My broadband keeps cutting out – can I demand a discount from BT? Consumer rights lawyer Dean Dunham repliesBy Dean Dunham
Updated: 23:45, 22 August 2023
In January I switched my broadband to BT, as I needed a faster, more reliable connection that could cope with five people in our household often being online at the same time.
I was promised fantastic speeds and thought this would solve our long-standing poor internet connection.
For the first two months all seemed fine, but since then the service has been very patchy and drops out for lengthy periods on an almost daily basis.
I’ve complained about this but have been stone-walled with a generic response, telling me broadband is not guaranteed to have a 100 per cent service and to check my router.
What can I do now?
Richard Walters, via email.
Slow broadband? Your supplier must either let you exit your contract penalty-free or, alternatively, allow you to continue the contract at a lower monthly cost, says Dean Dunham
Dean Dunham replies: Often broadband issues are due to a faulty router, so you should check this first. If it’s not the cause of the problem, you will be entitled to a remedy.
While many suppliers like to use the ‘a continuous service is not guaranteed under our terms and conditions’ fob-off, they are often wrong to do so. This type of exclusion clause will not stretch far enough to cover them for continuous outages such as you have been experiencing.
You should start to log as accurately as possible the days on which your broadband service has been down and for how long you were without it.
Then, the next step is to get back in touch with your supplier — i.e. BT — and present the log to it.
State that your log shows this is more than occasional short-term losses of connection and that they are regularly failing to provide the service for days on end (for no good reason), which is clearly a breach of contract.
In these circumstances, the Ofcom 2022 Voluntary Code of Practice (which BT is subscribed to) says that the supplier must either let you exit your contract penalty-free or, alternatively, allow you to continue the contract at a lower monthly cost.
You should also ask for a discount on the cost of the service you have received to date.
If your complaint is still rejected, ask your supplier for a deadlock letter (this is a letter setting out its final position) and lodge a claim with the Communications Ombudsman, making sure that you send copies of all the correspondence you have had with BT and, importantly, your log showing when the service has been down.
You can file a claim online here.
Wedding ring warrantyMy fiance bought my engagement ring from the jeweller Vashi, and it came with a lifetime warranty for repairs and cleaning. Vashi has recently gone into liquidation — does this mean that I’ve lost my warranty?
Laura Disney, via email.
Dean Dunham replies: Normally in this situation I advise consumers to find out whether the warranty was provided by the company that is now in liquidation or by a third-party company. Often it’s the latter, which means the warranty remains intact.
However, in this instance the warranty was provided directly by Vashi and does not appear to have been backed up by insurance. On the face of it, the warranty is therefore of no use to you.
There is one small glimmer of hope, however, because after Vashi went into liquidation, another jeweller, named Queensmith, purchased its assets.
Legally, Queensmith has no obligation to honour your warranty from Vashi but, as a matter of good customer service, it may choose to do so anyway. It is therefore worth asking.
Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email [email protected]. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.