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Whats the point of loyalty?

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Whats the point of loyalty?

This afternoon while browsing the internet I was suddenly confronted with a page saying my connection had been stopped because payment couldn’t be made from my card for this month’s broadband fee that was due to be taken today, as is always on the 13th of each month.

First I was worried that my card number may have been stolen and taken to its limit. My first action was to reconnect via my old 56k on Orange and check my credit card transaction which fortunately showed none unwarranted. So then I rang PlusNet which took 17 minutes to get through.

It turned out that they had problems their side with the company that deals with taking the customers fees. The operator took my login name and address etc and took the payment from my card straight away and told me I had been reconnected.

So why am I angry? My question is why did Plusnet disconnect me so quickly? Why couldn’t they have contacted me first telling me that they needed payment within a few days or I may lose my connection? Why did they need to bother me at all when clearly they could have taken the payment as they did when I rang?

Having been a PlusNet Broadband Premier Option 1 customer since Nov 2004 I feel that they seemed quick to treat me as bad customer and couldn’t drop me quickly enough. Kind of makes me feel that my loyalty isn’t that valued and maybe I should look at other ISPs. Anyone have any recommendations?
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,432
Thanks: 684
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Anything to do with this?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6553385.stm

I don't think it's fair to blame Plusnet if it is!
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)
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 4,956
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

I can see why you'd be annoyed. I thought that we had a grace period in place before it restricted you? I will double check on Monday.
joncooper
Grafter
Posts: 314
Registered: 07-09-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

elvin: it's almost certainly because of that, but surely +net should have been aware of that situation and treated a long standing regular paying customer with a bit more respect?

I don't think it's fair to restrict Maltese's internet access simply because +net wern't able to process a viable card payment
Moderator
Moderator
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Whats the point of loyalty?

I'm pretty sure there used to be a period of grace but, maybe, it is only for DD customers.

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 4,956
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Yep, it's to do with the Visa problems.

Our failing billing process is automated and restricts the account at the point of billing failure. It doesn't take account of that sort of thing.

I'm raising it for debate internally though, I can see how it's quite a nasty customer experience. It's also hit our CSC badly tonight, when the problem has hit in bulk.
N/A

Whats the point of loyalty?

PlusNet have to protect their revenue as broadband provision costs them on an ongoing basis and missed payments from customers could rapidly bring significant losses.

I doubt electricity, gas or telephone companies will hesitate to cut their customers off- and these services are far more important than broadband.

That said, there will be cases when customers credit/debit cards are refused due to re-issue, errors like this one (which clearly is neither PlusNet or the customer's fault) or simply slipping over the limit.

In this instance, might it be sensible to allow browsing and e-mail for a few days, with all other services blocked. A "splash page" could be used every time a session is started explaining that PlusNet were unable to take payment, and prompting the user to phone PlusNet or update their card details via the portal.

This should also be backed up by an e-mail to the postmaster account.

Retaining the ability to browse the web (even at limited speed) should allow the user to investigate the problem and/or update card details, and the connection to resume with the minimum of fuss.

If no payment is made within 3-5 days and there has been no response from the customer then it shouldn't seem unreasonable to stop the connection altogether at that point.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,432
Thanks: 684
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Quote
If no payment is made within 3-5 days and there has been no response from the customer then it shouldn't seem unreasonable to stop the connection altogether at that point.


By which time PN have had to pay BT for a full month...
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)
joncooper
Grafter
Posts: 314
Registered: 07-09-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Quote
Quote
If no payment is made within 3-5 days and there has been no response from the customer then it shouldn't seem unreasonable to stop the connection altogether at that point.


By which time PN have had to pay BT for a full month...


which will have cost them just a few £££, easily recoverable if necessary - the water/electric/gas/etc don't cut you off without warning the first time your payment fails

it's really not unreasonable to expect time to sort it out, especially if (as in this case) it's not your fault
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 16,794
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Whats the point of loyalty?

Quote
the water/electric/gas/etc don't cut you off without warning the first time your payment fails


Actually, I think the major utility companies will go a long way before actually cutting you off.

I was. at one time last year, around 6 months in arrears with no payments for three of them and no mention of cutting me off.

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

itchyfeet
Grafter
Posts: 176
Registered: 01-09-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Quote
... I was suddenly confronted with a page saying my connection had been stopped because payment couldn’t be made from my card for this month’s broadband fee


They did contact the customer! This seems like the best way of contacting the customer to me. E-mails can easily not get checked. Phoning customers would put strain on customer support team trying to track people down - I for one am rarely around to be phoned.
A simple message saying that the broadband connection has been suspended pending payment seems like the best approach to be - It then causes the customer to phone up and sort it out.

What would be worse would be if you internet connection just stopped working without any message.
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Whats the point of loyalty?

Quote
They did contact the customer! This seems like the best way of contacting the customer to me.


Wrong they didn't try to contact me they stopped my connection immediately they failed to take payment. I was unable to use the internet. It seems hardly a fair way to treat a long standing customer to me. You may say that they have every right to protect their finances, but protecting one months payment may cost them 12 months or more from upsetting a customer, not good business practice surely? Especially now that competition is becoming more fierce.
Mand
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Whats the point of loyalty?

Hi

As Kelly said earlier we have kicked off a discussion about this internally.

We will be following this up next week and actioning any decisions which are made ASAP.

We will of course keep you up to date as and when things happen.