Wednesday 17 November 2010

TalkTalk: Possibly the worst customer service in the world

A few weeks ago I allowed myself to be seduced by a telephone salesman to sign up for cheaper phone and broadband with TalkTalk. This is despite the fact I'd said I'd never use them after their intransigence over my husband's old phone account with them (more of that here).

Almost as soon as I'd hung up and rushed out the door on the school run I was thinking have I done the right thing? I decided to mull over it and talked about it with my dad - after all you have the right to cancel after any bit of sales over the phone. The more I thought about it the more I decided against it.

Several years ago the incompetence of their technical support team had contributed to my dad being hospitalised. Basically they kept telling him something was wrong in the house when it turned on someone at their end hadn't plugged something in! This was the final straw for my dad's stress levels hence the hospitalisation.

My dad also pointed out that I would lose my BT Vision service by switching. Pausing and recording TV have become an essential for my busy family. This was confirmed by @BTCare on Twitter. The final nail in the coffin was the leaving letter from BT which reminded me that I was still in contract and therefore liable for a disconnection fee.

I immediately rang TalkTalk on the 4th November to cancel the switch. They recorded it on my record and said that was fine. I also called BT and said I was staying. The BT man did advise me to call the day before the scheduled switch over as TalkTalk sometimes still switched! 

Needless to say with the crazy week I had last week I completely forgot this advice and the scheduled switchover day came and went without problem. A router had been delivered but I assumed that a letter requesting its return would follow shortly.

Then on Friday lunch time mid-tweet I lost the Internet. All my tests on the BT router failed to connect to the Internet. I spent an hour on the phone to BT who said they couldn't see what was wrong and would have to send an engineer to the exchange. The penny still hadn't dropped that it wasn't BT's fault (no idea why they couldn't see the switchover though!).

On Saturday I suddenly guessed what had happened and rang TalkTalk. The lady agreed it was a mistake and that I should use their router until BT could get me back. I contacted BT and they said they could take me back. Several days later and still on TalkTalk I re-contacted BT who said I need a MAC code from TalkTalk to switch back.

So on the phone to TalkTalk I go.... I was quickly transferred to the Indian call centre where the woman obviously had a fixed script she couldn't deviate from and kept calling me "a valued customer". She informed me that BT would charge me £165 to switch me back over!!! And that I didn't need a code to go back. She kept trying to get me to stay and said that she could just disconnect my account and then I would:

  1. lose my current phone number
  2. have to pay BT over £200 to get re-connected
What I kept repeating was that I had asked them NOT to switch me over and that was their job to get me back to where I had been before. She kept putting me on hold to speak to her manager but still refused to do this. 

I cannot believe that TalkTalk can get away with this behaviour. Due to their incompetence I was left without Internet for at least 24 hours and I am unable to use my TV service properly. Until they switch me back and compensate me I will keep on publicising what a useless company they are and seeking intervention from any appropriate bodies!

So my advice is whatever they may offer you - beware a sheep in wolf's clothing - cheap Internet and phone may well be at a cost of decent customer service.

Update - I rang TalkTalk again to be told that yes I should be given a Mac code but the department that deals with that is closed from 8PM-8AM....

Update 2 - turns out the only thing TalkTalk were right about was the fact I didn't need a Mac code to go back. BT are happy to have me back and have waived any connection fees but I can't be switched over until 3rd Dec due to the OFCOM regulations that TalkTalk broke... So no proper BT Vision until then...


  1. Couldn't agree with you more I've had countless problems with them over the past year from crap Internet connections to seriously crap customer service. Unfortunately we are stuck in a contract with them for another year - warn everyone to steer well clear!

  2. That's awful, really sorry to hear you've had problems. When I first moved in to my home I was with BT and I left due to horrendous bills and awful customer service, I've been with TalkTalk for 5 years now and they've been nothing but fantastic.


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