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Broadband: Your consumer rights explained

Rinky Dink Inc

If you are not familiar with your rights as a consumer when it comes to broadband and the contract you signed when you subscribed to the service, then it is about time you were acquainted. There is no excuse for a poor broadband service or, even worse, poor customer service from your provider.

A lot of broadband contracts are written in confusing legal jargon, which can flummox the broadband novice. Here, Broadband Compare UK explains some of your consumer rights in relation to the most frequently asked broadband-related queries.

If you would like to know more, then read on. Please don’t forget that we aren’t offering legal advice here, we’re simply explaining the rights already available to you in layman’s terms. If you are looking for legal advice, then please speak to a legal professional, or to Ofcom, the regulatory body for the telecom industry.

What are my consumer rights?

You have a set of basic rights when it comes to broadband contracts. We’ll deal with more complicated issues later on, but for now, your basic rights are:

I’m unhappy with my service. How do I complain?

You quite rightly are entitled to make a complaint if your broadband is not satisfactory, and this kind of problem must be resolved sharpish. If you wish to make a complaint, then you should first contact customer services and complain to your provider.

Your provider is obliged to deal with your complaint within ten working days if they have a membership with the Internet Service Providers’ Association. If they haven’t done so, then you can start the ball rolling with an official complaint.

How do I cancel my broadband contract?

There will be certain terms in your contract that mean that although you can cancel your broadband contract at any time, you will probably have to pay an exit fee. The exit fee is normally determined by the number of payments you have left in your minimum contract term, so if you are on a 24-month contract, this could be quite an expensive way out.

Under certain conditions, however, you can cancel without paying a penny. These are:

What if I don’t get the speeds I was told I would?

If the speed of your broadband is significantly lower than what your provider said it would be, then you can make a complaint. If you then go on to complaining to Ofcom, you may even be able to cancel without a charge if they rule in your favour.

Bear in mind, though, that there can be many factors that contribute to a reduction in the speed of your broadband connection. These can include the materials your walls are made from, your router, software on your computer, electrical devices that are nearby your router, and much more.

What can I do if my provider delivers faulty hardware?

If your hardware doesn’t work when supplied and doesn’t deliver the broadband service you require, then you can contact the provider’s technical support for guidance.

If the router doesn’t work then you are entitled to a replacement, so contact your provider, ask them to send a new router, and send the old router back.


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