As modern life is so busy, we communicate with each other online or on the phone more than ever before. To keep in touch with your loved ones, you might Skype with family or catch up with your elderly relatives on the landline.
No matter how you stay in touch, you're going to want the quality of the service you use to be as good as possible. But what happens if your landline is crackly or your broadband is interrupted? You have certain rights if you're unhappy with your landline or broadband quality – we're going to take you through what they are.
Unhappy with quality
As we've mentioned, there might be a number of reasons why you're unhappy with the quality of your broadband or landline – your broadband speed might be slower than advertised or you can’t get a clear call on your landline.
Whatever the reason, you should get in touch with your landline or broadband provider and discuss the situation with them. Call their customer service or technical support department and outline the problems you're facing – it might be a good idea to plan out what you're going to say beforehand.
As part of your basic consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act, any service that you pay for should be satisfactory and fit for purpose. Your provider must comply with the terms laid out in your contract, and you could have a right to cancel if you think your provider is breaching a contract. You can sometimes have to pay a fee to leave a contract, but it's unlikely you’ll need to do this if you're leaving due to a poor service.
If you're unhappy with their response, you can launch an official complaint. Ask your provider about when they expect to resolve your problem and any compensation or other actions that they can provide you with in the meantime.
Still unhappy? If your provider is unable to resolve your complaint and provide a repair or replacement, you can take your problem to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme – eight weeks after your original complaint.
The ADR scheme will examine both sides of the case and come to a decision that it thinks is fair based on the information provided. There are two ADR schemes: the Ombudsman Services: Communications and Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). All broadband and landline providers must belong to one of these schemes.
After this, if you're still not satisfied with the outcome you could take the issue to court, but you should really only see this as a last resort.
What about price rises?
Your problem might not be with the quality of the service you receive, but with a recent price increase implemented by your provider. For example, TalkTalk recently increased its phone and broadband prices by up to £33 a year for some of its customers.
A price rise like this should never just creep up on you – your provider should notify you in writing before the price change happens. In return, you have the right to cancel within 30 days of being notified without facing a penalty charge. You should inform your provider that you want to cancel in writing.
A price increase could be the perfect time to switch your broadband and landline provider. Even if you don't use your landline as much but want to keep broadband, there are options available to you as well.