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Standard User trumpet272
(newbie) Sat 08-Nov-14 12:35:15
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Legal position on satellite provider?


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Hello, I'm wondering where people may think I stand with regard to a Satellite service that has consistently failed to provide me with what I pay for.

I originally had another product and became frustrated with congestion, so I went through further expense and upheaval to move providers, being told that no way would this service suffer the same congestion issues due to a decision NOT to over subscribe.

Since then, (12 months) they have been as bad if not worse. Speeds are advertised a 'up to' 20mb - and for a Satellite service they should be somewhere near. I get about 0.5mb sometimes more but only at obscure times. I check their site and it CONSTANTLY says "congested. Speeds will be reduced".

On the phone I get all sorts of rubbish, such as - oh its the kids on half term using all the bandwidth. Or 'we're updating some software and it should be fixed' etc etc. The thing is, nothing changes.

So I may as well go with a 0.5mb ADSL and cancel. I was wondering if I could make any kind of claim against them for being 'mis-sold'?

Many thanks
Standard User ukwoody
(experienced) Sun 09-Nov-14 14:28:38
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: trumpet272] [link to this post]
 
Sorry I can't answer your question, but can I ask which provider?? I am just about to sign the dotted line with SES as we live so rurally. Do I need to think again?????? (PLEASE say no,lol)

woody

regards,
Woody (chuntering along in his own inimitable style, using 100 words when 10 would do)
Standard User Stevenage_Neil
(committed) Sun 09-Nov-14 14:36:28
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: trumpet272] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by trumpet272:
....being told that no way would this service suffer the same congestion issues due to a decision NOT to over subscribe.


In reply to a post by trumpet272:
I check their site and it CONSTANTLY says "congested. Speeds will be reduced".


In reply to a post by trumpet272:
I was wondering if I could make any kind of claim against them for being 'mis-sold'?


I'd say, if you have records of the above first two quotes, you have a very good case.


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Standard User Andrue
(knowledge is power) Mon 10-Nov-14 09:57:19
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Stevenage_Neil] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Stevenage_Neil:
In reply to a post by trumpet272:
....being told that no way would this service suffer the same congestion issues due to a decision NOT to over subscribe.


In reply to a post by trumpet272:
I check their site and it CONSTANTLY says "congested. Speeds will be reduced".


In reply to a post by trumpet272:
I was wondering if I could make any kind of claim against them for being 'mis-sold'?


I'd say, if you have records of the above first two quotes, you have a very good case.
I'd have thought it was doubtful unless they've been employing fools for solicitors. The OP should check the T&C. What they were 'told' is unlikely to have much legal standing. I'm pretty sure that the T&C will have something along the lines of 'stuff happens, sorry'. That's standard practice in any service contract and something the law happily accepts. The concept of 'must be fit for the purpose' does not apply to services. Services are always provided on a 'best efforts' basis and if it gets to court you'll have to prove that your current provider is failing in their duty of care and that probably means proving that their service is significantly worse than their competitors. Their competitors won't want to get involved so will likely decline to comment.

And of course you're unlikely to get anything more from legal action than your expenses and the value of your subscription. In most cases it's just not worth the time and money.

However I do think the OP should try and ask for a refund and should certainly have any termination charges waived. It's always worth trying in these cases because a lot of companies will cave in anyway rather than risk their reputation or a protracted and costly exchange of letters.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK

Edited by Andrue (Mon 10-Nov-14 10:06:47)

Standard User Stevenage_Neil
(committed) Mon 10-Nov-14 11:03:47
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Andrue:
What they were 'told' is unlikely to have much legal standing. I'm pretty sure that the T&C will have something along the lines of 'stuff happens, sorry'.


I'm no "legal beagle" but when I read of the mis-sold endowment policies and PPI, the "rules" seem to go more by what the customer was not told, and the fact he was told "..that no way would this service suffer the same congestion issues due to a decision NOT to over subscribe" would appear to be mis-representation.

Also, the customer, had informed them of his requirements from day one.

Edited by Stevenage_Neil (Mon 10-Nov-14 11:17:25)

Standard User Andrue
(knowledge is power) Mon 10-Nov-14 18:35:13
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Stevenage_Neil] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Stevenage_Neil:
In reply to a post by Andrue:
What they were 'told' is unlikely to have much legal standing. I'm pretty sure that the T&C will have something along the lines of 'stuff happens, sorry'.


I'm no "legal beagle" but when I read of the mis-sold endowment policies and PPI, the "rules" seem to go more by what the customer was not told, and the fact he was told "..that no way would this service suffer the same congestion issues due to a decision NOT to over subscribe" would appear to be mis-representation.
That's probably be because they are financial services and have special rules. If you win a case against a financial provider you can get genuine compensation. All you're likely to get if you win a case against an ISP is your subscription charges refunded.

I would certainly expect the law to treat a mis-sold financial product differently to a mis-sold internet connection.

---
Andrue Cope
Brackley, UK
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 26-Nov-14 13:27:32
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
There's not a straightforward answer to this from a legal perspective.


Andrue is correct to say that there is no implied term of fitness for purpose in relation to services - that only applies to goods.

There is a requirement that services supplied in the course of a business are supplied with reasonable care and skill (s. 13 Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982), though showing unreasonable care and skill requires establishing the existence of a duty of care and a breach of that duty of care in the same way as in a negligence claim. Those matters are not something I can summarise in a forum post, not least because it may require some research to find any relevant case law.


Andrue is correct to point out that the redress available for mis-sold financial products relates to the regulated nature of those products. This satellite contract does not have any of those rights attached.


Stevenage_Neil has suggested the statements made about the service might be misrepresentation. I think those statements are more likely to be explicit terms of the contract rather than representations, though it depends on the precise details of the contract formation.

The problem I can see is that the statement about not over subscribing the service does not bind the provider to sticking with that decision in the future. It therefore seems a weak basis to argue for breach of contract.


I'd go to the core terms of the contract - a connection of up to a given speed, which implies a certain quality of service, when the true service is extremely slow. If the service is describes as 'broadband', that bolsters the case that the service contracted for has a minimum acceptable quality of service.

If an implied term about a minimum acceptable quality of service for the majority of time exists, it is likely to be what is known as an innominate term. Breach of an innominate term that deprives the innocent party of substantially the whole benefit of the contract gives the innocent party is entitled to terminate the contract (Hong Kong Fir Shipping v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha [1962] 2 QB 26).

You could bolster this claim by arguing that the argument that the s. 13 Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 requirement to deliver the service with reasonable care and skill is not being met considering the repeated excuses for an unacceptable and unusable quality of service. In negotiations with a company, it is unlikely to matter that you have not demonstrated the existence of a duty of care and breach of that duty to the standard required in court. The term implied by s. 13 SGSA 1982 is also innominate, with the accompanying right to contract termination if the breach deprives the innocent party of substantially the whole benefit of the contract.


If there are exclusion or limitation clauses in the small print that appear to prevent this sort of claim, they are not necessarily operational. What exclusion clauses the provider can rely on is, again, not a straightforward matter of contract law.


As can be seen, suspected breaches contracts for services are rarely as clear cut as breaches of contract for supply of goods.

Standard User nemeth782
(member) Wed 26-Nov-14 14:47:59
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: trumpet272] [link to this post]
 
If you were quoted 20mbit down, then the provider is Eutelsat via KA-SAT at 9E.

You could be buying from any reseller, Tooway, Avonline, or many others.

KA-SAT has 4 beams on the UK, and these beams have an absolute total bandwidth, of somewhere in the region of 1.2GBit per beam. There is contention on a couple of the beams, and switching between eutelsat providers isn't going to help you.

Hylas 1 and Hylas 2 from Avanti are not as congested but the allowances tend to be smaller and the downstream bandwidth is 15mbit not 20.
Standard User TheEulerID
(regular) Wed 26-Nov-14 15:38:53
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
That's not true. It is fundamental to consumer law in this country that what statements made by the seller's agents are fundamental parts of the contract. They cannot simply be undermined by contradictory terms embedded deep in the contract. Indeed, we've had the whole issue with banks being help liable for the miss-selling of PPI.

Of course, proving what you've been told is another thing. Ultimately it can be considered breach of contract and it would be a court that would decide the outcome on the merits of the case. In the case of a service like this, it's unlikely that you'd be awarded anything much more than a refund (possibly partial) of payments and the ability to end the contract early.

Of course, it would also be necessary to furnish evidence that the company is consistently, rather than occasionally, failing to meet it's commitments. The law is rarely black-and-white, but a matter of judgement.
Standard User TheEulerID
(regular) Wed 26-Nov-14 15:41:29
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Re: Legal position on satellite provider?


[re: Andrue] [link to this post]
 
Miss-selling is not confined to the financial business

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/consumer_e/pho...

*** edited *** original pointed to the Scottish version of the page. The English version is identical to all intents and purposes.

Edited by TheEulerID (Wed 26-Nov-14 16:06:53)

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