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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.

Comments (2) -

  • (Joe Blackham)

    4/30/2008 4:11:57 PM |

    100% agree with you. They are almost as bad as BT and thats saying something. Having used them for years purely to pick mail up from, whilst using another ISP as my broadband account. I decided to save costs upgrade my dialup demon account to broadband and drop my existing ISP. I checked with Demon that there would be NO problem as I needed to keep my email. They said no problem. If only I had known what they would do. My line was cut but my details for connection were not sent through, I was about to go on holiday so I thought I would work from home - thats when I found out about the line problem.

    I phoned support (not as before - outsourced. I am not racist but why not have people who can speak English and know what they are doing!). They gave me the run around (same as you), password server down, DNS not working wait 10 minutes and try again and so on. 2 hours later they said leave it for 2 hours. I had enough at this point had to drive to work and then catch up on the stuff I should have done at home. I went on holiday later that day without further looking at whether the system was back up and running. Came back 9 days later and guess what, no system. Rang again, password server down etc. leave it 10 minutes etc. I was steaming after wasting 2 more hours. After ringing back for the umpteenth time someone finally checked and found they had cocked up my dialup account with my broadband account which they had assured me couldn't happen (despite me asking 9 days before and earlier that day whether that could have been the problem). It seems unless it is in the script they cannot work it out. I am writing this now because I decided to work at home today and the email has intermittently worked and is currently down. There always seems to be a problem now. There support has totally gone downhill. I 200% agree with you tell everyone NOT to sign up. As soon as I can get rid of my email address I will dump Demon as well despite being a customer for nearly 10 years.

  • (Cecil Ward)

    11/29/2008 2:09:05 PM |

    I'm very interested to read about Steve's experience. I myself have been a long-term Demon Internet customer. I've experienced a good service on the whole with a couple of niggles. I have to say that Tech Support and Customer Service has been pretty dreadful on some occasions, and very helpful at other times. It's clear to me that the support available to business customers is rather better than to those who are using the home or home-office services.

    DNS remains a niggle for me, and Demon need to investigate this.

    Steve may presumably now have switched to another ISP. I have looked around from time to time at the competitors and still have yet to see any offerings that would fit my needs for a serious no-nonsense, no gimmicks IP service at a reasonable price rather than a cheap price. That is not to say that this may not change. But I'd be interested to know just why Steve was sooo unlucky as to end up having such a frustrating experience after being a long time user.

    I completely understand how maddening it can be to have to talk to disinterested or incompetent support staff. But I'd suggest that perhaps we need to fix things rather than just walking away, and maybe there's scope for a group of supportive users to get together and talk to Demon to help them to improve things.

    After all, when you look at the tricky usage policies of so many ISPs, Demon looks pretty good IMHO, most of all when compared with BT Broadband and their corporate greed, monopolistic foot-dragging, scary incompetence concerning security and outright dishonesty un respect of the recent despicably cynical, underhand and possibly illegal privacy abuse in its 'Phorm' aka 'Webwise' antics in its shady deal with the sinister 'partner' 121Media.

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