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Trouble Switching Broadband Companies?

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Chris Vallance | 18:27 UK time, Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Brett Spencer who heads up Five Live's interactive team wants to know about your experience of switching broadband providers. We both think there may be a story in people's bad experiences in trying to move companies. If you've had trouble changing companies do drop us a note to podsandblogs@bbc.co.uk. This was Brett's experience:

Have you ever tried to change your broadband provider? If the answer is no, then you have no idea how difficult it can be. If you have, then you may have entered the gates of hell as I have. If you want to change your ISP, you need to contact them, cancel your contract and they must give you a MAC number which you need to then pass on to your new provider

However getting that MAC number is not as easy as you might think. I first tried to cancel my contract in September and was told to ring back in October when my years contract expired. I did just that and was a little unhappy that I was told I had to pay for October. But they were very pleasant and informed me contract would be terminated and I would be sent a MAC number within 48 hours. 48 Hours came and went. I rang again. I was made the same promise. Once again no MAC number. I was charged for November.

This took place no less than six times. I was told my email address must have a problem. I gave them another. No MAC number. They apologized and told me they had been having problems cancelling accounts, and they would send me a MAC number immediately.No MAC number. I have now been charged for December - although they can't have that money as I have cancelled my direct debit. They won 't release the MAC number now - until I pay the bill. Ofcom is quite clear in their voluntary code about how ISP's should behave in terms of issuing MAC numbers. My problem is that my ISP isn't signed up to the code. I think I know why.

Any advice is welcome, but more importantly we want to know if you have had any similar experiences. Please post any such tales right here but please don't name the company, for obvious, legal reasons. If you want to us to investigate further please EMAIL us as well, with the company name, and we'll look into further. I'm as mad as hell, are you? Have you managed to get a MAC number without any hassle? Or have you signed up for an ISP who have then failed to deliver? As broadband becomes an increasingly competitive marketplace it seems the standards and quality of service, both customer and technical, just does not match the glossy advertising and bountiful promises on offer.

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