How to complain about your provider

The first port of call for any grievance with your mobile phone or broadband provider is to speak to the company directly.

For companies governed by Ofcom, the definition of what is of "material detriment" to you is the crux of the issue when providers increase contract costs. Providers should consider complaints on a case-by-case basis.

Communicating with customer services is always a good starting point when making a complaint. If you can clearly demonstrate why you have been treated unfairly so that the provider has to admit the change in contract terms has caused you material detriment, it should allow you to end the contract without penalty.

If your provider fails to do this and cannot resolve your complaint, ask it for a "deadlock letter". This enables you to take your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme. An ADR acts as an independent mediator and will consider cases from both sides. If you do not get a response in eight weeks, you can contact the scheme direct.

All communications service providers must belong to one of two schemes - Ombudsman Services: Communications or the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme. Contact them by phoning 0330 440 1614 and 020 7520 3814 respectively.

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at, says: "Always complain if you are unhappy. Despite what you may think, home communications companies value your custom and will often take steps to keep you happy."

For complaints against energy companies, there is a similar process, only the ADR will go to the energy ombudsman if the company cannot resolve the complaint itself. You can call Ombudsman Services: Energy on 0330 440 1624.