Problems with Talk Talk Business

17 Aug 2011 - 23:40 UTC.

I'm not usually one to post more personal stuff on a blog (when I actually do bother to post). But having kept an eye on the issue of Ofcom dealing with Talk Talks inability to deal with customers, and the experience I've had with them over the last 2 months I feel it's a valid post to make. I also know I'm not alone in these problems.

A couple of months ago I rang Talk Talk to say I was moving home and that I was


[*]Interested in moving my broadband[/*]

[*]Interested in getting a new phone line, as the line I was using was shared and wasn't really mine to move.[/*]

[*]As I was a Nildram customer, and have an IP range with them, I wanted to keep the IP range[/*]


Now granted it's not a 100% simple house move, but it's hardly difficult, it just needed a little bit of coordination than usual. Unfortunately for some reason it has been anything but that. It took me 2 phone calls before the install to establish that I wanted to keep the old Nildram IP range and A/C. BT have installed a line which by today's broadband standards is utter rubbish, and despite it being a new line and being less than 1.5 miles from the exchange, is incapable of anything over 1.7mb.

The day after it was installed the BT engineer returned, without approval or any communication with myself to work on the ADSL connection, but then left leaving the Oscillator connected meaning I had no broadband. Now this isn't Talk Talk Businesses fault, but it shows communication problems between them and BT as they didn't know the engineer had been back out as there were no notes. I've asked TTB 3 times to get BT to collect the Oscillator as it's no use to me.

It also turned out that I was being billed for 2 internet connections, so after a call to Customer Services to get that credited back to my A/C, I was told that they wanted me to stop using the Nildram login and that I needed to speak to Technical Support to move the IP range to the new A/C. I then get told by Technical Support, that because it's a small section of a huge IP block that it isn't possible for it to be moved to a new TTB login. After getting a little annoyed with the incapabilities over something so simple, which was a requirement of me keeping my A/C with TTB, I asked for the guy to get Customer Services to call me back (as I'd spent 45 minutes on the phone with them by this point). He said he'd do just that, no such call came.

I then went on to email Customer Services twice in the following few days, as I was busy and didn't have time during business hours to call them. Eventually with no response, I ran out of patience and rang them on the Saturday to start a formal complaint over


[*]The line speed issue (which I'll get onto in the minute)[/*]

[*]The utter rubbish when it comes to Customer Services, and the communication between different sections of their call centre.[/*]

[*]The problem with using the Nildram login[/*]


The technical support guy understood my complaint perfectly well, and knew from what I was saying that I'm very clued up on the problem.


[*]There are 2 exchanges in close proximity to where I am. One has LLU, the nearer one (less than .5 mile away) hasn't. BT OpenReach have connected me to the 1 further away, which I understand the business reasons for in terms of TTB, but it doesn't suit the need of the consumer if it offers a worse service.[/*]

[*]At my previous residence I was further away from the same exchange I'm currently on and got better speeds (10mb). So it would point at a problem with either the line, which is newly installed, or the cabinet.[/*]


Knowing of the problems TTB have with their payment system I sensibly cancelled the Direct Debit so I would have control over the money going to them. A couple of working days later, I got the standard "sorry you're complaning, we'll look into it and repond letter", although I didn't get my hopes up on getting a helpful response and that it would be a generic deadlock letter. A week later while I was away on business I received an email in reply to the emails I'd send some 3 weeks before saying the line was stable as it had been connected for 8 days (no mention of the line speed). I dismissed it as inept technical support not paying attention to any notes on the A/C and the outstanding complaint.

However the 14 days are up, and this morning I received a letter stating that I owed them over £100 and that my services "could be affected" (as if they could get any worse!). So I rang them up and after a few minutes of running through what was actually outstanding and establishing it's another problem with their payment system (The problems with which have already seen them fined once, and facing another one) I paid the amount actually owed, and then enquired into the status of the complaint. I wasn't suprised at all to find it had been closed without any communication with myself, or any notes on why. (Update: Since writing this yesterday Ofcom has fined TTB again.)

So today the complaint has been opened again, and I'm turning my eye towards Ofcom. Now I do appreciate the problems with the line speed aren't directly the fault of TTB, but the Customer Service is appalling and I've had to jump through hoops to get anywhere so far. You would think they would have improved some of their systems with the fine from Ofcom, and if you're not capable of dealing with Nildram customers A/C's properly surely it would ring alarm bells.

As for the line speed, I'd hope that conversations can be had about the state of the cabinet, without BT OpenReach or TTB trying to use the get out clause that FTTC is due sometime next year. This is somewhere Ofcom needs to have more teeth, because so many problems in this country are with cabinets and not with the exchanges themselves.

There are other questions that could be asked of TTB, like the knowledge of sales and Customer Services over the technical difficulties of dealing with Nildram A/C's. Being well aware of the problems with TTB, the only reason I considered staying was because of the Nildram static ip range, and not wanting to muck around with migrating to another one; combined with I can't get Virgin Media here despite it running up the other side of the road (groan) and the lack of business broadband providers that don't charge through the roof.



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