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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 5 Mar 2021

How to complain about interruptions to your broadband service

Are you experiencing regular interruptions to your broadband service? Our step-by-step guide will help you complain to your provider.
Which?Editorial team

Intermittent broadband service

Whenever you have a contract with a service provider, you're entitled to get the service that you were promised and which you contracted for.

You're also entitled to have that service provided with reasonable skill and care. If you don’t then your broadband service provider could be in breach of contract.

Whether or not your broadband provider has breached the contract will depend on exactly why you're experiencing interruptions to your service, how frequently you experience these interruptions and how long you are without a connection.

If you're finding you have an intermittent broadband connection, a top tip is to keep a record of the interruptions to your service. This is so that you can demonstrate to your provider the proportion of the service that was not received when you complain to them.

Key Information

Continuous service not guaranteed

Check the terms and conditions that apply to the broadband service you've contracted for because they'll almost certainly say that a continuous service is not guaranteed and there may be interruptions to it.

But, there's a big difference between occasional short term losses of connection and the provider regularly failing to provide the service for days on end for no good reason.

If this happens you can make a legitimate complaint.

1 Contact your broadband provider

If your broadband is not achieving the speeds promised, your provider may be in breach of contract.

Whether you want to complain about slow internet speed causing disruption or an intermittent broadband connection that's stopping you from getting things done, you'll need to make any broadband service complaints to your broadband provider. 

When you contact your broadband provider to make a complaint, you should explain that you consider it to be in breach of contract as it's failing to provide the service it said it would. 

Send your provider a log of the interruptions to your service and if possible, the length of time each interruption lasted.

Give your broadband provider a reasonable opportunity to investigate your complaint and find a solution, for example 14 days. 

Remember, it can be difficult to work out exactly why you're not getting the advertised service, so be patient and give your provider time to work out the problem to your broadband complaint.

2 Is it your router?

If you're experiencing regular interruptions to your broadband service then check that it's not due to factors outside your provider's control such as the router, the way you've set up your broadband or a problem with your phone line.

Your broadband provider should guide you through how to check your home set-up when you contact them. 

Sometimes it won’t be apparent what's causing your intermittent broadband connection until someone physically checks, so you may need to get an engineer to take a look for you.

But, if the interruptions turn out not to be down to your broadband provider, you could be on the hook for the engineer's call out charge.


Ofcom action

The Ofcom code is voluntary, but many of the biggest suppliers are signed up. You can find an up-to-date list of broadband providers who've signed up to the code on Ofcom's website.

These providers must help you with service issues, and if it still remains below your minimum guaranteed standard, they must let you exit your contract penalty-free. 

And if you want to change broadband supplier you only have to notify the company you wish to move to and your new supplier will then handle every aspect of the change.

3 Make a formal complaint

If you don't get a satisfactory solution from writing to your broadband provider, go through its formal complaints procedure. 

Keep records of all verbal or written communication as this can help your case should you need to take it further.

If you're unhappy with your provider's reply, you can use our letter of deadlock

4 Alternative Dispute Resolution

All broadband providers have to sign up to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme. 

Your provider will either be signed up to a scheme operated by CISAS or Ombudsman Services: Communications.

If your broadband provider can’t or won’t help, after eight weeks you can take your complaint to the relevant ADR scheme.

Both schemes have a form that you must complete to start the process. This will enable you to set out your issue and outline the remedy you're looking for.

To find out more about complaining to an ombudsman, take a look at our guide