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Trading standards?

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Trading standards?

This is my first posting to these forums, and will also be my last. Like many others here I've been the victim of Plusnet's bewildering and ever-changing AUP. On two occasions I've had "service management"
imposed, without warning, for breaches of policy. In both cases the "policy" had actually been changed by Plusnet, but of course they hadn't bother to notify me of these changes.

At the end of September service management was imposed for the first time, without any prior warning. It was based on a breach of monthly usage guidelines and a definition of "peak time" between 4pm and midnight. I was not previously made aware of either of these conditions.
I asked why I had not received a warning email before imposition of service management (as per Plusnet's own policy), but got no reply.
Puzzled, and a little miffed, I followed Plusnet's advice and upgraded my Premier account from 2Mb to 4Mb to enable me to take advantage of the more generous download limits. I then carefully studied the download limits for the 4Mb service and took active measures to ensure that I stayed within them.

Four months later I found that I'd had service management imposed again, and again without any warning email. Again puzzled, I found a new set of guidelines, including a redefinition of "peak hours", extending them to 8am to midnight. Again I had not been made aware of any change in Plusnet's policy. In any case I queried how I could be in breach of the policy, since the AUP is based on monthly traffic, and my stats from the Plusnet website showed that I hadn't exceeded the limits for the current month (either peak time or overall). I didn't get a response. I also asked why, once again, I hadn't received a warning email before imposition of service management. Again no response.

I believe this to be a fairly clear-cut trading standards issue, on the following grounds:
- Plusnet have repeatedly changed the T&C's associated with their service without notifying me
- Plusnet have deliberately reduced my level of service (i.e. bandwidth) to below that agreed in my contract, without first providing the email warning which their own published policy requires them to send.

On this basis I shall be passing on details to my local Trading Standards office, and may explore the legalities of Plusnet's operation of the contract.

I'm staggered that Plusnet don't appear to understand the market that they're trying to sell to. I was under the impression that the more expensive, higher levels of Premier Broadband service were designed for heavy downloaders (applying the "you get what you pay for" principle), since no-one in their right mind would pay extra for a 4Mb or 8Mb service simply for web browsing . It turns out that if you actually try to use the higher level of service that you've paid for you're stamped on and generally treated like a parasite. As for the new definition of "peak hours" - what's the point of paying for a premium service that's unavailable for virtually every waking hour?

I'm a heavy user (P2P and usenet), and happy to comply with AUP as long as it's clearly stated, and as long as I'm notified of any changes.
Unfortunately Plusnet make it virtually impossible to comply, by continually changing policy and imposing penalties without any warning.
If Plusnet are incapable of defining and communicating a consistent AUP they should not be penalising their customers for it. Moreover, if they don't want "heavy" users on their network then they should publicise this and stop wasting everyone's time with premium service offerings that are of no practical use to the very customers that they're designed to appeal to.

On a positive note, I'm off to Zen Internet. I spent an hour perusing their user forums, and the difference from the Plusnet forums is staggering. Plusnet forums are littered with serious and apparently jusitified complaints about the service. The Zen forums are full of messages from happy, contented users - and genuinely heavy downloaders who are not punished for being just that. It will be refreshing not to be treated as a petty criminal simply for wanting to take full advantage of this wonderful medium.

Good luck y'all...
21 REPLIES
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Trading standards?

I sympathise with what your saying ian and i hope your time with zen gives you a better deal......good luck m8

You gotta do what ya gotta do!!!
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Trading standards?

I also think Plus Net are total crap, I was assured on the phone that there was no different between Home Surf and Broadband Plus so stupidly I believed the lies I now find I keep getting all sorts of aggravation, I down loaded one trial software prog the other day and a few days later I got this very silly email what ever it means?

“Your peak usage for this billing month has exceeded the product design
therefore Level 1 Broadband Plus usage management has been applied to your
service during peak hours. Your Broadband service will continue to be
managed until your next billing date at which time peak-time usage
management will be removed. If your peak usage continues to increase
further peak-time usage management may be applied to your service.

Please reduce your usage and schedule large downloads for off-peak hours.
Alternatively you could upgrade to a broadband service better suited to
your needs. We recommend Broadband Premier or Broadband PAYG for customers
who want a service optimised for data-intensive activities –“

Tell me what is broadband for (I only get 1mb to boot anyway) I looked round this forum and it sounds like a game of cat and mouse with people wondering when to download files and such like it almost seems to be a great game to some users, I thought the faire usage was scrapped months back or was this decision to scrap it scraped, and have you tried ringing customer service that’s a joke, you are now number 2, 686 in the queue, your call should be answered late 2007 if your lucky.

I wish Ian good luck with the Trading Standards, I'm afraid no one really listens to one moaning customer, there is only power in numbers so personally I feel that changing ISP’s is the only satisfying action that you can take, I will post this and check out the above mentioned Zen Internet.
:x
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Trading standards?

Ian let us know what TS have to say, alot of us would support any application you make to them as we feel the same.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Trading standards?

Here’s a thought, Trading standards are a government body. So fall within the scope of the Freedom of Information act. Has anyone written to training standards in Sheffield and asked them how many complaints they have received about Plus.Net and how many have been upheld.

Chilly
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Trading standards?

I wasn't planning to add to this post, but thought I'd share this with you all: Plusnet's response to my request to cancel the account:

"As you signed up under the deffered setup offer we require a payment of £58.75 for the line activation before we can proceed with closing the account, please return this ticket authorising this charge to proceed with the account closure."

I have been a customer since June 2004 (i.e. more than 18 months), and it seems they are still effetively seeking a cancellation fee. Other customers who signed up for the "deferred installation" option please take note - this is a rather unusual interpretation of the terms which are outlined on their website!

More fodder for Trading Standards.....
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Trading standards?

Quote
"As you signed up under the deffered setup offer we require a payment of £58.75 for the line activation before we can proceed with closing the account, please return this ticket authorising this charge to proceed with the account closure."


Seams they have made an error, assuming you have the monthly contract option it should be (£47 + £11.75) - £9.40 = £49.35 of course on the anual contract it would be £37.60

Quote
Want the detail? ‘You stay we pay’ explained.
For every year you stay with PlusNet we’ll guarantee that the cancellation cost decreases. What does this mean? If you cancel within the first year, then you will pay £47 for the activation. For every year you stay we’ll reduce this by £9.40. If you also choose to take a modem as part of the offer there will be an additional cancellation fee of £25 in the first year and this will reduce by £5 for each year that you stay.

You can choose an annual or monthly contract when you choose broadband. If you choose the monthly contract option in conjunction with this offer there is a one-off charge of £11.75.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

Trading standards?

I wouldn't put too much faith in Sheffield Trading Standards. Like most things run by Sheffield Counil they are incompitent.
http://www.sheffieldtoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=58&ArticleID=1341615

Chris
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Trading standards?

Quote
I have been a customer since June 2004 (i.e. more than 18 months),


Your profile indicates that you joined on 23 June 2005.

The deferred activation is sliding scale over 5 years.

Chilly
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Trading standards?

Quote
Your profile indicates that you joined on 23 June 2005.

Humz, I should learn to check that before taking some clearly false info and compounding it by basing calculations on the aforementioned false data sorry.
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Trading standards?

Thanks for the information. The "you stay we pay" thing was something which I believe was introduced after I became a subscriber. At the time of my subscription I understood that deferred installation costs were lost after 12 months (I didn't take any hardware).
It raises an interesting point, since Plusnet did not send a copy of their T&C's at the time of opening the account.
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Trading standards?

Quote
It raises an interesting point, since Plusnet did not send a copy of their T&C's at the time of opening the account.

This is not particularly unusual for ISP's I think now, I know people who have signed with others ISP's and not had a seperate copy of the T&C's sent to them at the time, there was no real need as it is on the website in general.
JonathanW
Grafter
Posts: 2,648
Registered: 02-10-2007

Trading standards?

Quote
Thanks for the information. The "you stay we pay" thing was something which I believe was introduced after I became a subscriber. At the time of my subscription I understood that deferred installation costs were lost after 12 months (I didn't take any hardware).


The You Stay We Pay offer was introduced in early 2005, before your current account was created. As such, it is possible that you opted for this during the signup process.

As for the price, £58.75 would be appropriate for an account created in June, as BT didn't drop the price of activation until the last portion of 2005.
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Re: Trading standards?

come on plusnet answer ian letter i see you havent answer to it yet or is he speaking the truth good luck ian im on my way soon as wel to aol see ya man


Moderators note by chris (fa55dsl): There is no need to quote an entire previous post, it won't encourage an answer and just makes the forums unsuable for other people.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,817
Thanks: 11
Registered: 30-07-2007

Trading standards?

I too am miffed at this you stay we pay. When I signed up the plusnet graphics etc said free set up which in line with my 2 previous adsl isps I presumed meant that. Seas a tad cheeky to advertise free setup and have such s condition attached, when others do not. With neither of the previous companies was I required to pay a cancellation fee (activation fee) when I left.

The point being free set up gets you in the door and then your caught by the short and ****ies. Had I known there was the likely hood of having to pay to leave i would have thought seriously about joining, and would not have brought my other family members over to the service.

I'm also not impressed with the move to capped services. I don't use anymore than 2 to 4 gb per month on my premier account but it appears that even that can make one fall foul of the aup. Peak should not be 8am to midnight, this is the real world.

Business peak 8 am to 6 pm yes home users no.

Do business accounts have to limit things between these times or do plusnet let them off as they are generally only open between these hours.

If they don't put these constratints on businesses when they'll use the service more why should home uses be constrained by them. esp. for all the waking hours. I turn my pc off at night to save electricity and money.

the service is not what i signed up for. I'm not recommending plusnet to people anymore.

Things must get better.

A