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Useful tips for dealing with difficult ISPs

I thought I’d share the benefit of my recent experience and other one or two tips and tricks for dealing with broadband and Internet problems, especially when you have an ISP (Internet Service Provider) provider as troublesome as mine.

1. Always pay by credit card. If the company goes bankrupt, you can reclaim your money through your credit card company, provided the amount you paid was above £100.

You can also lodge a formal complaint with your credit card company asking them to charge back the said company and credit your account if you can prove that you have not been provided with the service you are entitled to. At this stage, copies of emails and phone bills can be helpful.

2. You can file a formal complaint to OTELO (Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman) who can subsequently make a binding ruling on the said company, even though it's not binding on you.

3. Take two service providers and two phone lines if your business absolutely depends on Internet access. If possible, take them from broadband providers with different LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) wholesalers.

Taking different LLU wholesalers ensures that you do not lose connection if a software/hardware problem arises at your local exchange. The cost of an additional broadband service provider will hover around £250 per annum for a 1MB line, including line rental.

4. If you are even more paranoid, then have a list of pay as you go dial up internet service providers ready. Unlike broadband services, you can use your landline with any dialup ISP. In a worst case scenario when both broadband lines go silent e.g. a fire at an exchange, this can be quite useful.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.