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Ofcom confirms Bulldog probe

Billing and customer service issues cited

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Ofcom has launched an official investigation into broadband ISP Bulldog after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers.

The regulator said today it would probe complaints about billing and the way the ISP handled customers' complaints.

In a statement Ofcom said: "Ofcom has opened an investigation to consider whether Bulldog has contravened General Condition 11.1, which prohibits Communications Providers from billing customers for services that have not been provided.

"Ofcom will also investigate whether Bulldog has contravened General Condition 14.2, which requires Communications Providers to establish and maintain complaints-handling procedures that conform to a Code of Practice.

"The opening of this investigation follows the receipt of a number of consumer complaints about these issues, including complaints referred via the Bulldog Action Group, a consumer representation group."

Over the last couple of months The Register has received an unprecedented number of complaints about Bulldog with customers telling how they've been left without phone and broadband services and have been wrongly billed.

The sheer volume of complaints suggested that there were serious problems at the ISP. Consumers' frustration has been compounded by difficulties contacting the Cable & Wireless (C&W)-owned company and getting their complaints resolved.

A spokesman for C&W told us that the offer from Bulldog had proved popular with consumers but he acknowledged that the ISP had experienced problems over the summer.

Although Bulldog is "close to resolving most of the issues" the ISP will "co-operate with the Ofcom investigation", he said.

In July C&W chairman Richard Lapthorne appeared to blame BT for some of its problems claiming that "in the area of provisioning in particular, the level of service remains inconsistent as we work with BT - after their relatively recent introduction of automated procedures - to enhance the quality and accuracy with which telephone lines are transferred to the Bulldog network".

This, though, was rejected by BT which said that it holds daily face-to-face meetings with Bulldog and that this was the first time that the ISP has brought up these concerns.®

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