Broadband troubles (James Sandison)

I read with interest Paul Meyer’s comments in The Shetland Times on his broadband speeds falling short of what had been promised by BT.

The response seems to be similar to: “Go away little man, you are not big enough to take us on. If you don’t like it go to another provider. ”

Apparently Mr Meyer had approached our MP and MSP on this matter. MSP Tavish Scott agrees that Mr Meyer had made a logical case, and was quoted as saying: “If the service is less than advertised then he shouldn’t be paying for the whole service.”

This is not rocket science, and is at variance with other areas of supplier/customer relationships.

Contrast this with another story on the front page of the same Shetland Times, where a visit from the environmental health food safety inspectors found a premises in Lerwick falling short of required standards, and they had had an “improvement required” notice served on them. These inspectors carry much weight, to the extent that they can shut down a business that consistently does not meet legal requirements.

Consider the legal requirements for goods decreed in law by The Weights and Measures Act, which states: “In the case of weights and measures, consumers have no way of verifying the quantity of product they have purchased, such as the weight of some purchased vegetables or the volume of fuel put into a motor vehicle.

“The current legal protections ensure that the goods offered for sale by quantity can be trusted because the amount has been determined by a legally controlled (prescribed) measuring instrument, independently monitored according to risk by local enforcement authorities. By regulating measuring instruments used for trade, both consumers and business can be confident the quantity declared is accurate.”

In other words, customers should know they are getting what they pay for. If not they have redress through the law, and suppliers falling short can find the legal punishment to be quite severe for standards not being met. Statutory bodies also have the responsibility to ensure these standards are checked and complied with.

Many broadband customers do not know how to measure the actual speeds they are getting, so it seems perverse, and against natural justice, that similar principles do not apply to broadband suppliers.

It is time that laws pertinent to telecommunications were changed to give customers the same level of protection. Also Ofcom should be empowered with more teeth to ensure compliance.

The following statement is from the Ofcom website: “Unfair terms – If you believe any of the terms and conditions in your ‘phone or broadband contract are unfair, you should contact your provider. If this doesn’t resolve your problem, ask your provider for a deadlock letter. This enables you to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.”

I would consider Mr Meyer to be suffering an unfair contract, and many more people are certainly in the same position.

James Sandison


Add Your Comment
  • James J Paton

    • August 19th, 2017 17:12

    Shetlanders seem to be developing a new trait, moving on from being historically ‘moothless’ to be interminably pointlessly complaining. Complaining to BT, or Offcom for that matter, is like micturating in the wind- in Shetland – a futile and messy gesture.

    If Shetlanders had any sense , and could develop a cooperative spirit – much lost in the dash for oil cash in the 70’s and 80’s – they’f invest what’s left of the Charitable Trust funds in their own telecoms/IT/data storage and management system.

    Satellite transponder space has never been cheaper, and an earth station at the former MOD site at Mossy Hill, would act as the communications hub for Shetland to the world. No bandwidth restrictive pipes, no dodgy mictowave transmission. ‘Space the final frontier.’ Get on with it and stop your whining! Speak to Graeme Storey, he’s already done all the work before.

  • David Spence

    • August 20th, 2017 21:25

    It seems our laws controlling the use and sale of food are far more stringent than other consumer related issues.

    However, those same laws allow our food (farm based livestock) to be pumped with steroids, food pellets, growth hormones and anti-biotic’s (over 50% of anti-biotics produced are for farm livestock) in the aim for farmers to sing to the tune the Supermarkets dictate.

    Supermarkets have forced many farmers to produce their products (mainly meat) faster, bulkier and leaner as a result, allegedly, of consumer demand, but one really thinks it is more to do with the Supermarkets wanting a cheaper product?

    This has also lead to the mass produce lifestock known as ‘ factory farming ‘ where, in many cases, animals are in appalling conditions, and are treated with cruelty beyond belief.

    This spurred on the idea of brainwashing the consumer into buying so-called ‘ Organic Foods ‘ when in reality it was just another market ploy to rip-off the consumer…………..and many people have fallen for it.

    We have laws to protect the consumer against infected meat etc but no laws to protect the lifestock used in the factory farm of greed and profits………at any cost to the livestock.

  • Graham Simpson

    • August 21st, 2017 8:32

    Heard about this on the radio the other day. B4RN.

    There’s no reason we can’t also take matters into our own hands by providing our own broadband service. It’s just a question of hard work and digging a trench. The whole community benefits too.


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