Ask Susan: Should I pay for patchy internet?

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Internet says no, again... Photo / Thinkstock
Internet says no, again... Photo / Thinkstock

Q: I get extremely patchy internet coverage. Whenever they tell me it's fixed, it's only a matter of time before it drops out again. Can I refuse to pay my bill? - Jo, Auckland

A: Paul Doocey, an adviser at Consumer NZ, says this is a valid question. "At some point, you're not getting a service you're paying for."

If you can prove you're not getting reliable internet because the provider isn't carrying out its business with reasonable care and skill then you may have a case to ask for a refund of what you've paid, under the Consumer Guarantees Act. But most broadband contracts imply that connection is not 100 per cent and proving that drop-outs are your provider's fault can be hard.

Doocey recommends raising it with the company before taking strike action on bills. Continuous non-payment is likely to result in your connection being cut off and your bills referred to a debt collector. But compromise may be available.

"If people make enough of a fuss, they can often get credits on their accounts."

A spokesman for the Telecommunication Disputes Resolution Scheme recommends that you make a formal complaint and seek a refund of the amounts paid when you weren't getting any service. If you have no luck, you can then take the complaint to TDR.

- Herald on Sunday

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