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Topic # 239474 19-Jul-2018 20:42
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Basic points:

 

  • Had 12 month contract when signed up, this ended 24th May 2018.
  • Switched to another provider, using their online signup (and a few calls confirming my Spark account number etc), and was connected with them several days prior to new billing period.
  • Part of that process was local provider, Enable, making some "physical" change. Until they made this change, I could not use my new provider. After the change, I am unable to connect to Sparks network.
  • My Spark app clearly shows 0MB used for this period.

So... How is it legal for Spark to charge me for a month of service that they have no earthly way of providing me?

 

In order to make the switch, I had to provide my Spark account number. I recall that for ADSL, as an example, there was a behind the scenes process for transfers where the new provider had to request the change, which was recieved by Spark/Chrous or whomever it was, and the account was then transferred. Very simple, and fair, and with checks in place to prevent avuse by both customers and cowboy providers... Why would this not be the case for fibre, in this day and age, given I've essentially followed the same process?

 

It seems very odd to me, and perhaps anti-competitive.

 

Upon contacting them about the mistake, they tell me I was meant to contact them to cancel, and there is a 30 day notice period. Even though I'm out of contract, and the above mentioned provess had happened (and I have clearly not been active on their network since). Even after the third email, they're still asserting I have not notified them of cancellation (whilst also not telling me how I should do that).

 

Let's run the scenario the way they're insisting:

 

  • I decide to switch to another provider (Reason is irrelevant, but I'm getting considerably more, for a bit less, elsewhere now)
  • In order that I avoid paying $104 more than I should have to with Spark, and switch without service interuption, I need to see the future to know how long the new provider will take to connect me... and plan my notification to Spark precisely to match that prophecy. E.g. It'll take them 3 days on the new side, so I notify Spark on 1st July, and time it out to sign up with the new provider on the 27th*
  • Given it took my new provider 12days to make the switch this month, after first stating it would take 3 days... Even if I had followed everyone's processes to the letter, I likely would have been without service for (at least) one week.
  • Even if I had managed to time it to the day, I would still be paying both providers for a portion of time on their network that I could not possible have used (given the Enable switch over thing).

* Imagine if I was trying to score a new deal being offerred, that had an expiry. "Sign up before XX Day for a $xx discount". Except I have to give 30days notice to Spark before I can accept the offer, otherwise I may as well not take it given the discount would be swallowed by the 30days I have to pay Spark anyway.

 

Surely that's not honourable, and smells like "let's make it really hard to leave us". Do I have a leg to stand on here?

 

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  Reply # 2059041 19-Jul-2018 21:02
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I believe the 30 day notice is standard for Spark, and most other RSP's.


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  Reply # 2059042 19-Jul-2018 21:04
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Your fixed term contract may have expired, but you still need to honour your agreement under the ongoing contract.

 

If you paid by credit card, you could do a charge-back, but that won't be successful unless Spark have actually done something wrong, and from what you describe, I can't see that they have, nor do I believe there should be any 'rules' around how ISPs handle account termination. It's a simple contractual requirement to give notice, and every ISP I've used has a similar clause.


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  Reply # 2059044 19-Jul-2018 21:13
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You need to provide up to 30 days notice as per the terms and conditions

I see zero fault on the Spark side here

John




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  Reply # 2059056 19-Jul-2018 21:26
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Most RSP's have 30 day / 1 month clauses in their contracts for disconnections. The fact you chose to not use their service is not really their fault - it's very easy particularly with UFB to notify the losing RSP 30 days out and get them not to lodge a disconnection S/O and churn your connection to a new provider on that day which typically means a maximum of 5 mins downtime. It's what a lot of people do these days.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2059070 19-Jul-2018 21:52
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Bigpipe has an article on how to switch ISPs properly, and it's illustrated with comics and everything.

 

http://pages.bigpipe.co.nz/how-to-switch-isps-without-ruining-everything/

 

 


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  Reply # 2059200 20-Jul-2018 09:35
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I always find it interesting how quick people are to rush to an ISP's defence over an archaic and distinctly not customer friendly process or policy - like requiring 30 days notice (and/or charging an extra month upon termination).

 

In my experience (with Spark mobile, broadband is a whole other story) they advised that if I were to give notice I would potentially lose my number, the other option was to port the number, at which point the gaining provider would provide notice triggering the 30 days - but by then I would be paying the new provider.

 

Just because all/most of the RSPs do it doesn't make it right IMO. Indeed there aren't many businesses that play this game - I changed banks without notice or fee, I changed power companies without notice or fee. It certainly acts as a barrier to ever switching provider.


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  Reply # 2059203 20-Jul-2018 09:43
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Banks and internet providers are a different story. Sky has a 30 day notice period as well.


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  Reply # 2059212 20-Jul-2018 09:54
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antonknee:

 

I always find it interesting how quick people are to rush to an ISP's defence over an archaic and distinctly not customer friendly process or policy - like requiring 30 days notice (and/or charging an extra month upon termination).

 

 

The OP could have entirely avoided the situation though. By researching the ISP change process. 

 

The 30 days notice is not necessarily archaic.  Imagine someone is on a 100gb plan, they could use the full 100gb in the first 2 days, then switch to the new provider . They would have received a full months data benefit for only a 2 day prorated payment. 

 

ISP's could look at prorated monthly payments on unlimited plans? But consider, complicated rules and processes does increase costs.   Would you prefer the lowest monthly cost, or , maximum flexibility around service start/end of life?   Considering connections and disconnections are comparatively rare, I'd choose lowest monthly cost and take care when changing ISP. 

 

 


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  Reply # 2059217 20-Jul-2018 10:01
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antonknee:

 

I always find it interesting how quick people are to rush to an ISP's defence over an archaic and distinctly not customer friendly process or policy - like requiring 30 days notice (and/or charging an extra month upon termination).

 

 

I believe in the right of individuals and businesses to enter in to contractual arrangements without undue regulation, so my position on this is based on fair and transparent dealings. Nothing about the OPs post indicates Spark failed in their contractual obligations.

 

I wouldn't be so quick to assume that I or anyone else is rushing to the defence of ISPs either. If the OP had grounds for disputing the transaction, I'm sure many here would give advice.

 

I have had issues when terminating accounts with ISPs in the past, and successfully disputed the fees imposed when leaving. In one case, the ISP charged for a full month of service for which they were not entitled.  Specifically, it was unclear what the charge was, with one clause indicating the balance of month from the notice period (less than the full month they charged for), and another indicating that where less than one months notice was given (my case), that the amount was the balance of the month. As they were instructed to close the account at the end of the billing cycle, the balance based on the second clause was $0. Due to the T&C, I also did not take steps which I otherwise would have taken to reduce my pre-paid data allowances during the final month. When I pointed this out, they refused to adjust the bill, and subsequently closed the ticket without addressing my concerns. The transaction was subsequently disputed with the credit card provider on the basis that they did not act in good faith.


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  Reply # 2059230 20-Jul-2018 10:28
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antonknee:

 

Just because all/most of the RSPs do it doesn't make it right IMO. Indeed there aren't many businesses that play this game - I changed banks without notice or fee, I changed power companies without notice or fee. It certainly acts as a barrier to ever switching provider.

 

 

What does a bank or power company have to do with an RSP? They're incredibly different business models.

 

When you change banks you're simply withdrawing all your money and taking it elsewhere. It does not involve a wholesale infrastructure providing you with wholesale services.

 

Power is at least slighly closer as it does involve a wholesale infrastructure provider (the lines company) but you're still consuming the same electrons at the end of the day regardless of who your power company is. This differs significantly from the Internet world where the bits you consume are different for each RSP. If you're on a plan with say 200GB per month and used 190GB in your first week before cancelling why should you receive a refund? You've used most of the product that was provided to you.

 

I'd love to know what the barrier you think is? I don't see one. People being tied to RSP email is a barrier, but that's not what this thread is about.

 

Switching RSP without incurring unwanted charges and anything more than 5 mins outage on UFB is incredibly simple and I've already posted that above. Give your current provider 30 days notice but tell them you don't a disconnection S/O lodged. Call your new provider and tell them you want a churn on a specific date and time. Bingo. You're done. Simple as that.

 

 


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  Reply # 2059232 20-Jul-2018 10:29
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DarkShadow:

 

Bigpipe has an article on how to switch ISPs properly, and it's illustrated with comics and everything.

 

http://pages.bigpipe.co.nz/how-to-switch-isps-without-ruining-everything/

 

 

 

 

Bit OT but it's a little outdated now that Bigpipe lock people into contracts as well!

 

 


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  Reply # 2059234 20-Jul-2018 10:39
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sbiddle:

 

antonknee:

 

Just because all/most of the RSPs do it doesn't make it right IMO. Indeed there aren't many businesses that play this game - I changed banks without notice or fee, I changed power companies without notice or fee. It certainly acts as a barrier to ever switching provider.

 

 

What does a bank or power company have to do with an RSP? They're incredibly different business models.

 

When you change banks you're simply withdrawing all your money and taking it elsewhere. It does not involve a wholesale infrastructure providing you with wholesale services.

 

 

Yep, that's the point I was trying to make. Totally different companies.

 

In fact I think the OP used to work for Telecom - he looks familiar.


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  Reply # 2059237 20-Jul-2018 10:49
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JamesHancox:

 

In order to make the switch, I had to provide my Spark account number. I recall that for ADSL, as an example, there was a behind the scenes process for transfers where the new provider had to request the change, which was recieved by Spark/Chrous or whomever it was, and the account was then transferred. Very simple, and fair, and with checks in place to prevent avuse by both customers and cowboy providers... Why would this not be the case for fibre, in this day and age, given I've essentially followed the same process?

 

 

 

 

Just to clarify here transfers in the xDSL world work in pretty much the same way as UFB, except for the fact downtime is hard to minimise as a churn can't be specificed at a precise time - you pretty much end up with an AM or PM churn.

 

There is no "transfer" of records in the xDSL world - when a new provider lodges a churn the old provider will simply get notification of the churn once it is complete. The losing service provider provider gets no advance notice of the churn, but if they do go to lodge a disconnection they will be unable to do so as a service order will be present on the ASID so will have a fair idea what's happening. 

 

The complexity when changing providers is that lots of people ring their old provider first to lodge a disconnection. When a S/O is lodged against a connection (both in the copper and fibre world) it means a new provider can't lodge a new connection S/O until the old order is complete, which means they can't churn a connection, and need to lodge it as a new connection.

 

For this reason any good RSP should advise the exact same process I've listed here which means a) you're not paying any any service you don't use and b) you have minimal downtime.


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  Reply # 2059238 20-Jul-2018 10:53
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It's pretty clearly established that it's your responsibility to notify that you are ceasing your service with your current provider, and typically that's 30 days. 

 

You could have done that earlier in the expectation that the new provider would be up and running, but every stuff-up of a change in providers usually starts with letting the current ISP know your are leaving.  Invariably people end up with mucked up changeovers and no service. 

 

I would consider the months charge a cost of doing the change to ensure continuity of service.  Money well spent in my book.

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 2062057 25-Jul-2018 09:59
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scuwp:

 

I would consider the months charge a cost of doing the change to ensure continuity of service.  Money well spent in my book.

 

 

I don't think a customer should have to double up a month to ensure continuity of service. It's a bit of a sad state of affairs where stuff ups are so common that this should be required.


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