Sunday, 26 February 2012


One of the aspects of the (not yet final) decision of the ombudsman is that we have to make an apology.

This is slightly confusing to me - obviously in the various emails sent we have apologised for the time it is taking to provide various services, so we have already complied.

But ultimately they agree we are not in breach of contract, so I assume an apology along the lines of :-

"We hereby fully apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of us providing goods and services to you in accordance with the agreed contract terms"

is what they need. That is what I plan to say if required to do so. It is the truth after all. We really are sorry that we ever agreed any contract with these people now. Very very sorry. Definitely won't happen again.


  1. It needs to be a bit longer than that.

    "We hereby fully apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of us providing goods and services to you in accordance with the agreed contract terms. We assure you that this situation will never be allowed to occur again."

  2. Nice.

    This is such a mad case. It is a business customer getting the service they wanted (4 line annex M bonded upload) by the date they wanted (the royal wedding) for the price they wanted (well, £6.94 out but we credited more than that)...

    Yet somehow, with no breach of contract, A&A are expected to write off several hundred pounds of ongoing services and pay £700 as "good will".

    It is hard to conceive of a more broken example of ADR.

  3. I originally came to AAISP for your technical skill and honest technical support. I have a business need for a couple of ADSL lines for a couple of months every year, which my business absolutely relies upon. I use AAISP safe in the knowledge that should something go wrong, your staff will work tirelessly to get me back online.

    My requirements aren't unusual (I've certainly never needed any lines bonded for example) but I am very comfortable in the knowledge that, should I need support, I will be able to work with your staff and have a deeply technical and honest discussion - rather than posting messages to a ticketing system and hoping for an answer. With so many awful ISPs in the UK, AAISP is a delight for a techie user.

    It is deplorable that this situation has even arisen. I too would find it infuriating if I was in your position.

    I understand the need to protect yourself from such situations in the future but I would be worried if this means your service to the majority of customers like me who hold you in very high regard would suffer.

  4. I don't want it to suffer, obviously.

    I want to find a solution that does not mean changing the way we work.

    If the solution was simply ensuring that things are clear in our contract - that simply ensuring it is clear we do not guarantee a delivery date - that would be easy. It would not change the way we work but ensure we have the safety net for when someone gets stroppy. It would avoid disputes going to court or ADR.

    The problem is, we had all that. The ombudsman actually states in their decision that we are not in breach of contract. They state that awarding losses would not be appropriate. Clearly we got the contract right.

    In the real world that would be the end of it.

    So if getting the contract right is not the answer, we have to work out what is. If that means changing our behaviour, then we have to change it. I am not sure I can take the stress of another ADR case!

    Regardless of the outcome of this case we are going to be pestering the ombudsman for clear statements on how we can change behaviour to avoid ADRs in future.

    If we need to take court action quickly before cases can go to ADR for example?

    If we need to simply refuse an order if our suppliers are being awkward, rather than trying to get it sorted.

    If we need to cease a line where we cannot get it fixed easily rather than trying.

    In this case the customer wanted 4 lines bonded uplink with annex M. We achieved that by the date they wanted. One of the "shortfalls" is that we billed for each service as provided (phone line, broadband, annex M). They say that was an error. It was not, in our opinion an error. We were selling the services we sell not a package. But consider if we were selling a package - that would mean billing for all services from when completely supplied. But if we were doing that we would only turn on those services on that date too - not provide a partial service. The customer actually tested with one line, one line with annex M, two lines with annex M, and so on. I suspect they would have had a lot more stress and inconvenience if we just said "no, we have not yet provide the package, we're working on it still" right up until a few days before the event. It seems however that this is what they want too rather than us selling the individual services and providing them as available.

    All these things would be bad, so we are going to ask the ADR if they are the things we have to do, or not, and I'll report back what they say.

    If OFCOM want to wipe out small independent helpful ISPs it will be hard to fight that.

  5. "If OFCOM want to wipe out small independent helpful ISPs it will be hard to fight that."
    Isn't it generally taken as a given that they're just puppets to the big boys?

  6. I know you've "fired a customer" in the past, and with good riddance, too . and you say you won't be accepting any more from this customer that has taken you to ADR (Which, I understand completely too!) - my question is, have you fired this customer for the services they already have, and in doing that do you remove all the lines they have with you, or do you give them migration codes and tell them in the politest possible way to "sod-off", give them a date in which you'll cancel the lines if they're not moved from your services, etc. Or would firing this customer while the disputes are on-going cause more trouble with the disputes?

    I appreciate that you might not be able to answer whether you have or not :-)


  7. This customer had all lines ceased last year for non payment (after lots of notice). The only time we ever fired a customer was when we issued them a MAC and politely suggested they go to another ISP.

    As for ceasing a customers service during disputes - one would hope we can do that - but in this alternative reality I bet that causes more problems.

  8. "We apologise for ever accepting you as a customer and offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you have caused your parents, us and the world. We have taken steps to ensure that we will never accept your custom again and would like to put in place measures to ensure similar events can not happen again by starting with your castration"

    Do you think that'll be acceptable to the ADR?

  9. Did they ever actually pay you any money at all ?

    I'd like to get an idea as to how much money they shelled out to A&A for services and how much A&A has had to pay back as a result of this ADR ?

    One figure shouldn't exceed the other as a service is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

    1. Yes, sorry if this was not clear - I should detail the case. They paid for the services up to and including the event in full. That was not a problem. They then failed to pay for ongoing services which they used after the delays and issues had all been resolved and all was fine.