back to article The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk

Beleaguered ISP TalkTalk has once again been named worst UK internet provider in a biannual survey of providers by consumer charity Which? For the fifth time the provider has come out as worst Brit ISP in a poll of 1,700 customers, raking in a satisfaction score of just 40 per cent. Users said slow speeds, frequent connection …

  1. Lysenko

    "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

    ... by outsourcing our customer service to Indian call centres."

    How does one utter such bilge with a straight face? It's either a bizarre genetic mutation or they stick their heads in a bucket of botox for half an hour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      How does one utter such bilge with a straight face? It's either a bizarre genetic mutation or they stick their heads in a bucket of botox for half an hour.

      Not sure. But we could find out by checking with other champions of shit customer service. You know, the crap companies that are always in trouble, always bottom of the league tables in their respective sectors, like Npower, Capita, Ryanair, Southern Trains, Sports Direct. There's clearly a lot of hard work these companies put into being the worst, often in sectors where there's plenty of challengers for the title.

      1. Fiddler on the roof

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        The companies at the bottom of these lists just don't give a toss. They will spout some crap about how much they love your business and want to do right by you. But when all is said and done they can offer a crap service and people still buy it, I imagine the CEOs spend quite a lot of time laughing their arses off.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          The companies at the bottom of these lists just don't give a toss.

          Correct.

          They, like banks and utility companies rely on customer inertia.

          Because they know it works.

          This will continue while they can retain customers by just bribing them for the (small) group who decide to change.

          British readers. You get get the service you push for. While very few of you will push that will not change.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        always bottom of the league tables in their respective sectors, like Npower, Capita, Ryanair, Southern Trains, Sports Direct.

        You forgot Microsoft, their support is crap ... like, when you have to explain the poor support fellow how the software he is supposed to support ACTUALLY functions ... that is, when you get a guy competent enough to understand your query ,,,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      ... by outsourcing our customer service to Indian call centres (and trousering our six/seven figure salaries, hurrah!)."

      FTFY

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      How does one utter such bilge with a straight face?

      With a big fat salary in their hip pocket?

      Consider it a 5 minute acting job...

    4. Stuart 22

      Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      And here's the full list to rub in the difference between the best and worst. Posted (smirk) through Zen ;-)

      1. Zen Internet 85% (86%)

      2. Utility Warehouse 76% (81%)

      3. SSE 68% (66%)

      4. John Lewis Broadband 66% (68%)

      5. Plusnet 63% (65%)

      6. Virgin Media 54% (52%)

      7. EE 53% (48%)

      8. Vodafone 49% (50%)

      9. Post Office 47% (48%)

      10. BT 46% (45%)

      11. Sky Broadband 45% (49%)

      12. TalkTalk 40% (38%)

      1. David McCarthy

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        Our ISP is also small (and perfectly formed). Been with them since 2004/5. Would rate them 100%.

        Always get to speak to someone who knows what's what (not a call centre agent). They always call back when they promise.

        The service is still delivered via BT's infrastructure, but if there's a problem, they kick BT for us until it's fixed. That's how we discovered BT had outsourced their core network support to India as well as the 'retail' side.

        Who are they?

        Beaming in Hastings.

        Tell Steve I recommended them.

        1. DaveMellor

          Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

          Is this just a truth - or do you work for Beaming? The CEO perhaps? We should be told - before the government dreams up some new regulations - fake news anyone? Sigh.

      2. ad47uk

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        i can not believe SSE is number 3, heard a lot of bad things about them. I am with Plusnetg and had a major problem a few weeks back, still have a problem, but at the moment it is working fine. Plusnet customer service was pretty good the problem is more to do with a BTOR network problem.

        I have been with Plujsnet for over 2 years and to be honest most of the time they have been fine.

      3. Wolfclaw Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        You got to be jesting, VM @ no.6, WTF did they pay off to get that high ?

      4. macjules Silver badge

        Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

        Are you sure that Sky should be so high up on that scale? My experience is that Sky was a lot worse than TalkTalk.

    5. handleoclast Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "We strive to give customers the best possible experience...

      It doesn't say they succeed, only that they strive. It doesn't say that their strivings have any chance of success, only that they strive.

      Before I figured out the trick*, for many years my haemorrhoids meant that most days I had to strive mightily to have a shit. Striving and succeeding in a timely fashion are two different things.

      *I realized I was suffering from chilli deficiency. Chillis irritate the intestines, so they secrete mucous. Which makes the shit softer. Which means it can pass through constrictions more easily. So chillis act as what doctors politely call a "stool softener" (with the amount of chillis I eat, it's more like a park bench softener). Only downside is a fit of coughing can result in a penguin walk home for a change of underwear.

      Mine's the one with some Carolina Reapers in the pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: "We strive @ handleoclast

        Mine's the one with some Carolina Reapers in the pocket.

        Post of the week sir!

  2. djstardust Silver badge

    Someome needs to tell

    Their aggressive chuggers then.

    They tell everyone it's the best thing since sliced bread and the service is wonderful.

    Of course, the chuggers are "offshored" to other companies and don't even work for Talk Talk.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Someome needs to tell

      >>Their aggressive chuggers then.

      I don't think they're chuggers if it's not a charity (chugger = charity mugger). Or is that what's happening here? Is TalkTalk a charity outreach program for incompetent CEOs who would die in the real world? Now that I could believe.

    2. pleb

      Re: Someome needs to tell

      Whose aggressive chuggers?

    3. ad47uk

      Re: Someome needs to tell

      I am glad I am not the only one who think they are aggressive, I saw one chase someone in town to get their attention. When they approached me once I told then I could not use a company which was hacked by someone so young.

      I would not go with Talk Talk if they was the last provider in the UK.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the Pope catholic ?

    I'd like to curse Michael O'Leary with only ever being able to use Talktalk and see how he likes it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd like to curse Michael O'Leary with only ever being able to use Talktalk and see how he likes it.

      Why? I quite like the way he introduces X Factor.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge
        Coat

        "Why? I quite like the way he introduces X Factor."

        I know, it's odd to say that. I mean, if it it was Dermot O'Leary I'd understand. He's made a balls out of that Ryaniar company so he has.

  4. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    I wonder how much having to advertise their rank in this on all advertising material in a large font would focus minds?

    eg:

    TALK TALK only £X/month

    Worst customer service 2017

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how much having to advertise their rank in this on all advertising material in a large font would focus minds?

      They'd just use that as an opportunity to charge people more, with options like "Your data held securely - £15.00 a month extra", "Customer service centre in the UK - £20 a month extra", "Fewer random disconnections - £5.00 a month extra". All caveated with a best endeavours, no guarantees clause.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        They already do!

        Though I've never had problems with Sky (but apparently they do on their BT reseller option links), they are now advertising how they don't get congestion due to some "magic sauce". I've not paid enough attention to the add to know if they charge extra for it though.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I am not surprised that Zen have some well. Their customer service is second to none in my experience. You pay a premium (which can be significant if you live beyond the sticks as I do) but it is worth it. Talk talk and BT offers come through the door weekly it seems and are routed unopened to the recycling bin.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Well that's a shame. Return to sender so it costs them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well that's a shame. Return to sender so it costs them.

        AIUI, Royal Mail don't charge the sender for returned items, so the only costs the sender incurs is handing the returns themselves or contracting out the returned mail processing to companies that specailise in this. I'm guessing costs would be about 50p to sort returns, open each item, do the data capture of the "duff" addressee and any reason for return. This third part processing is why the return address on junk mail from famous companies is often some unlikely sounding location like PO Box 1245, Scunthorpe.

        Now, if you just throw away junk mail from companies you dislike, they continue to periodically send it, and in the longer term that costs them more. I like to think I'm playing a long game, you see.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          If a junk mailer sends you a pre-paid envelope to send your order in (which they have to pay for if used), then you can use that to send them a flyer from the pizza place, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

        2. paulf Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          @Ledswinger "Now, if you just throw away junk mail from companies you dislike, they continue to periodically send it, and in the longer term that costs them more. I like to think I'm playing a long game, you see."

          I think this works. The biggest offender of "To the occupier" junk with a return address is Vermin Media. I've always done RTS on their stuff and we no longer get any, but I'm not sure if this is just us or because they don't advertise in our area now. It was a long game - about two years until they got the message but every item was RTS until they stopped. It involved effort but will have cost them more than it did me and much easier than trying to call their Customer Disservice in India.

          @Roj Blake "If a junk mailer sends you a pre-paid envelope to send your order in (which they have to pay for if used), then you can use that to send them a flyer from the pizza place, thereby killing two birds with one stone."

          Homeserve are a particular problem in this area - not only do they bundle their tripe with my water bill but they also send "Important Water supply info" shite to me as well. I pack their return envelope as full as possible as if its over 100g they pay more for the return! Not only that as an application it goes to the main office, not a returns processor.

  6. Franco Silver badge

    I left BT for Origin some time ago and am very happy with them.

    The only thing worse than BT's customer service is their hardware, the routers I had were utterly unfit for purpose

    1. M Mouse

      Good to see Origin mentioned...

      I have been using PlusNet off and on (house moves, etc) for over 13 years. While unlucky for some, I've been very happy with service and though their CS offering for residential users has suffered in the last 2 years, business users still get 24h service.

      However, to add resilience (as I work from home and had my Post Office connection {supplied by TalkTalk} go down twice in a year, with no compensation payments) I plan to get a low cost FTTC service from Origin in the near future.

      (I did ask Zen a while ago, for FTTC connection, but they couldn't / wouldn't, so f*** them, I say).

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Good to see Origin mentioned...

        The only small complaint I have about Origin, is that they didn't supply my login details in advance of my go live date. I assume they would have come with the router had I ordered one, but seeing as I'd already splashed out on a Draytek router to replace the old bean tins and string that BT had given me, I never received anything in the post so had to phone customer support before ever having been online to get the VDSL credentials.

  7. TonyJ Silver badge

    I had BT Business Fibre...

    ...for close to 5 years and it was superb to be honest. I went with them because as the first fibre customer on the estate when it was made available, they were the only ones supplying it.

    I always got close to the speeds they'd initially said I would and with very few problems.

    When I did have to call them it was to a UK based team that were helpful, knew their stuff and did a good job.

    But then a couple of months ago a colleague mentioned Vodafone business fibre and their offer of no line rental so after a few enquiries both online and on the phone I made the switch.

    It was painless to switch - didn't even require a MAK code - and all went smoothly. Yet again, the few times I've called them it's been UK based and they've been both knowledgeable and helpful.

    The main reason I made the switch was price - the broadband alone was almost half that of BT and then throw in the no line rental charged it was too good to turn away.

    Still not a cheap option and that's part of the issue here I feel. When you're rushing to be the cheapest provider of anything, something has to give somewhere and the likes of Talk Talk cut so many corners I am surprised anyone would ever use them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

      I'm with Vodafone (Demon). My connection goes out for a few minutes several times every day. The problem only started in the last couple of years - the ADSL has been in use since 2003.

      My Netgear 834G ADSL router was locking up for several hours on the ATM side - even if I changed everything for spares. So bought a Netgear N1500 which seemed ok for a while - then started to experience disconnections.

      Finally changed to the Demon supplied router - which has the same problem. The Demon chat line always insisted there is no problem - or that the line needed "equalising" and would be ok after a couple of days.

      BT said they would do extended monitoring - but apparently could see no problem as they never came back to me.

      I never had any opportunity to discuss the problem with anyone who was not following a helpdesk script.

      AAISP is probably going to get my business soon.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

      ... a colleague mentioned Vodafone business fibre ... I made the switch

      Where I used to work the boss decided to get one of their lines ... last year. As of a few weeks ago they still hadn't made it work ! It was a really simple problem - BT OpenReach misrouted the line as the office building is fed from two different cabinets. All Vodamoan had to do was to correctly cancel the FTTC and re-order it, they were supposed to have done that in January, and NINE MONTHS later they still couldn't fix it.

      We got another line from another ISP. BTOR did the same misrouting, and even with that and another problem, it was up and running in a couple of weeks.

      Plus, Vodamoan insist on you using their absolutely crap router - it's in the contract terms. The router really is crap and seems to be aimed at the dimmest of consumer users - it certainly isn't of any use to many businesses. And they won't set reverse DNS on a single IP (or the static PPPoE link IP) - you have to pay extra for multiple fixed IPs if you need to set reverse DNS (eg to run a mail server).

      Based on my experience - don't consider Vodamoan as a business provider, or better than StalkStalk.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

        "...Plus, Vodamoan insist on you using their absolutely crap router .."

        http://www.vodafone.co.uk/cs/groups/public/documents/assets/bus-broadband-alt-router-guide.pdf

        And in my case they emailed me a few days before with all the static IP and user information including, if ncessary, the VLAN ID to be able to use my own equipment - I didn't even need to ask!

        Like most they ISP's if you have a problem they insist you plug their modem in prior to calling for support which is fair enough.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: I had BT Business Fibre...

          Well that's interesting - and not a document that was findable when I was dealing with this. I can assure you that they were 110% adamant that you had to use their router - though I was at one point passed through to a techie who was able to provide the DSL login details. All they allowed was to put another router behind theirs and route some public IPs through to it.

          Though TBH, we more or less gave up nagging them to fix it a few months ago as we'd already taken the decision to use another provider, and this was only being left "active" as they'd promised not to discontinue another service (leased line on a legacy network they were getting rid of) until it was up and running. Once we'd migrated everything off the other service the plan was to tell them where to stick it.

          Dreadful to deal with, and not even a way to get through to business support - we had to phone residential support and get transferred.

  8. Not also known as SC

    Sky

    I'm surprised about Sky. I last had problems about three years ago which came down to damaged wires between the exchange and my house. Sky and BTOpenReach were both very good at getting the problems fixed. Last speed check I performed was about 60Mb/s so the service seems very good.

    Maybe customer service quality has gone downhill in the last year but I'd be interested to know how Which conduct their surveys. Is the number of customers polled for each company representative of the relative number of customers each ISP has?

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Sky

      If I remember correctly from reading Which in the past, their surveys are of Which subscribers using the service.

      So they are both self-selecting, and from a certain demographic.

      If I also remember correctly Which do give this info in the reports in the magazines - the number of respondents giving ratings

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sky

        If I also remember correctly Which do give this info in the reports in the magazines - the number of respondents giving ratings

        Checks magazine: 300 responses for Sky, and the same or near enough for BT, VM, and TalkTalk, suggesting they stopped when they'd got 300 responses. They all got overall scores in the range 48-51%, so there's little to choose between them if you believe the research. As Graeme says, a certain demographic - older, wealthier, less technically literate, and self selecting in choosing to respond to the Which communications survey.

    2. Trollslayer Silver badge

      Re: Sky

      Similar experience here (on ADSL), Openreach were out twice and it turned out to be a degraded connect where the line comes into the house.

    3. VooDooTooDo

      Re: Sky

      I agree with you there. Any problems have been resolved very fast by SKY & I have been compensated well each time without needing to kick up a fuss. If I changed to any other Openreach network fibre (cannot get Virgin cable)m the actual connection would probably be no different to what SKY give me other than the customer service will undoubtedly be much poorer.

      1. EvadingGrid

        Re: Sky

        Minor technical port, do not give you a complete internet connection, they port block for starters.

  9. n0r0imusha

    common factor

    the common factor might be openretch, fibre became available in my area ( they installed a cabinet and apparently pulled out exchange only line into it)

    sky tried and failed to get the fibre activated for 2 months during that i had to chase them constantly and they had no intention of escalating the issue.

    got a new line pulled in with AAisp , they badger openretch on your behalf and keep you posted.

    that said they havent managed to get it done yet either.

    hence i think bad service = openretch

    bad handling of delays = the isp

    surprising how much difference it makes when you have a knowledgeable eager voice and lot of effort on the other side of the line, bonus is that you can hear and understand them ( i dont mind where their support is as long as i can understand it and they are knowledgeable and eager )

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: common factor

      Yes, OpenRetch are a common factor here. BUT ISPs have a menu of options to choose from - most notably they can ay different amounts for the connection depending on the SLA. Basically, you can have a cheaper connection if you are prepared to wait more days for repairs - so guess why the cheaper ISPs have worse stats on repairs.

  10. steamrunner

    Sky

    I'm gonna have to be honest (eep!) and give credit where due:

    I've been with Sky for several years now and, in the last few years at the very least, they've been very good, including customer service. I know everyone's mileage varies, but mine has been good. Over that period I've had a couple of issues relating to my physical telephone line — I'm a fair way from my green box — and calls to them have been answered pretty promptly and sorted. My parents (bless!) are also with them and a similar story there. Whilst I'm annoyed that my speed is limited because of my location — I only get about 30Mbs on Sky Fibre but it's pretty consistent — I have no reasons to moan about Sky themselves at the moment. Yes, I really did just say that, didn't I. :-)

    1. thesykes

      Re: Sky

      I couldn't get away from Sky soon enough. Was with them on ADSL for a while, and had constant problems with the crappy router they provided. There was a bug in its firmware that meant that connected devices were never displayed properly. I either got a list of the same device connected repeatedly, or, an incomprehensible list of devices in what looked like wingdings. I complained to Sky, who acknowledged that they were aware of the problem, and that Dlink had released a firmware update several years earlier. Sky refused to release that for their customers and also refused to give me my username and password, to allow me to use a decent router.

      When fibre became available Sky offered up to 40Mbps, BT offered up to 70Mbps for the same price. We get well over the 40 offered by Sky, usually hitting around 60.

      The process of leaving was painful, with quite probably the rudest call centre handler in history, who was shouting and refusing to listen, intent on going through her script of bribes to keep us with them.

      Once we'd left, we received regular monthly offers, inviting us back, with the discounts getting bigger by the month. Strangely the offers stopped as soon as our 12-month contract with BT had ended and we could actually take them up on any offer.

      One extra bonus in leaving was that we no longer received regular calls from some warranty company, saying our Sky box was out of warranty and we needed to pay them, just in case it broke. Complaints to Sky just resulted in denials that they knew anything about the third party. A claim that seems even less believable as we stopped getting them as soon as we left Sky.

      BT aren't perfect, in fact the home hubs are pretty poor, although since we got the HH6, we've not had any problems. When we did, on HH4 & 5, BT sent engineers round quickly, provided replacement hubs and also sent a powerline setup to improve the wifi in the extension, all free of charge. Whenever we were having problems, we had regular call-backs from BT staff, checking if the new hubs had solved the problems, were the powerline hubs OK? At the end of the problems, a nice compensation payout was offered, without us asking, so, couldn't fault their customer service.

      1. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Sky

        "The process of leaving was painful, with quite probably the rudest call centre handler in history, who was shouting and refusing to listen, intent on going through her script of bribes to keep us with them."

        Yep, I remember leaving Sky about 3 years and the call centre person said ( this no lie ) , "So you're going to Virgin? You do know all their kit is second hand and fails after 3 months? Virgin are not very good at support either, I would strongly advise you to avoid them and stay with Sky."

        "Virgin are offering me 30mb/s for the same price I'm paying Sky. Can you get my ADSL above the rubbish 2mb/s I've been complaining about for the last 12 months?"

        "Sorry, that's not our problem, that's BTs problem."

        "Thank you very much for summing up in one short sentence, exactly why I'm leaving Sky, You don't care about a service and your diabolical attitude to customers just reeks."

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    Look, nobody is surprised.

    But... who was the best ISP?

    Surely that's something worth celebrating and useful to us, much more so than the we-all-know-who-it-is worst ISP.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Zen

      "But... who was the best ISP?"

      Zen :)

      Well, I'm sure there are others, but they've been great whenever I've dealt with them, and they've managed to do that for a few years now.

      If Openreach is being a dick, you're still pretty screwed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Zen

        Cannot praise Zen highly enough. After a succession of bad experiences with Sky & Orange/EE, I have been with them for home ISP for just over a year now. You pay a premium but, boy, is it worth it.

        When you call support you get straight through to someone who actually understands what they are talking about, isn't just working from a script, and is able to deal with issues immediately.

        Compare this to, for example, a problem I had when my ISP was EE where over a period of more than a year they failed to fix an issue despite multiple calls and promises to phone me back (they never did) and promises that it would be fixed in a few days (it wasn't).

        At work we've used AAISP for 15 years and they are also fantastic. Rock solid reliability and technical and/or financial issues sorted out immediately and correctly.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Zen

        Indeed. I've been with Zen for a couple of years now. A pleasure to deal with (as were idnet, their predecesseors - but there was a considerable price difference for the same service).

        Good customer services, actual techies you can talk to "clickety, clickety, ah yes - I can see the problem. It'll work now" rather than script-reading muppets who have neither the knowledge, ability or power to do anything other than log a call..

        1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Zen

          Yeah, that was experience of Zen. You're paying "extra" so that anyone answering your phone or email is an actual tech rather than customer service drone.

          1. EvadingGrid

            Re: Zen

            Zen's Tech support is very good.

            They will lift the block on the e-mail port if you ask.

            They do not force you to use an insecure e-mail server, like say Sky

            They will give you a static ip if you ask.

            They do not think running apache at home is a semi-crimminal act. If you read the small print on the big name ISP, they restrict ports and services.

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Zen

          See now I had the exact opposite with Zen.

          I moved my ADSL as it was then from O2 business to Zen business.

          It went from my already poor 4.5Mbits to c56kbps and was truly dreadful.

          After a week of being onto them with them basically repeatedly telling me it was fine despite screenshots showing the problems I ended up having to cancel and moved to BeThere who were another superb ISP.

          Interestingly they never provided fibre or any kind and when I called for my MAK they offered me two years free...that was literally about three weeks before they announced the Sky buy so I guess that was why.

          Still remember how chilled the guy on the call was about my leaving. Having explained that I was getting fibre and they simply didn't do it or have any plans to he took a big deep breath and said "you'd be crazy to accept this man but if you want we will give you two free years...but go get your fibre" :)

  12. schmerg

    What Which? are you reading?

    Opens this months Which? (Oct 2017) to page 42 "TV & Broadband Providers"...

    TalkTalk are mid-table with "customer score" of 51% (behind PlusNet & EE, ahead of BT & Sky, neck & next with Virgin but rated higher overall).

    Maybe they've also done another survey, but as this is out in the same months magazine, and it's a 4 page article, is it perhaps worth mentioning?

    [ Disclaimer - single anecdote is not authoritative but ~10 years with TalkTalk, esp. on Fibre, much happier with TT than other ISPs when I had a troublesome physical line which was really OpenReach's problem. IMHO TT get a lot of the "cheap end" of customers who are less able to understand the physical limits of ADSL. If you're a long way from the exchange you won't get a magical data rate from any ISP. And this is the source of quite a number (not all) of complaints. The user forums frequented by their UK based tech staff are very helpful and let me mostly bypass phone support ].

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone use Talk Talk Business Leased Lines?

    I'd be interested to know how you found them as apparently they are a different group to Talk Talk consumer, UK only call centres and better customer service.

    I find BT business useless, with very strange ideas about SIP and would look to change.

    1. noboard

      Re: Does anyone use Talk Talk Business Leased Lines?

      I'm pretty sure Zen are using them, that's what it said on my account last time I logged into the Zen portal. This was a few months ago and I've not had any issues. Only had one issue with Zen in 5+ years and it was sorted quickly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone use Talk Talk Business Leased Lines?

      We did. And we don't any more. For lots of reasons.

      They are better than TT consumer, but only just. The best thing you can say about them is that they are better than vermin media.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone use Talk Talk Business Leased Lines?

      Shit.

      Had them for short period.

      No more.

      But then again, most will say "We can ping it" or "must be customers equipment".

      My experience is you just pick your level of shit service required and choose that carrier.

  14. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    AAISP vs. TalkTalk

    I migrated from TalkTalk Business to AAISP.

    TalkTalk: line goodput varied from ok to a very, very small fraction of the DSL sync speed. The final straw (after putting up with slow downloads for years*) was trying to download a software update for some kit that repeatedly dropped to a throughput of 0 (yes, zero) kbit/s** (and it was not the server - swapping to my neighbour's WiFi (with the neighbour's permission) and their BT Internet connection on the same exchange worked with no problem).

    AAISP: same kit, same copper, same exchange, absolutely no problems whatsoever, downloads at the maximum the DSL sync speed will allow.

    It helps that AAISP have orders-of-magnitude better customer service. Talking to clueful people on the phone is a joy - I can even call them on VoIP. Yes, they are more expensive, but they show how things can (and should) be done.

    I do have a couple of very, very minor niggles with AAISP - but compared with TalkTalk (and Hyperoptic) they are paragons of competence and cluefulness.

    *The saga of my dealings with TalkTalk customer service would fill too many screens - you would wear out the scroll-wheel on your mouse/PgDn key getting to the end - if you didn't lose the will to live first. I feel very fortunate to have got away from them with them owing me a small sum that I can't summon up the will to chase.

    **I suspect some 'intelligent' throttling that allowed an initial burst at a good rate, but then screwed things down. It wasn't a WiFi issue as my laptop's connection was hard-wired - I used WiFi only to connect to the neighbour. And, of course, speed testing sites worked fine.

  15. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

    Only complainers make a noise

    See title.

    I was with UKLinux.net (Entanet reseller -> BT Openreach) via FTTC and then copper to my (overhead cable) house - about 150m copper (and it is ALL copper apparently from BT guy in the hole).

    Only got 38Mb but have to say it was very reliable (from my SamKnows box info)

    Went to EE (I know they are part of BT now) and got a bundled reduction in home BB (already had mobile with them)

    Big cock-up on changeover as BT Wholesale hadn't done paperwork properly years before and said I was still with Entanet. Took 2 months to sort (EE very helpful and informative - gave me 12 gb/mnth to use my 4G phone as internet connection whilst sorted)

    End result: now get 48mb+ (still good and reliable) - only downside is the old cable /connections to exchange (less than 1.5 miles).

    OK not greatest. But it works *reliably* month on month speedwise and connection. Reliability is all for me. Don't do streaming of TV/Video/Facetwat YMMV

    If you are happy with service level; you don't post and nobody knows..

    [FFS why have 8 million concurrent downloads of Eastenders clogging interwebs when they could record on their Mythbox over FTA Freeview and watch later. Sheesh]

  16. Craigie

    YakYak

    TalkTalk do not exist except as the faint miasma between the contractors that provide their 'service'.

  17. Steve Cooper

    Skie

    I have never had a problem with Sky (ADSL then fibre) on 3 properties over the last 8 or so years. I've never met anyone who has a problem with Sky broadband either.

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: Skie

      I've had problems with Sky, like the constant drop outs every night around 12-2am, the utter POS router that can't do 5ghz wifi or gigabit lan and can barely do 2.4ghz wifi at all... Can't get a reliable or stable signal if you move further than 5-6m away from the router.

      Contract was up so I called for a better deal... spoke with a drone who was rude and uninterested... didn't give a crap that I'd been a customer at this address for almost 8yrs and a previous address for 7yrs. Told them what I could get elsewhere and didn't care... So I switched to VM and am saving £15 a month whilst getting a 100mbps connection instead of less than 40mbps... their router may not be perfect but it's a 100 times better than the Sky POS.

      But the worst parts was Sky trying to charge me after I had already left... Cue complaints and disputes to them regarding their actions... they failed to deal with the complaint, failed to send me an accurate bill and passed details to a debt collection agency which they cannot do when an account is in dispute. Ignore all contact from DCA and made complaint to both offcom and ICO.

      VM on the other hand have resolved all of the issues... They failed to give me the same package as I had with Sky, resolved at their expense, engineer damaged some skirting whilst fitting the new box... resolved and compensated.

      When current contract with VM is up next April, I'll look around for better deals again... I think switching each year is the way to go, I don't use any TV services as I have netflix & prime and FVHD and can pretty much watch anything I want at any time... So why pay for a bunch of channels I neither need or watch.

      1. VooDooTooDo

        Re: Skie

        Strange that my SKY router performs Gigabit LAN & 5GHz WiFi just nicely! Even with the older routers I had no problems with WiFi service around the house, down the garden, in the loft, on the road outside house, etc.

        I always find that SKY will speak to you in the same manner that you speak to them. Treat them nicely & they will treat you nicely & sort you out with good incentives & discounts.

    2. egbert

      Re: Skie

      Moved to Sky ten years ago. Old broadband (Wannadoo) got cut off, New Sky router wouldn't connect. Called support. Offshore call centre - crappy line quality. "Just be patient, it sometimes takes a while". 24 hours later, still no service. Call support again - made to go through the dreaded script - "Is the router plugged in to the mains?...". Still not working. Told to wait another 24 hours.

      Downloaded hack from internet (by dialing up my work and using their broadband) that allowed me to see the PPP username/password (Sky hid it from users in those days) and used that to setup another router/modem. Still didn't work.

      After about 4 days of this, phoned their sales team and told them I was cancelling unless they sorted it out immediately. They gave me a number to call.

      Called the number. Scottish voice "Hello?". There then followed 30 seconds of brisk "Have you tried X, have you tried Y?,..." followed by "It's a line fault, I'll get an engineer out".

      Service working next day.

      Call centre following a script 0/10

      Eventual person who actually knew what they were doing 10/10

    3. Dave Lawton
      FAIL

      Re: Skie

      Pie in the sky more like (sorry Richard).

      Friend of mine moved into an area where Virgin was not available.

      She ignored my advice about not choosing sky...

      Telephone socket already fitted.

      Sky wanted 200GBP upfront to supply service.

      Order placed 30 July.

      Installation date 30 August.

      30 August Sky guy fits dish & q-box, doesn't mention q-box won't work properly without BB, says he can't do anything with the BB, and leaves.

      6 September BTOR guy says can't fix, need Cherry Picker because pole is dangerous.

      13 September I arrive, ring Sky, told no action from them until 25 September.

      Threats of cancellation produce promise of action on 19 September.

      19 September Cherry Picker arrives, complete new box+cables to pole installed.

      20 September told underground fault, can't fix until 25 September.

      Will not need further access.

      20 September Sky promises refunds+free service but still takes DD.

      Update on Monday.

      Lord only knows what would have happened if she had asked for fibre.

      Meanwhile still no phone line for emergency service access, and yes, they were told.

    4. EvadingGrid

      Re: Skie

      Sky . . . .

      Its not a full and complete internet connection, they block ports, shape traffic, and decide what you can or can not do with your internet connection.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This does miss a question out....

    I never had to phone BT in the 5 years I had them

    So is their customer service 100% or 0%

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: This does miss a question out....

      The true measure of any company is what they do when things go wrong. So providing the service you pay for isn't a measurable factor really.

      So I guess that means 0% :)

  19. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Worst in UK but not World

    Over here we have Comcrap and a couple of other unworthies that could teach TalkTalk a thing or two about being hideous.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Worst in UK but not World

      At least here we (mostly) have a wide range of ISPs to chose from. The benefits of government-mandated last-mile access :-)

  20. Alperian

    ChatChat

    I have two TalkTalk accounts coming into the house in Oxfordshire. Have had for years. I know: silly to have two lines by the same supplier (uh-huk-uh-huk). However, the only problem we have had is with one of the accounts is that my business caller ID has never worked. I checked in my online account meaning to make sure that it was turned on and it said that it was.

    Long and short of it, saw this article, decided to give TT a hard time about it at last. Got straight through - I mean straight through after the menus. Turns out it was turned off all the time. Bish bash bosh turned it on. Now I don't have anything to gripe about which my missus would disagree with.

  21. Andy Non
    Meh

    I'm fed up of being pestered by

    dodgy looking women soliciting on street corners. They smile sweetly and ask "Hey mister, would you like TalkTalk broadband."

  22. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    "Users said slow speeds, frequent connection drop-outs and poor customer service as their biggest bugbears with the provider."

    Sadly as Virgin pushes their monster speeds up and up, they're going the same way. My service used to be brilliant but lately it's just falling apart, drop outs at least 3-4 times a day for 2-3 mins.

  23. dmacleo

    yeah....try this ISP

    I see author(s) never used tdstelecom in the US.

    its ONLY broadband in my town (rural area) and I am lucky to to get 7MBps during day and 128 KBps (yes isdn speeds) at night.

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: yeah....try this ISP

      You might have you B's and your b's mixed up. 7MB = 56Mb, which is quite good.

      (line speeds are always quoted in b (bits), and not B (bytes); 1B = 8b

      1. dmacleo

        Re: yeah....try this ISP

        yeah I constantly do that, sorry.

        arthritis issues.

  24. roger 8

    virgin

    Ive been with virgin over 20 years now. from when they where diamond cable. even when i worked for BT. when broadband first came out. i was working for BT. had a chat with an engineer about having it at home.was told don't bother go with diamond media as most of our main cables back to the exchange are still the original wires laid down in the beginning of the GPO. I then went to work for then called NTL.

    did my own install in my present house 16 years ago. barring 1 tv box failing an a power supply for the modem. Ive not had any network issues. Always had the speeds i've paid for. I even remember when people where leaving NTL for AOL broadband and i would turn up with an AOL broadband modem. SAME as NTL but different sticker. no cable changes whatsoever. just plug in and use install CD. My lad worked for BT and now sky so i keep updated on offers and kit. For me Its just not worth me changing.

    where i am. Because anything over the bt network. will be useless. I would be better firing up my ham radio packet bbs at 1200 baud i would get faster speeds.

  25. Mike Richards Silver badge

    There's a certain inevitability about this

    It's like Meryl Streep winning 'Best Actress'.

    The only difference is that Meryl has never tried to communicate with an Indian accent.

  26. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Speaking of TalkTalk

    (since it is past the watershed)

    Does anyone know the outcome of the hacking case at the Old Bailey? I saw two people had been convicted in April, but never saw anything about how long they were sent down for.

  27. Dominion

    They’re all rubbish!

    Had BT, Sky and now Utility Warehouse, all via BT / Openreach. Sky - router was crap. BT - incompetent billing department - the bills were a confusing mess of services being charged and refunded each month, sometimes over several months due to being billed quarterly. Ended up shouting at them because having left them they insisted I still needed a direct debit for BT Sport, even though I’d never asked for it, never watched it and it was added to my account without my consent - charged each month and then refunded. Utility Warehouse are ok, but speeds not great. No option of cable round here so ultimately stuck with a service ending up with BT, but I will never, ever pay BT directly again. I’d sooner not have an internet connection than deal with vermin like them.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. DaveMellor

    Average speed of 16+ MBits - in my dreams.

    Says a customer with EE!

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      "DaveMellor

      Average speed of 16+ Mbits - in my dreams.

      Says a customer with EE!"

      There, fixed that embarrassing mistake for you.

  30. Jason Hindle

    The main issue, in my experience....

    Sure, you BT Home Hub, YakYak or Sky broadband router might be working incredibly well, but you've no guarantee a problem will be resolved in any reasonable amount of time. Problems with the router, and out to the cabinet, should be easy enough to deal with, but the simplest way to deal with a core/edge network issue may well be to move provider! I've read enough horror stories of BT customers going long without service, and have my own bad experience with TalkTalk*. I have BT Infinity 2, at the moment, and (fingers/toes crossed) it works very nicely. I don't have time for a Kafkaesque customer service experience.

    * Couldn't receive calls at home. They charged me for an inconclusive home visit, and the problem mysteriously fixed itself after a few days.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yep...and their 'wholesale' offering isn't any better

    I have to work with them for part of my employers wholesale offering. Trying to get them to perform critical changes takes weeks with days between updates. Often they'll ask the same question several times in different ways until finally accepting what you told them in the first place. Extremely frustrating.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised...

    Esp. when I'm paying these clowns £22.31/month for half a Mbit down...

  33. molletts

    Given that they're the same company as far as I'm aware, I've never been able to figure out how TalkTalk can be so consistently rubbish while Utility Warehouse, equally consistently, manage to fare pretty well.

  34. Slx

    It just shows what a catchy name and good advertising can do for you!

  35. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    My company supplies broadband through ICUK. We can choose whether a circuit goes through TalkTalk's network or BT's. Of course both use the same Openreach physical infrastructure. All I can say is:

    - Talktalk's network lets us have more control of ADSL connections (e.g. Target SNR)

    - Talktalk's network is unmetered

    - Talktalk's network is much cheaper

    - BT's network has little control of anything

    - BT's network is metered

    - BT's network is more expensive

    As for reliability, there's not a lot in in. I'd say Talktalk's is slightly more reliable. Usually when there's a problem, it's between the customer and the exchange, and whether it's BT or Talktalk, the procedure is just as painful. The quality of the service depends on whether the service level we have, and it tends to be better with talktalk as our package includes 'premium' repairs. However, it mainly depends on whether or not the phone line is provided through us, or a third party. If it's us, it means we can do more diagnostics ourselves and are not at the beck and call of some god-awful phone company who don't listen to their customers.

    Overall, it's pretty dire. The sooner Openreach is shaken up and actually provides a good all-round service, the better. We have customers on industrial estates where they can barely get 3mbps (and at one, the contract says they have to use the estate's own expensive slow service, at another, they were persuaded to go for true 'fibre' that's shared with the whole estate, and guess what? they get 3mbps but are paying £100 a month for it!), we have customers in rural areas who need proper service and despite having 3 adsl circuits, still struggle. We have customers in cities who can't get more than 0.5mbps. There's nothing we can do, there's no alternative in most cases, and we have to wait years in some cases to get decent service.

    Actually one interesting case was in Wales, near Llandudno, where it took 6 months to get 3 phone lines in. The broadband needed to be supplemented by satellite as it was only 0.5mbps. Then suddenly, we were able to provide full FTTP. That took three months to get installed and running, but it's very expensive, at over £200 a month for 330mbps. They could then get rid of their three phone lines, and use voip. It's the only site out of 50 or so that we provide where we can get FTTP.

    So only one out of our 50 sites can get FTTP, and it's too expensive to use at it's 'full' speed of 330mbps. I'm not impressed.

  36. Old Lady

    Sky absolute rubbish

    I am in my mid-seventies, every time, which is frequently, I get the same old script "Have you changed the filter" then spend 5 mins explaining I have an I-Plate. Then I am told to get out my screwdriver & take the cover off. I explain that I am not able to lie flat on my stomach unscrewing something I was told by BT not to touch. Then they tell me they can't help if I can't take the plate off. I ask am I the only disabled customer, no answer. I feel like reporting them for discrimination. The line is noisy I can hardly hear on what must be my incoming line because people tell me the can hear me OK. So I get "Have you tried a different telephone" They try anything other than to get BT to look at the line. The problem started when O2 sold us down the river. I also have Sky TV & if it wasn't for my sick husband liking the film channel I would tell them where to stick their TV, broadband & telephone service. The laugh is I have to download a film overnight because it takes all night to download it. It took me an hour to update 6 Apps on my iPod this morning. Wish someone would ask me to score Sky it would be zero out of ten.

  37. ps2os2

    WORST ISP ... Not even close it is COMCAST

    I called up support people about people were sending me emails, and they were bouncing as according to COMCAST email servers I didn't exist.

    I talked to one support person who passed me off to another. I finally put my foot down and told the person I want to talk to a manager.

    The manager gets on the line and tells me he will have it fixed by next day.

    Next day I get a call from a telephone person saying that the birds are causing the problem and he has some magical spray that will put an end to that. I rolled my eyes and told him to go for it.

    I saw him spraying. Next day I called up and informed them the issue was not resolved. I told them I want a server person that could explain the issue. I was told I couldn't talk to them. I said OK, how about canceling my service.

    Next day the problem was fixed.

    That is the worst ISP.

  38. ps2os2

    COMCAST is the WORST ISP PERIOD

    I called up support people about people were sending me emails, and they were bouncing as according to COMCAST email servers I didn't exist.

    I talked to one support person who passed me off to another. I finally put my foot down and told the person I want to talk to a manager.

    The manager gets on the line and tells me he will have it fixed by next day.

    Next day I get a call from a telephone person saying that the birds are causing the problem and he has some magical spray that will put an end to that. I rolled my eyes and told him to go for it.

    I saw him spraying. Next day I called up and informed them the issue was not resolved. I told them I want a server person that could explain the issue. I was told I couldn't talk to them. I said OK, how about canceling my service.

    Next day the problem was fixed.

  39. hoola

    OpenReach

    My experience of PlusNet/OpenReach has only been good. The fibre connecting at around 65MB started to drop out. Finally contacted PlusNet support (now there is a challenge, phone only so pick your time otherwise you hang one for hours). Usual guff about the router, cabling etc (they could tell I was not using their Technicolor piece of crap) and the engineer rings the next day to check if anyone was in. He then spent 3 hours between the cabinet/exchange/house sorting out water in the manhole in the road and a faulty switch port at the exchange. He also replaced the internal master socket "just to be safe". It now connects at 70MB down and 20MB up on an FritzBox router.

    My only complaint is the lunacy of PlusNet's call system, why you cannot open a ticket online just is beyond me.

    Similarly BT/OpenReach recently had to replace an entire cabinet because some plonker parked their car on it, wiping out phone & broadband for quite a few houses. Within 6 hours phone was restored along with dodgy broadband. We all new the broadband was a bodge but 3 days later a completely new cabinet goes in and it is fixed.

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