back to article TalkTalk offers customer £30.20 'final settlement' after crims nick £3,500

TalkTalk is trying and failing to mend its broken customer relationships following the recent mega breach, in one case offering an individual who had £3,500 stolen from his personal bank account £30.20 as a “good will gesture [and] final settlement” by way of compensation when he tried to get out of his contract. Ian …

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Trollface

That Dido photo

I just want to pull that little hair out of the right side of her chin... Does anyone else see that?

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Boffin

Re: That Dido photo

The first little pig built her house out of straw.

Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said:

'Little pig, little pig, let me come in.' To which the pig answered:

'No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.' The wolf then answered to that:

'Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.'

So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew her house in, and ate up the little pig.

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Re: That Dido photo

I want to be able to use the phrase "That was a close shave!", but I can't ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That Dido photo

Internet comments FTW, or not, as the case may be.

You guys are disgusting.

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Re: That Dido photo

"Internet comments FTW, or not, as the case may be.

You guys are disgusting."

No, as a shareholder in the company who does not give a monkey's fuck about what it does to the customer as long as it makes me a profit I expect the bint to put some make up on when she has a photo opportunity....... Unless you are suggesting she does not have to because she knows what she is talking about.

Fuck me. Even Theresa May makes an effort.

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Re: That Dido photo

"You guys are disgusting."

She deserves every word.

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If we're lowering ourselves to personal insults

I'm reasonably sure Dido is a mirrored Martin Freeman, with some earrings.

e.g.

http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/fargo/images/7/74/Martin-Freeman.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140226230335

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Re: If we're lowering ourselves to personal insults

Looks to me like the bastard offspring of Gordon Ramsey and Boris Johnson.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That Dido photo

man in drag?

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Re: That Dido photo

No, just a highly-masculinised female .... probably.

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Facepalm

Re: That Dido photo

Fuck me. Even Theresa May makes an effort.

Please. Do not use 'Fuck me' and 'Theresa May' in the same sentence.

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Yahoo should have pulled their finger out...

I just see Feargal Sharkey.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That Dido photo

@macjules

Looks like you fell short of your own standard.

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FAIL

Re: That Dido photo

Fuck me. Even Theresa May makes an effort.

Please. Do not use 'Fuck me' and 'Theresa May' in the same sentence.

It's not the same sentence, there's a full stop in there.

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Anonymous Coward

6 or 12 months

I wonder how many customers they will have left in 6 or 12 months time? And if they do have any, why? If I had been a TT customer I would be leaving ASAP, contract or not.

It really is time that CEO's and their direct reports were held to account for their actions or inactions. And all this bull about sophisticated cyber criminals and they have so far arrested a handful of 15/16 y.o's.?? WTF?

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Re: 6 or 12 months

"arrested a handful of 15/16 y.o's.?? WTF?"

And we hear nothing about their actions and connections. How did the plods connect these kids actions? Seems like a blind man shooting in the dark...

It feels like these teenagers are the low hanging fruit, and probably only participated in the DDoS, and not the data slurp.

You kids light the bag of shit on fire at the front door.... I'll wait at the back door ;-}

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Re: 6 or 12 months

@AC

I wonder how many customers they will have left in 6 or 12 months time?

It should be flat dead zero this time next week.

Seriously TT customers, just write to them regarding breach of care, breach of the DPA, and your view that it forms breach of contract. Explain that if they tarnish your credit rating or move what they imagine to be an unpaid breakage fee [1] you will see them in court. They simply don't have enough money for all of the lawyers they would need, especially as their income would have dropped to near zero, while their staffing, infrastructure, and financing costs remain.

[1] The fee is a term of the contract, which if you hold they breached it, can't be valid because the contract no longer exists and cannot then be enforceable.

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Re: 6 or 12 months

"...Seriously TT customers, just write to them regarding breach of care, breach of the DPA, and your view that it forms breach of contract..."

Yup.

I've done this a few years back with Virgin Mobile, over their* crappy mobile coverage: Stopped the direct debits and when they wrote telling me they were going to charge me a cancellation fee for breaking my 12 months contract with them, I replied that they'd broken the contract first by failing to provide the level of service claimed in their advertising –and signed off with a metaphorical 'see you in court'.

Never heard from them again.

[*DISCLAIMER: This was a while back. Virgin's mobile service might be better or worse, nowadays]

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 6 or 12 months

Seriously TT customers, just write to them regarding breach of care, breach of the DPA, and your view that it forms breach of contract

Correct. All you need is a website and a campaign to gather a sizeable number of wannabee leavers and you can start stomping on the remaining fragments of their reputation in such a public fashion that they'll pay you to end it, because the larger the exodus becomes, the less likely it is that they get enough new victims customers to fill that hole. When you turn churn into exit only, management will eventually face uncomfortable discussions with shareholders.

Further, if the number is large enough it will get political and Trading Standards will get a hint to start taking a look.

Exit conditions on a telco contract? Except for device amortisation that is, what, the 90s? That alone would have been an argument for me not to go near them. If you are /that/ uncertain about your ability to hold on to a customer you are already planning to underinvest in keeping the services stable. No thanks.

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Re: 6 or 12 months

If there is such a thing as a Reg reader on TalkTalk, it might be worth looking at your contract.

If my parents' experience last week is anything to go by TalkTalk is still auto renewing contracts despite Ofcom ruling it illegal. They mentioned this to TalkTalk and any talk of penalties suddenly ended and lots of really nice offers started coming their way - but they left TalkTalk and made sure Dido knew it was because they couldn't trust the company.

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JDX
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Re: 6 or 12 months

>>I wonder how many customers they will have left in 6 or 12 months time?

Most of them. It's long enough most will have forgotten, or will believe it's just "another security breach" like you hear about in the news "these things happen" etc.

TT customers tend not to be IT professionals (though I know some who are)

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Re: 6 or 12 months

> Seriously TT customers, just write to them regarding breach of ...

But the problem is that a few of us here understand the law enough to do that, but the vast majority :

a) Have no idea of what their rights are

b) Suffer from the "English disease" of being too polite to tell even an outfit like this where to go

c) Are really afraid of the other side taking them to court and it tarnishing their reputation or credit rating

I have seen this first hand more than once, sometimes with people you might think would know better.

As to automatically renewing contracts, I don't think they do that. But they have a cleaver way round that prohibition. When said contract is coming up to the end of it's fixed term, they contact the customer and offer them a "free upgrade" os some sort. With my SO, the previous time it was a new router so she'd be ready when faster broadband became available. But of course, what the punter doesn't realise (because who actually reads all that legal mumbo-jumbo ?) is that they're signing up for another fixed term. Sneaky eh ?

I'd been waiting for the previous fixed term to end so I could ditch them (primarily because they won't give a fixed address on residential lines), then one day I get home to the news that "We're getting a new something or other from Talk Talk" <insert slaps-head icon here>.

Yup, they'd done the same trick again, have a "free" Youview box, it's really £50 but we'll waive that in return for a ... wait for it ... TWO YEAR new contract.

Well my response was not complimentary about Talk Talk, and of course, the law gives us a 14 day cooling off period and I made sure it was cancelled. The conversation was "interesting.

I said we wanted to cancel the new contract and return to what we had

Why ?

I'm not tying us into a 2 year contract

18 month ?

NO

I suspect the "NO" may have been "quite unequivocal", but he just replied "OK" and backed out the changes.

I was waiting until we'd got some decorating out of the way, but this is as good a reason as any for telling them to stuff it now.

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Re: 6 or 12 months

I have to say your view really is total garbage. And if you believe that the supposed loss of £3.5K had anything to do with Talktalk, then you're even dimmer than your post suggests.

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Re: 6 or 12 months

Any one challenged by talk talk to pay the termination fee, as well as saying "Take me to court", should point out that there would be a jury of twelve ordinary people deciding if they should pay their termination fee or receive compensation.

And then clearly say to them "Do you think there are twelve people in the entire country who are not employed by talk talk and who would find in favour of talk talk??"

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Re: 6 or 12 months

There is no jury in the County Court where this case would be heard. It is nowhere near big enough for the High Court.

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Re: 6 or 12 months

"As to automatically renewing contracts, I don't think they do that."

They do. Even when told explicitly not to. They also slam people by trying to upsell in complaint calls and then mark it as accepted even when told in no uncertain terms "NO"

In my case I was able to provide the recording to Ofcom and Surrey Trading Standards of my telling the TT sales droid I did not want my contract renewed. There's a reason I record all calls with business and this kind of shenanigan is it - the practice is not just restricted to TalkTalk.

As for the guy in the original article: He will find that "full and final settlement offer" becomes a _lot_ sweeter the moment he files in small claims against them for the full amount, plus distress. Personally I'd push for 5 times the amount if they want a non-dislosure agreement (and they will).

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I'd read the contract terms carefully

Especially the bit about how they store customer data. If they say ANYWHERE that they will keep it secure, or treat it properly, THEY have broken the contract and any 'early cancellation' fee must be waived.

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

But just saying that's so won't get you very far. Their lawyers will simply say that's not so.

To get the matter definitively decided you would have to take them to court or stop paying and let them take you to court and use it as a defence or counter claim.

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

@Jason Bloomberg

To get the matter definitively decided you would have to take them to court or stop paying and let them take you to court and use it as a defence or counter claim.

Yes, that is correct. Most telcos settle on the digital equivalent of the court steps though - TT certainly can't afford to fight all of their existing customers should they walk enmasse, because they will have no revenue with which to do so. They can't even afford to fight one single case, because they only have to lose once, and a route map exists for others to follow [1].

I walked away from a certain useless telco a while back, who tried to levy a couple of hundred quid early termination fee. End result - they bottled the court case, cleared my history of black marks, and covered my mail / call / email handling fees which had amounted to several magnitudes of their imaginary fee.

Had I won, they'd have been unable to threaten anyone with a breakage fee again. Its more lucrative for them to tax the stupid and the weak, so they do. [2] Most people suffer through their contracts which allows the telco to attract replacement mugs, or otherwise back down at the first lawyers letter.

[1] I carefully avoided the word precedent as small claims court doesn't set these.

[2] Any fee they claim is part of the contract may not be levied upon a contract which no longer exists. IF you hold that they breached the contract, and call them on it, then the contract ceases to be unless they take you to court and establish its continuance.

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

"If they say ANYWHERE" this is not needed, it is implied by DPA. They already broke the contract by manifestly not protecting their customers' data, because DPA says that they must do it.

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

And the Supply of Goods or Services Act says that the service must be carried out with reasonable care and skill and the service must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

Everything that Talk Talk agreeded to do in the T&Cs and haven't done can and should be used against them, but that's not the end of the story. I have no idea why so many people quote the T&Cs as if they were gospel when they are not, your consumer rights always win over a load of one-sided lawyerese with a couple of paragraphs thrown in so they can claim it's not all one sided.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

agree this with be an implied term of he contract

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

people do get awfully confused when it comes to T&C's Its like those signs you sometime see on land saying you walk through at your own risk and we're not liable, etc WRONG. You can't write things in T&C's that go against the law of the land

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

@Dan 55

T&Cs yup, they just don't count for jack shit if they go against your statutory rights and for the most part all T&C's mention "except when it interferes with your statutory rights".

Lets face it TT are a bunch of cowboys and it is all coming out in the wash, just waiting for the Tories to realise how toxic this is and bang they are gone, backing porn filters and other close ties just won't count.

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JDX
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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

The legal debate about whether they broke the contract, or whether they were breached due to criminal activity, will surely take ages to be resolved before you can legally claim your contract is breached - no?

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

@Dan 55

"Lets face it TT are a bunch of cowboys "

Did you perchance mean cowgirls?

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

> The legal debate about whether they broke the contract... will surely take ages to be resolved before you can legally claim your contract is breached - no?

No.

You can claim breach of contract at the drop of a hat. It's sufficient to inform them, preferably in writing, that they have failed to protect your data in accordance with the DPA and have failed to provide the service with "reasonable care". State that you consider them in breach of contract, and that you consider the breach non-recoverable (they can't un-lose your data).

On that basis, you consider the contract null and void, and therefore no contractual early termination fees are applicable.

Then leave for another provider.

They then have two options.

The sensible option. Accept that they've really foooked up on this and just accept it.

The likely option. They challenge you on it, because they know that the vast majority will back down because they don't know their rights. Assuming you don't back down, the worst they can do is progress it, and if they are really stupid they can take you to court - where they will almost certainly lose (the case) and will absolutely definitely lose out in terms of reputation. They know they'll lose, so they will (eventually) settle - but not before they've tried various methods of harassment.

And on harassment since it's come up. If they aren't too careful, they risk someone prepared to push it with being reported for it which is a criminal offence. So it's worth pulling that one out of the bag at some point along the lines of "Your (solicitors) letters are of a nature which contravenes Section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, if I receive any more communications of a harassing nature then I will report the matter to the Police as a criminal act."

Being charges with harassment would be the cherry on the cake of their bad reputation !

Protection from Harassment Act 1997, penalty on conviction is up to 6 months inside.

href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/contents

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

re: harassment would be the cherry on the cake of their bad reputation

I'd think it something that can't be polished - and rhymes with "bird." Cake, you say?

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Re: I'd read the contract terms carefully

"And the Supply of Goods or Services Act says that the service must be carried out with reasonable care and skill and the service must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose."

There are also the laws about unfair terms in consumer contracts.

One of the reasons TT don't want these termination cases anywhere near the court is that the publicity in having certain clauses deemed illegal would turn the exodus trickle into a tsunami.

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Facepalm

Well....

You buggered up the security.

You lied to customers about said security.

You then insult customers by not allowing those who wish to leave, a waiver of the fee.

You have technically broken the contract with your customers by not encrypting their details.

Sounds like the making of a class action to me!

Oh and Talk Talk, bit of advice, I really think you need to stop giving away money and spend it on a proper fricking PR dept, 'cos the one you have are complete and utter shite!!

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Re: Well....

I suggest 1) save money by kicking some C-level executives 2) spend money by hiring security specialist with veto rights on design and architecture of anything facing 3rd party 3) cut the number of 3rd parties by reverse of off shoring (on-shoring?)

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Re: Well....

Oh and Talk Talk, bit of advice, I really think you need to stop giving away money and spend it on a proper fricking PR dept, 'cos the one you have are complete and utter shite!!

Scenario 1: The "proper fricking PR dept" was sent to the Jobcentre long ago, along with anyone who actually knew something about data protection / IT security.

Scenario 2: There actually is a "proper fricking PR dept" but it's curled up in a corner whimpering at its advice being wilfully ignored.

I am beginning to wonder if the TT board is now paralysed by "Groupthink"; it seems to be fairly small (a judgement based on what I have been able to find on the website) and has probably gone out of its way in the past to sideline anyone who dares to say "hold on a minute..." on the basis of their perceived "negativity". As a result the board has become completely incapable of recognising any mistake made by its members, both individually and collectively. I wouldn't be averse to a small bet that Groupthink has played some part in bringing the current situation about.

As an aside I'm probably not the only person who wants to scream when faced by a picture of the Great Leader; come on El Reg, can you find an alternative, or at the very least get someone to Photoshop a dunce's cap on to her head.

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Re: Well....

Bronek Kozicki > "2) spend money by hiring security specialist with veto rights on design and architecture of anything facing 3rd party"

That's a good 'un. You should be on 'Live at the Apollo'. Honestly, security experts with authority to stop something? Are you mad? That will never be accepted by the board, it might cost them money off of their hard-earned, well-deserved bonuses. You'll be telling them to treat their customers with dignity and respect next.

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Re: Well....

Scenario 2

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Re: Well....

@ Commswonk

You may well be right about groupthink. This is why the CEO of any company in this position should be expected to walk without compensation (VW got the first bit right). It provides them with a big incentive to keep a close watch on what;s going on in the company and to have that little worry that the person who's "being negative" might actually be the one between you and the one way exit.

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Re: the making of a class action

When did that become a feature of English law?

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Re: Well....

" or at the very least get someone to Photoshop a dunce's cap on to her head."

I'm sure they can find a picture of her in racing silks and covered in horseshit.

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Re: the making of a class action

"When did that become a feature of English law?"

A few years ago, but the 1 October change is the turning point. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34402483

There have been a number of class actions in the last couple of years and there is currently one going forward against Volkswagon. Leigh Day seem to be driving that one and I suspect they'll be the movers and shakers when TT's head is on the block.

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Anonymous Coward

Is that the same Ian Rimmington the UFO spotter ?

http://www.openminds.tv/ufo-video-shows-light-hovering-home-england/25639

Perhaps aliens beamed his money away.

Love the prophetic comment at the end of the Video:

It's just disappeared, you're joking me.

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