Legal terms for supply of services
This document describes the terms which cover the purchase of services by you from us. If buying goods and services at the same time then each is a separate contract. It is in addition to our general terms.
This covers all types of service including broadband, Ethernet, telephony, consultancy, software development, laser engraving, 3D printing, etc, etc. See service specific pages for details of prices, and for which services may have a minimum term or cease charges, etc. Some services are individually quoted.
Communications services which are subject to the General Conditions of Entitlement are authorised and regulated by OFCOM.
Length of on-going service
All of the ongoing services we offer (for example: Internet services; telephone services; maintenance; etc.) are provided for each billing period as agreed (typically monthly, but other billing cycles are available) on an automatically renewing basis. You receive an invoice at (or just before) the start of the period and at that point we have agreed to provide service for the period and you have agreed to pay for service for that period. In some cases this can be adjusted later where there is a notice period of termination, but where there is no notice period we operate on a no-refund basis. I.e. we have made an agreement with you at the start of the period to provide service and be paid for that whole period.
If you do not ask us to terminate service we will start a new period on your next billing date.
Starting service, and minimum terms
When you order service, we will try and provide it as soon as possible unless you say otherwise. If you need a service provided on a specific date, please make this clear with your order. We will then try to provide the service on that date or as close as possible. Service provision dates cannot be guaranteed and the date is not a formal part of our agreement, so we have no liability if we fail to meet a specific date. You will only be billed for each separate service from the date it is in fact provided (even if you are not using it yet).
Your initial bill for an ongoing service will be for at least 28 days service and may be as much as a whole billing period plus 27 days so as to align with the billing cycle. If the service has a notice period, then when you give us notice we will bill (or credit) so that you are charged only for the notice period. Where there is no notice period we operate on a no-refund basis for invoices already issued. Most services have no minimum term, but the notice period or initial invoice is effectively a minimum term.
Some services also have a minimum term. If terminating service before the minimum term then you are at that point charged for service to the end of the minimum term (or end of notice period if later).
In the case of broadband orders (new or migration) we consider one of the services we are providing is one of arranging for broadband to be installed and as such that service is provided once we have submitted the necessary orders to our circuit suppliers (typically BT plc) to connect your line and they have accepted that order from us. This is indicated by a COMMITTED status shown on our order tracking web site. This will usually be within a few hours of placing your order. For telecoms service, we consider the service provided at the point we have assigned a number to you which is usually at the point you confirm the order. Please bear in mind the service may be provided before the point you happen to start using the service. This also applies in the same way to arranging for an installation of a telephone line.
Our on-line ordering systems will normally try to progress your order automatically, including placing orders with our suppliers. The automated systems are not authorised to complete the contract with you. As such, on-line orders are manually checked, usually the next working day, and we reserve the right to reject or cancel your order at that stage, refunding any payments made at that point and making your contract void. This may be because we cannot provide the service, or where we have made a business decision not to provide service to you. If we tell you that we do not wish to sell to you, and you continue to use our on-line ordering systems then we may charge you additional admin fees.
Many services that we provide rely, in some part, on third parties, such as BT plc, to provide some service to us (such as a phone line). If we are unable to provide the service because of such third parties then this is a matter beyond our control and we may cancel your order. If we have provided some directly related services as part of a package we will allow you to terminate those related services without penalty for minimum term or cease charges. All BT provided lines are subject to survey, and this can mean we are able to offer the service that would not otherwise be possible if you agree to pay some excess construction charges (which we will advise to you once surveys are complete). You will, in such cases, be able to choose to go ahead and pay the excess charges, or to cancel the order.
Migrating a service to us
In some cases you can move a service from another provider to us. If you do this then you will be terminating the contract you have with your previous provider for that service. We recommend you always check carefully with your previous provider whether you are liable for any termination charges, minimum notice charges, minimum term charges or any other costs as a result of terminating service with them. We are not liable for any costs you have to your previous provider resulting from migration.
How well an Internet service works (Service Level Agreement)
We will ensure, with reasonable skill and care, that the service works as we have said it will. If we expect a problem or have to suspend part of the service for some operational reason, then we will let you know in advance if possible - usually via our web site and/or newsgroups or social media.
The Internet is a large network of interconnecting computers managed by different organizations. We cannot be responsible for anything not in our control. We will not refund or compensate you for any break in service or any consequential costs that may arise because the service did not work when you needed it.
It is also important to note that we cannot guarantee the speed (transfer rate, packet loss or latency) of the Internet. In some cases (such as broadband) the speed of the link to your site is measured at your modem/router, but this speed is subject to other factors and contention, within the BT network and the Internet itself. Such matters are beyond our control and as such we accept no liability.
Faults can be within our equipment or within back-haul networks or lines that we contract suppliers (such as BT) to provide to us. Most Internet or point to point connectivity service faults are outside our control. Our suppliers for some lines aim to rectify faults within 40 hours but we do not guarantee this. We will endeavour to arrange for line faults to be rectified as quickly as possible and follow all escalation procedures as appropriate with suppliers. We may choose to work on faults outside normal office hours, but do not guarantee to do so.
You will have to co-operate with our support staff and carry out simple steps including: e.g. (for services based on a phone line) checking for a dial tone using a telephone handset; connecting your router directly to the master socket; swapping routers between sockets if you have multiple lines; and disconnecting other wiring or equipment. If equipment is supplied as part of the service (e.g. a modem/router) you must be prepared to test using that equipment even if you normally use something else. Our engineers will advise what tests are needed. If you don't help us do these basic checks then the fault repair process stops waiting for you, and you continue to be liable to pay for the service even though it is not working.
We normally have to take steps to eliminate your own wiring as the cause of a fault, hence asking you to carry out simple tests like this. If you do not have a master socket with removable faceplate (NTE5) then you may have to have one fitted by your line supplier (at your cost) to eliminate your wiring, or risk charges for an engineer visit.
In the case of Internet services, if, after notifying us of a fault, we are unable to rectify the fault after 3 working days you may opt to terminate service. If you do so within 14 days of reporting the fault we will refund pro rata the amount charged for service for the period from date the fault was reported, and not charge the normal notice period or cease charge. This is your full recourse for us failing to fix a fault promptly. This does not apply where service is suspended for a breach of these terms, and the 3 working days does not include any time whilst we are waiting for you to perform tests or reply to queries.
We may have to arrange an engineer visit for an installation or fault repair of a service. We will try and agree a sensible appointment with you, and advise you of the appointment date and time slot (a range of times) when access will be required for the engineer.
Sadly we cannot guarantee that an engineer will arrive as there may be reasons for delay that are outside our control. Where an appointment is missed by the engineer we may (if you ask within one month) be able to get some compensation from the carrier involved and pass that on to you, but that is not always possible. We'll pay you or credit your account once we get the payment from the carrier, which can take some time. Whilst there may be compensation for a missed appointment in some cases, there is not any compensation for a delayed install other than the fact we will charge only from when the install is completed.
If you are not available at the agreed time and the engineer cannot get access we are normally charged by the carrier for a missed appointment and we will pass on that cost to you.
In some cases we may give you specific directions for dealing with the engineer. You must follow such directions as failure to do so could mean that we are charged when we would not be, and in such cases we will pass on these charges to you.
We can, sometimes, cancel or re-arrange an engineer appointment for you. This is not always possible. There is usually a point of no return in the afternoon of the previous working day. In some cases, changing or cancelling an appointment can cause us to be charged a fee by the carrier, and we will pass on such charges to you.
The engineer may agree with the person on site aspects of the work done, such as placement of cabling or distribution points or sockets - it is up to you to ensure that the person on site does what you want. If work is not complete or done as agreed on site you are responsible for ensuring that the engineer knows this at the time, and that you let us know right away. If you do not dispute the work done at the time, you are liable for any re-work that needs doing in the future, e.g. moving a socket or cable, etc.
Services with an SLA
In some cases, such as Ethernet and point to point services, we are able to arrange a specific service level agreement (SLA) with circuit suppliers for fault repair. For example, for fibre Ethernet services this is normally 5 hours from when we report the fault to the circuit provider. We will make use of any SLA we have with suppliers to try and ensure any fault is rectified promptly. As per our normal terms, compensation is limited to the amount paid for the service whilst it is not working after this SLA expires, but in some cases we are able to make a good will payment in additional to this if we have been able to claim from a supplier under their SLA. Such additional payments are at our discretion.
In some cases you may be able to buy a higher level of care relating to a service. For example, for broadband lines there is a 7 hour fix service level which aims to fix the fault within 7 hours of us reporting to the carrier. These services are usually beneficial in ensuring faults are fixed quickly, but we rarely find that they actually meet the SLA. Again, we limit out liability to the amount paid for the service for the period it is not working beyond such an SLA period. For these extra care services the SLA payments we get from suppliers are negligible, and so no additional payments are made.
Filtering Internet Access
We don't provide a filtering service to restrict or limit access to anything on the Internet. When you take services from us you are opting out of any filtering services. The Internet has a lot of good and useful things, but it also has a lot of unpleasant and offensive things. Don't blame us for what you find on the Internet. If you want to filter access to the Internet for yourself or others using the service then there are a range of products available for most computer systems to provide that filtering, and it is up to you to obtain and install these.