There are many reasons why people might get into a dispute with their broadband provider. Most often the centre around the fact that people believe that the service they receive is not as described before they signed up and they have therefore been mis-sold the service, or that the provider is failing to deliver the agreed service. Whatever the reason for the dispute, there is a procedure that can be followed to bring It to a resolution or if that fails, third parties that can be called upon to help resolve the dispute. Here we go through some of the key points in the process and list the third parties that can help.
Raise the Dispute with the Provider.
Beginning with the assumption that the provider did not set out to give you a sub-standard service or mis-sell you anything, the first recourse that people have is to raise a complaint with them. It is always worth pursuing this course of action because the providers are required by law to have some sort of mechanism to resolve complaints. Most of the reputable providers have adopted a two tier approach which is one tier for low level complaints and one for high level. You can get details of the procedure and how to use it to resolve your issue. If this procedure fails to resolve your issue it leads to the issue of a deadlock letter from the provider which allows you to take the matter further and involve a third party. In most cases this will be Ofcom which is the body responsible for overseeing broadband service providers. There are some other sources of third party assistance that you could also turn to.
One useful piece of advice is to try and avoid contacting the provider by telephone and wherever possible use either email or registered letter, so that you have a complete record of the exchanges you have with them.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Schemes
Once a deadlock letter has been issued by the broadband provider, the consumer can then take the dispute to the next level. As a result of the 2003 Communications Act which covers broadband providers, they must subscribe to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme which means that the disputing parties then have access to an impartial and free arbitration process. There are two schemes and taking the dispute to one of them is the next stage of the process.
The first scheme is administered by the Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman and the second by the Communications and Internet Service Adjudication Scheme. Both of the schemes are there to provide impartial dispute resolution but they work in slightly different ways. Your broadband provider must be signed up to one of them.
Most people will accept the adjudication of the ADR but there are more avenues that you can explore (including Court action) if you still feel that your issue has not been resolved to your satisfaction. At this point you need to be prepared to spend money in making your case and most people would advise against doing this is the ADR has ruled against you.
This is the clearly defined process that is also framed within the law that you should go through when attempting to bring a dispute with your broadband provider to a satisfactory conclusion.