back to article EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages

EE has dismissed claims that its social media staff are attempting to hush fair criticism levelled at the mobile operator on sites such as Facebook. A company spokesman told The Register that it was wrong for subscribers to claim that they were being silenced by EE just for posting complaints about the network online. EE has …

  1. Fihart

    Billing issues.

    Last year EE got into serious trouble with customers over PAYG balances and there was a firestorm of criticism on Facebook. In their defence it was sorted out fairly soon after. I've had various other issues with T Mobile (aka EE) making apparently random deductions, usually to do with apps updating unasked and once with an accidental dial (thanks touchscreen). In all cases the company has responded to online complaints or letters and, I think, quite fairly.

    I do deplore that EE have no e-mail complaints procedure and charge for calls to customer support. The telcos are a cartel and their charges need to made more transparent and seriously curbed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: Billing issues.

      It is now an offence for ANY customer services* in the UK to only offer 08 numbers. The are now legally required to offer either a geographic number or and 03 number.

      * excludes helplines, for example fixing a pc fault, business to business communications and some others. It does not affect sales and pre-sales lines.

    2. Thomas 6

      Re: Billing issues.

      "I've had various other issues with T Mobile (aka EE) making apparently random deductions, usually to do with apps updating unasked and once with an accidental dial (thanks touchscreen)."

      No offence, but how was any of that T-Mobile's fault?

      1. Fihart

        Re: Billing issues. @ Thomas 6

        Precisely. That's why I regarded their response as fair.

        In fact a nagging issue was caused by something that was never identified (their suggestion was a glitch in Picture Messaging). Solution provided by phone shop was, if one has problems with random billing, switch off Data or x out Access Point Names.

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    It's good to talk, but not to listen.

  3. wowfood

    Personally

    When I was with them the customer service were top notch, however it would have been nice if I didn't have to phone their customer service team monthly for every new issue that appears. For the first 6 months I was calling them every month because of a piece of bloatware they'd pre-installed on my phone, which was impossible to remove (without rooting) which also happened to be a subscription service.

    Gave in, rooted phone, removed app.

    Got their panther (i think) deal with the orange brand, the one with free deezer and mobile data not counted against deezer use. Was then calling them every other month when I went over my mobile data from deezer use and they were charging me.

    Every time it was sorted out quickly and the staff were nothing but helpful Absolute bullshit that I had to spend so much time talking to them though.

  4. returnmyjedi

    I rather like O2's approach to social media. On their Twitter account if a twittering twat says "i hatez u o2 c**t" or suchlike, their usual response is "we're crying, sad face". Granted, not particularly helpful, but an appropriate response.

    On the subject of EE, whilst deleting posts is unforgivable wanting customers to private message them with personal details and mobile number seems quite sensible rather than plastering them on a public forum.

    1. Fido L Dido

      their usual response is "we're crying, sad face"

      Yes, they realise the furore that would happen if they posted that sarcasm emoticon at the end to convey the true message.

    2. rhydian

      "On the subject of EE, whilst deleting posts is unforgivable wanting customers to private message them with personal details and mobile number seems quite sensible rather than plastering them on a public forum."

      Indeed, but complaints about coverage issues aren't exactly "personal", and showing them in public may identify a wider issue than just one user.

  5. rhydian

    Just give me an email address damnit!

    While public shouting is all well and good (and quite satisfying) some of us have rather complicated issues to be dealt with and would rather not try and cut our complaints down to 140 characters a time.

    I had an issue a year or so ago with Orange taking a month (and two goes) to fix my brand new GS3 which had stopped receiving wifi properly. Having finally got the phone back I then wanted to complain about the service I received. I decided the best way to do it was to write a proper, full length email outlining the issue and my preferred resolution. However all of EE/Orange's customer interaction now has to go through their social media accounts, where of course they have full control.

    I the end I sent numerous messages to the one email I could find, the CEO's....

    1. fruitoftheloon

      @rhydian Re: Just give me an email address damnit!

      Did you get a useful reply?

      Cheers,

      J.

      1. rhydian

        Re: @rhydian Just give me an email address damnit!

        Yes, in the end.

        My suggestion was that I would happily pay for the network/calls/data/text I'd used for the two months it took to fix my phone, but I wouldn't pay the handset subsidy part of my bill, and it was up to them to work it out.

        After a few days waiting I finally got an email back telling me that they were refunding me two full months back...

        1. fruitoftheloon

          Re: @rhydian Just give me an email address damnit!

          Ta!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customer retention through ignorance

    It took me 3 months to move away from EE once my contract had expired:

    1/ Need to unlock phone first. Fill in appropriate form on website, told to wait 20 days (or 60 if it's a Galaxy - it is). 65 days gone, and nothing has happened.

    2/ Register a complaint online (there is a way to do it). Told a response may take 72 hours. 5 days go without a response.

    3/ Tweet them - no response.

    4/ Facebook post. Told to send details in private message, promised a response "within a few days".

    5/ Chase no response after a further week.

    6/ Finally get to speak to someone who seems to know what they are doing. Informed responses are running at about 2 weeks. They explained that my reception got worse when they merged as the Government made them turn off masts for "environmental reasons". Yer, right!

    7/ Get phone unlocked, given a PAC code, made to pay for a service I was no longer using for another 30 days.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Customer retention through ignorance

      7/ Get phone unlocked, given a PAC code, made to pay for a service I was no longer using for another 30 days.

      Yep. I've written to complain and demanded a refund of this "contract notice charge" - as far as I can tell EE are the only people that charge for a PAC "in lieu of 30 days notice" - but I suspect I'll get fed up of prodding them to respond way before they get fed up of my hassling them for a refund.

  7. Neil Hoskins

    Conspiracy Theory

    I just got back from a touring holiday in Spain and France which had been planned around use of mobile technology (on T-mobile) for using booking.com, location services, etc etc. Three days in, PAYG roaming just stops working. You can imagine I was more than a little miffed. My formal complaint when I got back is still not answered, maybe because I used profane language ("bloody inconvenient", I think I said). So how about this for a theory:

    - EU forces providers to bring down the cost of roaming

    - Some customers (me) are on old tariffs that are extremely good value by present-day standards

    - So you give those customers lousy service in the hope that they'll change to a more reliable tariff or leave completely.

    - Customer decides to move to Vodafone but in the meantime will cause a stink on social media

    - Such discontents on social media must be silenced.

  8. getHandle

    So is it true about cheaper contracts getting a downgraded service?

    I think a previous El Reg story about EE had something along these lines in the comments. My £10/month sim-only service just seems to get worse and worse.

    Half the time I'm on GPRS or Edge. Even when it is 3G/H/H+ it seems really slow and quite often just fails part way through. I'd switch in a moment if I wasn't getting £5/month off my broadband for being a mobile customer...

    1. auburnman

      Re: So is it true about cheaper contracts getting a downgraded service?

      I suspect the downgraded service is spread around the contracts that have low lock-in. I have always been on PAYG (because I value the ability to switch at the drop of a hat over the convenience of monthly billing) and I can't recall my data connection ever being as good as that of my pals.

    2. Zmodem

      Re: So is it true about cheaper contracts getting a downgraded service?

      EE are crap and gone middleclass and just another vodafone who chats all the balls then bores everyone off the internet leaving them money hogs and giving nothing back, if you over the fair use limit they limit you to a 28kb modem where every page times out or takes 2 hours to download, thats if you can use the internet, it does`nt matter how many boosters you buy, you will have the internet for 2 or 3 days and a 28kb modem for the rest of the month

      t-mobile was good before all the tards killed them with the merger, average day speeds on 3g was http://www.speedtest.net/result/3535629814.png

      EE will be left with 100,000 dedicated fans and nobody even begins to care about them

      1. Zmodem

        Re: So is it true about cheaper contracts getting a downgraded service?

        you want to use 3, they`ll add http://jobseekers.direct.gov.uk/ to the free bandwidth when you have no credit sites on PAYG and keep the free 0800 calls to the monthly contracts one day

        because you have to login everyday or 2 by law or they stop your giro moniez, the unemployment number has`nt gone down, a million people are just on hardship money because of the EU human rights, 13 years ago you would`nt get a penny

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just put up that Garden Wall EE !

    Seems to me that when Apple wants to silence talk they move the discussion off limits, branching it to a new discussion inaccessible to readers.

    Thats one way to halt history, however how much of Mob anger is Real ?

  10. DF118

    They are atrocious

    No mailing address on the bills, email enquiries just get bounced. Interminable helpline calls or social media are your only options for dealing with them.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: They are atrocious

      My final T-Mobile bill had a load of URLs on them for things like "contact us" and "terms and conditions". They're all 404's, probably due to the EE rebranding.

  11. ukgnome Silver badge

    If you can find

    the quick easy option to complain about service or lack thereof then you get a gold medal.

    EE doesn't have a status page telling you about faults, when you dial 150 you get a convoluted menu system that seems to be all about money and not about rectifying an issue.

    However, you need to keep on at them, complaint handlers will give you a direct dial or email address that filters to a case handler. Although you have to fight them, and you should need the hassle.

    I was able to to get 20% off my bill for the time I am with them as I stuck to complaining. But it took a month and made me a bit angry. Although i never swore when speaking to them, but I did heap on the sarcasm, and did quote snippets of their own statements back at them in a totally snarky way.

  12. Xamol
    Unhappy

    One as bad as another

    I had a 3 Sim Zero that I used in a tablet for data only. I had it for nearly 3 years and was pretty happy with it until one day it just stopped working. Tech support said that it won't work because it's a phone sim, not a tablet sim. Turns out they updated their system and decided that it shouldn't work any more. They're still trying to charge me for the service even though I told them to terminate it when they broke it. Can't wait for my next call with them to explain that I won't pay for a service thay they're not providing.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: One as bad as another

      "They're still trying to charge me for the service even though I told them to terminate it when they broke it. Can't wait for my next call with them to explain that I won't pay for a service thay they're not providing."

      The magic words are "unfit for purpose for which it was sold" and "material breach of contract"

    2. Captain Queeg

      Re: One as bad as another

      I have EE4G on my iPad and Three on my phone.

      To be fair to three, while their customer service is less than great, so long as you grit your teeth you can *usually* get away with just the one awful testing call.

      EE on the other hand seem able to set new levels of incompetence at every turn. I've *never* had a first call fix with EE.

      Now, compare that record to the consistently stellar performance of Orange Customer Services in the early-mid 90s. What on earth went wrong? Oh yes, I remember, France Telecom...

    3. Vince

      Re: One as bad as another

      Given that it's been in the terms as long as I can remember, it seems reasonable enough to me. You broke the terms. you got away with it for ages.

    4. MiB

      Re: One as bad as another

      I had a 3 Sim Zero that I used in my Dell Mini Netbook for over 4 years on and off. It cost £6 per month for 500MB if I recall. I got the all you can eat data add on and for unknown reasons it went down to an amazing £3 per month! I was getting fast HSPA+ connections with excellent coverage.

      Sadly the same thing happened to me, 3 have patched a loophole as far as I can see. The contract clearly says only for use in your 3G mobile.

      I really belive it used to say "mobile device".

      There may be a glimmer of hope, in the ominous "YOUR SIM WILL ONLY WORK IN YOUR PHONE" notification, it goes on to say - "you'll get a better, cheaper and faster experience with one of our Mobile Broadband products and plans"

      Hmm lets see if thats true...

  13. keithpeter
    Windows

    Shops?

    I just pop into the shop. I choose times when the chap who sold me the phone is in. He does the 'magic phone number' bit and things (only a couple) get sorted.

    I'm a low revenue customer (sim only) and I am noticing switching to GPRS a lot as well as another commenter here. I'm OK with that however as voice calls, emails and sms messages seem to get through ok.

    Icon: Blackberry Bold user

    1. Tim 11

      Re: Shops?

      Last time I was in an EE shop (my 4th visit to try and get a PAC code, but that's another story). there were a queue of people (all with complaints) and 3 staff, all the staff were on hold to the customer services line trying to resolve complaints so nobody could attend to the queue. Is that really any way to run a business?

      I'm never going back to EE as long as I live, and I strongly advise anyone else never to touch them. I should probably put "YMMV" but from discussions I've had with colleagues this is a universal finding.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you look in depth at their Facebook page you'll find that in 99.9% of cases EE can't even be arsed to reply which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to customer service from EE, Much better to force you to phone them and then try to persuade you, by leaving on hold in a purposely confusing menu system, to pay 50p to jump the queue.

  15. Vince

    It's OK, they're introducing a 50p charge for queue jumping to get the half-baked customer service now anyhow. I suspect for £1 you can have them respond on soclal media too.

  16. Creamy-G00dness

    Do not pay to communicate with them!

    I was on a complaint call with EE yesterday regarding the fact that I have upgraded my handset but was being charged for my old phone still.

    I have explained to them that I want my money back, which they have agreed to (we'll see how long that takes after 3 months of continual complaints to get this far) however I also stated that I shouldn't have to be charged for trying to bring to their attention a problem of their making, at which point the rep said 'no problem, I'll zero out the call for you sir'

    It appears that this non payment option is easily available but is not mentioned. So there it is, a little tip for the future disgruntled masses.......................Give em hell!

  17. tehc
    Thumb Down

    Just left EE

    Just left EE this week after they decided to charge me £8 for 1MB of data overage in June, and then £4 for 0.5MB overage in July - this without any warning or notification that I was near any limit. When I phoned to query the bill at gone 8pm in the evening, I was invited to pay another 50p so that I could actually talk to an advisor.

    When I first signed up to T-Mobile, I was on a "fair usage" plan that didn't charge if you exceeded your limit by small amounts each month. Somewhere in all the T&C changes, this clause must have disappeared without me noticing and therefore gave them a license to charge the earth.

    I'm now whizzing along enjoying all-you-can-eat data on Three for about the same price I was paying EE for 1GB, with the added bonus of being able to use it in the States at no additional cost! Huzzah!

  18. Chad H.

    I really don't see the issue here.

    Someone has raised an issue, EE take that and fix it.

    It is just right that they get into the nitty-gritty in private, I wouldn't want then shouting my account details across the street.

    This is basic professionalism and data protection.

  19. dervheid

    "Improve it's customer sevice record"?

    Not the main problem.

    The main problem for anyone outside of a major city center and/or not on '4GEE' is that their signal and data speeds are, at best piss-poor, and nominally uter shite.

    I have posted numerous 'complaints' on this on twitter, to be met with similar responses as those shown (can you DM us, PLEASE!!!) to just being flat out ignored.

    Orange/EE give me the impression that if you're not a '4GEE' customer they couldn't really give a rat's arse what your reception is like.

  20. xpz393

    The greatest network, in the WORLD!

    As Rootmetrics regularly crow that EE is the greatest network ever in terms of everything, surely there are no customer complaints to silence?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The greatest network, in the WORLD!

      If you look at root metrics coverage maps for EE, and actually any provider, you'll see that they are pretty shit.. There are whole areas in Cheltenham that root metrics have absolutely no data for.

  21. macladd

    still deleting posts over at EE's online community

    Thanks for highlighting this story! Posts are still being deleted over at their online community, and all attempts at requesting a reason fall on deaf ears with the moderators and community manager failing to respond to messages asking for a reason. Comments left giving an honest but less than glowing report on the state of the network and customer services just disappear.

    EE are behaving like the mafia right now yet no matter where you look, the majority of people are saying the same thing and Mr Swantee continues to bang on about how they are number 1 whilst their customers are having to resort to extraordinary means to try and get some kind of resolution. The common theme seems to be no signal, poor data speeds, and horrific customer service. I myself had great signal with T-mobile, but now have to use a signal box at home to get service around my house, and that took a very long time to get!

    EE need to engage their customer base, I know that prior to the merger I had great service practically everywhere, since the decommissioning of masts their network has more holes than swiss cheese, and the service when complaining non existent. Mr Swantee, if you are reading this, take your head out the sand!

    Thanks again to the team for highlighting this issue!

    1. dervheid

      Re: still deleting posts over at EE's online community

      for "sand" read "your arse" I think...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: still deleting posts over at EE's online community

      I have this too after having a good service with t-mobile, and having no need to take out anything new

      I don't know what they have done to the company but certainly ethics and quality have been completely removed since shortly before the 4G thing in both aggressive sales to existing customers and any kind of customer service or complaints procedure

    3. Fihart

      Re: still deleting posts over at EE's online community @macladd

      I'd forgotten about the EE user forum. I had joined the T Mobile one but they merged this with the Orange one and dumped all the users. I can't remember whether I could be bothered to rejoin the resulting EE forum, which shows how useful the T Mob forum had been.

      Like many such, was full of know-alls competing to win points (I think, to get discounts). So posts tended to be either "this company sucks" or bland pro-company replies from moderators and points-seeking stooges. I doubt if the company took any notice of forum comments.

      Public platforms such as Fbook and Twit are more effective at pressuring errant companies.

  22. Tsiklon

    i had to chase the bastards for 18 months(!!!) to give me access to my account online, as there was no other available way for me to check my bill, phoning them up once a month to get told that my information was being held on French servers and they couldn't access it (or some other such rubbish). an entire day of my life (collectively) was wasted on the phone listening to their lies...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    If you want a good rant....

    http://www.orangeproblems.co.uk/

    http://eecomplaints.co.uk/home

    Neither are under EE's control.

  24. Madmanwithabox

    Facebook design problem

    This is probably related to how badly Facebook works as a care channel.

    If you have a high volume of posts, it's a lot easier to administrate with a conversation in one place - hence requesting a pm, and resolving the problem there.

    People come back days after you ask them what the query is, or spam comments on other peoples posts, offering spurious advice (contacting the regulator instead of telling the operator what the problem is), which just create delays.

    However, posts shouldn't be deleted, unless they're duplicates or abusive.

    Social media is a place for a company to show that yes, they may have issues, but can react and resolve them in a timely fashion.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick way to check degraded service vs pals'

    Check it with a brief swap of sim cards? (while both you and pals present to stop each other abusing phones ;) )

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be nice if they responded to a complaint, such as the monthly calls by a call centre they have passed everyone's number over to, with operators who lie and cheat to convince you to drop your broadband provider

    Lie one: We will cover the cancellation fee

    Correction: Up to £100

    Lie two: There's loads of benefits

    Correction: Nothing actually specified

    Lie three: We'll call you back in 18 months

    Correction: We'll call you back in 1 month and lie more

    Lie four: Its faster

    Correction: Cannot possibly know that - usually slower

    Lie Five: It's cheaper

    Correction: Cannot possibly know without asking - usually the same

    Lie Six: You get a really good router

    Correction: We use a custom premium router, and I very much doubt it even comes close to matching its performance

    Lie Seven: We're calling to see if you are getting the most from your contract

    Correction: Were calling to see if we can charge you more or sell you something else we don't reduce contracts even if it is clear you should and are eligible

    Lack of information points:

    Fibre, 4G? Who knows

    Fair use policy? Who knows

    Limits? Who knows

    The best bit is that call centre then tries to sell you a contract on a different network on a different call once they have your details, will put the phone down if you ask them to remove you, or lie and never remove you

    I'm thinking of cancelling my contract just to get someone on the other end who I can actually get to listen about the conduct of their contracted sales centres

  27. Terra Rasa

    I had nothing but trouble with EE when I tried to leave them. They kept charging me, despite me telling them I was leaving, and it took months and a lawyer to sort out eventually.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EE/T-Mobile/Orange are such an crappy company. Even if you're in a contract they have no qualms in selling your details/number to payday firms, scam sells, nuiscance callers etc etc

    Seriously wish Ofcom would get on their case. If stuff was free one could expect certain liberties but when you're paying for a 2 yr contract, I think not.

  29. Alex Bailey

    Earlier this year, and after spending months testing different SIM cards in my iPad, I discontinued a 15+ year contract with Vodafone because of their poor network coverage and switched to EE because it seemed to be the best.

    Having dealt with all the networks at some point in the last year I can confirm that despite their brilliant network coverage EE's customer services are indeed the worst. Vodafone were probably the best.

    In the space of 6 months I have found that EE have no place on-line to make complaints about network issues, nor do they seem to provide updates on said issues. All of which Vodafone did well.

    It took me nearly a week to switch a T-Mobile SIM card to EE-4G because, despite their website clearly stating that you could do so with no effect on your contract and no matter how long you'd had your contract, the Customer Services staff would not believe this was possible.

    I also got chewed out by a customer services rep having migrated my iPad from T-Mobile to EE in-store. I only wanted to cancel the old T-Mobile card (which for some reason the store could not do for me) but wound up on the phone for nearly half hour repeating the mantra "all I want to do is cancel my SIM card!"

    I even wound up paying Orange to unlock an iPhone because they told me a T-Mobile or EE SIM would not work in it without doing so, something I later found out I could. Oh... and having to pay for an unlock? Vodafone did that for free.

    I their 4G coverage wasn't so good I wouldn't be staying with them, if their 3G network had been half decent I'd have stayed with Vodafone. So long as I don't have to use customer services again I guess my time with EE won't be all that bad.

  30. DPWDC

    It's happening right now

    Pop onto twitter.

    They're putting 1000 reports of no data + 1000 reports of no data and getting problem with their phone.

  31. Zmodem

    they shut down too many towers, they were only fast because they had more then others, they are now the slowest since 1995, the speed does`nt even have lower latency of edge networks

  32. Gary.C

    I just found out that all my comments [complaints] have been removed from the EE Facebook page and I can no longer post either. Just goes to show that I must have annoyed the buggers.

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