Complaining to CISAS about your ISP

Earlier this year I moved home, unfortunately during the process of installing a new telephone line a problem arose that led to me lodging a formal complaint with my ISP. After a few months this complaint required alternative dispute resolution (ADR) with CISAS. This blog post is going to summarize the process and document some of my experiences with ADR.

The ADR process seems to be poorly documented, so at a high level the process with CISAS is as follows:

  1. Complain to your ISP
  2. Exhaust your ISP’s complaint process and reach a deadlock. Request a deadlock reference number.
  3. Complain to the company providing an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. This will be either CISAS or the communication ombudsman
  4. Once the complaint is submitted and accepted, the ISP has 10 working days to issue a response
  5. Once a response from the ISP is received, you have 5 working days to provide comments on their response. No new evidence can be submitted
  6. Once any comments have been submitted, or 5 days have passed, it will take up to 3 weeks for a decision to be made
  7. Once the decision has been made you have 6 weeks to either accept or reject the decision

The application to CISAS

When registering your complaint with CISAS the application form asks for details of your complaint. This is your opportunity to provide as much detail as possible relating to your complaint, based on my experience it is best to:

  • Explain your complaint as clearly as possible, be concise;
  • Refer to evidence wherever possible. This can be in the form of photos, screenshots, copies of support tickets or just about anything that can be used to prove your point;
  • Review your ISP’s terms of service, this is likely what they will use in their rebuttal. If there’s a clause in there you can take advantage of then do so;

The ISP’s response

In my own CISAS complaint I received a three page rebuttal and evidence consisting of their terms of service, partial copies of support tickets and copies of select e-mails exchanged during the complaint process with my ISP. This may not be how all ISP’s respond, but with the only further course of action being going to court it makes sense that the ISP will have their legal teams involved at this point.

Receiving three pages of legalese can be disconcerting, be sure to read it carefully and take some time before submitting any comments.

Providing closing comments

Your opportunity to provide further comments is limited, this is to ensure there is not a back and forth between the customer and ISP. You can however comment on the ISP’s defence and offer clarification on any points they have raised. Unfortunately new evidence cannot be accepted at this point.

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Dave Hope

Dave is a Principal Software Analyst for a UK based retirement developer, in his spare time he enjoys digital photography and rock climbing.

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