Losing your wi-fi signal at random times can be both frustrating and inconvenient. Where do you stand when your broadband provider fails to solve issues with your router?
Six months after taking out a phone, broadband and TV package with TalkTalk, Which? Legal member Jeanette Hancock started having issues with the wi-fi signal dropping out.
When a reboot of the router failed to fix the problem, Ms Hancock arranged an engineer visit. But the engineer never arrived, and when she contacted TalkTalk it told her that no engineer was booked. She was promised a call back from a manager, which didn’t happen.
She then emailed TalkTalk’s chief executive Tristia Harrison, and had a reply saying the support team would contact her within the next 48 hours. When she heard nothing, she contacted Which? Legal for advice.
After getting advice from the legal team, Ms Hancock emailed Ms Harrison at TalkTalk again and made her aware of Which?’s involvement. Within a couple of hours, she received a call back from the support team.
She explained the problems she was having with the faulty router, and the TalkTalk adviser booked an engineer, who resolved the issue. Ms Hancock had a follow-up call from TalkTalk that evening offering an apology, and promising to replace the router if she had any further problems.
Ms Hancock’s contract covered both goods and services. Such contracts are governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (if entered into on or after 1 October 2015), or the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (if entered into before then).
These make it an implied term of the contract that the service provider will provide goods that are of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose, and that they will exercise ‘reasonable care and skill’ in the performance of their services.
If a telecoms company such as TalkTalk provides faulty equipment, or a broadband service without an adequate wi-fi signal, one can argue that it’s in breach of contract.
By expressly stating that time is of the essence, and giving a reasonable time limit in which you expect the matter to be resolved, you are fixing a time for contractual performance. If the supplier fails to perform by this date, you can treat the contract as at an end.
This article by the Which? Legal team originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of Which? magazine.
Have you had similar issues trying to get your broadband provider to sort out problems with your wi-fi or faulty router? What approach did you take and did you get the problems resolved?