TalkTalk may be earning plaudits in Whitehall for being the first major UK ISP to implement network-level anti-malware blockers on its service, but the company's customers aren't so easy to please. Regulator Ofcom published its latest customer satisfaction findings in Blighty's communications market today, based on a survey of 3 …
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Friends (who sadly had switched to TalkTalk to 'save' a few pence a month) recently had problem with PC/Internet. After hour on phone TalkTalk decided that they needed to send an engineer out but, as they lived in the sticks, there wasn't a TalkTalk engineer in the area so they'd have to get a BT engineer out. The cost would be £99.95!
I wandered round and after two minutes talking to them and a few questions had solved the problem: It seem that the phone worked if the computer wasn't plugged in and the computer/router worked if the phone wasn't plugged in. Let's try swapping the filter (cost £1.95). Surprise - it worked!
If I can sort it out in two minutes why can't TalkTalk?
But actually BT aren't any better - another friend had problem, hour or two on phone to BT in Bangalore - various suggestions. Five minute visit by me and a bit of cable swapping and it's clear router is stuffed. Phone BT and they agree at once to send a replacement. Why can't they just do that up front? It's a simple flowchart of what works and what doesn't!
Clearly you've never worked on a phone helping the general public.
I'm not going to say their support is good, but people can be really dumb, and if they sent out a replacement router every time some rang and complained your connection would cost about 300pounds a month to pay for anyone not technical.
I once fitted a wifi-router for a user so they could have "wireless" at home, next week called back out to the same place, Me: "where is the wifi-router I installed here last week?" them: "the what?" me: "the white box connected to the phone line and the power connection?" them: "Oh I packed that back into the box, I didn't like the look of it there and shouldn't need it as I have wireless!"
I put my parents on talktalk a few years ago and it saves them allot of money a year compared to the rip off price they were paying BT and its gone down maybe twice, once a talktalk big outage, once the OpenReach BT exchange had a problem. I've been really happy with them.
If their doorstep salesmen are anything to go by...
...I wouldn't want anything to do with TalkTalk. They were aggressive, abusive, called mulitiple times and didn't seem to understand when I turned down their offer of "free internet and telephone calls".
Had a bit of a moan at head office via email, to which I got a short response written in text-speak, to the effect that "they're nothing to do with us mate".
What a bunch of cowboys.
Nice to see Ofcom keeping up with the times
Starting tomorrow (22 July), ISPs will be required to include details of the relevant dispute resolution service (DRS) on all their paper bills.
Who gets dead tree bills these days? Not many when these skinflint companies charge you lots for the honour of possibly getting something through the post.
If you don't get a dead tree bill then good luck in getting your ISP to follow these guidlines. That clause is a perfect 'get out' for them especially Don't-Talk.
Not so bad once you get past the monkeys
To be honest, I am pretty happy with TalkTalk. They have defended their customers against the "pay us or else" extortion schemes that keep cropping up, they are rapidly improving and expanding their network and they are significantly cheaper than some of the competition. They also don't seem to mind how much I download (on their unlimited package) - unlike both Orange and O2 who kicked me off for being a heavy user (past 3 months I have averaged over 200Gb)
I will agree that the first line support is shockingly bad - Every time I have had to speak to them i have had issues - from incompetence to hour long queue times. "We can't help you with the router disconnecting from the internet if you use wireless" - (so I pretend to plug in a wire). "We can't help because you run Linux" - (so I pretend I'm using Windows). "We can't help because..." - All for a fault on the line (that they failed to find and fix the first time)
Second line support is much better though.
That pretty well summarises my experience.
I rather think that the chances of getting good support from any ISP or telephone retailer is getting pretty slim.
Been there. Done that.
"We can't help you with the router disconnecting from the internet if you use wireless" - What you really mean here is they asked you to plug in a network cable so as to be sure that it is the internet connection that is dropping out and not the wireless. If it is wireless dropout and you say you have the cable plugged in... well its kind of unlikely to get resolved.
"We can't help because you run Linux" - You are lucky they know anything about windows.
As an ex talktalk tech support person I can tell you quite frankly that if you're lucky enough to get through to someone who does have a clue, lying about what you have and have not done based on your preconceptions of the issue vastly decreases your chances of getting a resolution. On the other hand, if you get through to someone who has no clue at all it may be necessary to... um... cloud the truth a little. I guess you just have to give them a chance to demonstrate their competence or lack thereof.
The one thing I will say is if you think the vast majority of people you speak to in tech support are morons, you should try it from the other side for a while :)
To the guy that posted about the dodgy filter. The first set of tests that SHOULD have been performed would have identified the filter problem. Id say about 60-70% of all issues are down to physical connecions set up incorrecly or filters being dodgy. However due to peoples resistance to running around the house unplugginng and replugging connections this frequently get skipped. (Never by me :D)
In summary, having had to clean up a lot of other peoples messes I'd agree. Overall TalkTalk totally blows and the frustration factor is exceedingly high.
"What you really mean here is they asked you to plug in a network cable so as to be sure that it is the internet connection that is dropping out and not the wireless. If it is wireless dropout and you say you have the cable plugged in... well its kind of unlikely to get resolved."
Whilst I appreciate that, maybe I should elaborate on the conversation a little...
I started the call by saying - "I have no internet connection. The red light is on the router showing that it is the router that has lost connection, also I am logged onto the router and it is showing the internet is offline. In the router logs it is showing a makechandial error. I have swapped my filter and tested from the master socket with nothing else connected but it has made no difference." - or words to that effect... In otherwords, in my openening sentences I told them enough information to effectively bypass the questions like "What operating system are you using?" and "are you connected wirelessly?". The fact is - they work from a script and have little to no training to deal with anything that is not in the same format as their script.
"The one thing I will say is if you think the vast majority of people you speak to in tech support are morons, you should try it from the other side for a while :)" - Part of my job is network configuration and support. I know what it is like to deal with people who have no idea what they are talking about - and yet they keep coming back to me because my experience is good enough that i can often diagnose a problem from some very vague descriptions of what has happened / is happening. I have never worked from a script when taking a support call.
I am not going get into a pissing competition here. Mainly because I agree with what your saying. I just felt that offering an inside view might be helpful. Someone disagreed however... and to them I say... :D
I signed up with the blighters
Because I'm in a rented house and the previous tenants had. It was such a hassle getting anybody to agree to switch the line away from TalkTalk that in the end I folded and just went with them.
Don't do it! The call centre reps are unbelievable (literally) and I got no router for a month after signing up. After moaning a lot, they gave us a £50 credit to go out and buy a router and so I did that. Our actual TalkTalk router turned up two weeks ago with a "welcome to your new broadband service" letter and email. We've been online since February... We also had no voice calls for several weeks after the broadband came on line.
I'm fully expecting a huge argument when we try to quit, with them saying that our sign up date was in July.
The broadband also kicks you off on average every 30 to 60 minutes for doing things like streaming a radio station, and then takes 5 minutes or so to reconnect, which is a proper pain when you've shelled out for a Squeezebox.
Never, ever again.
You get what you pay for
I have been with TT for 5 years now - I switched to them when I moved house.
Customer service is just a joke. Had problems with the broadband initially, phoned many times only to be routed to an Indian call centre who simply said "I'm sorry, the calls breaking up" if I dared to ask a question not on their script!
Then I (somehow) got routed to a UK engineer, who understood the problem, apologised for the call centres, and got it fixed the next day.
However, with the exception of a few days over the 5 years when the phone line has been down, it has worked fine. So for the vase majority of the time, poor customer service has simply not been an issue, and I have saved a fair chunk of cash by using them.
Would I recommend them - No, but I'm not sure who I would recommend, as to get the same package with good (as opposed to mediocre) customer support costs a lot more.
The best customer service does not equal the best overall service.
For customer support, O2 are (were) almost flawless. I never had any issues in speaking to someone, they had English call centres and their knowledge was excellent. However - their service was appauling, slow and unstable and their "Unlimited" service was not unlimited. After they asked me to "significantly reduce" my usage (which I did by over 80Gb the following month - they could not tell me what was an "acceptable" usage limit) they then decided to terminate my contract!
At least with TT, I have no issues with speed or download limits!
switching providers? I wish
someone says "Separately, the regulator has been considering forcing ISPs to make it easier for unhappy customers to switch providers. A review about this is expected from Ofcom later this year"
When are they going to do this for the poor buggers in Hull?
Are everywhere on all helldesks, it's just the accents which change.
Anyone with a clue gets promoted away from helldesk pretty quickly and heaven help anyone who deviates from the scripts.
Given the average customer is barely smart enough to find the Any key, ISP helldesks have to be this way.
If you want faster resolution from TT, then use their online forums. At least that way you'll get someone whose native language is english and has at least 2 clues to rub together.
@Neil Charles: Keep phoning up and complaining about the disconnections. I had a similar problem and it finally got resolved to a (known) faulty linecard in the exchange. It (only) took 6 engineer visits to get this changed out. Altenatively use the forums - you'll get faster results.
All ISPs use the threat of charges for engineer visits to dissuade complaints, but they can only charge IF the engineer sets foot inside your house AND the fault is determined to be on the internal wiring. As long as you verify things are misbehaving at the NTE5 master socket with the rest of the house unplugged you'll be fine.
It's not a matter of a threat... it's the economics of the system and being open about the costs involved. Openreach charge the ISP, the ISP can either eat the charges (and margins are pretty small on ADSL these days) or make it clear to the customer that they're not going to and the customer will need to pay for the engineer if they can't be bothered to complete the checks they are asked to complete.
Admittedly some ISPs seem to charge £silly when the standard openreach pricing structure is freely available at openreach.co.uk/pricing
The bugbear for me though, are sites without NTE5s... working out whether or not you'll get charged seems to be down to the engineer you get.
Never Had a Problem!
I know that Talktalk get lot of stick but I've never had a problem and I was with them from the start. I once had a problem with speed but after helpful advice from their technical people it's been okay ever since. Living in Gloucestershire I get around 7 mpbs which is fine for me. Once have the landline go down on me but Talktalk were able to fix it while I was reporting it on my mobile. Of course Ofcorn have not never asked for my opinion.
Erm, that's not how surveys work!
Surveys about anything work by inspecting a representative sample of <item>, then extrapolating the results to cover a much wider range of <items>.
So you ask some number of subscribers scattered across the country, chosen at semi-random. (Semi because you don't want to bias towards one particular area of the country.)
You don't let your respondents self-select (like those daft 'How did we do?' things you see in hotels), as you'll only get extremist responses that way, and you can't ask everybody because it'd be too much information.
Incidentally, my experience (via relatives) of Talk Talk has been pretty terrible, but not surprisingly so.
On line support
Provided you can find another means of internet access, in the rare event of a problem, their web user forum, which is staffed very competently is excellent. I would avoid phone support or their top level web page support though, it's the user forum you need.
"...general dissatisfaction with the customer service advisor" = Indian call centres.
Dealing with Indian call centres is a pain in the arse.
Companies operating in the UK should be forced to have call centres in the UK and employ people that can speak English clearly.
There are plenty of towns in the UK with high unemployment that the calls centres can be based. At least it will get people back to work and government will get more in taxes.
+1 for the online forums.
I'm the first to moan about poor service but also believe good service should be made public.
Since getting TalkTalk ~3 years ago I've had no problems at all. I live about 500 metres from the exchange and get a rock solid 21Mbit all day/all night. The only filtering TalkTalk admit to is P2P traffic during busy times. This means at 5-8pm, my FTP downloads run at 2.3MBytes/sec and my torrents are running at 1.3Mbytes/sec.
I went through the forums to have my profile changed based on my SNR ratios which gained me an extra 3-4Mbit/sec speed.
My only complaint is that it is very difficult to move once a line has been unbundled. I could be tempted by Sky as I now have a new Anytime+ box that will only download new stuff from a Sky broadband line. To go to Sky, I have to go back through BT.
This is in a heavily oversubscribed Virgin area where I would get ~20Mbit at night and less than 500k during the day! Virgin monkeys blaming everything under the sun apart from oversubscription.
Titles are overrated~
I've been having 721 errors when I try to connect since the 11th of July. (Cannot connect to remote computer.)
I've called tech support twice and they told me I need a router from them if I sign up for a contract because my USB modem is "not compatible."
tiscali weren't so bad, but Talk Talk are just awful.
Make sure you take names when they answer.
When getting stupidity like this, ask to speak to the floor manager, don't take no for an answer and don't let them call you back (they won't).
TT's South African and UK call centres are at least as bad as the Indian ones, just not quite as irritating/patronising.
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