Monday, March 13, 2006

Demon Internet - caveat emptor

Quite a lot of work goes into producing On an Overgrown Path, and to support this a robust internet connection is essential.

For many years I used as ISP Demon Internet who are owned by Scottish Power. Towards the end of last year I experienced repeated service outages and other problems with my ADSL connection. A lot of time was spent calling the Demon helpdesk, the response was invariably 'we have no problems, it must be your router, reboot it.' But Googling Demon showed we weren't the only ones having problems, and problems, and problems ...

When I felt I had exhausted reasonable attempts at resolving the problems by calls to Demon I terminated the contract and switched to Freedom2Surf, who so far have kept the Path on the straight and narrow without problem.

But that wasn't the end of my association with Demon. They then pursued me for the money for the period outstanding on the contract. I wrote to Demon, my solicitors wrote to Demon, and I then wrote to 1st Credit who debt collect for Demon. All the letters said: 'The service provided under the terms of this contract was not of merchantable quality. Moreover I made every effort by calls to your technical help department to rectify the problem. I was told repeatedly that the problem was with my router, when in fact it appears it was due to inadequate network capacity within Demon."

Demon did not reply to any of the three letters.

I then received a letter from Chivers, Easton, Brown, solicitors, whose credentials include Community Legal service and regulation by the Law Society. These solicitors act for Demon Internet, and their web site says: Chivers Easton Brown is a modern, well-run law practice that provides a wide range of legal services in a cost-effective, flexible and personal way.'

I quote from their letter of 10th March 2006 verbatim, the bold type is their's, not mine:

'We act on behalf of 1st Credit Ltd who has instructed us to write to you concerning this seriously overdue account. Unless full payment is made to our client within 14 days from the date of this letter we are instructed to issue proceedings aginst you in the County Court for recovery. Should that step prove necessary our client's claim will include statutory interest, Court fees and Solicitors costs. If judgement is obtained against you then, after a period of 28 days, it will automatically be registered at the Register of County Court Judgements and will have an adverse affect on your credit rating.

Please note that we are not instructed to enter into correspondence with you regarding this matter as our involvement is purely in relation to the conduct of legal proceedings. '

I have payed the outstanding amount.

Caveat emptor

Image credit - Portnetworks.com
Related resources On An Overgrown Path - Access denied

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very relevant Comment piece by Jackie Ashley in yesterdays's Guardian ...

'Britain's service sector is now a failing digital souk

Too many offers and not enough information - instead of empowering us, the modern economy is making us gullible'


Follow this link for the full story.

Fairhaven Friend said...

Juxtapose this with my experience using Dell Computers' customer service, which nearly drove me mad by the totally opposite experience: I had a defective color ink cartridge and called to see if I could get it replaced (they are not that cheap and it was a new cartridge).

As usual, I was spirted in telephone space to India where the person at the other end of the phone kept profusely apologizing (putting me in mind of the Monty Python sketch about the restuarant with the best manners in all of Britain). The matter was dealt with during a half hour of apologies, and a day later I got my replacement cartridge.

I also got a daily call from my new Indian friend, usually at an hour when I was no longer at my office, hoping that I had the problem solved. This went on for over a week! For an ink cartridge for pity's sake!

Can we find a happy medium between the two?

Pliable said...

And the sorry saga doesn't end there ...

I paid the outstanding amount in full two weeks ago. Today our solicitors received a final demand from Demon.

Caveat emptor

Anonymous said...

Demon Internet Broadband - They don't just screw up the little bloke - they are the worst internet business service provider I have ever used in 15 years of doing IT - Demon Internet Broadband - Rubbish, use them for your business if you wish to fail!! Never use Demon Internet Broadband

Anonymous said...

I agree Demon customer services does not exsist, they are rubbish, I have been waiting over nine months and chasing an overpayment. I cannot wait to move well away from Demon...

David said...

Well I wish I'd read this before I went to Demon. They looked good but what they don't tell you..

You will not be able to access your account online.(From an ISP. I couldn't believe it)

The standard response to any error with your connection is 'BT says it is working fine'

Hived out support to india again is fair enough but all I got was patronising comments and 'I cannot put you through to that department as they are engaged' (for 3 days !!) They did offer a call back (within 24 hours) but after the 3 days I gave up and said bye to them.

originaldocs said...

Don't let threats of Court action scare you. You just needed to file a Defence once the papers arrived. If you included copies of your correspondence and highlighted the fact that the Solicitors REFUSED to correspond with you over the matter, the Court would have thrown the case out for abuse of process. Solicitors CANNOT "refuse" to communicate - the Courts take a very dim view of such matters on the basis that pre-action protocols etc. and alternative dispute resolution are intended to prevent unnecessary cases actually getting to the Court stage. In fact, a stiff letter to the Senior Partner of the firm pointing out his firm's abuse of the Court process and threatening to claim YOUR legal fees for defending the matter from HIS client would probably have killed the case stone dead before they even issued. It's a shame you paid up.