This is really trying to spark some debate and not give a definite answer.
One of the things that has come out of this whole ADR fiasco is that there was a problem caused by BT. But our contract is with BT and our customers contract is with us and not with BT.
So what happens when there is a problem like this.
Now, I fully understand that the customers contract is with us and not with BT. We usually give details of what the cause of any problem is, and what we are doing to solve it. This means that if we are the cause we say so. If BT are the cause we say so. We are not trying to "excuse" the fact things are broken by passing the buck or blaming someone else - we are simply trying to provide truthful and honest details of what is happening and why.
In contract terms we take some care to mirror the terms we get where we can - where BT do not guarantee a delivery date, or experience tells us they will not meet targets, we don't try and offer any guarantee to our customer.
This means we can find that we let people down on some occasions, whether our fault or someone else's - it is *us* that has let the customer down.
We make sure we don't have liability in such cases - other than not charging for services until they are finally, possibly delayed, installed. We don't make money until they are installed, so we lose out as well.
We thought that was good enough - being up front on what we can and cannot guarantee and what remedy there is for delay, if any.
It seems however that when someone else causes us a delay, even though the delay on our part is not breach of contract and not going against what was agreed in any way, somehow we are liable to pay for the inconvenience caused. Yet we are not able to do the same to our suppliers. We have no way to insist our suppliers ignore the terms we agreed and compensate us.
So what should happen?
Is it right that the agreed contract is what matters? i thought so.
Should we take the hit on compensating someone for a delay that was not our fault when we never agreed to a date in the first place?
Should we be able to pass on this liability to our suppliers some how? If that is not down to contracts, what legal framework should allow that?
What if the delay was our fault, and we did not guarantee an install date? is that different, or just covering our arse as effectively?
Is it really fair that we can offer a service without guaranteeing a date, and the only compensation being that the customer does not start paying until the install finally happens? Is that fair and reasonable? I thought so.
I am interested in feedback on this as I have actually toned down our T&Cs to allow for delays that are not our fault more clearly. i.e. that there is not charge for service we have not installed because of a delay, even if the delay is not our fault. I think that is fair too.
Whats the view here?