Isp Sharp Practice?

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Hypognosis | 06:36 Fri 10th Oct 2014 | Technology
18 Answers
Twice in the past week, I've had my internet download speed cut to below 0.05 Mb/s, forcing me to ring my ISP to complain.

It is an 0870 number.

They keep telling me it is a freephone number. This thread disagrees (but see good post from Dave88).

The phone calls involve a lot of faffing about with excuses like "I'm just getting my diagnostic tools loaded", lots of "please bear with me" and general timewasting. This is the technical help section, so why are their 'tools' not already up and running? I was asked the manufacturer and model of my router, on both occasions. I only answered that because it is not set to the default password.

After 30 minutes or more on the phone, they finally suggest a reset of the router, normal service is magically restored (like it's them who knobbled it in the first place). If I do these resets but don't ring to complain, the problem persists.

The 0870 number is given on the ISP's website (and you have to hunt for links to click to find it).

Main question: Is this a scam by website hijackers, a scam by rogue staff within the ISP (on comission), a scam approved by the ISP itself or not a scam?
It will be a while before the phone bill shows up.


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0870 numbers are free if you have the BT Anytime package i.e. the package now includes calls to all geographical numbers, plus 0800, 0845 and 0870 (this didn't used to be the case).
10:40 Fri 10th Oct 2014
Judging by the ISP you refer to I suspect not an intentional scam, but more likely just their general incompetence. Not that they are beyond lying as my personal experience can testify to. Do they still use foreign helpdesk agents who are polite but fairly useless?
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//Do they still use foreign helpdesk agents who are polite but fairly useless?//


It was approching midnight when I rang so the call centre would have to be in Asia, assuming normal business hours, for them.

Try this for a non-premium rate number:

Reset the router yourself. It's easy enough if you have a paper clip or similar. there's a small hole marked "Reset" on the back of your router. You could refer to the router instructions, or if you're still not sure post the make and model of your router on here and someone will walk you through it.
Sounds at best a hopelessly inefficient ISP and at worst, a scam.

You haven't said who your ISP is. Why don't you change to another one ?
Is Fibre-to-the-cabinet available in your streets, from BT ?
Did you try the link Mikey ?
Yes I did but it doesn't say who the ISP is. There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to ISPs and as its that speed that is the problem, perhaps a change is called for.

0870 is most certainly not a Freephone number, and never has been. These numbers are used by companies to help pay for the service that they provide.
Why are you so intent on not naming the isp ?
0870 numbers are free if you have the BT Anytime package i.e. the package now includes calls to all geographical numbers, plus 0800, 0845 and 0870 (this didn't used to be the case).
If only I knew the ISP. Perhaps then it would be possible for me to comment.

Question Author

//Why are you so intent on not naming the isp ?//

Because I only wanted an answer about 0870 numbers and the practice of keeping customers waiting in the phone for a set time period.

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New cabinets and plastic telegraph poles are appearing around town, so a change in provider is on my mind. Unless these are just WiFi hotspots?

@Hypognosis......Why Not name and shame your present ISP.

Had I have known the name of your ISP, it may have been possible to establish if the company was having difficulties and how reliable it was.

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I'd love to name and shame… after I've negotiated a new provider. Most T&C's I've read contain clauses permitting to terminate their service at any time and 'for any reason'. To feed my AB addiction, I need to keep things as they are. :-D

fwiw, it's one of the companies which owns no infrastructure, they depend on BT cables and wires and just do billing and customer service.

If you are a techie, tell us all how a technical fault can be rectified by someone 5000 miles away, just using software?

How am I supposed to avoid coming to the conclusion that they are the ones throttling my connection in the first place?
In the same way as someone 5000miles away can obtain access to your computer and alter settings.

I recall some years back having to report to my ISP (BT) that my broadband had dropped to below 2mb. A lady in India held me on line whilst she made some adjustments in my local telephone exchange which resulted in speed being quadrupled. Nowadays my download speed is very rarely less than 13 and is sometimes over 14.

It could be that your ISP is barred from having any access to BT Telephone Exchanges and has to notify BT of the position which prevails.


Question Author
//It could be that your ISP is barred from having any access to BT Telephone Exchanges and has to notify BT of the position which prevails. //

Thanks Hans, that certainly fits the picture.
The phone operator holds you on the line and does some acting (for want of a better word), while all they actually do is push a button and someone in a different room chases up BT, using your name and number.

The standard monthly tariff might be £1-£2 less than their nearest competitor but they are more than clawing that back if they keep you on the line for 30 minutes plus, at 30p/min, once every 3-4 months.

In that sense, this answers my original question. It is a money-making scheme and explains their 'bargain' prices.

Good afternoon Hypognosis..........I can understand your reluctance to identify your ISP and hope that we are now in agreement with each other.

Most Broadband is by telephone lines from BT exchanges. Consequently, it is reasonable to think that any ISP which is outside of BT will be put back in a queue for attention to broadband speeds. Consequently, I would suggest that, as an alternative to BT, it is worthwhile considering Plusnet which is owned by BT.

Incidentally, I am assuming that you leave your Router switched-on at all times; even if you switch-off your computer/laptop. If Not, you could be sending 'false' messages to the telephone exchange to suggest that your telephone line is unable to handle the broadband speeds being given to you. The result will be an automatic adjustment being made in the telephone exchange to slow down things.

Question Author
Thanks Hans. Sorry for the delay in replying.

I usually leave the router on but, every so often, I do make a point of switching it off, overnight, in the name of not wasting electricity.

Paradoxically, I often find the the connection speed is much improved after each reset. It is as if my connection had been subject to DDoS attack and resetting the IP address was ridding it of the problem.

A year or more ago, I set the router to email me alerts and these often contained IP addresses which traced to Beijing (possibly a botnet-infected old PC or local ISP). This is incidental to my OP but just to illustrate that I am aware that hardware can be hacked as well, so I don't want to help them by discussing my ISP or make/model of router. When I've shifted to another supplier, I can speak more freely.

Good afternoon Hypognosis......Very pleasing to hear further from you.

I fully understand what you are saying and, as regards re-setting of Routers, I think the following is confirmation of the fact that, whilst Routers should remain 'ON' , an occasional re-set can sometimes be advantageous.

Yesterday evening I had two breakdowns of my Electricity supply and today I checked-out my Internet Speeds. Result...Yesterday was a download of 13.4mpbs, upload 88. 14.21, upload 91.


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