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Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet, Throttling, Or False Advertising?

When Can You Sue Your ISP

Staff Writer @ VPN.com

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Are you sick of your slow internet speed? Here is the detail of every possible action you can take against it. But can you sue your ISP for slow internet access? Yes, it’s possible to sue your internet service provider but each ISP subscriber contract mostly demands you to register a lawsuit in small claims courts. If your argument exceeds the amount your local small claims court can deal with, you have to handle it outside the court through a process known as arbitration. The rules of your broadband service agreement limit the damage in both cases.

Although you make it through handling a small claims case lawsuit yourself, you may need to contact a user protection lawyer if your demand is considerable or you have to go for arbitration.

But sometimes the concern is not only the money. If you are not satisfied with the options mentioned above, you can file a casual complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If you are still not satisfied with the results, it’s time to file a formal complaint with the FCC. You have to follow some specific proceeding regulations, so if you decide to continue this way you should consult your case with a professional communications lawyer. The detail of all these three proceedings is explained in the last section of this article.

The Internet has Altered the World 

The internet has changed a lot. A few years ago, the best thing people took advantage of was dial-up via the phone lines and modem. Now the trend is different as modern folks use high-speed broadband services with Wi-Fi. Now smartphones provide wireless access to the world. 

Here is some relevant information:

  • About 4 billion people, which is approximately half of the world’s population, are using the internet.
  • People spend almost 170 minutes online every day. 
  • People spend more than 2 hours on social media daily.
  • Facebook is the most famous social media app among internet users. 
  • Half of the internet traffic comes from the internet.
  • About 70% of the houses in the United States have internet access.

Net Neutrality in the United States

As the Internet has evolved, government involvement in online services has also increased. Many people wonder, “Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet?” especially when they think about the oversight of organizations like the FCC and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) which maintain the performance of the Internet. One of the common issues that the FCC is facing today is net neutrality.

For your convenience, we can say net neutrality is the principle that ISPs should treat all internet traffic equally. If ISPs follow this principle, no one will face the issue of throttling (slow internet speed), certain site blockage, and extra charges for watching online content. But as things like net neutrality don’t exist in reality becomes a pertinent question, particularly when ISPs prefer special types of traffic like through Netflix, YouTube, or other famous companies and take extra charges from customers for varying service levels. Most users ask for net neutrality, but most ISPs resist.

The federal government has gone through highs and lows of net neutrality. Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet? might be a question that arises in the minds of many when considering the fluctuating policies. Under the charge of Obama, the FCC set a rule for it. The Trump Government canceled that rule. Then the Biden Administration fought for net neutrality but the FCC has not taken any action because there is no one on the FCC chair yet and the other four commissioners show controversy (two in favor, two against).

States like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, and Maine, have stood up with their own rules for net neutrality. Many are not yet able to pursue massive market forces to follow regulations. But this situation may change in the future.

When Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet?

Filing a complaint against your ISP with the FCC is not as easy as contacting a customer care service. Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet? is a question many might ask, but before that, one should understand that complaints to the FCC can’t be made for reasons like the phone representative was harsh or the technician didn’t come on time. Your reason must be valid, such as a right violation or no less than a suspected breach of the laws that regulate internet service in the United States.

So, as per these laws, what can be considered? The FCC has issued some guidelines regarding your rights as an Internet user that you can go through to get an idea of complaint strategies. Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet? While that might be a broader legal question, if you suspect that your ISP is acting against these FCC rights, you are capable of filing a complaint. Here is a brief of a few unlawful things that your internet service provider should not do, and which might make you ask:

Fail to deliver the service as advertised: If your ISP promised to provide 20Mbps service and you detect that you are only getting 5Mbps, your ISP has failed to deliver the service as advertised. It doesn’t mean that you always get the exact service as advertised. It also doesn’t mean that every device in your home catches the same speed.

A PC with an ethernet connection to the modem surely shows a faster internet speed than a tablet placed 100 feet away. Here your Wi-Fi connection is the reason behind the delay, not your ISP. But if you notice that you are constantly getting slow downloading speed even with a direct Wi-Fi connection and your ISP is not responding positively even after discussing the issue, now you can file a complaint with the FCC.  

Charge you an extra amount: Seeing unexpected charges listed on your bill, especially after running an “internet speed test” and expecting consistent results, can ruin your mood for the whole day. You may get a chance to refund the extra charge if you call the respective company, but if it’s related to the “internet speed test” discrepancies, your ISP may go broke. If you think the charge was inequitable and was listed without your approval, you can go for a complaint.

You can also think of filing a complaint if your ISP is demanding a higher price from you than your nearby homes or the promotion period ends before the mentioned time. Some billing problems are under the control of the FTC so prepare yourself for a refile in case the FCC directs your issue to a different organization.

Block or restrict legal content or devices: Your ISP has no right to block legal content. It is also responsible for slowing down your speeds according to the app you are using or the type of traffic coming.

There are some compensations like “reasonable network management,” but because this term is itself controversial and you notice that your internet connection is being throttled day by day, you can file a complaint for it. Moreover, can you sue your ISP for slow internet if they prevent you from using your hardware like modems or routers? They shouldn’t stop you.

This list is not complete at all, but at least it represents a fair amount of common issues. Can you sue your ISP for slow internet? Even if your problem with your ISP is not mentioned in this list, you can still take action against it. The internet has transformed to a considerable extent in the last few years, and the law violations we are aware of now were completely unknown to many in the initial days of the internet.

You should not waste your time presenting issues like the representative was rude or didn’t hear your complaint with attention. However, if you have a valid issue or proper reason for complaint and you don’t know whether it will be considered or not, file it without worrying about the outcomes. 

Steps to Take Before Suing Your ISP

Steps to Take Before Suing Your ISP

There are some things to consider before suing your ISP. If you take care of these parameters, it will be easy for you to solve your problem. 

Find a Valid Reason for Complaint

Before filing a complaint, make sure that the reason you are mentioning is worth considering. Sue your ISP for slow internet? While that’s a valid concern, don’t waste your time by citing that the technician came late or the representative was rude. You will never get any response this way. Also, don’t consider filing an FCC complaint the first time you face an issue. But if you identify the same problem twice or thrice, you can register a complaint for it.

The above-mentioned reasons can be considered valid. So, if your problem falls into that category, you are capable of filing a complaint. Read the FCC guidelines about the rights of Internet users. They will help you understand the complaint strategies most finely.

Keep a Record of Everything

Before contacting your ISP, it’s essential to ask, Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet? To address this, collecting as many records as possible is better. While you can exaggerate your complaint to some extent if you want it to impact the reader, understanding whether to Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet is viable will guide your efforts. But if you have more evidence to support your claim, it will be easier to obtain the expected results. Preferably, you do this before contacting the ISP, but it’s never too late to start documenting details.

Here are some points that you should consider if you can:

Record all legislative conversations

If you contacted through online chat support or conversed with the ISP through emails, keep a log of the whole transaction. If possible, ask the ISP to send an email containing a copy of the chat records. But if you can’t do this, simply take screenshots of your chat. 

Record phone conversations where legal

Geared-up customers, who wonder, Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet? often record phone calls, ensuring they have many new pieces of evidence ready to uncover the false behavior of ISPs. They also keep a log of what the ISP promised so that the company might not backtrack from its words.

If you’re considering this route, especially in light of the question, Can You Sue Your ISP For Slow Internet?, it’s essential to keep a record of the phone calls between you and your ISP. Always check the FCC guidelines to know when and where it’s legal to maintain such logs.

Save all advertising, promos, or contracts: 

Offers change because it’s hard for ISPs to come true to their words for what they promised to their customers. If they offer you a deal or you have seen an ad presenting a specific price, save them immediately. Can you sue your ISP for slow internet if they don’t deliver on their promises? It’s a consideration. You should not only write the guaranteed price but also know the period, conditions, and other things associated with that particular offer.

These details will help you identify if the company has changed your contract without even telling you or not. Moreover, it will also be beneficial if you are ever required to send this data to the FCC. Keep in mind that even if a complaint doesn’t solve your problem, it may help in inquiring about the company afterward. Before taking action, it’s worth pondering, “Can you sue your ISP for slow internet?” and exploring your options.

Try to Resolve the Issue with Your ISP First

Once you have identified the problem, and you have documented each and everything, try to contact your ISP directly. Maybe you feel like my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for, and you want to do this too.

Anyways, if your internet is not working or you sense that my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for, you should not contact a government agency to fix it. The FCC will also suggest you resolve the issue with your ISP first. So, if you file a complaint at once, you will only waste your time doing so.

When you are discussing the issue with your provider, remember that you are getting prepared to file a case later if they don’t respond positively. We have plenty of information on how to get the best customer support without being deceived. If you think you are facing an issue that is worth sending the FCC, try to concentrate on that problem.

For instance, if you detect that the company is slowing down your internet service, it’s better to mention it instead of going for mild issues like you were not treated well on the call. You can submit a complaint about that too but think of taking this issue to the FCC.

How to File a Complaint?

How to File a Complaint

When you purchase internet service with an ISP, you agree with them. That agreement represents your rights and responsibilities. The subscriber agreement is by ISP, not you, so you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for. Realizing this, you’d note that the agreement is customarily one-sided and written in the favor of the ISP. Your choices are limited.

Before deciding what to do, especially if you feel like my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for, it’s better to recognize whether it’s worth fighting or not. Such cases are hard to win. Virtually, each ISP agreement has limits on accountability and they purposely excuse every poor service that can arise on their end. So, make sure that you understand the service agreement properly before complaining. Following are the proceedings that may help you get your problem solved.

Option One: File a Lawsuit in Small Claims Court

Depending on the controversial amount and your ISP, you might feel that my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for, prompting you to consider legal action but only in small claim courts. Most of the ISPs have mentioned this limitation in their terms of service. The positive aspect is that you may recover the loss if the conflict is small, and you can handle the case yourself, possibly with the assistance of a lawyer.

The negative point is that small claims counts only deal with cases up to a certain limit of amount. In Rhode Island and Kentucky, you can recover up to $2,500 while in Tennessee and Delaware, the limit is $25,000. The other states fall in average of these two amounts, with many having a limit of $10,000. You may be satisfied with it if you sue your ISP over a small billing dispute. However, if you lose your online sales for a day because my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for, leading to slow internet speed, you may claim more in this case.

Option Two: Pursue Arbitration

Arbitration may be the best option for you, especially when you feel that my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for and you are claiming something large. Arbitration is a procedure in which the parties in a conflict hire a neutral third party called an arbitrator who solves the issue without involving a judge. We can say that arbitration is an inexpensive, simple, and quick process of getting a final decision. Some advocates favor this method.

But others don’t. In reality, arbitration can sometimes be as expensive and lengthy as a lawsuit. The rules and regulations may help you get your rights but sometimes they worsen the situation resulting in apparently arbitrary decisions or even making it difficult for you to win the case, especially when it feels like my internet provider is not giving me what I pay for. There is no authority involved and you simply lose all rights to appeal (which is again either in your favor or not, based on the conflict).

If you are thinking of bringing arbitration against your ISP, it’s better to discuss the matter with an experienced consumer protection lawyer first.

Option Three: FCC Complaints

You may not be content with a small claim court or arbitration method, especially if it’s related to issues like an “internet speed test.” There is another possible option: You can file a complaint with the FCC. 

The procedure begins with an informal complaint. You can file it free of cost by filing an online form on the FCC’s website, possibly after noticing inconsistencies with your “internet speed test” results. The FCC will receive your complaint and forward it to your ISP. Your ISP is given 30 days to answer both you and the FCC (in this duration, your ISP may contact you to solve the matter). If the FCC recognizes that this response is enough, it ends the suit. 

If you think your ISP’s response is not enough to solve the problem, you can send the response information to the FCC. The FCC will examine the data and if it considers it right, it will forward that information to your ISP, provoking a new liability to respond. 

If you are not satisfied with the results, it’s time to file a formal complaint with the FCC. A formal complaint can be filed within six months of the day of the response to your informal complaint.

It’s important to note that the formal complaint process is very expensive. The charges for filing a complaint form are more than $500. This filling initiates a process that resembles the court proceeding having special procedural standards. Moreover, you usually want to be represented by an expert advocate of communication laws in such cases and that attorney is also hired on a fee.

Conclusion

Can you sue your ISP for slow internet, especially after conducting an “internet speed test,” fraudulent advertising, or throttling services? Yes, you can. User advocacy is a considerable factor for us at VPN.com. The whole VPN industry, including those keen on ensuring accurate “internet speed test” results, is strictly behind net neutrality and strong consumer virtual protection.

If you want to know more about your rights in the digital world, VPN.com is here to increase your knowledge. Besides fulfilling your premium domain needs, VPN.com can protect your crypto wallet too. Our bargaining skills and high-value domain service represent that we are always striving to secure the best deal for our customers. 

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