However, she says that the contract allows them to pretty much do what they like, decide their own jurisdiction, and make any award they like. She says that it would be bankruptingly expensive to challenge it.
Sadly, she advises that we should pay up and change ADR. She offered to look at the contract with the other ADR provider as well.
So, just to clarify, if you are a consumer or small business dealing with any telco, it appears that :-
- Even if they have not broken the contract, you can take them to ADR and get large "good will" awards.
- Even if you agree to service and prices, you can take them to ADR and get those charges refunded.
- Even if you make up new disputes that you have not raised with the telco first, you can include them in the ADR complaint and they will be considered, but the ADR will not show the telco what you said.
Just to be clear here, they agree we are not in breach of contract, but required us to pay £500 as good will.
They claim the customer asked to cease service on 31st May, but we have emails in June where we say that they can cease the services on the on-line order page and the reply with [sic] "We want to continue the service". We emailed in June asking if they agreed the prices and services and the reply was [sic] "Yes. Agreed". Yet, we are ordered to credit the charges for June and beyond.
I knew the law was an arse, but this is special. I am not sure how this has been allowed. I am not sure how we can get this changed.
The result is that we have to change the way we work with customers, and none of it will be good. The customer complaints code is already a lot more bureaucratic. The terms are already more onerous (not that contract terms actually matter, it seems). We cannot afford to ever go out of our way to do anything special for a customer because if it goes wrong we can be taken to ADR. I am at a loss. I am going to go home and cry.
P.S. If we get more ADR cases, prices go up to cover the extra costs and so our customers all lose out - well done championing the consumer cause there!
P.P.S. I would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement on this issue. I do appreciate it.