I got a reply from the Consumer Protection Commission last evening. It was mostly a form letter with a bit of stuff tacked on at the end. They said that they would suggest a formal complaint, in writing--to Eircom, I assume--and if that doesn't produce results, and if I feel they are in violation of the contract, I should report them to ComReg, the regulatory body that supposedly oversees telecommunications.
The problem in this case is that we have no idea what the contract is. Nowhere in the paperwork they sent does it mention this 150 euro deposit. Requiring a deposit of this sort seems like a fairly common practice here. When we were setting up the electricity, we received paperwork that stated they would require a 400 euro deposit if we did not set up direct debit. We set it up, they took the 400 euro out and then put it back within days. We have never had a problem with them. They say what they will do and they do what they say.
With Eircon, you're told a different story every time, so who knows what the procedure is. If they were clear that they were going to take the money for a certain period of time and they did that, I would not have an issue. Instead, they simply tacked it on a few months into the contract. Then they said they wouldn't take it. Then they took it and have given us a bunch of different stories about how and when they will return it. I am not sure how anyone can be expected to enter into any kind of contract when things keeps shifting.
The latest thing they're pulling is sending everyone letters saying that their rates may be going up. Since they have new plans and bundles every week, it seems, it has been difficult to know whether this includes our plan. I was pretty pissed off at the idea that while we are legally obligated to abide by the contract, even if we have not given written consent, do not understand the terms, or cannot get a straight answer about what the contract entails. they are free to disregard the most basic part of the contract and raise prices on a whim. However, whether because of Irish laws or those of the EU, they have to offer customers a way out of the contract without penalty--at least in theory. So if we are a part of this rate hike, we should be able to cancel the contract--although it would not surprise me to learn that they have some other unethical plan to punish people who try. In any case, we shall see. If we can get out of the contract, then we may well avail of the opportunity to escape the clutches of Eircon, even if it means being without home broadband for a couple of months until we move.