Ask LH: Can I Get A Refund On This Slow Router?

Ask LH: Can I Get A Refund On This Slow Router?

Dear Lifehacker, I just upgraded to Ultimate Cable (from Telstra). When I connect directly with the supplied NetGear router, I can get really good speeds, but when I hook up via my Billion 7800N, the connection becomes a lot slower.

I did some further research into the issue and it turns out the Billion 7800N router doesn’t have hardware fast enough to support the internet speeds I am receiving. I was quite disappointed to find this out, as when I originally purchased the router I had ADSL2+ and was planning on upgrading to cable in the future. I chose this model because it had an EWAN port which Billion claims is suitable for Fiber To The Home (FTTH). From this I presumed that it was able to handle fast speeds through the EWAN port.

However, I have since contacted Billion and they have confirmed that the speeds I am receiving are what is possible with the device. I am a bit disappointed as I was expecting more after spending over $200 for a router that is not even a year old and now needs to be replaced if I want to use my cable service.

But my question is: what can I do in regards to resolving my issue? Could I request a refund from Billion or a credit of some kind?

Cheers Unhappy Slowpoke

Dear Unhappy Slowpoke,

While we hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, in this case the answer to “can I get a refund” is, in all proability, “no”. I’m not a legal expert, and there’s probably no harm in asking: the worst that can happen is that you’ll get told “no”. But that does seem a very likely outcome.

A minor factor here is that internet speeds in general, and cable speeds in particular, are highly variable, which makes variations in performance a difficult basis to argue over. But the bigger issue is that while you believed that the device would be suitable for use with a cable system, it doesn’t sound like you got a specific commitment from Billion (or the retailer you purchased it from) that it would actually work well in that context.

The ACCC’s notes on this issue sum up the situation neatly, noting that one of the grounds for asking for a refund or replacement is if:

The product is substantially unfit for a purpose that you told the supplier about, and cannot easily be made fit within a reasonable time

Unless you specifically asked for and received assurances that you could use this device with a cable service, it’s hard to argue that the device doesn’t meet its intended purpose. The fact you’ve been using it with an ADSL2 service for a year further undermines the argument: it’s not as if the device has been completely worthless right from the start.

We’ve answered this question because it highlights one of the most important considerations when buying almost anything: if you have a particular use in mind, establish clearly that the item you’re buying is suitable for that purpose. Don’t just rely on general Internet research or a presumption that something will be fast enough/large enough/robust enough; specifically ask a representative of the business you’re buying from. If it’s a major expenditure, get it in writing. That way, if it doesn’t perform as expected, you’ll have much clearer grounds for seeking redress.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • :/ Clearly a case of research before buying! Don’t assume things. Ring people. Ask them about it, do some of your own research. Tough titties is what I say to this.

  • The specs for the modem clearly state that its good for cable and FTTH. It has 300mbit wifi and 1000mbit LAN ports. It is not unreasonable to expect it robe able to pass 100mbit/s on the Nbn or ultimate cable. Internet speeds, when using a local speed test server are not unreliable. It Can be clearly demonstrated that the modem reduces the speed.

    I’d argue with billion using the ‘not fit for purpoose’ argument. They will argue, but may give you a new router to make you go away.

    • As I understand it the telstra cable input is through the ewan port. I believe this port is specced at 100mb/s, not 1gb/s which is the lan ports. If this is the case and you cannot get that then you would seem to have a case for a refund. Check the specs and check what you can acheive.

  • I cant speak about the ewan port because I dont use that, but I have never used an ADSL modem as good as the Billion 7800N. The wifi from a netgear, linksys and TPG’s dynalink all could not penetrate more than half of my house. The Billion is full strength throughout my house. As far as sync speeds for ADSL go, my adsl sync speeds and download speeds are exactly the same. I am in no way connected to Billion, but there is a good reason why most IT professionals buy Billion, their stuff are much better than the big brands from Dick Smith.

    • Each of the other brands also had 3 antennas?
      and each had the same gain on those 3 antennas?
      and each was roughly the same price (or the others more expensive)?

      If not, the comparison is moot. The Wifi on my Linksys WRT-54GL is significantly better than that on my Billion 6404VGPR3, but it has 2 antennas for starters…

    • Billion got on my list of never buy after the most lemon router of all time (7404vnpx). Horrible and unreliable connections but best of all I ran in to a flaw which is apparently quite common… if you go away for a weekend and turn them off sometimes the wireless will never function again. I’ve never experienced hardware where a common known problem is turning it off. Then as a bonus you get super patronising customer support. Never again will I buy them.

      • I’m calling BS here – provide a link of this “common problem”. I’ve used Billions for 6 years and they have been absolutely rock solid, surviving soaring heat in my apartment and many a blackout. They just keep on ticking. I currently have the model above and it provides the best wireless coverage I’ve ever had.

  • Fact is though that it is capable of accepting the data.. just not at a speed that the person was hoping it would.. if it was completely incompatible, then that would be a different matter.

  • Don’t expect to get full speeds through wifi with ultimately cable.

    The distinction between using wifi vs lan when using ultimate cable should be stressed.

  • Been using a Billion 7800N for a year now and find it bloody good on ADSL plus. The big downer for me is the lack of support! Ask a question on the forum and you get treated like a dog, use the call center and get an angry Indian dude who really couldn’t give a crap! I get around 11 to 12 Gb p/s normally and my touch pad get excellent access, but I guess I’ll upgrade when fiber optic hits!

      • Me too. It had a habit of losing wifi signal every so often a while back but it’s okay now. I also tend to use an airport express with N for wifi anyway nowadays. Other than that it’s been surprisingly rock solid!

  • I would like to know what speed Unhappy Slowpoke was/is expecting/suffering from.

    I use that modem myself and don’t really have any issues with speed. Is he complaining that the EWAN port is only 100MB/s? If he’s complaining about WIFI then I would think it’s actually something else that is causing the slowness.

    There absolutely no information in this post that supports that it’s the router that’s the problem. I would guess it’s more of a PEBCAK problem.

    • Seeing as he spent over $200 for a router you can find for $165, even less if you look for 10 seconds on google, I’m inclined to believe you’re on the money.

      • The speedometer on my Camry goes up to 220, but I’ll be damned if I can get it to go that fast… 🙂

        On that note, it’s possible to find the tested/expected routing speed of this unit with a little searching as well. The routing speed is significantly lower than the port’s wired speed like the majority of consumer equipment.

        SmallNetBuilder does proper and thorough throughput testing of consumer land routers, and there’s a handy leader-board on their home page. .

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