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UK ISPs Warned as Pensioner Wins Service Loss Court Case vs BT Broadband

Posted: 03rd Sep, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk ISP lawbt retail ukA local court in the rural Cambridgeshire village of Haddenham has forced BT to pay back £190 in compensation after it left 76-year-old Robert Hammond, a BT shareholder, without a broadband or phone connection for over 35 days. Hammond had sought compensation of £1,000 but this was declined due to the connection being for domestic purposes only.

Robert Hammond said (Thame Gazette):

"[BT] took me on recklessly as they didn’t have an engineer in Haddenham who was able to do the work. They have degraded me, they couldn’t care less. It was only when I said I would take them to court that they bothered to reply to me.

BT are incredibly rude and unpleasant to people. They are contemptuous of their customers. They acted like cowboys, not what you would expect of such a large organisation. They never came to see me, I just got three texts from them. They just wanted to sign me up, they knew they didn’t have anyone in Haddenham who could do the job."

It's sometimes easy to forget that ISP contracts work both ways and broadband providers do have a duty to resolve serious problems. Thankfully the court is usually a last resort, although it can sometimes be faster than pursuing official channels.

Ofcom requires that all UK ISPs are members of an approved ADR (complaints handler) scheme (more details here), although sadly a complaint must have gone unresolved for 8 weeks before one of these can be pursued and resolutions can sometimes take months.

It's important to remember that phone services are more than just a connection and are often vital, especially if the emergency services are required. Luckily for BT such a situation did not arise.
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