A difficult "birth", but a happy ending ============================
After reading many negative reviews here, I wanted to share my experience with Plusnet.
The following I wrote on 22nd October ============================= I signed up with them on the 10th of October, with a connection date of 18th of October, I booked this day off work, as they could not fully explain if an engineer was required. I got a letter from them a few days later, which had an incorrect e-mail address for me; so I phoned them to correct this. During this phone call, I was advised that my order had not been put through and a new later connection date would have to be allocated. I was not happy, but things like this happen. I got a text allocating the 23rd of October for connection, which I booked off work. I had by this time tried (unsuccessfully) to firm-up the requirement for an engineer visit, as I already had fibre and I was sceptical about needing an engineer visit my home. The following day, I got a text from Plusnet, the connection date had now fallen back to the 24th of October without explanation. I did push really hard for an explanation and after a few e-mails, I got an explanation (in some detail) to the original change of date (18th-23rd, but no explanation for the 24th). In the evening on the 22nd of October, I got a text from Plusnet advising that my connection date had now fallen back to the 30th October, no explanation was offered. I phoned Plusnet and advised them that I cannot trust something as important as my phone & internet to a company that has let me down on 3 separate occasions and all of this prior to becoming a customer. I advised that I wished to cancel prior to connection (their terms & conditions point 13.1 & Distance Selling Regulations 2000).
Because I had conducted some research of online reviews of Plusnet whilst on hold for the 20 minutes it took to speak with their customer services, I read some examples of unhappy customers documented on review sites (not least on this site); so I was expecting a battle. There was no battle, no defensiveness, no excuses, just an acceptance they had got it wrong and I was released from my contract. Then I was told the £131 I had paid for 1 year's line-rental was non-refundable after 10 days and I was 2 days beyond this. However, because of the trouble I had, they agreed to refund everything I had paid, putting this in writing in a couple of minutes. I asked about returning the router, they said please keep it as a spare because of all the trouble - they indicated it was not worth the postage.
In summary, you can only allow a company to let you down a certain number of times before very large alarm bells begin ringing in your ears, telling you to pull out. In my case, they let me down on 3 separate occasions and who knows; they could have let me down on more occasions had I let them continue along the same route. The customer service was far better than the physical service, which in my case; after 3 attempts, never materialised (see the update below).
Later that evening, I contacted other ISP's and the advice I was given was consistent, I did not need an engineer, I did not need to take the day off and transition could be arranged with 2-3 working days, as I have FTTC and I was asking for a FTTC service.
I planned to look for a new ISP or re-contract to BT on 23rd of October, which I had booked the day off work.
Update on 23rd October =================== After Plusnet provided a full refund and accepted they had got things wrong, they took over my broadband in the early hours of 23rd of October without acting on my contract termination agreed the day before and was effectively without my permission - albeit a mistake (despite them saying connection was delayed to the 30th October) and placed it with them, but without a service. I had a simple choice, re-sign with Plusnet for 18 months or wait for 7-10 days for BT to re-connect me, but have the pain of two teenage daughters complaining that they cannot do their home-work during that period. This left me with very little option other than to do 18 months with Plusnet, which was somewhat against my better judgement at that point!
To sort out this issue I spoke to a guy at Plusnet at about 6am, who treated me reasonably well, he gave me as much time as I needed to make the decision of re-joining with Plusnet, or seeking a new supplier. He also agreed to give me a month free as a good will gesture. I felt I had little choice other than to re-sign to Plusnet and this guy had built my confidence in them a bit more.
Broadband performance ==================
Oh dear - what a very serious mistake I appear to have made! The connection arrived 45 minutes later, which was great. BT previously provided 70-75mb/s and 15-17mb/s upload, which was also great and is about what I expected Plusnet to provide - they forecast 60mb/s. Plusnet managed 7.5mb/s download and 18.5mb/sec upload. This is a tenth of what BT previously supplied, which I guessed would be dreadful for the next 18 months, especially as I know that my connection can (and did as recently as yesterday) support the full speed of 75mb/s. My mood improved no end when I got an e-mail from the guy at Plusnet I had spoken to earlier, he had very quickly enabled a limited service, in case my kids needed to do any homework before going to school. That was very thoughtful.
I made a few phone calls to Plusnet and my speed was improved to 84mb/s download and 17mb/s upload. http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3051653960 Webpages are significantly more responsive and the annoying buffering on Lovefilm (via Sony Blu-ray player) has gone.
I hope that my account will illustrate that there can be issues, they do listen to you and they do try their best to sort them out and finally; their speeds are good in comparison to competitors. I am now pleased I joined, especially as they are costing me £13 less each month (this is on top of the £7 discount I get for the first 9 months).
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