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Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

MakeTeaNotWar
Grafter
Posts: 79
Registered: 22-03-2010

Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

This month I've hit my data cap of 60gb, so I changed my limit to an extra £5...got the extra 5GB just to keep me going a bit longer, and so just 4 days away from my limit getting reset I figure I'll attempt to set my limit back to 0 to stop anymore afterall I can limp through a few days at slow speed.
So I attempted to set it back to 0, I couldnt, but somehow managed to get it set back to "not set" thinking if it's not set they wont charge me any more... actually it turns out the good honest broadband providers take "not set" as "we'll keep charging you for unlimited extra usage..."
Thats not very clear is it Plusnet? not set = unlimited extra bandwidth Huh how is that clear?
So I spoke to one of your billing team and asked the to explain to me how "not set" translations logically to unlimited potential charges.... and I was told "its in the contract..."  its also in UK law that companies such as yourselves can't mislead... but you're telling me that "not set" = unlimited ...thats not very clear or honest is it.
Surely not set should be as good as setting it to 0? where do you think not set could ever imply do whatever you want? do you have thousands of other customers also without anything set who could find themselves in the same position paying for expensive chunks of bandwidth?
So Plusnet please tell me if you think the descriptions/wording is sufficiently clear and I'll move on to a company that doesnt refer it's customers to the small print when they raise a valid point about misleading words.
Also I tried to ask the operator several times as to under what circumstances she thought not set = unlimited, I didnt get an explanation other than this being in the small print, when asked if I could speak to a supervisor (english wasnt her first language) I was told I wouldnt get a call back today and when I said how angry I was, I was cockily offered the number for the cancellations dept....
Very very very disappointed and angry  Angry
14 REPLIES
nadger
Rising Star
Posts: 4,498
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Having set my maximum extra monthly spend to £0.00, a long time ago, the page seems perfectly clear to me - just rechecked to see if anything has changed.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

On the principle itself, you'll probably find that there's a mix of people with some who would prefer "Not Set" to mean "Unlimited", and some who would prefer it to mean "Zero". I have no idea of the relative proportions though...
Quote
Thats not very clear is it Plusnet? not set = unlimited extra bandwidth Huh? how is that clear?

When I look at the settings page, I see precisely this text:
Quote
[tt]Maximum extra monthly spend:    £ Not Set [/tt]

If I tried to read that in English, my understanding would be that I "had not set a maximum extra monthly spend", and would interpret it to mean I had "no maximum extra spend" - i.e. Unlimited.
I'm not defending some of the answers you got from Plusnet there,  but I am saying that I *do* interpret the "Not Set " to mean exactly what they say - and my interpretation is from applying my logic & my understanding of English to the one "paragraph" displayed on-screen, with no reference to small-print, or any other help screen. Obviously others can (and will) interpret it in different ways.
The problem is that the paragraph is a semi-geeky presentation of computer-based data, and *does* need a bit of interpretation. And that leaves it open to both mis-reading and disagreements. Would it be better if it said this instead:
Quote
[tt]Maximum extra monthly spend:    £ No Maximum[/tt]
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 29-01-2009

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

I forgot to answer one of your other points - which is whether a customer should expect his account to be initially configured with "No maximum", no matter whether the information is presented in a muddled way or clearly, or some other number.
I can agree with you on this principle. I think I saw something in a recent Ofcom document describing this as "Bill Shock", and that it is an obvious thing that the british consumer does not tend to like. So a better initial value (of zero) would make for better PR. Of course, there are still people who would prefer the default to be "unlimited". These are the people who depend on consistency of service, rather than an absolute maximum charge.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

From a linguistic and mathematical point of view the exact meaning of "set" or "not set" in relation to a limit would vary depending on the context.
Without any additional information pointing one way or the other, for a financial limit, I would take "not set" to mean "there is no limit".
I can see why some people might think it's zero, but that's not my interpretation. After all zero is a mathematical value so it's then "set" to zero.
That said, it sounds like additional clarification would not go amiss.  Cool
bertie123
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 18-09-2007

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Hi MakeTeaNot War
After our call I hope this has clarified this for you and has been resolved to both our satisfactions.
Thankyou for your time on the phone this evening.    Wink

Regards
Annette.
mssystems
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Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Quote from: HPsauce
Without any additional information pointing one way or the other, for a financial limit, I would take "not set" to mean "there is no limit".
That may be so but contracts are subject to contract law rather than mathematical law.
'Agreement to the same,' is a principle which roughly translates to the customer being made aware of, and consenting to, any offer or charge made by the supplier.
Maximum extra monthly spend:    £ Not Set
Can be reasonably interpreted as, I have not consented to a monthly spend, maximum or otherwise.  The fact that it can be interpreted to mean opposite things is no excuse for the supplier.   The onus is (always) on the supplier to clearly state the offer.
When a supplier is not categorical they risk providing the customer with the right to decline payment.  That  may appear harsh but the law recognises that it is in the supplier's interest to exploit the customer by misleading them.  A 'vague offer,' in the eyes of the law, is better known as a scam!
Maximum extra monthly spend:    £ Unlimited
Would be categorical.
Good luck to the OP in finding someone that will take the complaint seriously.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

I'd say that the "context" of contract law is obviously significant "additional information".  Wink
I think everyone agrees that the vague wording at the centre of the discussion is misleading and needs to be changed.
Community Veteran
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Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Can be also interpreted as "I have not set a maximum monthly spend" exactly as with a mobile phone - If you don't set a maximum spend the charges will keep increasing
Of course when you approach youir usage limit you will receive an email such as this
Quote
You're approaching your product's broadband peak-time usage allowance of 10GB for this month. We've sent you this email to help you manage your usage, and ensure you don't face unexpected charges.
There's no limit on how much you can use, but once you've used your 10GB allowance, additional usage is charged at £5.00 per 5GB.
View Your Broadband Usage
You can check your usage at any time on our website with View Your Broadband Usage - https://portal.plus.net/view_my_broadband_usage/index.php
Set A Broadband Price Limit
No need to be concerned about spending more than you intend on your broadband usage. You can set your maximum monthly usage on our website - https://portal.plus.net/data_transfer_watch/ ;

Community Veteran
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Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Quote from: mssystems
'Agreement to the same,' is a principle which roughly translates to the customer being made aware of, and consenting to, any offer or charge made by the supplier.

Absolutely right - that is why the way it is implemented is correct.
If you go to http://www.plus.net/broadband/ and click on the Find out more links it says:
Quote
Even better, any usage between midnight and 8am won't count towards your monthly allowance. You can view your usage online at anytime. We'll also email you before you go over your allowance. If you do, it's not a problem. You'll just pay an extra £5 per 5GB.

The description of the product says that when you go over you pay more - no mention of maximum spend or of stopping you going over your usage allowance. The default on the data transfer watch behaves exactly as per the product specification.
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 Veteran
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Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

I take the T+C page as the place for contract language, and the control page for holding, well, controls. I expect control logic to work to logical rules... And legal logic to work to arcane rules.  Lips are sealed
But then I'm an engineer, and I know my ability to follow logic isn't the norm. I often have to rethink the wording of public-facing stuff to be clearer to ordinary people, not the mathematicians.
But something did strike me - and more so after reminders about the emails - Is this whole discussion about *just* the not-quite-right language of the page, or did this cause an actual misunderstanding, and unwanted spending of cash? It is often too easy to have this logic-vs-legal, pragmatic-vs-precise, discussion but forget that there's someone hurt in this.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
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Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Quote from: WWWombat
forget that there's someone hurt in this.

If the recent PN staff post is to be believed that issue has been rectified.
Community Veteran
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Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Quote from: WWWombat
The problem is that the paragraph is a semi-geeky presentation of computer-based data, and *does* need a bit of interpretation. And that leaves it open to both mis-reading and disagreements. Would it be better if it said this instead:
Quote
[tt]Maximum extra monthly spend:    £ No Maximum[/tt]


This is a very good suggestion - anyone from Plusnet like to comment?
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 Veteran
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Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Even better would be to ask the customer what initial limit they want (0, a specific value or unlimited) at time of sign-up.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
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thekent
Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: 09-06-2011

Re: Good honest broadband from yorkshire? I don't think so...

Over the past few weeks I have discovered that Plusnets so called "Customer Service" has become shockingly bad  Angry. When I suggested that I change supplier their response was along the lines of "go on then"  (until now I was a happy customer of 11yrs)  .... I have had an outstanding fault since November and up until recent weeks it was managed extremely well ..... the sad fact is they are wasting money unnecessarily sending out engineers that have all been here so many times .... if someone even bothered to read the case notes they would realise this. My case was managed because it had become such a High Level Escalation.
Think I will be starting my own thread on this forum tomorrow .... I cant catalogue what has happened because it would take me months to type!!!!
Given what has happened I would not recomend them as an ISP or landline provider.