My broadband keeps dropping out. Can I claim a discount from BT? Consumer rights attorney Dean Dunham responds
In January I switched my broadband to BT as I needed a faster and more reliable connection that could support five people in our household being online at the same time.
I was promised fantastic speeds and thought this would fix our long time poor internet connection.
For the first two months everything seemed fine, but since then the service has been very patchy, being interrupted for long periods almost daily.
I complained about this, but was blocked with a generic response, telling me that broadband is not guaranteed to have 100 percent service and to check my router.
What can I do now?
Richard Walters, via email.
Slow broadband? Your provider should allow you to end your contract without penalties or, alternatively, allow you to continue the contract at a lower monthly cost, says Dean Dunham.
Dean Dunham replies: Often times, broadband issues are caused by a faulty router, so you should check this first. If it is not the cause of the problem, you will be entitled to a repair.
While many providers like to use the phrase “continuous service is not guaranteed under our terms and conditions”, they often get it wrong. This type of exclusion clause will not be broad enough to cover them in the event of continuous outages like the one you have been experiencing.
You need to start recording as accurately as possible the days your broadband service was down and how long you were without it.
Then the next step is to get back in touch with your provider i.e. BT and present the record to them.
Please note that their record shows that this is more than occasional short-term connection drops and regularly not providing service for days (for no good reason), which is clearly a breach of contract.
In these circumstances, Ofcom’s voluntary Code of Practice 2022 (to which BT subscribes) says that the supplier must allow you to end your contract without penalty or, alternatively, allow you to continue the contract at a lower monthly cost.
You will also need to request a discount on the cost of the service you have received to date.
If your claim is still denied, ask your provider for a deadlock letter (this is a letter stating your final position) and file a claim with the Communications Ombudsman, making sure to send copies of any correspondence you have had with BT and more importantly, your log shows when the service is down.
wedding ring guarantee
My fiance purchased my engagement ring from jeweler Vashi and it came with a lifetime warranty on repairs and cleaning. Vashi recently went into liquidation. Does this mean that I have lost my warranty?
Laura Disney, via email.
Dean Dunham responds: Normally, in this situation, I advise consumers to find out if the warranty was provided by the company that is now in liquidation or by an outside company. Often it is the latter, which means that the guarantee remains intact.
However, in this case the warranty was provided directly by Vashi and does not appear to have been backed by insurance. Therefore, the guarantee is of no use to you.
However, there is a small ray of hope, because after Vashi went into liquidation, another jeweler, called Queensmith, bought his assets.
Queensmith is not legally required to honor Vashi’s warranty but as a matter of good customer service you may choose to do so anyway. Therefore, it is worth asking.
- Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email email@example.com. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.