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Thus ADSL - the price cuts with a funny echo

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There's a funny echo to Demon's broadband price cuts, apparently. Stick with the company and your reward could be not benefiting from them until 12 months after they're implemented. And, they tell me, this is "standard across the industry."

I pass this information on in my capacity as occasional Reg mystery shopper. Working (or so I claim) from home a lot, I signed up for Demon ADSL as soon as it became available, reasoning that the £100 a month or thereabouts for Demon Express Plus would save me shedloads on the quite catastrophic tab the kids were racking up on the ISDN line. It did, time passed, price cuts were announced and this fed through on my billing, so the tab went down to £75 a month ex VAT.

News of further price cuts came and went, I eyed the monthly bill with idle interest but it obstinately stayed at £75. I wondered, but not sufficiently hard to do anything about it until last week, when I felt the need to sign up for the free fax service, and therefore had two things to ask support about. Support agreed with me that the links to signing up for electronic fax did indeed seem to be broken, and when challenged on the £75 (the advertised price is now £45) agreed that I should be paying this and told me the amount would be reduced immediately, and would show on my next bill.

But support didn't automatically offer to refund me oodles of money. 'Tsk,' I thought, my mystery shopper hat now firmly screwed on. 'I shall look into this further.' A swift check of the bulletins confirmed that the cut from £75 to £45 was announced in May 2003, and that the Thus (Demon's parent) PR people therefore at the very least owed me a particularly splendid lunch, with possibly a present included. So I mailed them, explained the situation, asking if I were perhaps an isolated clerical error, and if they'd be so kind as to explain what the price cut policy was.

Some days passed, and today the answer came winging back:

"THUS provides a number of offers and service packages within its Demon Broadband portfolio and these are based on a twelve month contract. Any offers or price reductions introduced while your annual contract is rolling are applied at the end of the contract, before the next year starts. This is standard across the industry.

"With effect from 1st June 2004, when your next annual contract starts, your monthly payments for Demon Express Plus will be reduced to £45 (excl. VAT) to meet the current ADSL tariff."

So there you go - a Thus price cut is something you can look forward to, and if you get lucky like me, you can look forward for quite some considerable distance. The annual contract happily renews itself without bothering you to sign anything, too. I went for Demon ADSL incidentally, because I've been a Demon customer since practically before I was born, and I reckoned the company was sufficiently experienced to be able to keep a data network running. Which they've pretty much done to my satisfaction. But I see here a Thus response on the subject of Oftel, and BT price cuts, which goes: "the price cuts announced by BT today appear to be the minimum required..." And I begin to think, hmmm... ®

Related stories:

BT trims broadband costs

Ofcom must act on £50 broadband 'barrier'

Thus swells - thanks to ADSL

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