If you’re dissatisfied with the service you’re receiving from your broadband provider - perhaps frequent outages, speeds that don’t live up to promises, unexplained price hikes, incorrect bills, or other poor customer service - you’re entitled to complain. But how do you go about it?
Before you launch a complaint, you should ensure it’s valid. For instance, slow speeds might be the symptom of a faulty router rather than an issue with the broadband network. And some mid-contract price hikes will be included in the terms and conditions you agreed to when you signed up.
If you determine your complaint is valid, your first port of call is your broadband provider itself. First, you should contact them informally through standard customer service channels. Many problems can be resolved simply in that way.
But if you’re not satisfied with their response or they don’t respond within a reasonable period of time, you should submit a formal complaint, through the complaints procedure they’ve outlined online and in your contract.
If you’re not satisfied with your provider’s response to this formal complaint or they don’t respond within eight weeks, you should request a deadlock letter. This is formal confirmation that you and the provider were unable to reach a mutually satisfactory decision.
With the deadlock letter, you can escalate the complaint to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Scheme your provider is signed up to. There are two ADR schemes for telecoms companies in the UK - the Ombudsman Services: Communication and CISAS - and your ISP is required to be a member of one.
Both services are free. They investigate your broadband complaint and issue a response. If they side with you, they’ll recommend a remedy such as financial compensation to you or a change to the provider’s procedures. While broadband providers aren’t legally required to follow these services’ recommendations, they usually comply.
If the ombudsman doesn’t rule in your favour, you won't be allowed to appeal. If you wish to pursue the complaint further, you’ll have to take legal action at your own expense.