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back to article END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH: TalkTalk no longer worst ISP in UK

Even Ofcom was surprised to report today that TalkTalk is no longer the UK's number one most bitched about broadband provider. In a sign that the world may actually end this Friday, TalkTalk was ingloriously pushed into second place by Orange. TalkTalk, headed up by one-time jockey Dido Harding, saw its horse finish second in …

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FAIL

so talk talk still provide the worst service?

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Anonymous Coward

Possibly.

These statistics are drawn only from people who complain direct to Ofcom (complaining to TalkTalk or the Ombudsman don't count here). TalkTalk have a policy to refuse to answer any question on how to complain to Ofcom. This is even taken to the extent that if you post Ofcom's phone number or web address on their support forums (http://www.talktalkmembers.com/forums/) it will be silently deleted - seriously, go and have a shot :-/

All this says is that they have managed to reduce the number of people calling Ofcom or filling in the form on their website.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Possibly.

"All this says is that they have managed to reduce the number of people calling Ofcom or filling in the form on their website."

Reminds me of a "Quality" training course many years ago. The team exercise was to reduce the number of complaints left by customers to a hypothetical hotel. The winning team's solution was to stop taking any bookings. The lecturer cried foul - but admitted they hadn't broken any of the rules he had set for the exercise.

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Or like reducing gp wait times to 24 hours by not letting you book an appointment more than 24 hours away? There is a special place in hell waiting for people who come up with crap like that.

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Meh

Can't be that bad

If only one in three thousand complain it must mean that a hell of a lot of people are satisfied. I joined Talktalk when they started and have always have had good service, particularly as they were the first to introduce really low cost broadband!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't be that bad

No, it means that 2,999 couldn't get though to the Helpdesk because their phone/broadband didn't work.

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Re: Can't be that bad

No, it means that one in three thousand succesfully found and filled in this form: https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/formal-phone-company

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FAIL

@MikeHuk (Talktalk Salesman?) - Re: Can't be that bad

Wrote :- "I joined Talktalk when they started and have always have had good service, particularly as they were the first to introduce really low cost broadband!"

I smell a Talktalk salesman - this post sounds like stuff straight from the sales training course. The exclamation mark is a particualr give-away.

Would you happen to be the PoS Talktalk salesman who phoned me, despite my number being on the Telephone Preference Service exclusion list, and (a) Pretended that he had never heard of the TPS; and then (b) claimed that Talktalk was entilted to cold-call BT customers because (as he pretended) it was some kind of BT subsidiary?

I sent a formal complaint about Talktalk to the TPS but of course they do nothing. As least I managed to frighten the bar steward by the time I finished with him.

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Re: @MikeHuk (Talktalk Salesman?) - Can't be that bad

I am in fact a retired NHS Nurse and have no connection with Talktalk. Only stating my personal experience.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't be that bad

Usually because of a BT Openreach problem.

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Thumb Up

Re: @MikeHuk (Talktalk Salesman?) - Can't be that bad

Wrote :- "I am in fact a retired NHS Nurse and have no connection with Talktalk."

Accepted, and apologies, but do try to avoid posts that sound like sales hype. I am happy with Demon as an ISP, but I know others have had trouble with it and I don't think anyone would think I sound like a salesman of theirs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't be that bad

It means they're still worse than most of the competition.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @MikeHuk (Talktalk Salesman?) - Can't be that bad

Downvote for cheap name, too much like mike hunt.

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No surprise there

After trying Orange a while back and getting dreadful service, both technical and from customer support, we ended up getting released from our contract after about three months. The view I got was that the call centre in Asia really did not care about the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No surprise there

I had to go as far as filing a Small Claims court action against Orange (yes I know that's not the proper name for the court).

I was supposed to get free VoIP calls to Europe but the morons couldn't grasp the concept the reason it didn't work was they had the wrong MAC address for my Router in the DB (they even told me the one they had) and apparently it's very complex to change.

Another arrogant little prick of a script monkey told me when I threatened to sue for the non existent service "Our lawyers will be better than yours, so I wouldn't bother"

One letter later and all was resolved i.e. got full refund + expenses and left the contract, Amazing what a letter from a court can do.

Been with O2 who's service has been fantastic.

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FAIL

Re: No surprise there

We got a call from orange, offering us a new deal which was cheaper than our current one and would enable ADSL2+ so we could get a higher connection speed so we took it.

BUT apparently we aren't in an orange area anymore, and due to the change in contract we were subject to the "not in our area fee" and where we changed our phone line to orange, we again recieved a second "not in our area fee" from the bastards.

It then took nearly an hour on the phone to get through to somebody to sort this crap out. And even then it didn't get sorted because my step dad (buy who pays the bills" accepted their bullshit "we'll refund you the first 6 months" offer they gave him, not thinking that we'll need to change back to a BT line which costs a shit load and the fact that it still makes orange money.

I've been nagging him for the past few years to change to a half decent provider (best down here is sky) but still nothing

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FAIL

PlusNet

Even PlusNet, who are usually very good, ruffled my feathers in attempting to offer a fibre broadband without lookup to my rural address, wasting my time waiting on a BT engineer telling me at 8.30pm that I was too far from the exchange, trying to charge me for a fibre service, then trying to double the price of the basic broadband as they "didn't realise I resided so far from the exchange".

Or are they bundled in with the BT complaints?

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Unhappy

Re: PlusNet

PlusNet appear to be a BT subsidary.

Will they turn into a sock puppet?

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Holmes

You get what you pay for

Three accounts with Zen. No complaints at all. You really do get what you pay for.

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Re: Three accounts with Zen

I disagree completely. I left them because:

- they kept returning 1 in 10 emails because my sender DNS domain "didn't exist" (they didn't see how this was a problem on their network, not mine)

- their line speed was very poor, after a few complaints I left and went to BT Business and they said "oh yeah, your router's MTU is wrong, it should be this..."

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Happy

Re: You get what you pay for

Three accounts with Zen. No complaints at all. You really do get what you pay for.

With all due respect, nonsense, I've got a BT account, paying half what I should (£23 a month inc line rental for unlimited downloads with 16Mb speed - just ask for your MAC code towards the end of the first year contract and it's amazing what they can suddenly offer you.)

P2p might be slowed in the eve, but I just do that overnight, no problems with online gaming or BBCi / 4OD (living in the wilds of west Yorkshire so hills and green - no option for Virgin cable).

Admittedly, I do live less than a mile from a recently upgraded exchange, but even at 6Mbs before I had few complaints.

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christmas break, wait till Jan

Customers cant be bothered to complain because its coming up to Christmas.

Wait till January and "TT" will be in the NUMBER 1 charts again.

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Re: christmas break, wait till Jan

I dunno. Orange really are vile.

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Anonymous Coward

All of BT's problems could be solved as follows...

1. Ditch the off shore call centres. I fully expect the first few tiers of a call centre to be... let's say... disinterested and disengaged, but no-one at BT's call centres fully understands or can really speak English. And they certainly don't know about broadband or telephones.

2. Ditch the Home Hub 3 and stop running misleading ads about it: it doesn't have the 'best ever' wifi signal, smart wireless doesn't work, lease renewal doesn't work, and the router is buggy as hell. It does look quite nice though.

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FAIL

talktalk 'accidentally' charged us for two accounts over 3 years...

1 tweet later (also mentioning our lawyers twitter account in the same tweet):

https://twitter.com/cfpsolutions/status/268327627306180609

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Mushroom

Re: talktalk 'accidentally' charged us for two accounts over 3 years...

The linked tweet shows they owed £3259.61.

You should have petitioned to have them put into "Compulsory Liquidation" as the debt was more than £750.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/companies/company-liquidation#5

Tweet was dated 13 Nov, and promise to pay was 3rd Oct; so they have exceeded standard 30 day payment terms.

(IANAL as always!)

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Re: talktalk 'accidentally' charged us for two accounts over 3 years...

would have been nice if we thought of it at the time... they paid up pretty pronto after that.

funny thing was, after the tweet with the solicitor's mention, every emailed reply had this at the top:

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

That firm is actually our company solicitor's, but I guess they needn't be when it comes to social media ;-)

Openreach... don't get me started. £330 for a hole in the wall:

http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/pricing/loadProductPriceDetails.do?data=ZdqG%2Fxv%2FjSuBEEITnogh5uNOEwQ2%2FKws5WBAVcIlcholMnGHsqdC0vzO163bJmh34D91D7M0q8u%2F%0AIlSgtIFAKw%3D%3D

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Devil

Come on guys, Talk-Talk is not that bad...

It just plainly doesn't work.

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In the spirit of the season

I'm going to be generous to TalkTalk (though I suspect I might regret it in terms of downvotes).

Bearing in mind that they have been formed by fairly aggressive acquisition (buying various former ISPs like Tiscali, Nildram et al), they have to have been exerting considerable effort to combine all these disparate operations, with concomitant knock-on effects (organisational change isn't easy-peasy!).

That there's a clear downward trend in their complain numbers suggests two possibilities: either they're getting their act together (as the integration efforts reach fruition), or they're bleeding customers heavily.

Personally, I wouldn't touch 'em with a hyper-extended bargepole, but I know some people who are very happy with them.

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Happy

Re: In the spirit of the season

"That there's a clear downward trend in their complain numbers suggests two possibilities: either they're getting their act together (as the integration efforts reach fruition), or they're bleeding customers heavily."

Or perhaps both

IOW They've realised rubbish service -> losing customers -> losing money.

Plausible. No. Possible. Yes.

That's about as close as you'll see me get to the "spirit of the season."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In the spirit of the season

I know others have had problems with TT, but I've been with them 2 years now and not had a single issue. For me it's either TT or BT at my local exchange and the issues I've had with BT made me go with TT.

My exchange has only just gone 21CN but before that BT only offered ADSL max at twice the price of TTs 22meg service, which being a very lucky 400m from the exchange I get the full 22meg.

As Captain Jack said "one must always choose the lesser of two weevils"

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Facepalm

Its a 2 way street,

i have been with many providers that people say are shit, blah blah blah - i have never had a problem with them at all. Maybe being a competent user helps :D Mind you i do hate offshore call centres as well - especially when they have made up western names, hello my name is Dave - fcuk of is it.

i think this explains it better - http://theoatmeal.com/comics/customer_service

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Anonymous Coward

Orange sucks

My mum was on the free broadband with your mobile contract offer. When this was withdrawn she offered to pay for her broadband (moving house soon so didn't need the hassle of finding a new provider) on a monthly basis -- orange said okay, then disconnected her. They said the person who said she could carry on with a rolling monthly contract had left (you what?) and to continue her service she'd have to sign up for an 18 month contract.

A quick call to ofcom, a call back to orange and things were soon put right (although who knows for how long).

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could it just be that

everyone has already left? if there are less customers there is going to be less complaints.

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Re: could it just be that

With the exception that these figures are quoted per 1000 customers, so they now have fewer OFCOM complaints per customer. As noted above, it is probably a combination of them trying to get their act together, and the people most likely to complain having left.

Personally, I have had no problems with their customer service, and have been a customer for a number of years. y only gripe is that when I did have to complain about an ADSL fault, there was a 3-4 week wait before they could send an engineer out. Given that this was shorlty after all the flooding in the UK though, it is probably explained by a peak in the number of faults due to that.

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Stop

Re: could it just be that

You, erm, understand how ratios work?

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That's strange

according to these figures, Virgin are good

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Stop

Re: That's strange

figures must be wrong then.

Even for hyper-expensive leased line DIA, virgin media's promised 45-day install took .. wait for it (yes, we certainly did) from late July until mid-February.

If their broadband is like that, the figures are definitely wrong :-)

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Devil

Just a thought

It's all very well collating the data, but do they intend to do anything about it?

(Probably not; after all, that would almsot certainly require a completely new government department.)

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Re: Just a thought

What would you propose they do? The publishing of the figures is action enough in a free market . Consumers can compare price and service and decide which provider meets their needs.

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Meh

Nildram was good until they became TalkTalk

I use to be a happy Nildram customer. Each take over degraded the service and reduced the cost (marginally). Eventually TalkTalk took them over and the standard was the worst, billing was no good and I switched to The Phone Coop. It took over 6 months, a complaint to Ofcom and an email to the CEO to get rid of them.

I'm glad they are getting better, but considering how terrible they were it should be impossible for them to get any worse!

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TalkTalk Business (which I also have arrived at via Nildram) are excellent. On the odd occasion when I've had a problem, you can get straight through to a UK call centre staffed by capable people. Of course, they're not the cheapest option.

I continue to be unsurprised that people choose the cheapest service provider and then find that you can't expect Rolls-Royce service for a Lada price (and that applies to any service, not just Internet access).

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Anonymous Coward

Yes they are

TalkTalk are in fact three disparate companies, TalkTalk Telecom (that does residential), TalkTalk Business (that sells to business and home workers) and TalkTalk Technology (that actually run their network - http://www.talktalktechnology.com/). Technology and Business are half decent when it comes to speed and quality of support and services, it's the residential arm that cuts costs to the bone.

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@Chris

However, one should expect the service to work, no matter how much (or how little) you pay for it.

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Unhappy

Note that "industry average" bar and also that there are about 450 ISP's in the UK.

But none of the worst 3 can even manage even the average level.

While Vermin and Sky can

Bottom line. If you want service to improve.

a)Shift to VM or Sky b) Shift to one of the 450+ other ISP's.

They probably don't have offshore call centres and where your subscription may be proportionately more valuable. 1 user among 1million is not much, 1 in 10 000 is likely to receive a bit more attention. It's likely many of the smaller players are regional providers at best but so what? Maybe they don't cover Wales. Big deal if you plan to move to Wales, otherwise who cares. Only covers Derby? Perhaps you've got a bargain (if you live there). Maybe they will roll out further, and so on.

Are all of those other suppliers more expensive? Is it really all about the money?

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Boffin

Re: Note that "industry average" bar and also that there are about 450 ISP's in the UK.

From the Ofcom report:

"The ‘industry average’ refers to the average of providers included in the Ofcom research. Complaints about other smaller providers are not included in this average."

Statistically speaking of course, if only the worst three had more than average complaints out of 450 then they would have to be truly appalling.

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Re: Note that "industry average" bar and also that there are about 450 ISP's in the UK.

Unfortunately the huge majority of those 450+ ISPs use BT's infrastructure.

If you want (and can get) a BT unbundled line you're left with one of the major players. It's a pity O2/BE don't appear in this study though.

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+1 for Zen Internet, pretty much the cream of the crop.

I must add that Freeola have also been excellent and a little cheaper than Zen.

Also, get yourself a proper faceplate and a decent router. (I have found Draytek's to be excellent under most conditions). This alone can make a real difference to latency, throughput and reliability.

thinkbroadband.com has some good comparison material available too.

As someone else said, you REALLY DO get what you pay for.

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Anonymous Coward

Optional

I'm with talk talk for my broadband (believe me, they were not 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 15th choice). My only options on the local exchange for my flat are Orange, Bulldog and a couple of "i've never heard of you" providers and at that only Orange and Bulldog (are this company even still alive?) offered ADSL2 at the exchange, all others were still 1.

I have to say that as it goes they are alright, i get 10mbs, not amazing but atleast it's stable. I'd say in a year it's gone down about 3 times for less than an hour each time. I can't grumble too much given the connection is completely unlimited. I can't speak for their customer service as i've never bothered to call them (with the outages being so short) but their actual service, in my case, has been acceptable.

It's amazing that i can't get a fibre connection in the centre of Nottingham *grumble*.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Optional

I can't get a fibre connection in the centre of Westminster, a few minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament in one direction and Buckingham Palace in the other!

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