As a telecom customer, you have certain rights and are entitled to certain service levels.
Many disputes usually arise from the customer not reading the small print of their contract, (55% of users surveyed admit to this – Source: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/broadband/consumer-rights/) and this can often create situations where customers feel misled by their provider when being charged for something outlined in their contract.
Other problems stem from specific policies around technical support, billing or other issues related to the terms of service within a telecom contract itself: (for example: ‘I’m not happy with the Internet speed I get’).
Following is an outline of the steps you need to take to get a matter resolved with your broadband provider:
Normal Support Channels
The first step is to contact the relevant department within your broadband provider, so if you have a technical problem then you need to contact customer support.
Internal Complaints Procedure
If you reach a point where your attempts to get a problem resolved via normal support channels have not been successful, you need to ask your telecom provider for information about their internal complaints procedure.
Dispute Resolution or Court Action
If you have reached the stage where you’ve exhausted all possible options in trying to resolve the matter directly with your broadband provider then at this point you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution or court action.
Ofcom MAC Code Regulation 2007: As of February 14, 2007, the MAC code of conduct is mandatory for all providers. This means that all providers must adhere to the code’s main principles:
- If a customer asks for a MAC the provider must then issue the code within five working days of request, regardless of any dispute. The MAC is free the first time it is requested but a cancellation fee for the service may still apply- if asked for more than once it may incur a charge. Once issued, a MAC lasts 30 days before it becomes out of date and unusable.
- Once a customer has passed their MAC to the provider they are switching to, the new provider must try to switch across their service within 30 days. The new supplier will inform the customer the exact date when they will be connected to the new service.
Communications Act 2003
The Communications Act states that all communications providers, must implement and comply with a dispute resolution scheme. This means that all broadband providers must be a member of either OTELO or CISAS in order to comply with the Communications Act regulations.
There are other laws like the Sale of Goods & Services Act and Unfair Contract Terms Act that a consumer can refer to, in case of disputes.
There are various useful organizations as well like Office of the Communications Regulator (Ofcom) or Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) that you can refer to. So the next time, you have any issue with your telecom company, you know what to do.