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ISPA - the UK's ISP trade body - has secured assurances from Bulldog that customer service at the broadband ISP is improving after a deluge of customer complaints.

ISPA has received so many complaints about the local loop unbundling (LLU) ISP from hacked off punters that it contacted Bulldog a couple of weeks ago.

And following a meeting yesterday the Secretary General of ISPA Nicholas Lansman contacted Bulldog's chief commercial officer Andrew Morley to discuss the complaints.

Although ISPA declined to comment on what assurances it had received from Bulldog, a spokesman told us: "We have been assured things are getting better. We've been assured that actions are being taken to make them better and that these will happen quickly."

El Reg has learned that Bulldog is on the verge of opening two new contact centres to cope with the high number of calls from customers.

A spokeswoman for Bulldog told us: "Bulldog takes these customer complaints very, very seriously. We are working to rectify these problems and putting lots of steps in place to make things better."

Bulldog - what customers are saying

The Register has received a number of emails from readers detailing their experiences. The consistent thread throughout all emails is the difficulty customers face in contacting Bulldog if they have a problem.

Wrote one reader:

"I signed up with Bulldog seven weeks ago, they've missed my install date and are totally unreachable when I try to contact them. No matter what time of day you call the support line tells you that they have very high call levels and to call back later before cutting you off. Emails likewise go unanswered for weeks.

Another told us:

"When the change over happens, if anything goes wrong, (and it probably will) you are left without a telephone and/or Internet connection. If you ring BT (maybe only an hour's wait) they blame Bulldog and tell you to contact them. If you manage to get through to Bulldog they blame BT and claim they can do nothing, because BT still control your line. In my case I was without a telephone for over a week and ADSL for nine days when I moved to Bulldog. Just to rub it in, they emailed connection details and the modem arrived 2 days after I was reconnected. Local loop unbundling, its somewhere between a sick joke and a national disgrace. My advice is DONT DO IT!!

Then there's this:

"I have a friend who is with Bulldog has never had a problem with his service - but then he has never had to deal with customer services. I, on the other hand, have a problem with my broadband service and the customer service/technical assistance has been abysmal. I haven't had broadband for the last two months."

Finally, there's this one, which typifies the frustration experienced by some people.

"It is impossible to get through to their customer service line at any time of day and they do not appear to read or respond to any emails sent to their customer service email address.

"I had an incredible situation where I ordered Bulldog service in April then cancelled my order within two weeks. I then proceeded to take broadband through another ISP which was delivered promptly. In June, Bulldog emailed me to say they were about to migrate my service to them. I emailed them a number of times and tried calling them to stop them, but to no avail.

"Eventually Bulldog disconnected my broadband, failed to connect me to Bulldog and failed to respond to any of my increasingly frustrated emails requesting they fix their mistakes and then leave my phone line alone. Unable to get any form of response from Bulldog I phoned BT begging them to somehow stop Bulldog from going anywhere near my phone line ever again, but was told that there was nothing that BT could do.

"About four days later my phone line was disconnected and I was left without phone service for almost a week. I have been charged a £58 to reconnect my internet, been left without broadband for over two weeks (I work from home). I have mailed Bulldog customer service and Bulldog complaints to request a refund for the reconnection fee, but unsurprisingly, have received no reply.

"The thing that completely amazes me is that all this happened even despite me clearly telling them that I didn't want Bulldog Broadband and had cancelled (or so I thought), nearly six weeks before. The final irony is that I received a phone message from Bulldog yesterday asking me if I wanted to cancel my service - and if I did, to please call them back on their customer service line; the same line that I've been trying to get through on for weeks.

"At this point I've given up on hearing for them and am waiting for the 28 days to pass in which their website says that all complaints should be handled. When that passes without response, as I fully expect it to, I will be contacting OFCOM." ®

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