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Demon regrade fiasco : Day 17

So this morning I again phoned Demon support, initially they claimed I had regarded from Home Office to Business then back to Home Office again, however that got resolved quickly and I was told my account was a Business account, so I guess it was just the dedicated Business broadband support line that was wrong yesterday evening.

This time I was told that the cap would be removed from the account within the next 12 hours, this was at 11am, at 11pm the cap would be lifted for the day anyway so I thought that I wouldn’t really not know until the next day, so they might just as well have given me another one of the 24 hours brush offs.

Amazingly enough today the cap appears to have been lifted, I guess I must now be a proper business class customer, few what a relief!!!

Two other important things happened today as far as Demon go, I send a letter of complaint to their head office and I got a letter from them saying how sorry they were that I was closing my old dial up account, which I moved away from 4-5 years ago! Now that’s efficiency!!! (note hint of sarcasm).

The more observant may have noticed that I’ve included Saturdays and Sundays in my Day numbers, when Demon tell you a regrade will take 10 days that’s 10 working – you have to read the small print, I think this is quite deceptive really 10 doesn’t sound to bad, just a bit more than a week but when you think about it really it’s 2 weeks, 14 REAL days, naturally 10 days sounds better.

I guess it’s only fair to say that when I post a book the confirmation email says 1-2 working days, that’s because the delivery people don’t work Sundays but I do explicitly state working days.

Maybe if you are a business you’re probably not to bothered about weekends, but for consumers and people like myself, both a consumer and micro ISV weekends are very important so 14 days (2 weeks) is really the number you have to think off and all of a sudden that sounds a lot longer. (something like 40% longer). I guess the only time it’s useful is if you order on a Saturday or Sunday then it’s actually 12-14 real days, I can’t help think being up front and saying 2 weeks would be better.

Now all I have to wonder is why it took 17 (real) days to sort this out when it was just a regrade, the line was already there, from what I can tell BT had their bit nailed in 2-3 days, so that leaves 14 days of pen pushing I guess. It does make me wonder if I hadn’t done anything how long this would have taken to resolve.

I only have a few concerns left, hopeful the cap removal wasn’t just a temp thing today and won’t reset it’s self tomorrow, hopefully in 30 days time Demon’s computer won’t automatically decide it doesn’t know I’m a business customer and recap me/

My biggest concern however is that nothing else will happen to my line that requires Demon customer support to do anything because I’m not actually sure they are capable of doing anything to support their customers (or at least in a reasonable efficient manner) and for this reason alone I have to consider Demon unsuitable as a Business broadband provider and inadequate as a home Broadband provider.

Hopefully this will be the last you will hear of me complaining about Demon, if it’s not then I’m likely to need to be in a padded cell as this has just been such a frustrating experience its driven me crazy every day.

Demon [Business] Broadband is totally unsuitable for Business and Consumers.

The Short version:

If you or your business requires a good reliable internet provider Demon are the last people you should consider. For more than a week now I have been repeatedly fobbed off by their customer support staff who tell me to wait 24-48 hours then my regrade should be sorted but alas I am still stuck with a heavily throttled internet connection.

Often I have reason to believe they (Demon support) have ignored my request for help and just got me off the line by telling me it would be sorted in 24-48 hours. As far as I can tell little to no action has been taken to resolve my problems by Demon customer support. Frequently I am told one thing then the next time I call this gets totally contradicted.

Day 1 : Order faxed to Demon at about 2am.

Day 3 : About now the line got upgraded by BT, FUP cap in place.

Day 7 : Received email stating that the regrade was complete. Not true.

Day 7 : According to a letter from Demon my new FUP cap starts now (19 March) until 19 April.

Day 8 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24-48 hours.

Day 9 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24-48 hours.

Day 11 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24 hours.

Day 12 : Contacted support to check the regrade status, told 24 hours.

Day 13 : Clocks changed at 2am. FUP cap now stays until 11pm not 10pm as stated by Demon in their communications.

Day 14 : (Monday 26 March) Spoke to a supervisor at Demon customer support who assured me he would have the regrade sorted and the regrade would be done in 24-48 hours, however he failed to email me as requested to confirm this.

Day 15 : Contacted support, told 24 hours and account would be Business account, Informed them of the time change issue effecting the end time of the cap.

Day 16 am: Told regrade completed on Day 15 (27th) and account was now Business Broadband account.

Day 16 pm: FUP cap still in place and told account was Home Office not Business as told in the morning, also told that FUP cap is in place until 11pm and not 10pm as Demon communications state, I guess they make it up as they go along!

How it started:
My recent problems with Demon started back in January, having just had the x-mas break I had spent quite a bit of time on the internet and had unknowingly exceeded my bandwidth allocation which had recently been introduced by Demon.

The first I realised was when my internet access was giving me 11K download speed instead of the previous 200k+ I had been use to, I contact customer support who were unable to tell me the reason, I initially thought their was a problem with the line, at 10pm this problem went away until the next day, I then again phone Demon customer support who told me that I had exceeded the bandwidth allowance and my line was capped from 9am till 10pm at 128k for a month. A few days latter I got a letter to tell me that I had exceeded the fair usage policy and my bandwidth would be capped for 30 days.

I naturally enquired how I could check my bandwidth usage, there is no online way to tell, you have to phone demon support and they will tell you, hardly friendly! Also unlike some companies there is no way to buy extra bandwidth, if you want to use your line during the peak times you have no choice but to struggle, and struggle you will as at these speeds broadband does not work well. If in a period of 30 days you exceed your allowance then the next month you have the cap, not the remaining time during the 30 days.

The following month I cut back my usage but not enough, I was less than 10% over my allowance and I had my 30 day cap imposed. Fortunately for me at this time most of my internet usage is during the late evening and weekend. Again during February I was about 10% over my usage allowance so I find my self in March having a 7day/week 9am till 10pm cap, actually as at writing the cap is in place till 11pm because the clocks that govern the cap have not been updated for the day light savings change. Tonight (28 March) I spoke with Demon support who told me the cap was in place until 11pm, however the letter I have from Demon support clearly states 10pm, they tell you one thing but do another!

At this point I felt I had only two options, clearly I was never going to meet the limits of the home office package I could switch provider which I felt would be problematic and possible leave me unconnected or as an existing customer I thought I could simply send Demon more money and regrade my account to a full Business account.

I chose the regrade, what a mistake. A word to the wise : DON’T DO IT!

The Regrade:
When requesting a regrade (upgrade) of my account from their home office to the Business Broadband I was sent a lengthy order form intended for new customers, this I should have realised was a clear sign that they cared little for existing customers, here I am wishing to spend more cash (the order is worth over £700) with this company you would think they would make it easy to do that, new customers are difficult to find, existing ones who wish to pay more are free!

Another sign that you are not dealing with a company that cares about its customer is the 12 month lock in the contract requires. If you find a good supplier you are happy with then you don’t change, clearly Demon feel the need to prevent you escaping, why, well if I had the choice I would drop my Demon account right this minute because of the shoddy service, but they have me for 12 more months.

During the very early hours of Tuesday 13 March 2007 (Day 1) I faxed back my order form, with it I send an email to the sales person letting them know I had done this in case I had not sent it properly.

Yes yes yes, I said faxed back, as an existing customer (or even for new customers) you can not use the internet to order an upgrade from Demon for your broadband, I really don’t think Demon have figured out how to use the Internet (they still post the invoices (annually when they bill monthly), no email with a pdf attached invoice like a lot of companies manage to do).

Now I was told this would take 10 days because of BT having to reassign the line. A few days latter my internet connection was showing signs of being reassigned, I had the full 800k+ upload speed showing in my connection details, I was very pleased, however it soon became apparent I still had the fair usage cap applied. I have been told by Demon support that it is not possible to apply the FUP to a business line so I knew something was wrong, I contacted them to discuss this and was told they were just sorting out the billing and my account would become a Business account at that point.

On Monday 19 Match 2007 (Day 7), 6 days after my order I received an email from Demon ADSL Support stating “We are delighted to confirm that your regrate is now complete.” However it was far from complete. I again contacted Demon support, I was told that they were just waiting for billing to complete then my account would be a Business Broadband account and this should be 24-48 hours. They offered no explanation how I had received an email stating that the regrade was complete.

I waited 48 hours, on the morning of Day 9 (Wednesday) I phoned again to be told it would be 24-48 hours, I’ve phoned every day since then to be told 24 hours. I’ve been told a variety of different dates for when things have happened following on from my support queries which makes me realise that when I was told that they would fix the issue and it would be done in 24 hours they didn’t actually do anything.

I phoned Demon customer support on Monday (Day 14) and spoke with a supervisor there, I was assured that the problem would be fixed in 24-48 hours, I also asked for him to send me a confirmation email. 2 working days latter (Day 16) since that conversation I have no email and still the FUP is in place. I phoned support in the morning to be told the regrade was complete and my account was showing as a business account, however they couldn’t explain why the FUP cap was still in place and that I should phone back in 2 hours to get a progress report.

I was unable to phone back at the time and phoned latter on in the evening, about 8pm after the real customer support line had closed. I was told my account was a Home Office 8000 account, which is a direct contradiction to what I was told earlier.

Now I have to wait till the morning of Day 17 to phone Demon customer support (they only work 9 to 5 or 8 to 8 or something, not the advertised 24 hours Demon would have you believe, the people that do the 24 hour support appear to be their just to say hello, get your account number and have you phone back in the morning, they have never managed to be any help, so take the 24 support with a huge pinch of salt).

My Advice for potential Demon customers:
Do you like to gamble? If you have 1 phone line, if you are dependent on a good connection then you will take a massive gamble if you opt for Demon, avoid these idiots, they don’t care about you and they don’t want to help you.

Read the contract, you have to give them a fixed 12 months, they have the ability to change things as they see fit, changes mean the 12 month lock in resets, however they make no promises to what they will supply you with. No >99% uptime, no commitment to support you, nothing, nada. AVOID!

My Advice for Demon customers:
Simple, at the earliest chance stop being a Demon customer!
You should start by moving away from your Demon email, this is something that you will loose when you stop having Demon as your BB provider and is a great way to lock in customers, get your own domain name which has email provided with it, or use gmail or similar, avoid the demon mail, if you use Demon email then you already know how little control you have over the anti spam system and it’s quite good at rejecting legitimate emails.

Don’t even bother attempting a regrade, that’s just a recipe for disaster and another 12 month lock in. Shop around for other BB providers, consider your bandwidth usage for the next 12 months, will you be a heavy user of the Sky, C4 , BBC2 or google videos or Amazon UnBox download services, these will use lots of bandwidth and Demon will make you suffer and remember some of the new applications use P2P technologies meaning you will (most likely without knowing) be uploading parts of the movie you downloaded to help balance the distribution, bye bye more bandwidth.

I have been a Demon customer for about 8-10 years now, I had previously been happy with them but unfortunately they have gone into the ground. This I feel is such a shame.

It goes without saying this has been an incredible stressful experience, getting up in the morning to speak with a Demon person knowing I would be told to call back in 24 hours, knowing nothing would actually be done, knowing they couldn’t care less about me. We don’t need companies like this, Demon pack up shop or learn to respect your customers.

When I sell a book I get the notification in the evening after my day job, the book is in the post to my customer the next day and usually delivered the day after – this goes down very well, it’s not difficult, I find the book, print the labels, print the packing slip, package it up (throwing in a couple of book marks), print a stamp and next day drop it in the post. Demon has no physical thing to deal with, a few key strokes and that should be it, how can an order for a better package where I give them more money drag on all messed up for 16+ Days.

Apparently I am not alone, others are suffering at the hands of Demon Internet. The reg also recently reported on problems with supposed unlimited broadband claims., have a read and sigh the Number 10 partition, Unlimited is not limited. FUP Limitations on bandwidth mean bandwidth limitations, which is not unlimited, it’s not rocket science.

All views expressed are my personal views and not that of Analysis UK Ltd.