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Expensive mistake

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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
Thanks: 988
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Don't agree with you.
When you hit the limit your connection is restricted but not killed so you can still get emails. You send an email when they hit the limit, all that has to be done is make sure very prominent at the beginning of the email it says something like:
Quote
Your connection has been restricted as you have used your usage limit and have reached your Maximum extra monthly spend. To pay for extra usage you will need to increase your extra monthly spend. Go to https://portal.plus.net/data_transfer_watch/ and set your new limit which will restore your normal transfer speeds.

The chances are that users are going to go to the portal to find the telephone number. making sure an appropriate message is on the front page of the members centre will also help.
In any case, surely a little extra work for CSC which is easily dealt with is better than users who feel they have been shafted!
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Aspiring Pro
Posts: 6,346
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Registered: ‎26-11-2011

Re: Expensive mistake

We do what you stated when you hit 80% of your usage anyway, so either way, you have been alerted and you can make the changes necessary anyway, again, just my opinion.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Which is an excellent reason for restricting by default and not shafting the user!
Could someone post the text of the 80% email please?
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Rising Star
Posts: 2,305
Thanks: 32
Registered: ‎19-07-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Doesn't a welcome email state clearly that your usage allowance is X Gb, if you go over X Gb you will be charged £5 for 5Gb extra?  If not, it should, but maybe in a welcome email (and when people change package to a package with an allowance) it should start with full information on what the allowance is, that it's automatically set to add extra allowance if you exceed your limit and how to set your limit too.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
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Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

When you hit your limit you already get this email
Quote
Dear <snip>,
Account username: <snip>
At the moment your account allows for 10GB of peak-time usage per month.
You've probably noticed that your broadband speeds are slower than usual, this is because you've gone over your monthly usage allowance.  Don't worry, your speed will be back to normal at the end of your billing month.
If you'd like to return to full speed now, you'll need to increase your usage allowance.

There are two ways to do this, you can either:
- Increase your usage allowance - (75p per GB added)
- Use what you like now and pay for it at the end of the month - (£1.00
per GB used)
This will refer to the £5 for 5GB
Choose what works for you at the following link:
- https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=control_your_broadband
If you'd like to find out more about traffic management and usage
allowance there's a load of information on our website:
- https://www.plus.net/support/broadband/products/broadband_your_way/
To see a breakdown of your usage this month go to the following link:
- http://portal.plus.net/view_my_broadband_usage/
Thanks,
Plusnet Customer Support
http://www.plus.net/

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Aspiring Pro
Posts: 311
Thanks: 55
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Registered: ‎08-04-2009

Re: Expensive mistake

I support Jelv's view.  Cheesy
I used to be on a package that gave me 15GB download per month and I averaged about 12GB. So most months I was fine but occasionally I headed higher. The initial 80% usage email (or whatever it was) came perhaps a week ahead of me hitting the end of the month or the limit whichever came first.  I had little idea at that stage how my usage would continue and could not take a sensible decision.
I was lucky in that my package was a £1 increment for 1Gb so I was not being asked to risk as much as today.
In the OPs case, the decision is impossibly narrow - he would have been wiser to run at restricted speed for a few minutes which should be the Plusnet default. £5 is too large a percentage of the normal monthly bill to be taken by default - whatever the welcome email/T&Cs said.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Totally agree. If it was £1 (or even a little more) per GB we wouldn't be having this discussion!
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎28-06-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

@Jelv
The operative words are "...at the time." which you appear to have chosen to ignore!
Taking money from people who are not expecting to spend it is commonly known as scamming.  However the victim could've or should've avoided it occurring, the victim is left feeling violated.
I am not arguing that PNs behavior is illegal.  I am arguing that it is exploitative.  PN's position in the relationship provides them the opportunity to bully the less astute and less expert within their customer base.  An opportunity PN choose to take, contradicting the image of a plain, honest company, who are simple to deal with, promoted by the TV commercials.
@Anotherone
There is nothing daft about a 25% tolerance margin.  In the long run it is always more profitable to keep a happy and reasonable customer, than to attract and to lose a dis-satisfied one.
I buy enough data-center bandwidth from trunk providers to know £5 per 5 Gig represents an incredibly huge margin on wholesale.
It is a penalty payment plain and simple.
PN attempt to attract new customers by offering 10GB accounts with a £6.50 PCM discount for three months for those unlucky enough to live in areas where BT face the least competition (most of the country).  In view of PN offering a discount of £19.50 to attract customers, I don't think it is daft to provide about a Gig to avoid imposing the penalty fee.
Penalising 'technically vulnerable' customers disenfranchises them and causes them to leave acrimoniously.  Being tolerant of their odd mistake causes them to think you are a great business to deal with and to recommend.  Those going over their limits regularly provide targeted sales leads.  Ring them to point out both their infringement and the benefits of upgrading the account and they will probably thank you for the advice.  
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Quote from: msssltd
I buy enough data-center bandwidth from trunk providers to know £5 per 5 Gig represents an incredibly huge margin on wholesale.

You might know about the cost of peering bandwidth from a datacentre to the internet, but you obviously know nothing about the cost of buying bandwidth from BT Wholesale to connect from their 21CN network to the ISP gateways which is totally different.
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Grafter
Posts: 266
Registered: ‎07-11-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Quote from: jelv
Could someone post the text of the 80% email please?

80% email attached
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
Thanks: 988
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Thanks for that. One observation 20% is 2GB which is two hours of HD from iPlayer. A user could have a download started and finished before they saw the email by which time it would be too late. That's why the default should be restricted.
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Community Veteran
Posts: 19,107
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Registered: ‎31-08-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

@EnglishMohican
I think you may find that cost per 1G went up a bit, a long time ago on these legacy packages, it's £1 if you buy ahead of monthly usage payment - ie raise your limit from 10G to 11G say, but £1.25 if you do it in the current month or after hitting the cap.
Quote from: msssltd
........Taking money from people who are not expecting to spend it is commonly known as scamming.  However the victim could've or should've avoided it occurring, the victim is left feeling violated.

I think that is a totally unreasonable and ridiculous remark to make. The information is readily available in the Ts&Cs, I do however think the "option" should be made via the sign-up journey with the default being to cap, and an email sent out with prominent headlines as has been suggested if the limit is reached.
Quote from: msssltd
@Anotherone
There is nothing daft about a 25% tolerance margin.  In the long run it is always more profitable to keep a happy and reasonable customer, than to attract and to lose a dis-satisfied one.
Of course it's daft, irrespective of the wholesale cost. If people don't read the Ts&Cs that is their fault. How long do you think it would take for people on the 10G package to discover they could use upto 12.5G without being penalised? It would become a regular event for all. You might as well make the package a 12.5G one, then I suppose you'd want 25% added on to that  Roll_eyes
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Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎28-06-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Quote from: jelv
You might know about the cost of peering bandwidth from a datacentre to the internet, but you obviously know nothing about the cost of buying bandwidth from BT Wholesale to connect from their 21CN network to the ISP gateways which is totally different.

I know enough about propositional logic to see you are 'obviously' and 'clearly' abusing those terms.
BTWs price list is intricate enough that I would not want to try to explain it to an unqualified audience.  Suffice to say wholesale bandwidth is a commodity item, subject to similar market forces wherever it is paid for.
Clearly you have not refuted the proposition that £5 per 5GB represents a massive margin on cost.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Right - look at aaisp's prices. For weekday 9am to 6pm on 21CN they charge £7.80 for 5GB (on 20CN it's double that). Most ISP's that charge for extra usage charge around the £1 mark.
When extra bandwidth is available from only one supplier (BTw) how on earth can you suggest that market forces apply? Also OFCOM have a say in the prices and BTw must offer the same rates to all ISPs.
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 (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎28-06-2007

Re: Expensive mistake

Quote from: jelv
Right - look at aaisp's prices.

Why on Earth would I want to compare a room in The Ritz with a room in a Travel Lodge,
Quote
Most ISP's that charge for extra usage charge around the £1 mark.

That's more like it.  The last estimate I saw, 2009 and prices have gone down since, put the cost of ADSL bandwidth to the ISP at about 30 to 75 pence per Gig.  The variation being dependent on bulk discounts and the ISPs ability to manage capacity within their own forecasts.  We can not just ignore the minimum unit when estimating the mark up though.  By imposing a 5 Gig minimum unit and by the magic of Standard Deviation curves, PN increases the overall margin in comparison with a 1GB unit, due to the increased number of units left part used.
Perhaps Occam's razor can get to the bottom of it.  We might dispense with the complicated maths and look at the maths that PN has already done for us.  A new connection costs £6.50, which includes the standing charge and 10GB of transfer.  If they can afford to sell a circuit + transfer at £6.50 they are most definitely making a huge margin on selling half the amount of transfer for roughly the same cost.   
Quote
When extra bandwidth is available from only one supplier (BTw) how on earth can you suggest that market forces apply? Also OFCOM have a say in the prices and BTw must offer the same rates to all ISPs.

Because commodity markets behave in a similar fashion where ever a commodity exists. 
If you wanted to compete with BT you would be buying roughly the same equipment, from roughly the same manufacturers, digging up roughly the same roads, using roughly same international transits, employing roughly the same engineers and paying roughly the same prices for all of these things.  Peer providers may have different capex and recovery models but it turns out the true cost of bandwidth is primarily a function of geography and population density - Which is very evident in the leased line and international transit markets. 
Of course if you did try to compete with BT you might not get the subsidies that have been poured into BT over the years, which Ofcom's regulations are supposed to account for.  Whether Ofcom make a decent job of it is very debatable.  I understand Fujitsu are the latest company to choose not to try to compete.  BT does compete but mainly with itself, which is a problem for all of us.  First ISDN and now ADSL compete with their valuable leased circuit business.  The accountants at the top have a bit of a vested interest in making sure cheap, fast, reliable ADSL does not roll out too soon.  Those accountants managed to realise a quite significant increase in profit against a reduced turnover last year too.

BTw have to offer the same prices and bulk discounts to all ISPs.  The smaller ISPs do end up paying more per packet though.  A smaller subscriber base means smaller bulk discounts and less statistical data and less room for maneuver within capacity forecasts.  I understand a group of small ISPs are currently in Europe pleading against BTs dominance in the UK ADSL market.
Now what chance of knowing or understanding all this does Joe Bloggs have?  About as much chance as understanding all the implications in PNs T&Cs, I would say.