back to article Sacked PlusNet boss blasts BT sale 'stitch up'

The ousted boss of PlusNet has branded its management liars and new owner BT deceitful in an angry email sent to former colleagues at the ISP. The extraordinary missive, obtained by The Register, was fired off by Lee Strafford on Sunday evening. He was sacked from PlusNet in March this year after being accused of plotting to …

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I don't care

I've just told Plusnet where to stick it as I'm sick of them, 30 minutes on hold before even getting to the call centre isn't customer service by anyone's definition. They proudly boast "all UK call centres", tell you what I'll have an Indian one if it means I can get something done in 2 minutes as opposed to an hour using your pice of cr@p system.

I'm now using Tiscali unlimited getting 3 times the speed, @ £2 less a month and my line rental included.

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Anonymous Coward

it's grim oop north...

can't keep owt quite in't sheffield...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't care

You're the same Lloyd who was complaining yesterday that Orange had just put a 15 metre mast at the end of his garden aren't you ? And now you admit to using Tiscali ? OMG

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html?isp_77=1&isp_23=1&commit=Compare

As a friend of mine up north says, "life's a bitch then you die".

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PlusNets Ex Strafford

This little prat may have been pushed out of the way by BT and had his reputation tainted but after the way his company treated me as a customer I couldn't give two hoots. Who really cares what he has to say, as you've mentioned he has been well looked after financially, if he were that good BT would have kept him without a doubt.

If I were BT I'd have forced him to stay and lashed him to the mast so he could ultimately take the blame for how shoddy PlusNet is.. Mind they probably don't want that cause they'll only end up de-valuing the brand, writing it off and absorbing all of the customers into a centric BT brand.. GOOD.

Luke

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Anonymous Coward

Oh what a surprise!

IMHO.

Mr Strafford should be grateful for the wedge he got when someone (only BT could be dumb enough) FINALLY bought out Pusnet (no typo). Pusnet ran the business for the best part of two years with NO THOUGHT other than to make money via a takeover.

Customers suffered very badly but I'm 110% certain Strafford couldn't give a toss about that.

Good riddance to bad rubbish and I really hope BT take him through enough courts to bankrupt him forever. He fucked enough people over in the past to deserve that.

Pusnet were (and still are) an indication of how piss-poor the UK is for IT services. There basically aren't any "decent" broadband ISPs now (with the possible exception of AAISP) in the UK - they are all mass-market, outsourced crap that doesn't deliver anywhere close to what they advertise. Pusnet, being a "market leader" got there earlier is all :-D

All IMHO of course as Strafford has more expensive scum (solicitors) available than me :-)

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Its rare to make a positive comment...

... so I will.

Its probably slightly off topic but I have been with Plusnet for a couple of years and actually find them, and their customer service, pretty good. Not excellent, but I'm happy with them. Happy enough to say so publicly. And no, I'm not an employee or a relative or an employee or anyone who would be banned from entering any competition they might run.

And for the spat amongst the top execs, so what. They all make far more money than the vast majority of people in the world and business is pretty nasty, the money is supposed to be a bit of a recompense for the back stabbing. Its mildly interesting to read about what goes on but not very. I predict the lawyers will do well, and neither side will come out happy, c'est la vie, or c'est justice perhaps.

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Anonymous Coward

Karma

So in a nutshell, he thinks he's been treated like shit and doesn't like it.

Well, as an ex-employee, this to me is proof positive that Karma exists and is real.

I'm off to convert to Buddhism...

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BT shambles

I've been a customer of plusnet for over 2 years, never had any problems. BT on the other hand, shambles. They took 5 months to install a fiber connection to our site, this is dispite the quoted 60 day lead time!

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Poor guy

He only made over a million pounds in 6 years, I wish my wages were that low, then maybe I could complain.

No, hang on a minute, I got that wrong, HE COMPLAINS! what does he expect? all these so called managers ever do is have a big dump on the peons, poor, poor Lee. Finally as above, KARMA!

Suck it up you gret puff.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow what a diatribe

So how long have Plusnet been employing barely literate 13 year olds?

I have just moved to plusnet and and found them to be a lot less bad than some. They have all been dumbed down since the commoditisation of net access that broadband has brought.

Leaving pipex though took 3 calls to beat a MAC out of them and 3 more calls received badgering us to reconsider.

Chuff me, even Compuserve never used to be that hard nosed.

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why is customer service so poor in the UK?

because at the end of the day we buy from the cheapest sources and aren't willing to pay a little bit extra for better service. the margins on ADSL are wafer thin, and the only way most providers remain profitable is to keep overheads (i.e. support) to a minimum.

the odd thing is that companies who charge a LOT for quality and service can do quite well if they gain a good reputation - look at how the British HiFi "industry" has survived... the problem for the average consumer is finding the middle ground - good service at a reasonable price. the other snag is that a good company gets bought up by another one who sees its customers solely as a cash cow to be milked.

I ascribe the problem to the way the economy is run - there's no incentive to build a business for the very long term, it's best to grow quickly, then milk it to death before the inland revenue take their slice.

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@ Mark T

"So how long have Plusnet been employing barely literate 13 year olds?"

Judging from their response (or total lack of it) to reports of spam coming from their networks - with complete headers giving them IP address, time/date stamps, and everything else necessary for even a half-way competent chimp to stop the spam - at least 2 years.

PlusNet's entire IP space is in the DENY list at the ISP I run because of that behavior. Oh, wait - I did make a single IP exception for one of *my* customers who couldn't get another local (to him - I'm in the USA) ISP. Otherwise, however, there's no one at PlusNet worth communicating with.

And the ex-whatever-the-f*ck deserves whatever buggering he got/gets from BT for running such a shoddy operation.

In my opinion, of course. Although, in the USA (which is where he'd have to sue me), truth is an absolute defense against claims of libel and slander, so he'd be right out of luck.

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Anonymous Coward

Ho Hum

What? Rantings of a madman!

After being jerked about by comedians at PlusNet & BT individually on a number occasions with respect to strategy and improvement employment opportunities, all I can say is ... So what?

Ordinary folks are faced with their P45's every day, the lucky receive decent pay-offs, others nothing ...

IMHO, Plus Net have been rank and ripe for change, as has BT, who really have abused their power as the incumbent!

Neither companies have ever (despite campaigns to the contrary) truly placed the customer first, hence their current states ... They have, and always will have their eyes on the main chance, and the customer doesn't enter into the equation (unless you've a bill outstanding!)

This rant by Mr Strafford, isn't a rant at the injustice he feels he's suffered, it's a rant at the fact that he's been thrown from the gravy train and will now try his hardest to claim unlawful dismissal ....

In short .... It's a hard life!

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times they are a changin'

Force9/Plusnet have been my ISP of choice since the Summer of 1997 (They only began in February as an offshoot of Choice Computers), so I guess I have seen some changes. Back then it was nothing to chat for 10 minutes with the help line staff (if at night). Back then they knew what they were talking about too. The ADSL boom in the UK changed many things.

Staff were generally better than the rest (As an IT business I have had to call support from almost every company on behalf of my customers). It certainly was one main reason I stayed for 10 years with them and happlily recommended them.

All because of the security breach in May, I am sitting in Thailand locked out from my user area. I cannot manage my website, I cannot use web mail. I cannot contact them except by phone. After doing so they told me that they have banned Thai domains. So due to their incompetance I have been locked out for 3 months.

When I return in September they will have lost one of there very first customers. I sold my shares 2 years ago after they pissed me off over another issue

As for Strafford, all I can say is the QOS started to fall after 2000. As for BT, I shudder when I think of the hassles I have had with them.

It's an ill wind that blows Force9.

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Truly delusional

"I don't believe real value can be created by dishonesty, manipulation and lack of integrity"

Presumably a lesson learned by deploying these extensively against Plusnet customers and watching it all go into meltdown last year. Standards are so low in the UK not least because of the Straffords of the world.

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Get a Life.

I was a former Plusnet customer, over the 18months I was with them my service was poor and Plusnet stitched up customers to a "You stay, we pay" contract. It would take you 5 yeasr to pay back the activation on your Broadband line.

Email servers dumped a number of time (no backup), poor traffic management. Plusnet endded up being the joke of the communication industry.

He go what was coming to him!!

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Anonymous Coward

Leaving Plusnet....

....was the best decision I ever made. Of course, when you pay £22.99 a month and you literally can't play multi-player games due to lag from 5pm-1am and you get told about 7 times that it is not their fault, when their own graphs are showing huge numbers of "silver" and "gold" packet drops and yet they still claim that it's your equipment/settings/pet cat, it wasn't a tricky decision.

I now get over a megaBYTE a second during peak times with Be. Thankfully there has not been 1 second of downtime/slowdown or the need to -ever- contact support in any way shape or form (shock!), I can't compare them on that front. But that's actually a good thing. And if there's a hard usage limit on Be, it certainly isn't less than 200GB a month...

Now let's just hope some arsehole doesn't take over at Be with the sole intention of getting rich with his stock options from a buyout.

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Not that bad I thought.

I've been with them two years. Very good service, and yes, the p2p throttling keeps the pipes clear for me to download huge chunks from gentoo.

Before you think I don't use p2p so think banning it is a good idea, nope. I use it, just slowly is all. It would be nice to be quicker, but face it, there isn't much on p2p that is legal. So no complaints here.

BT, however, are scum. BTW (wholesale) s/l/r/ decided that they didn't have enough BW and so cut my connection to 1Mb/s earlier this year. Didn't tell anyone, didn't want to know. Plus net sorted it out with lots of apologies. Shame about the buy out.

And, ANY company on the stock market is not interested in the customer. There's no two ways about it. If you have share holders the only thing you can do is milk the customer to get the share holders money. Else share holders kick off. All this customer abuse from companies is our own greedy fault. Can't wait 'til that market crashes. Society gets it's just deserts.

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Good ISP's

For you who have lost all hope for finding a good ISP... I offer you this.

Demon internet (home ISP branch of THUS)

THUS, great business providers, very intelligent staff, hugely successful.

The most problems for THUS/Demon customers are BT related shananigans. THUS work for banks and I believe sky also used them for their provisions as well. A real professional operation.

I do not work for them, actually I applied and got an interview, but was not successful. I have a 2:1 in mechatronic engineering, which I think is not really what they were looking for. Makes me wonder why I got an interview at all really. Anyway, what I saw while there impressed me and I have switched to them as a provider for my home. Never a problem whatsoever ever. Nor have I ever read an unkind word about them.

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Insane rantings

As an ex-Plusnet employee, I have to say that I have a lot of respect for the post- Stafford management team. They're trying hard to undo a lot of the mess and technology debt he left them, and the culture of the place is tons better.

His rants about conspiracies and stuff are just nonsense. He treated the staff and customers with contempt. The current management treat them like valued people

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Anonymous Coward

My name is earl

Yes, i think its time mr strafford makes his own list up and undoes the damage hes caused others in the past, its quite amusing that hes having a bit of a hissy fit about being treated badly, yes im another ex employee, which is fine, companies hire and fire all the time, but the things that mr strafford allegedly said about us after we had been escorted from the premises are inexcusable and i would like to congratulate the powers that be at plusnet now for getting rid of the miserable excuse for a human being, if only it had been done a lot sooner, good luck in your future ventures mr strafford, as long as they dont involve anything to do with employing people because you dont deserve the hard work that those you employ do to get you your fat paycheck at the end of the long day.

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Hoist by his own?...

Oh Straffy Straffy...Surely YOU of all people should know.

I sure know and hundreds of other ex-PN victms (customers) know ....that's right:

***.If you don't stick with PusNet for x amount of years, they throw you to the wolves***...

come on Man; PN did it to everyone else, why should you be any different?

As with PP's I am starting to believe in Karma now.

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Is the grass greener on the other side?

As a support company, we've been with Plusnet for almost 4 years and have recommended loads of our customers to them with barely any problems.

In this day and age, you don't get the service you used to from anyone but PlusNet have always been very helpful anytime we or our customers have had problems.

Give me them over some of the other providers we hear problems wtih day-in, day-out any day.

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Yes, I'm the same Lloyd

That was moaning about the phone mast, very well worked out seeing as it's my screen name, what a mental giant you must be.

We can all produce stats saying how great plusnet are, for example they get great reviews on uswitch, it still doesn't alter my experiences with them and that in my opinion they're shit. By all means stay with them if you want, sing their praises, worship them, do as you will, however I have had problems with them and I think they're cr@p. Isn't it amazing that people like you can't assimilate the concept that other people might have had a different experience to yourself, it must infuriating for you every year when people in your office come back off holiday and you all compare notes.

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What a laugh.

jim britton - "The current management treat them like valued people".

After being with Plusnet for 5 years I finally gave up. They were obviously out for the money and dived quickly last year. Some of the people I recommended to them stuck with them and their reply to this comment is:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Anonymous Coward

thought of something else i should have mentioned...

"openness, honesty, transparency, and true collaboration."

i had to laugh at the fact that ol' blimpy had the audacity to say that he held those true to himself, nothing he ever did was transparent, open, honest or in collaboration with anyone at all, i think the fact hes going to a tribunal is a joke! may his many years ahead be full of misery, not to mention visits to weight watchers.

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Re: good ISPs

Sky used Easynet, which was why they bought the company a couple of years ago, primarily for their experience in unbundling. FYI.

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Anonymous Coward

BT fails

BT these days reminds me of Enron

There are so many false truths

So many Beaurocrats spending their entire days on con calls to each other

So many status report history trails go green, green, green, green, green, red - red when its too late, never has a company so comprehensively misreported the status of its projects, and "adjusted" what success is to whatever comes out of the mess

So much outsourcing, that the badly designed systems held together with undocumented string being lovingly kept together are now all managed in India where its too far removed from business need, have they saved money? Not really it just looks that way with cooked books

So much nonsense about "agile", such a nice word with so many good connotations, but the projects are failures in all sorts of ways, you put junior techies in a "hot house" with senior business users and of course they over promise delivery (that's why good senior systems staff are needed, anyone pointing out the errors of planning this way is just targeted)

Senior architects are all just spouting presentational frameworks nonsense, no practical skills in actually designing good systems

Senior project management who wouldn't know how to plan the proverbial trip to a brewery, key skill in BT being "BS on con calls"

Trying to turn themselves from a traditional Telco into an IT services organisation?, wow they are off on the wrong path to do that, none of these senior managers would be allowed to run a half decent IT services org

Projects are panned unless they are strictly cost justified, unless it nonsense like the "BT API" which has had money thrown at it with no possible financial model

Project needing 10 staff gets 40, its impossible to stop the silly overstaffing and self-generating jobs

And the "new start" is loosing the very people who should stay, while the useless ones will stay and play their games forever

So many big projects with massive hidden risks, if only a few of these came in they could shake a company even of BT size

So many pension fund fiddles

So many lies told over the TSR, so much inventive interpretation

Oh and the inbuilt feminist agenda upsetting the male staff, pay awards diverted to the politically correct groups

Staff reviews done by folk you have never met

Morale at rock bottom

So much of every member of staffs working day has to be taken up in internally facing politics and admin its amazing anything ever gets done, you can have too many "self service" employee apps - and BT has them in abundance

So much bad stuff excused in the name of "security", come on having to enter your username and password repeatedly to do simple things is NOT good security (significantly increases the chance of someone noting your password from ver your shoulder for one thing), not being able to sign customers into buildings because your pass is not enabled for that building is NOT good security

Project deliveries are some of the worst in the industry, and only held together by good PR and legal negotiation, and the fact many biggest customers are government of one flavour or another with a similar failing old civil service culture to BT itself

And yes they religiously wont have compulsory redundancy, but are evil and bad managers when folk do need to move on, openly lying about staff so they have a case to throw people out

BT normally only wins significant IT projects because it is prepared to take on risks more cheaply that the competition, guess what there are reasons the competition don't take on those risks, and often BT don't even have the simplest of understandings of these risks

The service to the end Telco customers is appalling, the dictat from Ben that customer service is the new number one priority has been interpreted by his many minions to be endorsement of each of their bogus pet projects, no coordination of how all these conflicting forces are going to come together to improve customer service at all

And yes how many good companies have been bought by BT in recent history to get turned into non-performers? Do I really have to list them?

Compares themselves to Google? so very funny, Google or indeed anyone else in the business would not tolerate so many managers with no substance at all

BT will fail, it already is failing, its just many of the facts are well hidden to the outside world

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Anonymous Coward

Trading places ?

Shat on Lee, is that what you called it? Awwww, my heart bleeds.

Perhaps now you realise just how I felt when you chaired my appeal hearing - to which there was only ever going to be one outcome (orchestrated by the very same management team that have now let you down)?

Cest La Vie!

Had you not been so blind to the actions of your minions, perhaps I would be commenting differently now.

Should you wish to discuss, I am sure you have the nouse to find a way to contact me - though the qulaity of your post would indicate otherwise.

Mark.

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Anonymous Coward

How the ego has landed

Plusnet have a history of working "The Plusnet Way".

They were working on the edge of what can only be described as unethical treatment of a number of staff over a few years not just months. Some were off through stress and then provided with an opportunity to leave I think was how you referred to it! These were so called poor performers who were not quite up to the "Plusnet" standard. Live, eat, breathe Plusnet or you were of no use. For those who were victims of this I'm sure that today you are smiling at Lee's predicament in fact maybe even feeling a tad sorry for the man.

He was one of a number of people who BT should have booted out the door the minute they acquired Plusnet and if they have any sense they'll see through the ones that were either supportive of the "Plusnet Way" or who were too scared to stand up to it but either way they are still in this company and need to go. Distancing themselves from Lee shows their true colours.

It was before BT arrived an arrogant, egotistical, draconian and indeed a bullying environment to work at times and I do hope BT will not let that happen again. It's very lucky to have retained a large proportion of the loyal people who work here - Why do they stay if it's such a bad place? With their skills they can get jobs elsewhere I hear you say. I suspect the fact Sheffield is hardly a centre for technology jobs is one of the reasons why staff put up with them but Lee was not the only one who was responsible for the shoddy way in which this business has been managed historically and their naivity of thinking they were untouchable was laughable and now Lee appears to be on the recieving end of a monster that was created.

Those who left and had their confidence shaken didnt leave with a whopping wad of cash but they did leave with the knowledge that they werent accused of the things we have been seeing here and they will stay in this industry because they don't treat their colleagues and customers like something they have stood in.

Once a Salesman always a Salesman.

Plusnet will survive that I'm certain of but it will take a lot of work to leave behind some of the stench that surrounds it.

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Well as an existing customer ...

Apart from the mail problems (and that's fixed now we have the option of not using their servers) I've found them quite reliable - certainly enough to recommend them to friends. YMMV, but at work we have to deal (on behalf of our customers) with most providers at some time - and it seems to be a case of who is "least bad" to deal with. On that count I find PlusNet far, far from being the worst.

Before PlusNet I was with Demon, but the only reason I left Demon was because they didn't offer the right combination of features on their ADSL packages at the time my exchange got enabled - I used Demon for my work connection and never had any serious complaint about them.

My biggest worry is what BT will do to PlusNet - expectations of standard dropping to the depths of OpenWoe are foremost and when that happens I'll be looking for my MAC.

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Question for those current PN customers...

who are singing the praises of PusNet..

How LONG have you been with them?

Nuff said

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