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PlusNet (lack of) customer service

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PlusNet (lack of) customer service

Ticket ID: 20479383

After being a Broadband Plus customer with PlusNet for over a year, I have found their broadband connection to be generally fast and reliable. Their technical support was also competent and I was able to set up a wireless broadband connection on PC and Mac without any problems.

It was only when I tried to cancel my broadband service due to an imminent move out of the UK that I got an unbelievable amount of trouble and frustration in dealing with the company. As I no longer required a broadband service, I sent in a written notice to terminate my account with PlusNet in a letter dated 23rd of September 2006 which was sent by recorded mail to ensure delivery. This was in fulfilment of the 1-year contract I had with PlusNet and I wasn’t expecting any difficulty in closing my broadband connection. The requested termination date was on the 30th of October 2006 thereby providing more than 1 month notice for the services provided by PlusNet to be stopped. During the course of communicating with PlusNet over my account closure, I encountered so many failures and shortcomings by the PlusNet customer service that I felt justifiable need to raise an official complaint.

The first thing that PlusNet did after receiving my written notice was to impose a cancellation charge of £57.60 for my FREE modem and FREE activation which was the equivalent of nearly 4 months subscription. I was completely taken off guard as the description that accompanies the offer of the Broadband Plus service on the PlusNet website openly stated “FREE setup now available – save over £80”. It was only upon examining the fine print on the terms and conditions which many customers including me typically do not read that the hidden cost became apparent. The initial description of the setup being FREE was simply misleading and inaccurate. Both the activation cost and optional modem provided were not FREE as there was a cancellation charge upon termination of the services unless a customer stays with PlusNet for the unrealistic duration of 5 years. Such a practise is more accurately described as “Activation and Modem with deferred payments” and it is certainly not going to be free for the vast majority of people. I realised I had been taken in by a sales gimmick which was nothing more than a cynical way to trap unwary customers who do not expect to be charged at any time for goods and services as understood by the meaning of the word FREE.

Thus I found myself obliged to pay for the activation and modem which was described as FREE. Not wanting to default on my payments, I agreed to pay PlusNet for the cancellation charges. I received a call from PlusNet on the 12th of October 2006 stating that they could not deduct the amount from my credit card. This was naturally due to my imminent move out of the UK for which I had to close my credit card account. One of the unbelievable features of PlusNet was that it was impossible to remove credit card details from their online portal as there was simply no option to do so. I had however arranged for PlusNet to be paid by Direct Debit well in advance on the 28th of July 2006 from which payments were always subsequently deducted on time. Due to the failure of PlusNet to provide a means for customers to remove their own credit card details from their online account, this resulted in billings to out of date cards.

My misadventures with PlusNet continued.

The PlusNet code of practise clearly states that

“Your contract with PlusNet can be terminated by:

a Us giving one month's notice to you.
b You giving one month's notice to us.
c You giving us immediate notice within the 14-day notice period if we inform you that we are increasing our charges or changing the conditions of your Contract to your detriment.”


This was all that was needed to terminate my contract. Instead I was further informed that more charges will be levied as PlusNet has unilaterally decided to push the cancellation date for as long as it takes to clear the cancellation charge which is not a condition set out in their code of practise. I now had to pay for the additional subscription period with PlusNet despite the 1-month notice I provided to them in writing. As these additional charges were levied where no such charges have been stipulated and where they have certainly not been described as a condition for extending the termination date, PlusNet was effectively breaching their own code of practise.


But very well, I didn’t want any trouble. So I offered 4 means by which I would pay PlusNet for the cancellation charges and the extra subscription charge. I offered a (i) Visa Electron card and (ii) a Visa Debit card from which I was willing to provide the details over the phone. I was told that both payment methods could not be processed by PlusNet where I then offered to (iii) pay PlusNet with a cheque and (iv) authorise PlusNet to deduct the amount from my current account in which PlusNet was already taking payments by Direct Debit. All of these payment methods were rejected by PlusNet as they could not process them, again a ridiculous shortcoming on their part.

I was indeed left with no means to pay PlusNet and the only option I was offered was to get someone else with a credit card to pay on my behalf. I said I would attempt this and asked for a number to call PlusNet where I can then give the credit card details. If they could call me, then I could call them right ? Wrong. I was told this was impossible as the company cannot provide me with a telephone number to call them with. Another stupefying failure on the part of PlusNet. I was told to put credit card details that were not mine on the online portal for the amount to be deducted and this was in full knowledge that PlusNet did not have a facility to cancel credit card details once they were put there. The final payment method offered by PlusNet was ludicrous as who would entrust their credit card details to be put online by another person to pay someone else’s bills ? When I informed PlusNet of the difficulty of such a payment method, my question was simply closed in my online portal and left unaddressed.


I have in the end borrowed credit card details from a family member, put it in the online portal and I am currently awaiting PlusNet to deduct the cancellation charges and the additional subscription. As this is a overseas credit card, there will be further costs incurred in the exchange rate and a credit card fee that goes with overseas transactions both of which are additional costs on my part.




I conclusion, I have found the shortcomings and failures of PlusNet to be unacceptable which is why I lodged an official complaint. I waited 5 working days later (1 calendar week), they made absolutely no attempt whatsoever to speak to me, tell me if the termination is going ahead or not or if they were even looking into the complaint. Enough was enough, hence I decided to post my experiences online publicly so that others can be warned of the kind of company that PlusNet plc is.