Common broadband customer service issues – and how to respond

We consider some of the most common broadband customer service issues, identifying ways to respond to them and help resolve them

Wednesday, 16 September, 2020

When you get a new broadband contract, it’s tempting to assume the transfer from your existing provider and the subsequent year/s of service will proceed without a hitch.

The reality, as our more cynical readers will already be thinking, can be rather less straightforward.

Occasionally, something happens which simply couldn’t have been foreseen.

Your correspondent was once told he couldn’t have the broadband service he’d signed up for three months earlier, because the two-year-old house he’d just moved into didn’t exist.

Other bizarre stories have included rodents chewing through phone cables, account details being deleted from IT systems, and connections not being freed from a previous owner.

In the latter scenario, picking up the phone in your new home puts you straight through to a stranger in a different house, who shares the same phone number you’ve just been allocated.

However, there are a number of more common broadband customer service issues, which consumers are likely to encounter.

Some of these are listed below, along with suggestions on how to respond when they arise.

The most common broadband customer service issues

    Slow speeds. Broadband ads are becoming more reflective of achievable speeds, yet these complaints remain among the most common broadband customer service issues.

    Before ringing your provider, try changing the WiFi channel and hardwiring devices to the router via Ethernet. Use a speed checker utility, and note the days/times when speeds decline.

    Incorrect billing. This regularly happens due to a blend of human error, communication breakdowns, split billing and ineffectual provider IT systems.

    We’ve previously published a feature on what to do if your broadband bill’s wrong. In essence, do your sums and argue your case calmly but firmly.

    Weak WiFi signals. Proprietary WiFi routers are built to a budget, and the lack of external aerials makes it hard to get a signal to remote corners of the house or garden.

    You could investigate mesh extenders or signal amplifiers, or buy your own router. Some firms now offer broadband hubs which are guaranteed to cover every room in the home.

    Dropouts. It’s relatively unusual for connections to drop out entirely, but in a recent Which? survey, 17 per cent of respondents had experienced a total loss of service.

    Keep a diary when issues occur. Dropouts can be caused by many factors, so ensure the cause isn’t of your making by turning off baby monitors, swapping microfilters and relocating the router.

    Faulty hardware. A router may stop working for many reasons, from wear or damage to software glitches, failed updates or even malware hogging your connection.

    Order new microfilters, run malware scans and plug devices into the router with an Ethernet cable before ringing up to complain. Tech support will probably ask you to do all this anyway.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!