19/05/17 Remember life without the internet?
No, me neither. We’ve got so used to broadband, mobile phones and new technology, that the world of landlines and dial-up connections far away.
But as we’ve become more reliant on broadband services, problems have emerged. Over 17,000 people have contacted Resolver about broadband in the last couple of years. Complaints range from dodgy connections to service failures, with MIA engineers and rubbish customer service high on the list too.
There are some positives. It’s just been announced that broadband providers will be forced to advertise the speeds that at least half their customers actually receive. At the moment, they can get away with promoting the speed that only the top 10% get – which is hugely misleading. And regulator OFCOM is consulting on introducing automatic compensation for delayed repairs and missed appointments.
But most of the people I speak to just want what they’ve paid for. So if you aren’t getting the service you signed up for, here’s what to do.
Get a better deal
Do a speed test. There’s loads of free apps that you can download that will allow you to check the actual speed of your broadband connection. You can find a selection on Money Saving Expert’s guide. Take a screenshot each time you check.
Ask for options. Speak to your provider (send them a tweet or get in touch online to jump the queue), you could ask for something to boost the speed, get a reduction in your payments – or they may even have a fix.
Take it higher. Still not happy? Resolver can help you make a complaint, but it pays to set out your argument in simple terms. If you want out of the contract, provide proof of the poor service and the efforts you’ve made to sort it out. Broadband speed isn’t guaranteed, but you can argue that you’re not getting the service you paid for it it’s constantly disrupted.
The question I get asked the most is “Is it worth switching providers?”
There’s no simple answer, I’m afraid. The quality of broadband can be affected by lots of things, not least where you live. If you’re unhappy with the service, check out these things first:
Telephone extensions. Extension leads can lower your broadband speed or cause interference as can tangled leads (it’s not all technical!) Shorter, higher quality cables can make a difference.
Microfilters: What?! Microfilters are those little white box thingies that split the broadband and phone signals. Check you have one and that it’s working. Your broadband provider can confirm if you need one.
Electrical stuff. Loads of things are rumoured to affect signals; fish tanks, lamps and dimmers, speakers and even fairy lights. Don’t be fobbed off. Move your things about but get the engineer to identify any problems. Moving the router off the floor can also help.
One last tip – research suggests you’ll be charged upwards of 40% more if you stay loyal to some providers. So, switching can really save you loads! But remember:
Check your contract. If it’s still running, you could face a hefty charge for cancelling early. Negotiate if you’ve not been getting the service you’ve paid for and use Resolver to make a complaint.
Check out what other people are saying about the competition. Some customer service is better than others…
Don’t forget to ask what happens next. It sounds a bit sad but I’ve seen grown men and women reduced to jibbering wrecks after three days offline!