Punish your broadband provider!

We all hate long, drawn out complaint procedures with our broadband providers. Here, Emma Roberts reveals how Ofcom will soon be able to help you punish them once and for all.

There’s nothing quite as infuriating as complaining on the phone to an indifferent, dopey voice who claims to work for your broadband provider.

I always phone up with good intentions and promise myself that if I remain calm and polite, they will merrily solve my complaint and perhaps even throw in some freebies.

Yet this never happens. However good my intentions are when I dial, 50 minutes of being on hold and transferred to four different anonymous voices can make even the calmest person lose their cool.

In fact, complaining to my broadband provider and then waiting for a resolution is so much hassle, I sometimes don’t even bother.

And it seems I’m not alone. A recent survey by broadbandchoices.co.uk revealed that a quarter of broadband customers simply don’t complain, despite having a problem with their service.

Just under half of the people who grin and bear their broadband blunders do so because they think complaining is more hassle than it’s worth.

But if you are one of the thousands of people who have problems with their broadband, you’ll be happy to know that Ofcom have stepped in to your defence.

Oppressed broadband customers across the land rejoice, it’s time to seek revenge on your broadband providers.

Ofcom’s new rules

The kind people at Ofcom have realised that many of us are unhappy with our broadband service but don’t really know how to make a successful complaint.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that many of us are not aware that if we have a complaint and it's not successfully resolved by our broadband provider, we can take that complaint to a free independent resolution service, such as The Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) or The Office of Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo).

To help make more people aware of this, from next year, Ofcom will enforce new rules stating that every broadband provider must include details of dispute resolution services on each of their printed bills.

Broadband providers must also write to their customers whose complaints have not been resolved after eight weeks, informing them to take their complaint to the relevant dispute resolution service. This means making a complaint will be far more straight forward and far less stressful.

Ofcom will also establish a new set of guidelines on how broadband companies can successfully deal with complaints from customers. Again, this will mean you will have a far greater chance of resolving your complaint quickly and successfully.

So far it’s great news for broadband customers but the bad news is that the new rules won’t be fully enforced until summer next year.

Rachel Robson reveals some top tips for successfully complaining to your broadband provider.

But fear not, this doesn’t mean you have to wait an entire year before you can successfully complain, as taking the following steps now can boost your chances of resolving your complaint.

How to complain

1)      From day one always keep your paper work in order. Invest in a cheap file, where you can put all your bills in date-order for easy reference. You can get a decent one from Wilkinson for £3.28.  If you haven’t been doing this, then it’s time for a belated document spring clean.

2)      Make a note of all your passwords and keywords that you assign to your broadband account.  This will make it easier for your broadband provider to deal with any complaints you have in the future.

3)      If you have a complaint, contact your broadband provider. When you get through, ask them to explain their official complaints procedure.

4)      After doing this, tell them in writing about your complaint and make sure you’re really thorough. For instance, if you think you’ve been overcharged for a bill, ensure you write down the exact amount and date of the payment.

In your letter, you should also state that you wish to enter into an official complaints procedure.

Recent question on this topic

5)      And finally, as I have already mentioned, if your dispute is not resolved within eight weeks, you can directly contact one of the dispute resolution services above for free. You don't have to wait for the new rules to come into effect to do this!

We all know how much of a headache complaining to your broadband provider can be but the new Ofcom rules means that next year, things will be a whole lot easier.

In the meantime, if you have a complaint don’t be afraid to follow it up, just make sure you take a nice, long, deep breath before phoning.

For further complaining tips, check out Complain successfully about your broadband.

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