Ofcom Details Pipex Broadband Migration Failures

Readers may recall that Ofcom named and shamed Pipex UK (Tiscali) last month (here) for failing to provide their customers with broadband ADSL migration authorisation codes (MACs). Today the regulator has published a non-confidential version of the notification (here) issued to Pipex on 12th December 2008.

Under the regulators rules (GC22) - UK ISPs are required to supply customers with a MAC upon request and within five working days free of charge. Today's new notification includes a number of illuminating call logs that show the extent of Pipex's problems. We've pasted one of the examples below:

3.35 Pipex CRMS records indicate that [Customer 3] first called to request a MAC on 28 March 2008. [Customer 3] explained that the reason for his request was that he had been without an internet connection for "about three or four weeks now." The Pipex agent asked Customer 3] whether he was "looking for a MAC code", to which [Customer 3] replied "I will be, yes".

3.36 A note on Pipex's CRMS records indicates that a MAC was generated on 1 April 2008.

3.37 Although Pipex's CRMS records state that agents attempted to call [Customer 3] on 5, 6 and 8 April 2008, it appears that this was in relation to making arrangements for a engineer to visit. There is no mention of contacting [Customer 3] to provide him with a MAC.

3.38 On 28 April 2008, Pipex CRMS records indicate that [Customer 3] rang again asking for his MAC. The CRMS notes of that conversation simply state: "EU will cancel the account and wants a MAC code".

3.39 In a note on Pipex's CRMS dated 1 May 2008 it is recorded that "confirmed customer requested mac very unhappy with tech support has had no broadband for 2 months has been promised several cb to no avail".

3.40 On 9 May 2008, [Customer 3] rang Pipex again because he had still not received a MAC. It is recorded on the Pipex's CRMS that: "last mac did not go to cust. Ordered new mac cust will ring back".

3.41 On 21 May 2008, [Customer 3] called Ofcom to complain. It is recorded in contemporaneous Ofcom records that "Consumer called to complain about Pipex. He has been trying to get his MAC from them for over 2 weeks now and has made numerous calls to Pipex to get the code but keeps getting passed around and told different things. He is unhappy and seeks to escalate the issue." Ofcom devolved the complaint to Pipex to address the issues raised.

3.42 Pipex CRMS notes indicate [Customer 3] called again on 28 May 2008. The Pipex agent that dealt with the call noted that "customer has requested a mac on several occasions and last one on system failed with no reason have explained i will try to generate a new one".

3.43 There is no record as to whether a MAC was generated and sent to [Customer 3] following this call.

3.44 On the basis of the evidence supplied by Pipex, we have reasonable grounds to believe that Pipex has failed to provide [Customer 3] with a MAC within five working days of his request on 28 March 2008, either by phone or in writing, as is required by paragraphs A1.5 and A1.6 of the MAC Process under GC22.1.

Sadly such situations are not uncommon and many of the complaints we received last year echoed similar situations. Presently Pipex still has until 23rd January to bring its repeated inability to supply MAC's within five working days to an end, although many doubt their ability to do this. Failure to comply could result in a hefty fine.

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