Taking the piss

Some people amaze me.

So, you buy internet access, it's crucial for you business but you only buy one broadband line, and have no backup, no 3G dongles, nothing.

Unfortunately, in this case, the our favourite telco messed up and caused internet to break on a line for a week (messed up exchange jumpering). Its a real pain when that happens, and anyone that knows us will know we give them hell when they do this and try our hardest to get it sorted as quickly as possible. But sadly, it took a week.

How the hell does someone think, having paid £10.17/month for a service (the line, ex VAT) and it breaking for a week, that they have any right to claim £1,000 compensation for the inconvenience and buying 3G dongles and all sorts. They even accept that it was matters beyond our control!

It really does annoy me some times.

Lets hope he does not decide to take it further and actually considers some backup. It's not like we don't offer a range of options. He can even get lines from our other favorite telco...


  1. A few years ago, BT unilaterally decided to put a cease on our ADSL and it took *over a month* to finally get it working again (at least a week of that, mind you, to get my ISP at the time to concede there might be a problem...)

    My immediate thought wasn't "ooh I can claim a grand for this". It was "ooh I need some proper reslience against this happening in the future". Which is why I now have two ADSL lines, from different providers, plus a 3G dongle which I can plug into my router in an emergency.

  2. I suspect he'd fall foul of reasonable expectations if he took it to court - at £20.17+VAT/month for an extra copper line + ADSL (or £37.29+VAT/month with your other wholesaler), with no pre-agreed compensation for downtime, he's going to struggle to argue that you could reasonably expect downtime to cost him much more than that. If nothing else, a court is going to want to know why he didn't buy something with an SLA, or have backup plans.

    Perhaps a little paradoxical, but this is one area where AAISP are opening themselves up to more legal liability than most of their competitors - I have both 21CN and Be AAISPs line at home, with the entire package (copper and ADSL) bought through AAISP, and AAISP advertising that multiple lines increases availability. If I had a week's total downtime, and was angling for £1,000 compensation, I could argue that I had backup plans - two lines from AAISP - and thus had only planned for AAISP being down for a day or so at a time. Of course, two lines gives you a much better chance of having at least one of my lines working at any one time.

  3. Ah, well, we stress that it is higher availability but that we cannot guarantee it will never fail. We have always said that we limit liability to what you paid us for the period it was down, and we make that even clearer now.

    These days the order confirmation screen needs a check box ticked, and the initial invoice clearly state "Things can break. Andrews & Arnold Ltd (A&A) will try and fix things if they break and compensation does not normally apply. A&A limit liability to what you paid. For a service this is what you paid for the time the service was broken." which pretty much covers us...

    But even without our careful (and I think fair) contract terms this guy is on a wild goose chase asking for £1,000, IMHO.

  4. Ohh, that reminds me. If our line breaks we still need the AAISP static IP addresses (for our servers). We have a line from another provider, is the L2TP access fully funtional yet?

  5. Yeh, not sure I have said it is "official", but it does work. I'll see if we can progress the status of that.

  6. "I have both 21CN and Be AAISPs line at home, with the entire package (copper and ADSL) bought through AAISP"

    Aside from price (my secondary line is very cheap), that's the main reason my backup ADSL is through another supplier - fewer single points of failure.

    Of course, they're both going through the same exchange - and actually they both come from the same telegraph pole (hmm, could I persuade BT to run one of them from an alternate pole?). Better would be to use cable for the backup line, but that works out a lot more expensive and 3G gives me a complete secondary link.

  7. Have you bought it as a BT Business User? If that's the case, I think there's a massive amount of liability insurance that BT take out.

    If you're a home user, you're screwed. And they'll still charge you for the non-provision period. It took me 5 months of escalating fines and threats when I refused to pay for a period when the line I was paying for stopped working for a fortnight.

    "Oh, another telecomms company has cut through the cable, it's not our fault therefore you still have to pay us".

    "No, you haven't provided what I am paying for. I don't give a monkeys what the reasoning is."

    Multiply by 5 months.

    Maybe to claim for your telephone costs in getting it resolved too, plus your standard rate for your time whilst doing so? Might as well take the piss as much as they do!


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