UK Broadband ISP Complaints Advice

Welcome to the UK Broadband ISP Complaints section, which contains detailed information and advice on the problems consumers often experience with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and how to get them solved. To make life easier for our readers we’ve also split this section up into five common sense categories and ordered everything by priority. Readers can still view a backup of our OLD ISP Complaints Page HERE (no longer updated).

Complaint Topics
UK ISP Complaints - image courtesy of Ofcom Before we get started it’s critical to understand that ISPs are highly complicated network/Internet access platforms that do, from time to time, suffer problems just like any home or office computer would. There is simply no avoiding this. Therefore it is very important to distinguish between situations where a formal complaint may become necessary and those that are of a more natural occurrence.

Sample of common ISP issues that DO NOT require a formal complaint:
1. Brief and Uncommon Critical Service (Email, Website Browsing etc.) Outages.

Sadly it is perfectly normal for ISPs to experience occasional problems with online services, such as email access. These are usually resolved after a few minutes or hours, only very occasionally will they last longer than a day. Don’t get too frustrated, inform them of your problem and allow some time for it to be resolved.

2. General Fluctuations in Broadband Speed.

Broadband is a variable “best efforts” service, which means it is shared between many users and open to fluctuations in performance (often more so in dense urban areas). For example, if you have an 8Mbps package but your line is only rated to cope with 2Mbps then you should not be surprised to see speeds vary from around 1 to 1.5Mbps (potentially lower during peak periods). Few get the advertised or even best estimated speed for their line.

3. Short and Uncommon Broadband Connection Problems.

Once again, connections do sometimes go down and fail to connect/reconnect, though usually for no more than one day at most. These issues should be very rare and 9 times out of 10 they will be fixed within a few minutes or hours.

4. Being Charged an Exit Fee for Leaving your ISP.

It is your responsibility, unless the switch relates to a major service problem (see below), to read the Small Print/Terms (T&C’s) where details about any contract obligations and leaving/exit fees are usually listed. This may seem nasty but often ISPs offering a FREE connection defer such charges until you choose to leave; such costs are usually removed after the minimum contract term has run its course.

Sample of ISP issues that DO require a complaint (if unsolved by provider):
1. Difficulty Gaining a Broadband Migration Authorisation Code (MAC).

2. Tag on Line (Broadband Connection Ownership Conflict).

3. Slamming (Mis-Selling).

4. Serious and Persistent Declines in Broadband Speed.

5. Frequent and Lengthy Broadband Connection Problems.

6. Billing and Cancellation Errors.

7. Unreachable Customer Support Departments.

8. Lengthy Critical Service (Email, Website Browsing etc.) Outages.


See 'Common ISP Complaints and Advice' for full details on the most serious problems, such as those listed above; many of the issues mentioned there DO require a complaint, assuming the ISP itself has failed to resolve it. Should you feel that a complaint would be justified then, before continuing to our 'Official ISP Complaint Procedures and Handlers' area, please check out the 'Helpful ISP Complaint Tips' section for more guidance.

Some problems may not be the ISPs fault and could be due to an issue at your end (e.g. wrong router settings) or possibly even a lack of understanding from not having read the services Terms (T&C's). Extenuating circumstances like this are tricky and not easy for ISPs to diagnose; use common sense and ask a knowledgeable friend about your difficulties. ISPs have a legal responsibility to deliver the service paid for.

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