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PlusNet has called on Ofcom to investigate claims that the BT-owned ISP’s customers are being unwittingly switched to TalkTalk services in violation of industry codes. Several other ISPs are reporting the same "slamming" behaviour from TalkTalk, part of the Carphone Warehouse group. In a post on its community site, PlusNet …

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sounds like sour grapes to me

seems to me that PlusNet are eating sour grapes.

I transferred to TalkTalk myself this year, and whilst I did have a number of problems actually getting my broadband connected their customer service and sales after connection have been excellent.

however during the turbulent time whilst attempting to transfer from UKOnline to TalkTalk, I must say that their service was awful.

That said, the technical support & sales guys were very insistant upon having a MAC code provided from UKOnline, so much so that I had to obtain it twice due to the length of time it took TalkTalk to get me connected.

maybe if plusnet actually got their act together, then perhaps they wouldn't be losing so many customers.

they need to take a look at themselves before shi[pping blame elsewhere

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Anonymous Coward

What's wrong with plus.net?

Been with plus.net for a couple of years now. It was always very good service.

Until the beginning of the year. Paying for an 8Mb connection and always received 4Mb. Good enough for me.

Now though I can only get a 1Mb connection and wasn't getting anywhere with customer support until I mentioned Ofcom and a couple of good news sites.

Now apparantly they are looking into it. There's nothing wrong with the lines either....

Where's the great el'reg survey on service providers and the quality of service? Should get some amusing results.

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Anonymous Coward

r'tard

I what way is TalkTalk migrating me without MY consent sour grapes?

Ned you are either:

1. an r'tard (as first suspected)

2. a troll

3. a talktalk employee

4. all of the above

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plusnet deserves a throttling

After the last year of appalling service due to limits (throttling) placed on so called unlimited services - SSH, FTP outside plus net, and a whole load of other services. Plus net call foul when customers leave.

Throttling hurts customers, now its hurting plus net - good riddance

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This isn't anything new

When I used to work in the TalkTalk call centre in Northampton we'd have to deal with at least 10 complaints a day about this. Usually resulting from the roaming teams of salesmen going door-to-door and taking customer names and addresses and then faking the rest to up their quotas. As a result, the customers transferred their BT home line to TalkTalk without them knowing, or in other cases - had their lines transferred from another provider to BT and then to TalkTalk (which would mean a customer would get bills from 3 providers and do a general WTF).

To be honest, it's way too easy to change a customer from one provider to another without them knowing.

As for broadband, again this is something I had to hear complaints about every day. TalkTalk customer service always request the MAC code, to hear that someone has been told they don't need it makes me wag the finger at them salesmen again.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just PlusNet

You talk of sourgrapes from PlusNet but this isn't limited just to their customers. From what I have read this is across all ISP's and is incredibly disturbing behaviour from TalkTalk

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not plusnet's fault

This happened to my parents, no MAC code requested..in fact I don't think they were even informed that they'd be moving their broadband as well as their phone. Broadband suddenly went dead one day (when talktalk took ownership) - not on really.

It's hardly fair to suggest that plusnet are using this as an excuse for customers leaving!

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about time too

I've no doubt this is going on. The EU doesn't need a MAC code as TT are applying for Phone service via MPF inseatd of WLR over SMPF. Working for another provider I came across this months ago, but nothing ever came of our complaints. (I guess the numbers have grown enough now for OFCOM to take an interest) Example: EU was happy with our BB and wanted to move his calls and Line Rental to TT. Instead of TT applying for WLR they would apply for the whole line (MPF). The first the customer would know of this is when they lost their BB. In truth, the MPF thing was new to alot of us at the time, even BT (Openreach) had only high level visablility of MPF which is why they couldn't help stop the takeover.

At the end of the day, TT are in the wrong as they should be applying fot the WLR, not MPF.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting!

From The Reg 15/11/06

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/15/aol_cpw_analysis/

".....Putting the two scenarios together means CPW is losing £5.69 per month per customer. Assuming 800,000 customers, that's a whopping £4,542,919.44 per month and the more customers they get, the bigger that loss gets.

The only way to reduce those costs is to move those customers onto its own unbundled broadband solution."

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Doesn't sound like sour grapes to me

The question really has to be how these customers are getting switched without a MAC code ? The fact that it seems to be happening suggests that the whole system is flawed and open to abuse - I know I'd be mightily p***ed off if I found my service switched without my permission. I've seen it with with landlines on several occasions - but each time been able to block it when we got the pre-swtich letters from BT.

A good few years ago my manager signed up with a well known global brand in telephony and networks (I wasn't in work that day). On the form it asked for the company website so he put down the parent companies site which was our only online presence. Needless to say, our parent was 'not amused' when their website and email just stopped because unknown to us, the supplier had switched the parents domain to them and lost all the DNS records etc. The first I knew about it was when I saw the confirmation latter that didn't arrive until after the change had happened. I never did hear what the end result was (it was one of those incidents we didn't talk about much), but I know it involved the corporate layers in the US and took over a week to get the domain back online !

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Anonymous Coward

Reality check

Euh, whether PN are good or bad is irrelevant - what right do some other ISP have to cancel your existing contract and set up a new one with themselves without asking you? It might be more expensive, or lower quality, or just not what you wanted.

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Let's be clear about something...

This is absolutely not about customers leaving PlusNet. We do, of course, have customers who wish to leave our service for other ISPs (including TalkTalk) and we wish them good luck.

This is about customers being stolen against their will and without their consent. And the really important thing to note is the comment by Neil A on our Blog. We have a market share of about 1.5% and have identified 20 poached customers so far in June (and believe me most of them are very upset about the whole affair), so we estimate that this could be happening to upwards of 2,500 consumers in the UK every month.

We're not the only ISP seeing this, but we are the first to comment publicly about the whole affair.

Regards,

Liam Martin

PlusNet Comms Team

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This post has been deleted by its author

Talktalk

I already have a dislike for Talktalk since they came knocking on my door and telling me that my line had a fault and they were going to fix it for me. After arguing with them for a long time about this supposed fault and saying I was going to call BT and check what the hell was going on they admitted that there was no fault but that I would benefit by changing to them. Some of my older aged neighbors fell for this scam.

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Anonymous Coward

Now try leaving Talk talk

I have for 7 months. I now have a BT line (And I must say I have nothing but praise for them. Only one thing wrong in the whole 7 months - they didnt send the router when I joined - and that was fixed strait away) Talk talk still bill me. Every month I have to phone them and tell them to sort out my account. This time they have told me they will do it by tommorow... I wouldent trust them.

No matter what people say about BT I have found that at least when you phone you get through, they know what they are talking about and when they say they are going to do somthing it dose get done. Perhaps I am in a minority...

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Pipex did this to me

I left Pipex in Nov2006 mostly because they refused to move me to the new (at the time) tariffs and the complete collapse of their admin systems. I moved to Sky, got connected and was reasonably happy. On 9 Jan 2007 the broadband failed, I could get synch and an IP assigned but no service. I asked Sky what was happening, they said I was not there any longer. I gave Sky the IP I was seeing and was told it wasn't Sky. I checked my old Pipex info and guess what, it was Pipex. I was without service for the next month while the Pipex cancel applied and the Sky provision applied. BT were completely uninterested, even though they moved me without my permission (I now understand that the user's not part of the process, just the poor B@st@rd that gets done). Ofcom's position was that it was working as designed. My opinion is that the Ofcom designed process leaves a lot to be desired. Why did Pipex do it? Remember the collapsing admin, the bit doing the LLU xfers didn't notice I hadn't been a custoner for 2 months. Compensation? You must be joking, I'm just hoping no other ISP steals the line before I can move to cable or wifi.

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I can believe that TalkTalk are playing dirty...

I had a sales rep from TalkTalk knocking at the door a couple of weeks ago saying how brilliant they were and I asked specifically do you have a usage limit or fair use policy and the guy responded with no. I checked on TalkTalk's site and, unsurprisingly, they do have a limit. More to the point, it's 40GB so it's not even ambiguous!

I'm on Plus.Net and have had next to no problems in 4.5 years of use (admittedly I don't use their e-mail server!) and have always been happy with their customer service. The only problem I had was a very slow VNC connection during peak hours however they investigated this and resolved the problem.

Things can slow down in the early evening but only for non HTTP/POP3/SMTP traffic. I don't have a problem with this as the majority of my heavy use is either during the day time or overnight (which is when I schedule any large downloading).

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Anonymous Coward

Lets not forget........

That Carphone Warehouse ,who own TalkTalk, are not averse to playing games on the edge as it were;

http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2005/d2005-0477.html

Yes they defeated Easy Mobile, but still one has to wonder WHY they took the domain in the first place !!! Kind of shows a different side to Carphone Warehouse perhaps ?.

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Last 8 months!

So, after 8 months it looks like it's happened to enough people to warrant some attention.

Last year after moving house, I transferred my existing DSL connection to my new house (after the usual rigmarole of having to provide more money to provision my service - something we should all look to try and get rid of!). Great, everything up and running after only 10 days, well done to all the people involved in providing that miracle!

We have service for 4 weeks, and everything going well. Then, and this can only be a warning to anyone that has an Australian or New Zealander living with them, we decided that the new Talk-Talk CALL package would help reduce the monthly phone bill (couldn't get them interested in VoIP). So all good, signed up to the call package and feeling rightly smug that we were going to save so much money.

1st of the month comes around (pay day, pub) come home to find the Internet is down! Well that's how it was describe, what they meant was they couldn't get on to the Internet, which was a relief, let me tell you! So, quick check of all the usual, and a phone call to my ISP to find out what's going on...only to be told a desist had been applied on my behalf from TT...WTF...When, how, who....grrrr. TT then got a call stating that in no uncertain terms I was not very happy. Calls to BT went the same way, turns out that due to the "high-volume" of processing that BT were receiving from TT, they were only spot-checking transfers, I dread to think of how many people suffered the same problem.

It took another 4 weeks to get back to my original ISP, another set of charges (kindly refunded by BT, but ISP said sorry, but no)

Short story it isn't, but isn't there anything we can do? This type of behaviour cannot continue to be blindly accepted; at best it's immoral, worst a breach of Ofcom rules.

Who's with me?

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ian

One bunch of scoundrels arguing with another

oooh, 20 plusnet customers! Like wow.

Perhaps if PlusNet devoted as much time and attention to the thousands upon thousands of their customers who are still suffering spam thanks to PlusNet's incompetence, I might have a bit more sympathy. While you've got their PR fluff on the line, try asking them about that.

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re: r'tard

intelligent response, thanks :)

i can honestly say i'm none of those things mentioned on your list, and i'm not the kind of person who would post an offensive reply to someone else's post.

so i'll reply in my usual way when dealing with people like you who post anonymously

I received shocking service from Talk Talk when trying to get connected, so much so that i had to forward my complaint directly to the CEO of CPW, Charles Dunstone, who sent a personal reply rather than allowing an underling to respond on his behalf.

he wasn't able to resolve the issue any quicker, but we got there in the end.

the main fact relevant to this, is that TalkTalk requested the MAC code from both myself and my wife on no less than 8 occasions.

it was spoken of in almost every telephone conversation I had with them, in the 10 weeks it took from initial request to final connection.

I could never suggest that TalkTalk's initial service for me was anything other than pathetic but the fact that their service since we have been connected is exemplary makes up for the issues we had from the start (and the 8mb line has been outstanding)

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Plusnet

I have been with plusnet for 5 years. I've had a couple of minor outages, but on the whole I am a happy customer. I use a fair amount of bandwidth, but an willing to pay for this by coughing up for a business package rather than a consumer package.

Simple fact is that bandwidth aint free, and ADSL was never designed to have everyone saturating their connections at the same time. I agree with the throttling that plusnet performs at peak times - their network runs better as a result.

Plusnet is in the right when it seeks to redress issues where another ISP is stealing its customers without their consent!

Nigel

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Re: Pretty silly idea to begin with....

>>By Michael

>>Posted Monday 18th June 2007 14:58 GMT

>>[snip]

>>....More fool anyone who buys a service from a company that can't offer a

>>service and just badges someone elses. If and when soon after their BB stops

>>working what did they expect to happen?...[snip]

So Michael, what solution do you suggest?

Remember that BT Retail is a completely seperate company to the people who actually *provide* the service. BT Wholesale provide the service (assuming non-LLU/non-cable services) and BT Retail stick their logo on it the same as any other ISP.

Are you suggesting we should all move to Virgin and get BB via cable? I'm certainly not gonna, they've started throttling in much more restrictive ways than many ISP's you can find on the market.

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Anonymous Coward

This issue is fundamental in origin

Like other industries such as Banking the only form of regulation is though industry codes. Companies break them and the worst they usually get is a spank on the wrist and some bad headlines. None of this is actual Law and therefore there's no real deterrent to companies like TalkTalk. Similarly to the FA, if a player or club breaks league rules worst that happens is they get a slap on the wrist and a fine. With the amounts of money involved fines rarely have much effect, and if they are big enough to be detrimental it's only ever the customers that end up paying for it with increased call charges to support or reduction in service.

The reason this has gotten so bad to the point of 2500 customers per month believed to be poached is that although Ofcom are there to regulate, they don't really DO much unless someone walks into their offices and places a nice formal complaint usually with a little pile of evidence next to it. What they really OUGHT to be doing as a regulatory body is actively looking at the market at various levels and pro-actively looking for dodgey dealings.

I work in the private healthcare sector for a UK division of a US owned company, since Enron we are strictly audited each year by an external regulatory body, Sarbanes Oxley or Sox. This as far as IT is concerned consists of random spread spot checks on security and integrity to make sure everything is tight and secure and that we're not cutting corners. If these companies were regularly checked randomly then they would soon notice that customer complaints were following a pattern of "the salesman lied" "My net got cut off randomly". Like doctors once they spot the symptoms it's rather more easy to locate the cause, and treat it.

In my opinion whether TalkTalk intentionally do this or just poor administration leads to it, they need to sort it out and compensate those that have been affected, Ofcom is almost equally at fault for not spotting this earlier. They have a bird's eye view of the whole picture, if one ISP can notice it in a 1.5% share why didn't they notice it scross the board where the numbers are much more conspicuous? Their job is to monitor and regulate, it's not the job of ISPs to monitor and regulate each other VIA Ofcom

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Pot, kettle etc

After being transferred, against my protestations, to Tiscali's dreadful LLU network by Plusnet last year, I can have every sympathy with those being screwed by TT, but none whatever with the PN comms teams holier-than-thou blog posting on this. Shrill and sanctimonious doesn't begin to describe the tone. And this from the same team that so bullishly told us Tiscali'd victims that we could like transfer to another network provider or leave.

Talktalk may be acting immorally (at least), but they are only one in a long line of ISPs with zero regard for consumers, encouraged not least by the policy vacuum that is Ofcom.

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Anonymous Coward

sue them!

if this was America there'd be a class action against them by now.

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Anonymous Coward

I was switched without consent

Was with BT(line), TalkTalk(calls) and Tiscali (BB)

BB stopped working and after a couple of days & helpline (no)support from Tiscali (they were clueless and useless), I phoned BT to report a problem with the line - was getting an intermittent off-hook tone (found out later this was TT answering service). They told me I was no longer a customer. I set about finding where I had gone!

Needless to say TT had switched me to their all-in-one line, calls & BB service. Now I have 8Mb broadband, usually slower than 2Mb Tiscali - and much lower quality. At least it should be cheaper - until I get fed up and move on!

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JT

Get It Sorted

I have to agree that the affected ISP’s must take some responsibility for the loss of customers.

I’m still awaiting a refund from Tiscali after my line was accidentally migrated to TalkTalk.

I had requested my phone to be moved over to TalkTalk but not my ISP connection as LLU had not yet taken place on my exchange at that time (and their reputation was poor). Then in January I lost my connection due to what I suspected as being a LLU activity by TalkTalk. Despite me informing/priming Tiscali Tech desk that this was probably the issue they still insisted on passing the fault out to BT who would then close the fault after 48hrs with “No Fault Found” (This went on and on)

After two months of trying to identify the fault and lots’s more to boot, Tiscali Customer Services eventually informed me that the line had been removed and we could go to any ISP so we did!! I’m still waiting for my money though.

JT

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