/ Technology

Are broadband and mobile providers telling porkies?

Man holding a mobile telephone, looking confused

Are broadband and mobile providers using unscrupulous tactics to sell you deals or upgrades that you don’t want? Could they also be billing us for data we haven’t even used?

We were contacted by a Virgin Media customer on Facebook who believed he’d been offered its basic TV package for free because of his long-standing loyalty. He was also under the impression that when the engineer arrived to install it, his broadband would be upgraded to a faster speed for free.

It turned out that he already had the faster speed and the TV package required a new contract – at an additional cost.

We’ve also recently heard from an Orange mobile customer who was billed over £9,000 for 5.7GB of data on her monthly business plan – she says she only ever uses around 400MB a month. Not only that, but she was working 12-hour shifts when Orange said the data was used.

Crystal clear communication

Now these are two very specific examples, but is there a wider story going on here?

Maybe these providers aren’t intending to mislead. But customers need to know exactly what they are signing up for, and providers should make it crystal clear. Plus, where mistakes in billing are made they should be dealt with swiftly and without the customer having to do all the legwork. And that’s just the bare minimum.

Imagine the shock of getting a bill for £9,000, or the annoyance of having been signed up to a contract you didn’t knowingly agree to.

I want to know if you’ve experienced similar issues with broadband or mobile providers. Do your data usage bills not add up? Were you offered a deal over the phone that didn’t turn out to be what it said on the tin?


Really think all contracts should allow customers to set up a data usage or cost cap.
Its almost impossible to challenge mobile bills.

I remember about 10 months ago Virgin Media running an ad campaign saying they’ll be doubling my broadband for free, even though they then upped my monthly bill. When I called them a few months ago to try and “negotiate” a discount, The woman tried long and hard to try to impress me that I was getting this for free, and it was something to look forward too. Having checked the internet I see this doubling will be coming to my area between “April 2013 and August 2013”, assuming its not pushed out any further. It would be nice if a company was just honest for once, without feeling the need to stretch the truth so much.

Up until a few months ago I had a quite reliable, reasonably fast broadband, about 4-5Mbps. I plodded along browsing my favourite sites, downloading a few programmes a week, to watch without buffering and was reasonably happy. Any problems I put down to my 7 year old Laptop if my spped was still about 4-5Mbps. Then my old Laptop died and as it was a bit juddery for a while, I decided to buy a new one.

I got a Toshiba Inter Core i5 processor with 6GB RAM, connected it up and proceeded to use it quite happily for a couple of months. I then started to have disconnections and speed problems. At some point my speed increased to a fraction under 7Mbps. To be honest I did not check the speed until I had the first problems. My ISP asked me to change certain router settings but things have not really improved very much. They are now going to send me a different router to test. I’m happy to wait for this.

Because I have had these problems and read bits on other forums, I have a few questions for you guys and gals here.

1. With 7Mbs download speed and a fast processor, should I suffer a delay (buffering?) in connecting to a website or browsing throgh pages on a forum?.

2. With all the additional equipment and services (TV, Films, etc.) accessing the internet and ever more wireless equipment looking for a signal, will my pleasurabe browsing get slower and slower?

Henry says:
25 November 2012

I have been using a dongle for the internet for the last 3+ years and I too have had numerous HSDPA BROADBAND SPEED issues , which never got resolved .
The PROVIDER ( I wont name YET !! ) has been no help at all in all this time , they advertise they have a 97% coverage in the UK , but when there is an issue they tend to blame it on TREES , possible BUILDING WORK , plus a few more NAFF excuses .
So if I want to watch a video clip on you tube I have to let I buffer first then I get to watch it .
So for the convenience of watching just a 2 minute clip I would have to buffer for 5-6 minutes before I could begin to watch the clip .
I recently searched for ways to improve my HSDPA BROADBAND SPEED and I found a site watched their video clip on how to improve your computer , using GOOGLE CHROME ,

** In the video clip it showed how to go into the settings and disable ADD WARE
I followed their instructions of how to disable the ADD WARE .
This worked for me , I have now noticed that even on a 3G not a HSDPA signal , That I have a quicker and improved response when I’m using my computer .

So now when I connect to the internet and as i have NO Advertisements , I can see the vast improvement in access ……….
Just wish I had found this FIX out earlier … 🙂

DonWurkin says:
16 November 2012

Moved house and had little choice other than to go to BT for internet as anyone else would still use their connection–what a farce. A promise of 5Mbps started at .7 after several phone calls this went to just under 3 then fell back to 2.23. Complaining resulted in an email that informed me that this was within acceptable parameters. (acceptable to them, not to me). Having been told that the best speed I could get was 5 I then discovered they were in fact able to give me another package where the speed would be between 4 and 12 Mbps with a predicted average of 7. Several long calls later an engineer came and altered our cables and connection point and managed to get just under 7, but you then discover that their line speed doesn’t match your download speed and you get less than that in my case it started at just over 6 and then after about 3 weeks I started to notice it had slowed and I started to check the speed regularly and find there is a gradual decline. I have been told that this is because they need to establish the right degree of stability for the line but from my point of view I have had more problems at the slower speed. Firstly it is better psychology to promise a slower speed and then let the customer discover it is quicker, but secondly why can’t they do a decent honest job and provide speeds comparable with the rest of the world. Finally some of their call centre staff are downright rude others don’t listen to what you say and keep asking questions you have already answered and occasionally one listens and talks common sense, but just try complaining at a level above the call centre duty manager. It looks like the higher levels know things are bad and hide behind the poor folks lower down. Come back to BT what a laugh.

john mccolgan says:
19 November 2012

I use a nonsmart mobile phone with limited internet ability (Samsung Tocco Ultra). Due to my disability I’m rarely out the house and use my home PC for all my surfing desires. Over about 12 months i kept noticing small but cumulative charges for internet access on my bills. Vodafone would remove the charges when challenged. This then became a monthly ritual of charge – remove. Having had enough I’ve now instructed them to bar my phone from 3G access. I can live without sending the odd picture message. I now pay a fixed monthly charge of £8 for 300mins, unlimited texts and no data. I’m happy now

Trevor Wood says:
4 June 2013

I changed my phone and broadband to BT on 5th May. I was given a telephone number but when my welcome pock was received later there was a different number., BT said that they would change back to the original number in 7 days but this never happened. I was advised that my broadband would go live on 16th May but this never happened. On phoning BT and being placed in different queues for 25 minutes they advised that the live date would be 22nd May. Once again this did not happen and after further delays of 20 minutes on the phone they advised that it would go live on 31st May but they could fast track this to 28th May. This did not happen and I eventually went live on 31st May, 15 days after the original promised date. The service has been diabolical and the queuing system on the phone is completely unacceptable.