back to article BT Vision beats rivals to honour of being worst UK Pay-TV

BT Vision is the most complained about pay TV service in the UK, regulator Ofcom said, receiving nearly four times as many whinges in the first quarter of this year as Virgin Media and nine times as many as Sky. Although moans about paid television services were generally low, BT got the most with 0.27 per 1,000 customers, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

    To insist on customers calling an 0870 number to report a landline fault has to be a failure.

    "you could have reported it by the internet!" says the indian voice of support.

    Yeah right. If my frigging landline is down then I'm hardly going to have internet via DSL now am I?

    Then asking (or almost insisting) for a Mobile number 'to call you back on' is plain crazy. Not everyone in this country has a mobile especially the elderly who are surprise, surprise more likely to have a landline.

    Pah. Failure of a mega proportion.

    Now If I could onlt get Virgin Media to stop sending advertising to me (Addressed to the householder).

    Offcom are useless so nothing is changing now is it?

    1. Shakje

      Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

      So, what you're saying is, that when you can't report the issue online, can't email, and can't phone that they should just, what, guess you've got a problem?

      Or is the fail that they don't want another landline, only a mobile number?

      I'm not sure what you want them to offer you...

    2. Skoorb

      Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

      You don't have to ring an 0870 number from your mobile, their number is 0203 441 5550 (see

    3. Bakunin

      Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

      "Now If I could onlt get Virgin Media to stop sending advertising to me (Addressed to the householder)."

      I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one (Sorry).

      One A4 sized waste of paper marketing blurb roughly every two weeks and it's been going on longer than I care to remember. Plus they know full well that you can't block post to the "householder" under the Mailing Preference Service.

      Anyone know if return to sender is paid for by the original sender? If not I'm going to start forwarding these to their CEO.

      Yea. direct marketing! Your right to be bombarded by crap that it's your responsible for disposing of!

      1. NogginTheNog

        Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

        I'm sick of these too, especially the ones in brown envelopes which look important! I complained to the ASA but they said they can't do anything as it's addressed to "The Householder", even though they clearly got my address because I went on to their website where you HAVE to give them your address in order to see what they're offering!

        I might try the "forward on to the CEO" trick myself...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

        Don't "return to sender". Write the CEO's address on it and post it stampless. Royal Mail usually deliver insufficiently franked mail to businesses with a card asking them for the difference. (householders get asked to pay the difference upfront before they get the mail)

      3. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

        I get junk mail from Virgin media despite there not being any cable within 10 miles of the town I live in

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

          I get junk mail from Virgin Media advertising their broadband despite already subscribing to the service. Genius. You'd think a technology company would have some way to match up the addresses in their customer and marketing databases (if only because it would save them paper & franking), but it would appear to be beyond their wit.

          The broadband is fast though, no complaints there.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

          My street never got upgraded from ancient analogue Telewest cable but Virgin's direct marketing morons still claim in their personalised junk mail that I can enjoy all the benefits of "fibre optic broadband". Surprise surprise, I check on their website and the best I can get is 4 meg ADSL.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Talk-Talk Bottom? Same old, same old.

      They have a landline number you can call if you bother to look on the website.

      FYI: 0203 441 5550

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "BT pointed out to The Register that its telly service is dependent on the quality of customers' Freeview reception and broadband"

    Guess who supplies most broadband via ADSL? they only have themselves to blame!

  3. Austin Montego

    It's a bit cheeky for BT to partly pass the buck onto poor quality broadband...

  4. Gerard Krupa

    Signal quality

    "BT pointed out to The Register that its telly service is dependent on the quality of customers' Freeview reception and broadband, as opposed to the other big boys in television Sky and Virgin Media, who deliver via satellite dish and cable respectively."

    Obviously someone who has never tried to watch Sky during a thunderstorm or snow or even a heavy shower.

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Signal quality

      If your satellite cuts out in bad weather then you need a bigger dish.

      Mine is rock solid in all weather conditions but I do get interference when planes fly past on their way to land at Manchester.

  5. Lallabalalla

    I've said it before and I'm happy to say it again

    TalkTalk. Worst. ISP. Ever.

  6. Cihatari

    BT Vision can relax for the next set of Ofcom results...

    We have the YouView launch finally on the horizon you all know which ISP is heavily involved with that. I'll say no more!

  7. Eradicate all BB entrants

    I liked the extra info on the BBC....

    ....that stated they had paid over £730 million for 114 football matches over 3 years. That would get you 18-20 years of F1 which could be a total of 400 races. With 700k customers thats at least a grand over 3 years for each one just to break even. Whomever signed that deal must have got one of the biggest backhanders in history.

  8. David Gosnell

    BT and billing

    Yeah, well that affects their services across the board - having just struggled through our annual fight with them over our phone line's alleged "loyalty discount", screwed up every damn year. It's only because there are no clear cut better alternatives that they earn this loyalty by default.

  9. Steve Evans

    Not much sympathy...

    "BT pointed out to The Register that its telly service is dependent on the quality of customers' Freeview reception and broadband, as opposed to the other big boys in television Sky and Virgin Media, who deliver via satellite dish and cable respectively."

    Very true, and freeview signals can be patchy, but *YOU* are the ones charging that monthly rent on the 50 year old corroded pair the customers broadband has to struggle along!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Talktalk not bad for me

    I went talktalk as there were a lot cheaper than BT and BT/Openreach didn't have ADSL2 at my local exchange. No complaints here, I've had far more hassles with arrogant BT over the years.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Talk Talk

    I had nearly a month of dodgy broadband, eventually tracked down to dodgy cabling. To be fair once I'd got past the 1st line overseas monkeys, the engineers were pretty good, but the whole thing was hamstrung because the support of the line was BT Openreach, and so every visit and report back involved bouncing around waiting for third parties to do their stuff!

    On the upside I did eventually get a great line (now getting 11Mbps, 6Mbps previously!), and a hefty discount for 6 months after I complained 8-)

  12. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Unwanted snail mail

    "To the householder stuff" can be stopped by using the Royalmail optout service.

    Royalmail don't like it, but your postie will thank you (they get paid a fixed-rate pittance to deliver the stuff and it often adds significantly to their delivery hours)

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Unwanted snail mail

      So I went to Royal Mail and read up on their opt out service. You either write to them or email them and they send you a form to your home address. They do this, they say, for security reasons. Makes sense to me otherwise I could opt anyone out I liked.

      So I sent them an email asking for my form to be posted out. About 30 minutes later I received my form by email I just need to print it off and post it back. So much for that "security" then.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TalkTalk would be a joke, but they've not improved enough.

    I have an email (several in fact) from "" which say (and I quote) "we are unable to help you from this helpdesk regarding technical issues."

    Not surpring really. These are the cretins who kept insisting that issues with FTP login to update webspace content was a problem with email. (Took 5 months or so to sort that out and, even then, had a followup call a few months later to apologise for the time taken to resolve my [non existent] "email problem").

    Took them about the same time to get a working direct debit set up as well, despite everything else being in order..

    Oh, and they have quite a reputation for "issues" with logging your marketing preferences. They will phone to sell you aonther contract/product etc., despite what your preferrences say.

    They are also utterly unable to confirm a marketing call is genuinely from TalkTalk BEFORE you confirm any personal data. For that, they go the same way as any other potential scammer: They get the most insane runaround I can think of for as long as I can keep from laughing.

  14. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    0.72 complaints about TalkTalk per 1,000 customers

    ... that'll be cause the rest of the 1000 customers either gave up trying to complain months earlier or are still stuck somewhere in the dark recesses of talk talk's telephone support system.

  15. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    BT Vision? It's not that bad

    I've had BT Vision for over 2 years. Anything to get rid of Sky.

    From a technical standpoint, it's worked totally flawlessly since day one. Somehow, even when watching video on demand, there is still plenty of internet bandwidth for YouTube etc; watching on demand titles doesn't seem to have any noticeable effect on 'genera' internet bandwidth. Perhaps you get a 'preferential' connection if you have BT Vision? Not sure. I've had absolutely zero billing problems, too.

    My only gripe is the set-top box itself. It works fine and all that, but it doesn't do Freeview HD. Only standard definition 'over the air' channels. Grrrr... That gets on my nerves. I'd like to be able to watch the BBC et al in HD (on the rare occasions that I watch terretrial TV). I can watch pay-per-view films etc on BT Vision in HD no problem, but not terrestrial TV. Would have been nice to see the Jubilee celebrations, and the Jubilee concert, and Wimbledon, and the olympics etc in HD.... Grrrr...

    Come on BT - give us a HD set-top box, please!

  16. jason 7

    Talk Talk = Lazy

    My dad used TT for his ISP for several years. It just got worse and worse (getting down to less than 1Mb) and next to useless. I got him to call them up and they just said "Computer says no!" They said nothing could be done.

    We tested a new router and that made no difference.

    So I got dad to switch over to BT. He cancelled TT, we switched over the ISP details and....

    Instant rock solid 6.5Mbps connection!

  17. yeahyeahno

    BT pointed out

    "BT pointed out to The Register that its telly service is dependent on the quality of customers' Freeview reception and broadband, as opposed to the other big boys in television Sky and Virgin Media, who deliver via satellite dish and cable respectively."

    Le me re-write that

    "BT pointed out to The Register that its telly service is dependent on the quality of customers' Freeview reception and broadband, as opposed to the other big boys in television Sky and Virgin Media, who are dependent on the quality of customers satellite reception and cable."

    So what exactly are BT saying here? That terrestrial TV and broadband is crap, whilst satellite and cable is great?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Worst provider by far, claiming to be getting better but have just closed their CEO office in Warrington (the people who actually deal with the complaints) and relocated it to Stornoway because it's cheaper, where they are so short on number some of the staff actually turned up for their interview in their school uniform they are that young. And they have closed their Northampton site which houses their sales compliance teams, (the other rout you would take if you wanted to complain)... So a company clearly not doing anything to prevent complaints.

    Then there's TV coming which will drive in many more complaints that they are not prepared for, and now have no staff to deal with them. Oh and the thousands of customers that have broadband but are also being billed for dial up...

    A few friends of mine that have called up have had massive credits thrown at them rather than actually fixing their problem because they are getting so many calls and don't have time for that kind of stuff, so looks like a good time to be calling them.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Less or Fewer?

    "Ofcom got 0.72 complaints about TalkTalk per 1,000 customers between January and March, but that was less moans than it got in the previous five quarters about the telco."

    'Less moans' or 'fewer moans'?

    1. Fuzz

      Re: Less or Fewer?

      The number of moans is fewer but I think that the moans per 1000 customers is less.

  20. Deadmonty
    Thumb Up

    Talk Talk Marketing

    Talk Talk marketing rang me every afternoon for four weeks. Then I accused "Kevin" (as he called himself) of not actually being called "Kevin" and terminated the call by calling him a cunt and if he ever rang me again and I'd hunt him down and castrate him.

    He actually rang me back two minutes later and threatened to call the Police. So, called him a cunt again and hung up. No plod at the doorstep and they've stopped their marketing calls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Talk Talk Marketing

      Why on earth did you try to compliment Kevin?

      Now you'll have to do the rounds of every cunt in Christendom and apologise for comparing a TalkTalk marketing droid to them.

  21. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Hmm, still not as bad as in Germany

    German Sky, aka Premiere, often refuses to accept cancellations. They simply don't pick up the letter.

    Their program consists of sports (mandatory in all packages), a random selection of films (about what you get on Film 4, but often in a lower technical quality) and some re-run channels. They have no original programming. They used to have original programming in the 1990s, but now it's just a wasteland.

  22. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Ohh and getting rid of Junkmail

    In Germany we have a pretty bad cable company called "Kabel Deutschland". They mostly stay in business because landlords have blanket agreements with them forcing the people to pay for their "services". Their services include analogue TV channels with audio breakdowns for days which nobody even considers fixing.

    Anyhow they want people to sign up for ludicrous ideas like broadband cable Internet. For this they regularly send mail addressed to the building... What I did to stop this is simple. I offered them an offer they could refuse. I wrote a letter saying them that reading their mail causes certain costs and that I can no longer do that for free. That's why I made them an offer for a technical opinion on the contents of their letter. They could have 1000 Euros per letter, or the comfortable flat-rate package of 10k per year. All they need to accept the flat-rate do is to continue sending me such mail after a certain date. To make sure I'm serious, I wrote them a free sample of the work they would get. I haven't heard of them since then. :)

  23. Hubert Thrunge Jr.

    Talk Talk - pah!

    I had Pipex Business Broadband in my office. Pipex got bought out by Tiscali (and the alarm bells started to tinkle a bit...), but service was still good, low contention, good speeds all day (I did a lot of work in the evening with no drop in quality). Then TalkTalk bought Tiscali and announced that they were upgrading our service to use their backhauls, etc... Being on a ADSL2 exchange at the time, not a 2+ I had a solid 8Mb, with a throughput of up to 6.8Mbit/s with Pipex pretty well all day. After TalkTalk's "upgrade", the day performance rarely exceeded 4.6Mbit, and the evening performance was typically 360Kbit/sec. What's more they insisted that they could upgrade me to their up-to-24Mbit service, even though our exchange wasn't due for upgrade to 21CN for 18 months. They tried to blame my line, the exchange, all sorts of things. In the end I asked them to leave my life and signed up with another business grade ISP, and as if by magic, my line performance is back to, and if not better than, how it was with Pipex. It took quite a few attempts to get rid of TalkTalk, from asking them to go, it took three months for them to acknowledge the fact and tell me that "in 30 days your service will terminate", and a further 90 days for it to actually happen! I think they've gone now.....

    And as for 3 - I've been a customer of theirs since the day they launched, I am a "Founder", and never once have I had cause to complain. When I've had to call them, I've resolved everything with just one call. I think I've called them three times since March 2003. Compare that to o2, who I used for a business shared contract, we seem to be on the phone to them regularly! Though, they do, on the whole, sort stuff out well.

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