July 22, 2010

Almost half of UK broadband complaints go unresolved

by Darren Allan

A survey of 2,500 broadband users conducted by Broadbandchoices.co.uk has revealed that 46% of complaints regarding their connections are left without a resolution.

Or more specifically, the respondents don’t feel that the ISP has managed to reach a successful resolution to their problem.

In fact, the situation is so bad when it comes to the lack of responsiveness from providers, that a quarter of those who hadn’t complained had experienced problems, but simply hadn’t bothered lodging an issue because they didn’t feel it was worth it.

The news comes as Ofcom makes a welcome move to help those customers get their issues aired properly, by pointing out that there are third party dispute resolution services which can be consulted that most folks are unaware of.

You can go to the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), or the Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo), for help in getting a proper response from your ISP should one not be forthcoming in your opinion.

From the start of next year, ISPs will be required to put contact details for these sort of organisations on all paper bills. And in the summer of 2011, further measures will be instigated whereby if your problem hasn’t been solved within eight weeks, the ISP will be obliged to notify you in writing of your right to take a complaint to a dispute resolution service.

Michael Phillips, Product Director, Broadbandchoices.co.uk, stated that in a 2009 survey the site found that almost 80% of broadband customers were unaware that such dispute resolution providers existed.

Phillips commented: “What is striking from our most recent survey is the proportion of unhappy customers who simply weren’t bothering to complain. Over a third said that they thought it would be too much hassle (39%) and another third (34%) simply didn’t have faith that their broadband provider could resolve their complaint.”

The one slight bit of good news was at least the proportion of those who felt wronged by their ISP in the complaint process had dropped to 46% – last year, it was a figure of 54%. Although there’s clearly still a lot of work to do.

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