ISP Contracts at the SME level ...

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  1. #1

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    ISP Contracts at the SME level ...

    A new way to say "bend over".

    "We" and "us" means XXXXXX. We will provide you (the Customer) with ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE.

    You should note that we may
    (i) deactivate ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE at any time without notice to carry out system maintenance, upgrading, testing and/or repairs;
    (ii) limit or suspend your access to ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE without notice where we are of the opinion that such action is appropriate as a result of your use of ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE;

    (iii) without limiting the generality of sub-clause (ii) above, suspend and/or terminate the ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE without notice to you where we are of the opinion that the ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE is used for spamming activities or sending commercial electronic messages not in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations;

    (iv) expand, reduce, replace and/or modify any of the Services (in whole or in part) (being any of the Services which may be accessed through ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE or supplied by us together with ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE), or any Content (being any still picture or other series of moving images, whether animated or otherwise, music video, music, data, information and/or other material, goods or services that may be accessed through ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE), (

    v) amend the amount of any fees, introduce new fees and/or amend the terms and conditions of this Agreement, and/or amend any operating rules which govern your use of ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE by: (a) posting the details of such amendments on our website and/or (b) sending you a notification of such amendments via post or such other means as determined by us, such amendments to take effect 7 days after any such posting on our website is made and/or on the date as specified in such notification is made.
    In the mean time, we as consumers have absolutely NO way of terminating contracts. I am struggling to find ONE thing that any provider commits to providing you.

    Keep in mind that this is a $3000 contract and not your $100 / month residential service. We've even looked at higher grade contracts and there is very a consumer can do to back out, if the telco's service is crap.

    How do SMEs get out of contracts where the telco fails to deliver nothing?
    Last edited by shri; 16-12-2008 at 01:31 PM.

  2. #2

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    Can you mark up the contract with some reasonable provisions and send back to them? Or write a side-letter to the contract and get them to agree to it? (I know, I suspect not, but worth a try). Or can you complain to the regulator about unfair terms and conditions? Is there even a regulator? Do you have any rights in common law that you can rely on?


  3. #3

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    hey it can't be all that bad if you can still log on and posted your message.


  4. #4

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    (iv) expand, reduce, replace and/or modify any Content (being any still picture or other series of moving images, whether animated or otherwise, music video, music, data, information and/or other material, goods or services that may be accessed through ALWAYS-ON BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE),
    That's pretty shitty.

  5. #5

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    MrMoo - That allows them to insert a transparent proxy and change data - i.e. insert their own ads etc or compress graphics (I know Smartone used to do this with their wireless HSDPA service..)

    Last edited by shri; 16-12-2008 at 03:30 PM.

  6. #6

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    >> Do you have any rights in common law that you can rely on?

    I'm going to ask around about this.

    Given that one is agreeing to a contract and there is pretty much no regulation with the telcos here, I suspect there is no remedy once the contract has been signed.


  7. #7

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    FYI - http://www.ofta.gov.hk/en/c_alert/ca_bd_20050428.pdf

    Under a fixed-term service contract, usually customers will be required to pay the penalty/liquidated damage/installation charges if they terminate the service before the contract period (say, 12 to 24 months) expires.

    Even if the consumers find the service quality provided by the operator unsatisfactory during the commitment period, many of them might have to continue to subscribe to the service reluctantly to avoid further losses resulted from the penalty charges.

  8. #8

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    Ouch. Can you start up your own telco business? Must be an opening for a better service operator in this market!


  9. #9

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    I'd need to loose a billion dollars to make a million in this market.

    Only thing I can think of is the Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance.

    (1) In determining whether a contract or part of a contract was unconscionable in the circumstances relating to the contract at the time it was made, the court may have regard to (among other things)-

    (a) the relative strengths of the bargaining positions of the consumer and the other party;
    (b) whether, as a result of conduct engaged in by the other party, the consumer was required to comply with conditions that were not reasonably necessary for the protection of the legitimate interests of the other party;
    (c) whether the consumer was able to understand any documents relating to the supply or possible supply of the goods or services;
    (d) whether any undue influence or pressure was exerted on, or any unfair tactics were used against, the consumer or a person acting on behalf of the consumer by the other party or a person acting on behalf of the other party in relation to the supply or possible supply of the goods or services; and
    (e) the amount for which, and the circumstances under which, the consumer could have acquired identical or equivalent goods or services from a person other than the other party.

    (2) In determining whether a contract or part of a contract was unconscionable in the circumstances relating to the contract at the time it was made-

    (a) the court shall not have regard to any unconscionability arising from circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time the contract was made; and
    (b) the court may have regard to conduct engaged in, or circumstances existing, before the commencement of this Ordinance.

    (3) In considering the exercise of its powers under section 5 to grant relief in respect of a contract or part of a contract found to be unconscionable, the court may have regard to the conduct of the parties to the proceedings in relation to the performance of the contract since it was made.
    Still very weak, unless there is some precedents specific to telecoms.

  10. #10

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    One way to get yourself an 'out' might be to subscribe through an SPE, i.e., have a limited subsidiary that subscribes to the service. Each month only enough cash is put into the sub to pay the ISP bill. If the service level is not satisfactory just stop putting cash in and have the sub default on the contract.
    Now, I am not advocating doing this and it might not work anyway as the sub might not be allowed to 'share' the internet service with affiliates or re-sell it to them (check the T&Cs) and the cost setting of up the structure probably outweighs the benefits in this case...


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