I feel I am being treated like a mug by my ISP, and would appreciate any advice on who I can complain to / what action I can take

Before I start – the ISP in question is PIPEX, so anyone considering using them I would strongly advise against it

I signed up with Pipex shortly after moving into my new house – I signed up with them at the beginning of January for their solo2go service which included free setup and a free USB ADSL modem.
Despite taking payment from my account immediately, it took just under a month for them to get my line activated – during this time I called their customer service dept many times, only to be told
“its all down to BT, they need to check your line & they haven’t done it yet, you could try ringing them”

whilst I am no fan of BT, I found this fairly annoying since to my mind, I had ordered a service from Pipex & had entered into a contract with them, not BT

Anyway, despite this, I persevered with them & I eventually received the service I was paying for. Since I had ordered via the net (the only way I could order according to them) I paid via my credit card, but since the service was to be used by my whole household I wished to pay via direct debit from a joint account, so I sent them a direct debit mandate with the required details of the joint account

A few weeks later I received an email from them that they had attempted to take payment from the bank account, but the bank had rejected the request for payment.

A quick phonecall to my bank revealed that Pipex had not sent the mandate form to the bank, and without this my bank would not make any payments from the account since they had not received any authority from me to do so.

I rang Pipex to discuss this – they confirmed they had received the form (obviously, since they had my account details to request the payment) I asked them to send a copy of the form to my bank again but was told they wouldn’t, I had to send another mandate, and on top of this, it all had to be resolved within 7 days or they’d suspend my account

I reluctantly made another payment via my credit card and sent another mandate via recorded delivery– they received the form but guess what?

they didn’t send it to my bank, they’ve requested payment from my bank & the bank won’t pay, so once again I have 7 days to get payment to them in one way or another or they’ll suspend my service

I asked about the 7 days before suspension and was told this could not be altered, once a payment is outstanding the account is suspended 7 days later by “the system” and that this cannot be stopped – at this point I lost my rag a bit & was heard to shout “what system do you have then…skynet is it!!!”

Am I being a tw*t here?.....i appreciate they need to be paid for the service they provide and I feel I am doing all I can to make payment to them – I am sending the direct debit mandate as requested to the address they indicate, the mandate contains all required information about the bank account I wish to make payment from, but despite this they can’t seem to get a copy to my bank, but will suspend my service because they can’t do something as simple as pass on a form?? Have I missed the point???

I’ve had enough & want to terminate my contract with them, but if I do so within a year of signing up I am liable to pay the £50 setup fee which was waived as part of the offer I signed up for

I have obviously emailed their customer complaints email address (they don’t have a customer complaints phone number, conveniently enough) but I feel I am being treated unfairly here so would like to complain to an independent body – does anyone have any idea who I could direct my complaints to??

Also, I would dearly love to tell them to shove their service where the sun don’t shine, but I know the minute I do I’ll receive a demand for the £50 fee waived when I signed up – is there any way I can terminate my contract with them without paying this on account of their unreasonable service levels and frankly quite appalling customer care

Any (legal) suggestions would be most welcome

phew - glad i got that off my chest, sorry for the h00ge post

/end rant