Many people complain of poor service from their ISP (Internet Service Provider) but most are uncertain what to do about it. Or uncertain whose fault it is. I've often been called out to fix a fault on a computer because the customer's ISP has insisted the service fault lies with the computer. Ten minutes on site is sometimes all that is required to prove the lie to this claim
Now it isn't always that easy because there are numerous pieces to the jigsaw puzzle, inluding lines, modems and PCs. But if you're sure you're not getting the service you're paying for then the following story will help illustrate what you should do about it.
My own problems are with Optus but this could apply to any ISP.
We have an intermmittent fault on our line that causes the phone and internet to be unsuable during wet weather. We log a call against the problem most times it rains and two to three days later a tech turns up, the day is fine and sunny, and he reports no fault found. One tech told us the problem lay inside the house so I had a qualified and experienced telecommunications tech test my lines. They were fine. The fault returned next time it rained. We complained again, the cycle repeats ad nauseum.
I can see how the system works and I have some sympathy for Optus' inability to fix my problem. Telstra leases the lines to Optus who send a request through to Telstra, Telstra send out a sub-contratcor, the sub-contractor gleefully finds no fault present, he writes up his paperwork, collects his money and moves on. My problem is I still have a faulty line and as an end-user I don't really care how the system works, I just want it fixed.
Here's what you do. You got to the Telecommunications Ombudsman (TIO) and file a complaint online. http://www.tio.com.au/
The TIO contacts the ISP on your behalf and gives them a chance to resolve it with you. If you're not satisfied and the TIO thinks you've got a good case they will pursue it on your behalf.
Now, often it's enough for the TIO to just contact the ISP. I had a second run in with Optus. My account is "speed limited to 256kbps" after I reach a 30Gb limit. My speed limiting was actually dragging me down to 15kbs and lower. I complained to Optus and was told that my service guarantee was for speeds "up to" 256kbs and therefore 15kbs was okay because it was within that range. Clearly less than half dial-up speed is not broadband speed and, technical beaurocratic semantics aside, I wasn't getting what I paid for. I asked to speak to the manager and he re-iterated the same claim. I asked to speak to the complaints department and was told there was none. I contacted the TIO.
Within an hour someone from Optus' customer relations department had contacted me and offered to re-instate my full broadband speed.
This story illustrates to the power of complaining to a higher body. Please don't feel hopeless in your pursuit of better telecommunications. If you have a real greivance contact the TIO and they will help. My own problem with Optus are ongoing but you can be assured that my complaints to the TIO give my complaints an authority that means I'm listened to and taken very seriously by the staff. Hopefully I can update this entry soon and tell you that my problems have been fully resolved.On October 1st 2009 the corporate regulator has warned telecommunications groups about false advertising, saying it is concerned by companies 'over-promising' and 'under-delivering' the speeds available on mobile and wireless internet.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says companies must not advertise 'maximum', 'up to' or 'peak network' speeds if those speeds are not generally achievable or likely to be achieved by consumers using the network.
"Companies that act in contravention of the law risk legal action," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said in a statement.
The ACCC said it believed any internet speed claims made by companies should be based on appropriate tests of network performance that showed the speeds that can and will generally be achieved by consumers using the network on a regular basis.
Companies should also prominently state the factors affecting mobile and wireless internet speeds including congestion and location, the ACCC said.