people are not really aware. Check your broadband speed by using site that will do this such as Broadbandchecker (it’s free). Look at the speed that you are paying for and complain if necessary! Usually this is via the company’s complaint form. Annoyingly though, most ISPs get round poor speeds by advertising speeds “up to” a certain level. I’d like to think that this was a breach of consumer law, not least The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, but advertising regulators have been involved and ISPs can advertise in this way if just 10% or more of customers can reach this speed.

The service must meet what was promised to you before you signed up though, otherwise the supplier could be in breach of contract – so you can complain if the service is frequently not meeting the speed. Check the terms and conditions of your contract. Maximum speeds may not be guaranteed and other factors such as where you live, how many people are on a website at one time etc. come into play.

Log your speeds over a few weeks and provide this information when informing your supplier that it is in breach of contract.

Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice which signed up telecoms providers should follow, states that they must give detailed quote for speeds on your line so ask for this. Also under these rules you can break the contract or take an alternative package without penalties if the speed is not per the original estimate.

Ofcom rules regarding broadband speed

From 01 March 2019 providers must abide by Ofcom rules:

  • provide realistic estimates of speed at peak times at the point of sale of contract.
  • provide a guaranteed minimum speed at the point of sale of the contract.
  • if speed levels fall below the guaranteed minimum level,  time is limited for the provider to fix the issue before offering right to exit a contract early.

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules

From 31 October 2016, the ASA recommended to providers that in order for them to to stay within advertising laws regarding broadband speeds price claims should:

  • show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs without separating line rental.
  • give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing.
  • give greater prominence for the up-front costs.

From 23 May 2018 the ASA introduced new rules that download speeds must be available to 50% of customers at peak times and described as “average” in adverts.

Complaining about interruptions to broadband

You should log all interruptions to the service, with dates and of interruption along with the duration. How long you should do this for depends on how often you are getting interruptions. For example if it is happening several times a day for a week that is enough for you to complain. However, if it is only once or twice a week you might want to log for a couple of months to show that it is an ongoing problem.

Further help with your consumer rights and how to complain about broadband and other telecom issues

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All you need to know about complaining to telecom providers





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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

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