Call me again...
When ISP's actually can get fined for NOT delivering the advertised download speeds they promised...
Purveyors of crap broadband services could have to shell out £142m in compensation, under an automatic redress scheme due to be brought in by regulator Ofcom. Anyone suffering from slow repairs, missed appointments, or delayed installations to their broadband or landline services will have their accounts credited without …
Not to mention latency spikes (a problem for anybody with a Puma 6 chipset modem, like all Virginmedia customers using the Superhub 3), and dramatic swings in performance.
Broadband is a utility these days and it should be regulated. Unfortunately Ofcom's approach is similar to the crappy 19th century regulation of energy suppliers by Ofgem, and misses all the really important stuff. Even what's proposed is shite - if my broadband fails, they propose I have to wait the first part day then two full 24 hour periods before being entitled to any compensation. FFS, if it's down for an hour, I want that day's subscription back, automatically.
Ofcom: Unfit for purpose, yesterday, today, and evermore.
What SLA are you paying for?
I buy services with guaranteed packet delivery, guaranteed uptime and hefty compensation if either of those fail to be met. What you probably won't like is the £700 a month I pay for each of them.
If you buy a cheap consumer product, it comes with a cheap consumer SLA.
"If you buy a cheap consumer product, it comes with a cheap consumer SLA."
Whereas if you pay hundreds of pounds a month for an SLA, you get...
And when something goes wrong, you get...
Many people paying for SLAs might be better off investing the money in properly designed and managed infrastructure. An SLA is often worth its weight in paper when something goes wrong. If you know different, verifiable real-world examples are welcome.
Anyone who has had dealings with an incompetent Energy Provider: Incorrect billing, failing to pay back credits on leaving etc, locked out of a failed system upgrade, knows what an absolute merry-go-round waste of space, these compensation schemes are.
There is no way of making a complaint that affects a large number of customers at once, it relies on individuals, each making their own complaint.
You'll spend an initial 30min-2hr minimum to make a complaint, wait 8 weeks, then raise the issue with Ombudsman Services, who get more in fees per complaint than the customer does, in terms of the average level of compensation paid. For 18 months of hell as a result of a failed system upgrade, CoopEnergy ended up paying an average of £7 in compensation per customer.
Often contacting Ombudsman Services is more a case of being told your complaint is outside their remit. For instance, with Energy, Ofgem does not regulate companies to make sure their online systems/Portal are 'fit for purpose'. If a company implements a 'lemon' of a system upgrade, where you can't read bills online properly, billing is incorrect or the system doesn't accept meter readings, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than wait for an investigation by the regulator, because it falls outside the remit of Ombudsman Services/Ofgem.
To me, it's pointless fire fighting that just reinforces Ofcom (self-serving) weasel role, it doesn't address the problem of problematic 'up to' obfuscated, bamboozled copper carcass Broadband over long lines 500m+ lines. Everyone is ignoring the real problem here.
In effect, it's £142M+ paid in compensation that could be spent on putting in more real Fibre, instead of propping up a weasel regulator that has achieved absolutely zilch, so far in terms of getting BT to ditch new copper installs.
So many self-interested parties that are completely failing the customer and completely missing the point. None of this solves the problem of crap 'up to' broadband over long 500m+ copper/aluminum, the usual reason for the Engineer visits.
"There is no way of making a complaint that affects a large number of customers at once, it relies on individuals, each making their own complaint."
Not really true. Not for the last decade or more in the UK anyway:
But other than that, your general points are valid.
One important point you miss is that the people in charge of messes like this ensure that they are personally and individually very well rewarded when the organisation/business "does well" (according to some benchmark), and yet somehow are not personally and individually responsible when the business does badly (e.g. lets down the people who pay for the organisation). How does that work?
Fix that basic principle, and a lot of generic corporate megaproblems and megacomplaints will magically disappear without too much further intervention.
Not really true.
Actually largely true. The flaw in the super-complaint process is the tiny number of officially vetted quangos (and CAMRA!) who can launch a super complaint. The process is complicated, bureaucratic, and infested with civil servants, all looking to evade work and responsibility.
Take energy: Hands up who thinks the market works for consumers? Errr, anybody? Come along now, somebody must see that the market works for you?
So having been able to have these super-complaints for what, fifteen odd years, have widespread consumer concerns really been dealt with? I think not.
Dermot Nolan, head of Ofgem, needs to go ASAP. Useless beyond belief, he doesn't have the word 'pre-emptive' in his vocabulary.
He has known for years of a potential for Government to introduce an Energy Cap, since Miliband, but decided to only look at the problem of implementation now and decided that Ofgem needs at least 2 winters to assess implementing it.
"Dermot Nolan, head of Ofgem, needs to go ASAP. Useless beyond belief, "
I dunno. It sounds from what you describe that he's quite useful to the allegedly-regulated suppliers, and worse than useless if you're a customer of the energy companies. Isn't that what post-privatisation "regulation" has always been about, in the UK?
What happens if you are waiting for an engineer who has fixed it without access to the premises, i.e the local Exchange. Its happened to me before, I was still expecting the engineer on site to investigate a fault only to find out later the issue was already resolved (The router just needed an initial power load to get it back working).
I've had that, waited TWO full days for the engineer to turn up, and he had fixed it at the exchange - except no one bothered to tell me my line was fixed, not even a sorry from BT.
As for £25, nice if you are unemployed, but most employed people having to take a day off to wait in vain are out a lot more than that; one of my jobs paid £100 per hour, when will BT et al, pay me £800 for waiting in all day and for them not to show up??
In addition to MrBanana's comment, the 15 month delay might well be justified as the date by which the compensation will be handled AUTOMATICALLY, but there's no reason at all why we shouldn't be able to lodge MANUAL claims today...
Would be nice to add a small legal tweak to the effect that any claims not dealt with within, say, 30 days, will automatically be approved if submitted to a small claims court (with appropriate evidence of course).
That should make the buggers' eyes water...
It's come too late for my disastrous house move; PlusNet were booked to come and install 2 days after moving in, I noticed they had the address wrong, so instead of correcting it they cancelled the appointment and rebooked it for 2 weeks later. The engineer missed that appointment and rebooked another for a month later. I had to drag out of them that the engineer claimed the house builders had not signed off the wiring - but I knew they had from the site manager. After the engineer came it still took 8 days before ADSL was enabled, and then it didn't work due to the new installed master socket being faulty, which took another week to sort out. At least the upgrade to fibre went through on the claimed date 3 weeks later, but was capped to the wrong profile, so it was another week before it was up to the full 76/19.
In all it probably cost me over £250 in 4G data for the dongle and tethering on the phone, and all I got was a refund of £56 for the line rental and broadband fees during the time I had no service. Nothing for the stress and frustration of dealing with incompetence on an industrial scale.
Once upon a time I was owed a tidy sum by BT under work not being delivered compensation, when it took them 7 months to provision a line that I had been committed to getting within 30 days back in the modem days, because they had ran out of pole capacity locally and oversold it. At one point they split a sold as a modem line with a dac's unit to give me two useless lines, until I made them remove it.
All the way through the months the standard line to fob me off was dont worry, you will get compensation. Until it was due, and by which time It had amassed up to 800 quid in compensation fees. The nice lady dealing with me told me that was too much and breached some department limit and they were only permitted to award up to 250 quid. I threatened them with the ombudsman and all sorts, but in the end settled for 450 pound after a few more months which they made "as a gesture of good faith, as we had already provided you with a solution" (the dacs), all of which was swallowed by call charges in the first quarterly bill (it was a modem line to my office... people forget how much we paid for basic connectivity back then). I did enquire during the process if what I owned them was subject to departmental hard limits with a grin on my face and was brushed away.
So, I'll believe it when I see reports of the actual agreed figures being honored on time...
I threatened them with the ombudsman and all sorts, but in the end settled for 450 pound after a few more months
Well there was your mistake. You should have contacted the ombudsman because it doesn't cost anything, or prejudice your rights, but as soon as they take a case, the service provider cops a circa £400 case fee. If you'd been able to separate your various woes into distinct complaints you could have cost Bastard Telecom thousands.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020