We get many letters from readers unhappy with the speed and performance of their newly acquired broadband connections.
Even worse than the poor service, few seem able to walk away from the problem, being stuck with contracts that seem to be set in stone.
If there are problems, it is often unclear where the responsibility for putting them right lies; the internet service provider (ISP) blames the phone company, and the phone company blames the ISP.
And it is clear that neither wants, nor is willing, to accept responsibility.
The following are two typical examples of broadband woes. Philip Barlow was deeply unhappy with his broadband service from Tiscali.
"Since joining Tiscali I have had very poor service, with an average download speed of 4Kbps to 9Kbps in the evening," he said.
"I am very angry with Tiscali as its advert says its broadband service is 10 times faster then a standard modem. Last night it took four minutes and 50 seconds to download the Tiscali 1MB test site.
"After many phone calls to Tiscali to try to cancel the contract, sometimes queuing for 20 minutes, the technical staff say it's BT's exchange fault. BT says it's Tiscali's fault. Can you help?"
Mark Gill recently subscribed to AOL's broadband service, mainly to use it for online gaming.
"After repeatedly being disconnected from this 'always on' service, I contacted AOL because I consider it to have broken the agreement by not providing the agreed service," he said.
"But AOL say I have to pay for the remaining term of the contract. But it is no good to me if I keep getting disconnected."
Since both these readers wanted to cancel their contracts, I talked to Alex Chapman of law firm Briffa to see if he thought they had a case.
Chapman is a solicitor who specialises in internet issues and contract law, and agreed that this was becoming an issue for a lot of people unhappy with their broadband service.
"Whether or not they can be held to the contract is a very difficult question to answer. But I don't believe consumers have that much comeback even if they are unhappy," he explained.
"It really depends on the terms and conditions of the contract, and people should read these carefully before they sign up."
Consumers could try to argue that the service they have been provided does not live up to the promises. They could, according to Chapman, claim misrepresentation as a ground to terminate their contract.
"However, most ISPs will have exclusion clauses in the contract that excludes misrepresentation," he warned. "The thing is, broadband is still an emerging technology and consumers need to be realistic about what it can offer."
Chapman also explained that it is difficult to find which doorstep to lay the blame at, as Mr Barlow discovered.
Chapman agreed that it is likely that one day a disgruntled consumer, or more likely a posse of them, will take an ISP to court. But he warned that it could prove expensive.
"It may cost more than it's worth and they might not win their case," he said.
But it's not all doom and gloom. Every ISP I talked to about this said it would look at cases on an individual basis and that they would terminate contracts if the consumer can show good cause.
So at least one of these tales has a happy ending. Tiscali has agreed to release Mr Barlow from his contract.
AOL is trying to sort out Mr Gill's problem, which appears to be a hardware issue. And an AOL spokesperson told me that if it was unable to resolve the matter it would allow Mr Gill to end his contract.
"We don't want people paying for a service they can't use," AOL said.
The Broadband Stakeholder Users Group, set up by the government to advise it on broadband issues, has identified 12-month contracts as a serious stumbling block to the take up of broadband.
But ISPs maintain that they would lose too much money by taking on short-term contracts.
So I expect to hear a lot more over the coming months from people who are unhappy about signing up for the long haul.
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