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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Many people seem to have several issues with PlusNet that have been ongoing for quite a while. OFCOM, the regulator for telecoms amongst other things, has setup an official complaints procedure which you can follow if you feel your issue isn’t getting the attention deserved. While this information is mostly available on the PlusNet site, I hope this thread will enlighten folk with legitimate issues and assist in getting them resolved in an easy step by step process to see where you are in the process, and, what options are available to you as you go forward. I've been researching this as part of my ongoing complaint with PlusNet and felt it could be handy to share it with everyone else, this is all based on what I've gathered - there might be the odd mistake, but, for the most part should be fairly accurate!

The first thing you should do is read the PlusNet complaints process, detailed at http://www.plus.net/support/customer_service/codeofpractice.shtml . The important part is down at the bottom. Also remember to store copies of everything you are sent and send yourself, this will be needed later! It is also why I recommend doing things online and not over the phone, as then you have a clear written record.



Step 1 – Raise the issue with PlusNet. For this, I recommend doing it through the online ticket system as this provides a written record of both sides actions. You can do this through the PlusNet at http://portal.plus.net/index_portal.html , specifically at https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=tickets .

If your issue hasn’t been resolved by the customer support agents and you feel you are getting no-where AND you have co-operated fully with PlusNet in terms of running all tests you could be reasonably expected to do so, you should move onto Step 2. Don’t expect a resolution to all issues within 24 hours… it could take a couple of weeks (unfortunately) to go back and forth, and for PN then to go back and forth with BT if required. A little bit of patience is required, and you’ll stand a much better chance of getting your issues resolved to your satisfaction by being reasonable.



Step 2 – If it’s still not been resolved, bring it to the attention of the “Customer Services Director”. This is a standard part of PlusNet’s procedure many of you aren’t likely aware of. Take all of your details, stick them in a letter, and post them to:

Customer Services Director
PlusNet Plc
Internet House
2 Tenter Street
Sheffield
S1 4BY

I would personally recommend posting it recorded delivery and get a certificate of posting. This could be handy in later stages as it is good evidence that you’re proactively trying to resolve this and follow the established PlusNet procedure.

If you’ve not gotten anywhere with this, this is where you have two options open to you. As PlusNet is a member of the ISPA (Internet Service Providers Association) you can lodge a complaint there and let them deal with it – as a member, PlusNet are obliged to abide by their policies. The complaints procedure can be found at http://www.ispa.org.uk/complaints/page_40.html , and will generally only be of use if PlusNet have violated the code of practise - http://www.ispa.org.uk/about_us/page_16.html .

However, the official way to proceed is to contact Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). Ofcom introduced new rules last year requiring ISP’s to join up to arbitration bodies and then abide by their decisions in the event consumers have a complaint that hasn’t been resolved through PlusNet’s own procedure. Step 3 covers contacting CISAS, however, there is nothing preventing you from contacting both CISAS and the ISPA.



Step 3 – contacting the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS)

Before you contact CISAS, your issue is meant to have been unresolved for 3 months OR PlusNet should have replied to you in such a way as to create a “stalemate situation” where the issue hasn’t been resolved to your satisfaction and you aren’t able to move any further towards a solution.

As a result of a "stalemate situation", PlusNet need to provide you with a CISAS deadlock reference ID, which will be needed when you contact CISAS. I've found from my own experience they don't like giving these out and try and avoid doing so - do not be afraid to push for this with the CSC agents, as PlusNet are *obligated* to provide these reference numbers if you are stuck and aren't getting anywhere.

CISAS is an arbitration body that is COMPLETELY FREE for you to use – PlusNet have to pay for this, you aren’t obliged to pay anything, nor do you require legal advice or a solicitor prior to moving onto this stage. The only costs you might incur are postage (if you choose not to raise your issue online)!

Contacting CISAS requires a fair bit of time to fill in their online form and the process can take up to 6 weeks, however, the judgement by CISAS is *BINDING* and so PlusNet will need to abide by it if CISAS decide in your favour. If they don’t, there are VERY serious consequences.

The process simply requires you to fill in all of the details (this is where you whip out all those details you saved earlier) and state your issue. Note that you need to provide ALL of the details and your arguments for your position in your first/initial contact – you can’t add new points later. Once you’ve entered all of the details, PlusNet then get the opportunity to respond to your complaint, to which you can then comment on and respond directly to their arguments. At this stage, it will usually go to an adjudicator who will decide on the case – however, PlusNet can request to respond to your points and if this is permitted, you may or may not get the opportunity to respond to them (this is solely down to the adjudicator who will decide on this).

After points from both sides, the adjudicator will decide in your favour or in PlusNet’s. If they decide in your favour, they can propose that PlusNet:
• Give you an apology or explanation.
• Give you a product or service, or take some practical action that will be to your benefit.
• Pay you up to £5000 (including VAT) – note, compensation will only be awarded where you can prove you’ve suffered a loss.
You can then accept their decision or reject it. If you accept it, it’s binding on PlusNet but NOT binding on you. If you reject the decision, you can still take the matter to court. You have a period of 6 weeks to accept or reject the decision, so you’ve plenty of time to think about it and take legal advise if you need to.

Useful pages on the CISAS site:
http://www.arbitrators.org/cisas/How_Apply.asp - Basic points on applying
http://www.arbitrators.org/CISAS/guidance_notes.asp - guidance notes
http://www.arbitrators.org/CISAS/FAQ.asp - FAQ

***

I hope this will be of use to some of you out there. If anyone notices anything wrong, or, common issues crop up, I’ll try and keep this post updated.

Otherwise, good luck!

Moderators note by James (sallyandjames) : Edited links to remove trailing punctuation, as was causing 404 errors. (see below)
Moderators note by Jonathan (chillypenguin) : Edited to show the correct address as PlusNet has moved since the OP.
15 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,344
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Having written to the Customer Services Director, does anyone know how long one has to wait for a reply (or even just an acknowledgement)?

How long do you think one should wait before contacting OFCOM to say that they've ignored the letter?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
trigat
Grafter
Posts: 48
Registered: 30-07-2007

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

I belive you have to give them reasonable time to respond, 14 days seems the norm, but you should also state in the letter that you would like a reply within 14 days, or you will take it to the next level etc.
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Quote
Having written to the Customer Services Director, does anyone know how long one has to wait for a reply (or even just an acknowledgement)?

How long do you think one should wait before contacting OFCOM to say that they've ignored the letter?


Well.. I wrote to him/her and never got a reply after about 20 days - they claim my letter was "never recieved". I then demanded a CISAS deadlock code to get it resolved through the process OFCOM setup.. of course, they responded with the code but words to the effect "the ADR will likely require you to ensure you've gone through our own internal proceedure first..". It seems PlusNet could be playing the system - claiming they never recieved a letter, you go down the ADR route, they respond to the case and say you never followed their proceedure (even though you did) and get the case sent back to them.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,344
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Quote
It seems PlusNet could be playing the system - claiming they never recieved a letter, you go down the ADR route, they respond to the case and say you never followed their proceedure (even though you did) and get the case sent back to them.


They'll have trouble - I sent it Recorded -Signed For (following your recommendation).
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
N/A

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Quote
Quote
It seems PlusNet could be playing the system - claiming they never recieved a letter, you go down the ADR route, they respond to the case and say you never followed their proceedure (even though you did) and get the case sent back to them.


They'll have trouble - I sent it Recorded -Signed For (following your recommendation).


I was in a rush and skipped my own advice Shockedops: - couldn't get the time to get to a post office, so just printed, packed and posted. I'm currently debating sending another special delivery, or going ADR anyway and seeing what happens.

Let me know how it works out Smiley How long ago did you send the latter?
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,344
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

It was signed for on 12th April.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
N/A

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Quote
It was signed for on 12th April.


Any luck with a reply yet?
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,344
Thanks: 600
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Yes - all resolved.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
N/A

[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

The links arent working, theres a 404 error and 2 pages are not found. Sort it out!
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

I think its because the Help pages have been updated since the post was made above. Perhaps I may get a chance later on to update the links if you can't find the info using the 'search' feature above. (Search the website... rather than the forum)
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Hmm, nope - its because the OP has included trailing punctuation after the links. If you click one, when the 404 error comes up, you'll notice the trailing . or , (depending which link you clicked)

I'll edit accordingly now.
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Fixed.

Although the addresses for some of the pages have now changed, the redirects are working correctly now that the punctuation has been corrected.
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

Quote
Fixed.

Although the addresses for some of the pages have now changed, the redirects are working correctly now that the punctuation has been corrected.


Cheers James.

The ISPA links still didn't work (they've updated their site) so I've gone and fixed that as well.
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[How to] PlusNet complaints proceedure + taking it further

LOL, didn't look at them Shockedops: I just presumed it would be the PN ones after the help page overhaul. Never mind though, at least its all sorted now. Wink