Wednesday, 25 May 2016

ADR and broadband switching

Thank to ISP review for drawing my attention to Call for Evidence on Improving the Consumer Landscape and Quicker Switching issued by BIS.

As anyone that follows my blog knows I have some "views" on ADR! I feel like a dark part of my life has come back to haunt me just typing those three letters. I may go and lie down for a bit...

However, apart from a lot of scathing suggestions, I have made one concrete proposal that there should be some sort of on-line service to allow complaints to be registered to an ISP/telco. This would then automate the escalation to ADR, and allow the ombudsman access to the debate and evidence. It would avoid any confusion over whether something is a "formal complaint", the date of complaint, the content of the complaint, and if it has already been resolved or not.

Evidence re ADR (PDF).

The other point of interest is consumer switching. What is crazy is that OFCOM just finished a process of consultation and change to move broadband switching from 5 working days to 10 working days lead time, and gaining provider led. BIS want 7 working days!

Again, I have come up with a concrete proposal - one that avoids the need for a trade off between a long lead time to avoid slamming, and a short lead time for convenience. Simply add a positive confirmation message via losing provider (just as there is a reject via losing provider now) allowing order to move back to earlier completion date (even next day). This solves a lot of problems in one go, even the issue of fixing mistakes.

Evidence re Switching (PDF).

Let's see what they say.

P.S. If you want to submit evidence, the first email address in the BIS document does not work.[fixed]

4 comments:

  1. For "there should be some sort of on-line service to allow complaints to be registered to an ISP/telco. This would then automate the escalation to ADR" -
    http://www.resolver.co.uk aims to solve at least a good part of this problem. (A&A aren't currently listed on there it seems.)

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  2. An artificial delay is little real safeguard - whether one day or ten, it's easy for someone to miss the notification until it's too late, whether posted or emailed (spam filters, holidays, etc) and just impedes the switch process. Better to restore some positive authorisation step, like we had with the PAC: perhaps a unique reference number that has to be quoted to the gaining provider? (Then, if you want to migrate my Home::1 line between BTW and TT, you already have it and can transfer directly without the delays.)

    My grandfather had his phone and broadband service switched by a cold-caller last year, and I don't think spotted in time to cancel the switch as opposed to switching back again; I wonder if "no cold calling" could be included as a requirement for ISPs/telcos who port customers?

    What I would like is harmonisation with contract terms - so if I have to give A&A 30 days notice I'm leaving, and put in a migration to, say, Zen, the default migration should be 30 days later to avoid any double-billing. If I'm desperate enough to jump that I'll approve the extra charge. If their angle is to make switching less of a problem, addressing that double-billing is surely more important than speeding thing up slightly?!

    I think it's been mentioned on here before that BT Wholesale and Openreach should be stopped from double-billing within minimum terms, too - AIUI, as it stands if I switched from one ISP to another within the minimum term, Openreach will end up pocketing two sets of fees for the single circuit provided, which shouldn't be allowed. (Probably tricky to fix, and does risk bursting Ofcom's happy little bubble where there's lots of "competition" because you can pay Openreach for GEA through a dozen different routes, diverting attention from Openreach's near-total monopoly...)

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    Replies
    1. What is the actual problem that Ofcom thinks it's trying to solve? As far as I can tell, that's "losing provider tries to impair the process of leaving". Certainly I've heard of cases where the migration code was only provided after extensive phone calls, letters, and general hassle. So any solution which doesn't deal with that won't be welcome.

      Unfortunately what that means is that the process can only rely on an authorisation given by the customer, and that's easy to get by dubious means.

      I suppose it might take the form of a formal statement - "I agree that I am terminating voice and internet services with (named) provider X" - but even that would probably just be a click-through.

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    2. We already have gaining provider led migration thanks to OFCOM. This is BIS getting involved and they want to reduce the lead time. Yes, lots of possible issues and ways that ISPs can mess it up.

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