Broadband providers' poor customer service and ComReg - Newstalk

Image Broadband providers' poor customer service and ComReg - Newstalk

A steady and reliable broadband connection has never been more in need, especially since a vast percentage of the workforce began working from home.

However, many broadband customers are still having trouble with providers when it comes to getting connected, as well as long customer service waiting times, to name a few issues.

Our Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, Daragh Cassidy joined Kieran Cuddihy on the Hard Shoulder to discuss the responsibility of broadband providers, ComReg's powers, and the importance of switching providers when your contract is up.

Here’s an outline of the main points discussed by Daragh in the interview.

How difficult is it to switch broadband providers?

It can be quite difficult sometimes but at bonkers.ie we would argue that there’s great value to be had by switching.

When it comes to broadband and TV, there’s no switching code in place that we tend to have with other products or services. For example, if you were switching current accounts or mortgages, the Central Bank has switching codes of conduct in place. 

No codes of conduct

At present, there are no codes of conduct when it comes to switching broadband and TV providers, so we need to have stricter rules, more timelines and more power for the consumer. 

Prior to the financial crash, banks and lenders here didn’t really care too much about the Central Bank. However, after the financial crash, the Central Bank got more power. This is not the case with ComReg and the telecommunications providers, as there are no rules companies need to adhere to. ComReg needs to be shouting for more power so that telecommunications companies can be held to a higher standard.

There are things that telecommunication companies can do that make it quite difficult to leave. For example, often they won’t take cancellation requests online and can only do this by calling, but then when you call you can't get through. 

Ofcom in the UK

In the UK there are new laws coming into effect, whereby at the end of this year, mobile phone providers won’t be allowed to sell locked phones under new rules from Ofcom. 

That’s going to free up a huge amount of competition in the markets. You won’t be stuck to your contractor as you are now, which is one of the real difficulties here when switching.

Poor customer service

Many of these telecommunications companies lack adequate customer service. Working in a pandemic is difficult enough, but there’s no reason for customers to be left without services or waiting on money to be refunded for six months. 

Every quarter, ComReg releases the complaints it receives per provider and that can be a good insight into who is performing well and who isn’t. Eir doesn’t tend to come out too well, but Virgin Media does tend to do well. It’s advised to keep an eye on that report.

Making complaints

It’s really important when making a complaint that you’re speaking to the right department and team. If you’re looking for a discount or looking to cancel, often only certain people can actually action that request.

Switch as soon as you’re out of a contract to get a better deal elsewhere. While you’re in contract and having trouble with a provider, escalate your complaint. Make sure you get back onto the call agent, even if it’s frustrating, and get an email address. 

People often have to name and shame these companies publicly to voice their complaints when they’re not being heard. It comes back to poor customer service and customers not being at the heart of what these companies stand for. 

Companies are out there to make money, but sometimes it seems that the customer is forgotten about. We saw this with Eir when it was bought and sold by a number of conglomerates and as a result, customer service was completely forgotten about. 

Consider switching provider

Have you had a bad experience with a broadband company or are looking for a change? Consider switching today!

At bonkers.ie, our easy-to-use comparison service lets you compare broadband speeds, prices and offers from all of Ireland’s main providers so that you can find the best deal in your area.

If looking to switch, the following may be of interest to you:

Have any broadband-related questions that weren’t answered above? We’d be happy to help! You can contact us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.