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Watchdog brings Bulldog to heel

Pooper scoopers

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Bulldog was mauled on prime-time TV last night about the abysmal service it's delivered over the summer.

The BBC's aptly named flagship consumer affairs programme Watchdog had received hundreds of complaints from viewers who had suffered at the paws of the Cable & Wireless (C&W) owned broadband ISP.

Last night's broadcast is clearly embarrassing for Bulldog which now admits that it suffered problems - such as billing issues, unconnected lines, poor customer service etc - over the summer.

It has spent a fortune plugging its unbundled broadband product. But how much of that investment has now been flushed down the lavatory thanks to a summer of bad press culminating in the top slot on Watchdog?

Millions of people watch the TV show. Now they all know about Bulldog and the hundreds of complaints filed by frustrated consumers let down by the ISP.

Bulldog insists things are improving, that complaint numbers are down and that it takes just a few minutes to speak to someone in customer support.

That's fine, but it still has to face an investigation by regulator Ofcom which last week finally decided to act. This will prove crucial, for it could shine a light on the failings of a company that was unable to meet spiralling consumer demand it alone had created.

On the other hand, the investigation could unearth some serious behind-the-scenes issues facing local loop unbundling (LLU) operators as they look to unhook consumers from BT and onto their own networks.

Either way, consumers deserve better. ®

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