Complain to BT over broadband service, urges campaigner Meyer
A consumer campaigner is urging everyone with slower than advertised broadband from BT to launch a salvo of complaints against the communications giant.
Paul Meyer, of Rerwick, Bigton, has raised the issue, he says, after BT only provided broadband at 20 per cent the guaranteed speed.
He insists he should therefore be entitled to an 80 per cent reduction in his bills and is urging other customers similarly affected to take forward the challenge.
Mr Meyer, who operates the consumer website www.rip-off.co.uk, says Rerwick was promised broadband at 14mbps. But he says residents are only receiving it at an average of 2.80mbps instead.
“I started to get BT because we’ve got the fibre line down to Bigton now and I thought maybe we’ve got the chance of some decent speeds.
“I got it in and it was about an average of 2.80 megs which should be 14. So we’re only getting 20 per cent of what they guarantee.
“I’ve had engineers here three times. I’ve been on to BT. I’ve said, ‘how about reducing my bill by 80 per cent because I’m only getting 20 per cent of what you guarantee?’.
“They said ‘we can’t do that’. So I thought, ‘right, okay, then. I shall fight you’.”
Mr Meyer said other residents would soon receive a letter from him to show they are guaranteed to get 14mbps, but are only getting 2.8, on average, “on a good day”.
He said he would be urging them to contact BT to reduce their bills.
“I’m going to get hold of everybody in Shetland who has broadband who are not getting the speeds they are guaranteed.
“Everybody in Shetland will be forcing BT to be reducing their bills.
“If somebody in Aith is guaranteed 10, and they’re getting one, they’re going to force BT to reduce their bill by 90 per cent.”
He alleges that BT are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines.
According to Mr Meyer, engineers confirmed his area could have the guaranteed speeds if a fibre spur was installed from the 50Mbps Bigton cabinet 2.3km from his home.
“Why is Openreach [which owns the pipes and telephone cables that connect nearly all UK homes and businesses] refusing a fibre feed from the Bigton cabinet to eleven properties in Rerwick? he said.
“According to the Scottish government they have the funding, so why are we being neglected when fast fibre is only a a few kilometres away?”
Mr Meyer has urged both MP Alistair Carmichael and MSP Tavish Scott to highlight the issue with BT and Openreach.
Despite his complaint, he said he would not be walking away from BT.
“BT made a silly suggestion that I could always cancel my BT. I said I’m not going to do that, because once I’ve done that I haven’t got any fight against them. While I’m in the loop I can still fight you guys.”
Isles MSP Tavish Scott said he agreed with Mr Meyer had made a “logical case”. The MSP has been in touch with BT and is awaiting a reply. He said the matter was due to be raised at next week’s digital forum, which is scheduled to be held in Brae.
“If the service is less than advertised then he shouldn’t be paying for the whole service.
“That’s why there’s a House of Commons Select Committee which has made recommendations in that area – that the regulator should enforce that kind of deal on the telecommunications companies, including BT.
“I think Paul is driving into an area of policy for which there is a lot of sympathy.”
BT spokesman Mitch Reid said: “BT gives personalised broadband speed range estimates to all its customers at the point of sale and confirms the estimates in writing. This is underwritten by the Ofcom code of practice. No BT customer should be in any doubt about what speed they should expect from our service before they make a purchase decision.
“If a customer consistently gets lower speeds than we estimated, we try to improve the speed for them, where we can’t do that the customer can cancel the service without charges, within the terms of the Ofcom code of practice.”