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PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 March, 2005, 12:00am

The column for anyone fed up with bureaucracy, frustrated with delays or furious with poor service. Tell us your complaint and we'll try to fix it...

Mid-Levels resident Harry Singh says his i-Cable internet connection at home has repeatedly broken down.

However, he cannot switch to another service because he is still on a contract with the company.

'Starting from January this year the service began to break down, at first for a few hours and then a few days,' he said.

'I phoned the company repeatedly and was told that there were some technical problems around my area but that it would soon be fixed.

'However, the breakdowns became worse. Exasperated, I told the company I could not continue with a service that was down for a few days a week; I had to change to another company.

'I was told I could not do so as the contract would not expire until May. A senior officer then assured me that the problem would be rectified and everything would be fine.

'That was three weeks ago. The service has broken down several more times since and no improvement is in sight.'

Mr Singh said i-Cable had unfairly inserted a rule in the contract that absolves it of liabilities in case of service disruptions.

'If a company fails to deliver a service, a customer by right should be allowed to terminate a contract,' he said. 'I-Cable, however, has sought protection by craftily inserting in barely visible tiny print rule 77, allowing it to disclaim all warranties against interruptions of services.

'How a subscriber would be able to read through 77 rules in tiny print on the back of the form before signing a contract of this nature is beyond my comprehension. Should not the company be required to make known to a subscriber something as important as the standard of service to be expected in a proper format, in an easily visible section of the form and in normal-size print?

'Allowing companies to operate in a devious manner is tantamount to aiding and abetting such conduct.

'I would like to hear what the relevant government departments have to say about these matters and the protection for subscribers against such unscrupulous companies that charge a fee for providing a non-service.'

Following a Take Action inquiry, i-Cable said it had finally replaced the faulty equipment outside Mr Singh's flat and normal service had resumed.

'We wish to apologise to the writer for disruption to his broadband service caused by defective network equipment,' a company spokesman said.

'We have since replaced the equipment and the writer has confirmed resumption of normal service. He will continue to be our customer until at least his contract with us expires.'

Reader Wai Wing-lok was furious when Qantas Airways cancelled the mileage points of his five-year-old son Adrian, citing its cancellation rule for a customer whose account had been inactive for three years. However, the family last travelled on the airline in August 2002, and all family members apart from Adrian had managed to register their mileage points.

'The current policy of Qantas Frequent Flyer Club is that reward points will be cancelled after a lapse of three years if there is no fresh activity,' he wrote.

'I sent a copy of Adrian's air ticket and boarding pass dated August 7, 2002, from Sydney to Hong Kong, to the airline.

'I was told my son's award points could not be updated because it had been more than a year. Airline officials said this was another of the club's policies and therefore could do nothing to address my complaint.'

He said this surprised him because all four members of his family had travelled on the same flights between 2001 and 2002 and only Adrian's mileage points had failed to be recorded.

'As this is actually the negligence of Qantas staff, who failed to update the flight mileage at Sydney airport for my son on that day, the cancellation of those reward points is strictly unfair.'

Qantas has apologised to Mr Wai after Take Action intervened and reinstated all his son's mileage points.

'Under the terms and conditions of Qantas' frequent flyer programme, members are given 12 months to advise Qantas of any flight discrepancies in their account. On this basis, the previous request to credit the points to Adrian's account was declined,' it said.

'However, as a gesture of goodwill, taking into consideration that other family members were credited with the flights in 2002, Qantas has adjusted Adrian's frequent flyer membership to reflect the two flights in question.

'As the points for the above flights have now been credited to his frequent flyer account and this activity occurred before the points expired on January 31, 2005, Qantas has also reinstated the expired points.'