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Should I Pay for Internet Service When Internet is Down?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 1 Oct 2016 | comments*Discuss
Should I Pay For Internet Service When Internet Is Down?


I have an agreement with one of the internet providers. There has been no internet for last 3 weeks. I have not been informed how long can it take to sort the issue. According to the agreement I can terminate it but have to pay for another 30 days.

Do I have to pay for the service that is not provided? The break in the service is quite long. Has the company not already retracted from the contract?

(Miss Karolina Szewczyk, 21 September 2008)


The break in service would seem to be ridiculously long. A break of a few hours, or even a few days due to technical problems seems understandable and allowable, and it’s the nature of the beast – no service is perfect. But beyond that it becomes more than just an inconvenience.

But there is something on your side – the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Under that, a seller – in this case your ISP – has to supply their service with both reasonable care and skill, and resolve problems within a reasonable time.

Under that, they’ve actually contravened the Act on two levels – by failing to supply their service properly, and definitely not bringing about a resolution within a reasonable time. You didn’t indicate as to whether they’ve offered an explanation for your lack of service.

You might well want to talk to someone at Consumer Direct about your legal position (they do have legal experts on hand) before taking action.

What you might consider is sending them a notice stating that they have 14 days to restore your service or you’ll take legal action against them (however, talk to a lawyer first). If they restore for connection, that’s all well and good – you didn’t mention previous problems with them – and you’re back where you need to be, online, and you should be able to negotiate with them so you don’t have to pay for the time you weren’t able to connect (any reasonable business will write off the charges in the interest of customer relations) If not, then you should be in a position to cancel your contract without any penalty as well as reclaim what you’ve paid for the time you couldn’t get online in small claims court.

It would be advisable to have records of all your communications with your ISP, whether it’s copies of letters and e-mails or records of phone conversations. That way you have evidence to present in court if necessary. The more you can provide, the greater your chance of winning, if it comes to that.

The odds are, however, that the ISP will be happy to resolve things before it comes to that.

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