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ISP refused to cancel during the cooling off period

jimmc

Member
Hi All,

Sorry for the long post but hopefully this will be clear.

England.

This is the timeline of events.
  1. Requested to be connected to a local fibre ISP and the order acceptance email was received on the 12/05/2021
  2. Installation including running fibre to my propery happened on the 25/05/2021
  3. I disovered issues surrounding the security of the connection that day (see this post to /r/casualuk)
  4. I requested cancellation of the service on the 26/05/2021 which is within their 14 day "cooling off" cancellation period. This started from the date the order acceptance email was received and cancellation after installation is allowed for in clause 9.3 of their T&Cs (see below).
  5. I received a phone call almost right away from customer service saying that I could not cancel because I had been installed. I asked them to show me where in the T&Cs it says this. They referred to the clause that applies after my legal right to cancel the service (the cooling off period) had ended. They refused to accept I was still in the cooling off period "because I had been installed - and I was happy with the installation".
  6. Emails back and forward with me again requesting to be cancelled and again them refusing to cancel me. They then never replied to my last request for cancellation which was on that same day the 26th of May.
The relevant section of the terms and conditions are below:

9.2 Exercising your right to change your mind (Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013). For Services bought at a distance you have a legal right to change your mind within 14 days and receive a refund. These rights, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, are explained in more detail in these terms.
9.3. How long do I have to change my mind? Where you have purchased Services, you have 14 days after the day we will write to you to confirm we accept your order. If you cancel after we have started providing the Services (including any installation Services), you must pay us for the Services provided up until the time you tell us that you have changed your mind.
9.4 and 9.5 are not relevant - about refunds

9.6 Cancelling the contract after the minimum term has expired. You may cancel the contract anytime after the minimum term has expired, however, you must give us 30 days notice of your intention to cancel.
9.7. Cancelling the contract during the minimum term where we are not at fault and there is no right to change your mind. Even if we are not at fault and you do not have a right to change your mind, you can still end the contract during the minimum term but you will have to pay us compensation by way of an early termination fee. The contract will end 30 days after you notify us that you wish it to end and we will refund any sums paid by you for Services not provided but we may deduct from that refund (or, if you have not made an advance payment, charge you in proportion to the amount of time you have left in your minimum term. A full list of early termination fees can be found on our website (www.truespeed.com/terms/)
Point 9.6 and 9.7 are what the customer service rep referred me to - despite the fact that I was within the 14 day cooling off period. They were not able to point me to any clause which stated my happiness with the initial installation waived my legal right to the 14 day cooling off period.

To me this is very simple. I was within my rights to cancel the service according to clause 9.3 which specifically outlines this eventuality and that I would be liable for the services received up until that point. Whether I was happy with the initial installation is beside the point (I had no opportunity to find out about the security issues at that point anyway).

I just want to check here that I am correct. I also want to see what you think should be my next step - some time has passed at this point. I have 6 months of free service anyway so things will not come to a head until the first time they try and extract money from me, unless I reach out to them first.

I am aware that under clause 9.3 and also the Consumer Contracts Regulations I am liable to pay for the 1 day of service I received and any cost of installation - however the installation was provided for free and the ISP are claiming the money via the government's gigabit broadband voucher scheme. This is complicated but I just know they are going to try and charge me for installation, which I think is £100. I obviously don't really want to pay this. What are my rights here as the installation was "free"?

Thanks!
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Tricky as you moved to cancel more or less right on that last day. The cooling-off period usually starts the day after YOU agree to go ahead with the service, although in their terms this is defined as the day THEY write to confirm your order (12th May), but you requested cancellation on 26th (the 14th day). I suspect it may come down to a debate over hours and minutes - timing of how both sides logged/received the emails may be key.

If the company refuses to let you cancel, write again stating that you’re legally entitled to cancel within the cooling-off period. If it continues to refuse, you could request a "Deadlock Letter" and try taking them to the Ombudsman (CISAS). But if they decline then you might have to wait 8 weeks from when the problem started before you can unilaterally ask CISAS to settle the dispute (this won't cost you anything, but it will cost the ISP).



Failing all that, you could consider taking court action (small claims court) but that's always a last resort and will attract a small fee. I think the biggest difficulty you'll have is over the timing and reasoning for the cancellation. No strict fault exists with the service, so I'm not sure how the Ombudsman would rule on this one.
 

29.—(1) The consumer may cancel a distance or off-premises contract at any time in the cancellation period without giving any reason, and without incurring any liability except under these provisions—​
(a)regulation 34(3) (where enhanced delivery chosen by consumer);​
(b)regulation 34(9) (where value of goods diminished by consumer handling);​
(c)regulation 35(5) (where goods returned by consumer);​
(d)regulation 36(4) (where consumer requests early supply of service).​
(2) The cancellation period begins when the contract is entered into and ends in accordance with regulation 30 or 31.​
(3) Paragraph (1) does not affect the consumer's right to withdraw an offer made by the consumer to enter into a distance or off-premises contract, at any time before the contract is entered into, without giving any reason and without incurring any liability.​

If you did not request early supply of service, then this applies. If they just installed within the cooling off, that is their problem.


Normal cancellation period​
30.—(1) The cancellation period ends as follows, unless regulation 31 applies.​
(2) If the contract is—​
(a)a service contract, or​
(b)a contract for the supply of digital content which is not supplied on a tangible medium,​
the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the contract is entered into.​
(3) If the contract is a sales contract and none of paragraphs (4) to (6) applies, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the goods come into the physical possession of—​
(a)the consumer, or​
(b)a person, other than the carrier, identified by the consumer to take possession of them.​
(4) If the contract is a sales contract under which multiple goods are ordered by the consumer in one order but some are delivered on different days, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the last of the goods come into the physical possession of—​
(a)the consumer, or​
(b)a person, other than the carrier, identified by the consumer to take possession of them.​
(5) If the contract is a sales contract under which goods consisting of multiple lots or pieces of something are delivered on different days, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the last of the lots or pieces come into the physical possession of—​
(a)the consumer, or​
(b)a person, other than the carrier, identified by the consumer to take possession of them.​
(6) If the contract is a sales contract for regular delivery of goods during a defined period of more than one day, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the first of the goods come into the physical possession of—​
(a)the consumer, or​
(b)a person, other than the carrier, identified by the consumer to take possession of them.​

Your rights remain as a service and it is from the point the contract is entered in to, not started. Which you've explained notice was given within.

If they opt to start processing your order or provide it early, under cooling off, you are entitled to a full refund (i.e no liability), in law. They should have given you the choice for them to start early, or wait out the 14 days before they did anything.

Voucher is irrelevant and as law states, you have no liability.

Best of luck to you but they have no leg(s) to stand on.
 

jimmc

Member
If you did not request early supply of service, then this applies. If they just installed within the cooling off, that is their problem.

Hi James, thanks for the reply. With respect to the above, I arranged an installation date with them which (I now know) was inside the cooling off period but that fact was not.... highlighted to me at the time of making the appointment. Do you know where I stand in that case?

Thanks!
 

jimmc

Member
I suspect it may come down to a debate over hours and minutes - timing of how both sides logged/received the emails may be key.

Hi Mark, thanks for the reply. I can see their email was sent at 10 PM on the 12th and they got my cancellation request before 11:26 AM on the 26th (I know this because that's when I received the "ticket received" email reply). So it looks like I'm 11 hours or so within the 14 days!
 
Hi Mark, thanks for the reply. I can see their email was sent at 10 PM on the 12th and they got my cancellation request before 11:26 AM on the 26th (I know this because that's when I received the "ticket received" email reply). So it looks like I'm 11 hours or so within the 14 days!

It is 14 days after the day of which the contract was entered in to, not from the same day.

Hi James, thanks for the reply. With respect to the above, I arranged an installation date with them which (I now know) was inside the cooling off period but that fact was not.... highlighted to me at the time of making the appointment. Do you know where I stand in that case?

Thanks!

Did they make clear you would be waiving your rights to your cooling off period? You could argue they should be doing this is they are offering installation dates within the cooling off period.

In any case, their terms are contradictory to a point.

9.3. How long do I have to change my mind? Where you have purchased Services, you have 14 days after the day we will write to you to confirm we accept your order. If you cancel after we have started providing the Services (including any installation Services), you must pay us for the Services provided up until the time you tell us that you have changed your mind.​
You have changed your mind. Oddly then contradicted by 9.7.

9.7. Cancelling the contract during the minimum term where we are not at fault and there is no right to change your mind.​
This could border on unfair contract terms.

You have however exercised your right to cancel within 14 days (time frame defined by law) from the next day, but also adhering to their terms of 9.3 which you've given notice and will gladly pay them for services provided up to the point you've told them.

Your "cooling off" rights may not apply as TCC defines because it was installed "early" but their own terms make clear you have a period to change your mind. It does not say that period ends when the services are installed, or when and if, you agreed to or ask for a date to install within 14 days.

Your options are limited because if they disconnect you and send you a bill for the remainder, it is generally them who would start any claim or collection activity.

A complaint should be the first step. If they send you a letter setting out their position and that they can do no more, you can then go to their ADR which is CISAS (CEDR) at this point. It does not need to be referred to as a "deadlock letter" in text, but they do not have to issue such a letter either. They can just allow the complaint to time out after 8 weeks and by that you can then go to the CISAS by default.

Just from the cost of the ADR alone, they'll lose out more than £130 in a case fee and that again if it goes to someone at CISAS to deal with the case. They may decide it is cheaper and easier for them to just let you walk away but make it clear to them you will be going to their ADR if they cannot resolve this to your satisfaction.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
Their router is locked to the user, if you want to change the Wifi password you have to email the new password to them.


You don't get access to anything other than turning it on or off.

Alarm bells started ringing when I discovered that [Truespeed’s] supplied router is completely locked down. I can’t control anything except to physically turn it off. The web interface is not accessible,” said the customer.

The ISP confirms this on their website (FAQ) by saying that “right now, we don’t allow customers to change their router settings themselves. This is to make sure we can keep both your home network and our Truespeed network fully secure.” Apparently, “If you want to make a change to your network or router configuration, contact our Customer Support Team.” That alone would be enough to discourage most experienced IT folk.
 
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