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My TalkTalk Tale of Woe (or how I am being forced into a new, slower contract)

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Message 24 of 24

Do you want to hear an epic tale of god-tier levels of customer service? Are you a masochist who gets off vicariously on the misfortune of others?


If so, start rubbing those nipples because it's gonna get GOOD. Mmmm. Just... WOW.


Let me just say up front: I am astounded at how ridiculous this whole thing has been. To the extent that I'm still not quite sure how this is even possible. I say this because after so many attempts to sort out the problem, statistically someone, somewhere, should have been able to not drop the ball long enough for things to be resolved. I didn't know it was possible for a company to screw up so much, so consistently. I have concluded that it is a miracle the TalkTalk offices aren't CONSTANTLY ON FIRE because only something like that could explain it.


You find me at the "Cease and Reprovide" stage of a 17-month long saga of bad broadband and MAGNITUDINALLY WORSE customer service, where I have just been slapped about the face with the ultimate in TalkTalk middle-fingers, which I would like to share.


If my numbers are correct, this journey involves DOZENS OF HOURS of phone calls to TalkTalk. Eleven engineer call-outs (minimum, I may have forgotten some). Several days of holiday booked from work to be there (if they even turn up; some didn't). I've lost count of how many call backs/follow ups I DIDN'T receive. How many 72-hour windows late or outright missed entirely. But... lots.


No resolution was found.


Nothing ever changed about how it was being handled.


Nobody was taking personal responsibility to see the issue through to the end.


It all started with my fresh new 76Mbps line. I was excited; it was a new-build property with spanking new cables laid in the also spanking new neighbourhood. I was giddy since it would be the fastest broadband I'd ever had. The Openreach guy who set up the line exclaimed about how the ~66Mbps the line provided was really good, and I agreed.


And immediately after the first Openreach engineer left, the speed was... 38Mbps. To this day nobody has been able to explain why he claimed it ran at a much higher speed. To the extent I'm seriously wondering if he lied about it to avoid having to deal with the issue. In any case, 38Mbps is WAY below my estimate and also below my minimum guaranteed speed of 40Mbps.


It was all downhill from there. I get in touch with support and immediately I'm caught in the intricacies of some giant, bureaucratic machine that is not equipped to solve my problems. Or any problems, for that matter, but mine most of all. The TalkTalk staff I kept contacting were lovely and friendly, and I reciprocated as much as my ever-growing frustration could allow (it is not my policy to yell at people! Besides people are more inclined to help if, you know, they don't hate you). Alas, the system they work within is impressively useless. Cue many months of repeated engineer visits (if they turned up, or in one case, were sent to the wrong customer) and let downs on follow-up calls that never came.


Every time I called, I got a new opnion on what the problem could be and how it might be fixed, which, you guessed it, generally involved sending another Openreach engineer to listlessly prod the wires and declare everything A-OK. I started learning the lingo and taking notes so I could steer the engineers and the people on the phone in the right direction, because, apparently, they don't try too hard to keep track or the notes they were left were bad. "No we've tried a lift and shift already, engineer number <X> did it", and "the other guy changed the port", and "no you said it was a hard line fault", and "actually the line speed into the neighbourhood was about 50", that sort of thing.


But nothing ever came of it, the line would always be slow and disconnect-prone, the Openreach engineers clueless, the TalkTalk staff cheerful and willing, and myself frustrated. Eventually we found out that the line was longer than expected, since apparently mine was routed round the neighbourhood for some bizarre reason, and this was a big part of the speed discrepancy, but did not explain the reliability issues.


Anyway, you're really here to hear about the latest middle finger, so here it is:


After 17 months, that same bureaucratic system finally gave up on my 76Mbps-but-actually-only-38Mbps-on-a-good-day connection. Apparently you need several or more Openreach engineers to come out, stare vapidly into the middle distance and lick your phone wires before it's clear there is a serious issue with your line; well, they decided we reached that moment a couple of weeks ago, and finally I was offered something different: a "cease and reprovide".


It was made clear that the point of the cease and reprovide would be to get me a nicer line, up past my minimum guaranteed speed of 40Mbps, and ideally, much closer to my predicted speeds in the 50/60Mbps region. I was told that one final engineer would be sent out to check if my house could be "rewired" such that we avoided whatever was plaguing the existing lines and also have a shorter electrical path to the exchange while we're at it, facilitating the extra speed.


Nice. That was engineer number eleven. (I think... Might have missed one or two as I didn't start writing everything down at first, back in 2017 when this drama started.)


After he left I (for once) actually received a follow-up call, and we decided to go ahead with the cease and reprovide.


The cease part has gone well enough and my service ends Monday. Great. I was told I'd receive a follow-up call to set up the "reprovide" part.


As is TalkTalk tradition that didn't happen, so I just chased them up today and got through to a nice guy called "Chuck".


Chuck informed me that no, I can't be reprovided my old package. My new speed estimate would be.... 38Mbps.


Yes, astute readers. That is indeed the exact same speed I currently get. You may be wondering "But how can this be? The point was to get above your promised speed?" and, well, you would not be alone. I posed this very question to "Chuck".


And he says, apparently OFCOM have put out some new "laws" that mean they can't offer the old package. Smells to me less like a law and more like skirting rules about false advertising of speeds; they can't guarantee the old 76Mbps speed so they don't bother offering it, but whatever, law or not the rub of it is I was lied to about being able to get above my promised 40Mbps minimum, and am now to be locked at 38Mbps CONTRACTUALLY right next door to my neighbour who gets 55.


So I asked if the "cease" part can be, you know, un-ceased, what with it being COMPLETELY POINTLESS, but apparently it is a done deal and can't be reversed.


So I get to be without broadband for at least a week only to wind up on the exact same speed (if not slightly slower) with a shiny new 18 month contract and a lower minimum guaranteed speed of 34Mbps.


As bait-and-switches go, I have to admit, it's pretty good. They got me. emoticon.clapping.title Well done. emoticon.thumbsup.title


I am also slightly curious as to why I spent the entire previous contract paying for the 76Mbps speed boost, if I could have just been on the slower 38Mbps package to begin with and get the same performance. Earlier in all this drama, maybe several engineers in, I asked if I could just give up and pay for 38Mbps since that's all I got anyway, and was told categorically that no, I can't, my speed would actually DROP further if I did that, if I wanted 38Mbps I had to pay for the speed boost.


According to Chuck? No, don't be silly, you should get 38Mbps anyway.




Before the end of the call I asked Chuck if he knew the CEO of TalkTalk. He said no, but he knew who she was. So I said since they record the calls it would be great if they could take this recording and just shove it right up her ass. He laughed and said that would probably be grounds for dismissal, but if his office is on fire anyway (as it SURELY MUST BE, along with his desk, his keyboard and mouse, his monitor and his headset, the ceiling, the walls and the windows) well, I'd say he had bigger problems.


Wew! Well I hoped you enjoyed reading and I managed to entertain some of you with my miserable tale. And this is just the cliff notes, mind you. I've got the whole sordid ordeal written down, though I'm not sure what I'll be doing with it yet. The full list of disappointments is quite impressive, I must say. I have gone ahead and signed up for the rubbish 38Mbps connection but I've found one or two ISPs who say they are willing to do the full 76Mbps (those OFCOM laws, huh?) so pending confirmation of that, I'd probably cancel the new TalkTalk contract. But we'll see.


All in all, I score them -1000 out of 10, and I strongly recommend TalkTalk to all my worst enemies. 


-_- sigh

Message 1 of 24

@maniben You were right, this isn't over!


Not content with wasting another hour of my life last week when I tried to cancel an allegedly nonexistant new contract... turns out that contract is very real, and there's apparently some kind of problem with it, according to an email I received this morning.


That email was followed by way more attempts at contact than I've ever received from TalkTalk before, and it's not even lunchtime yet. Voicemails and everything.


Where was all this attention when I had a problem with my existing contract, eh? emoticon.quiet.title


I finally answer and get some unintelligible nonsense on the other end but manage to make out it's about the new contract, and confirming I want to go ahead. I say no, in fact I called last week to cancel but was told the order didn't exist.


Why do I want to cancel, she asks?


I just say I don't wanna give TalkTalk any more money (she laughs) and that it would take too long to explain.


She then insists I have to be transferred to cancel things. (Why ask me if I want to continue if you can't authorise me NOT continuing?) 


At which point I told her I'm not doing that again, and per @maniben's idea I'm just cancelling any direct debit authorisations and moving on. (I can only assume my final bill has been cleared since, naturally, I can no longer access my online account).


Unsurprisingly I then find myself on hold to this other department. So yeah, I hung up.


And she calls back within, like TWO MINUTES.


WHERE was this kind of attention when I wanted to keep giving TalkTalk money?


I didn't answer, I then got an amazing three-minute long voicemail from some guy saying my name into my answering machine until he got bored and wandered off.


According to the text that then followed, TalkTalk "tried to contact me today" but will try again on Thursday.


Good luck. emoticon.joytears.title I'm not wasting any more time on this company. It sounds like if I don't give consent to go ahead with it, then they can't set up the new line. Good as cancelled, as far as I'm concerned! emoticon.joytears.title


-_- sigh

Message 2 of 24

@maniben Yeah it definitely occurred to me I should do that! I may have to wait for any new authorisation on the new contract to show up on my bank though. I suppose I will have a window between the cancel date and the allegedly nonexistant "new contract" date to do that.


I have enough to write a book, yeah emoticon.joytears.title so you've had posts deleted before huh? Can't imagine the journey you must've been through then!!


There is a LOT more swearing and anger in my notes about what has happened, to be honest, since I originally just intended it for my reference and needed to vent my frustration and disbelief, and as you well know, as the months and engineer call outs and broken promises went on these feelings only got worse. It's a weight off my mind now that I'm leaving but I know there's a risk I could just be starting the whole process again with another ISP, sigh.


There's no proper fibre or G-fast or cable services here (actually, one engineer let slip that a G-fast box is installed down the road, but due to my stupid line length I probably work out "too far" to qualify for it once it goes live, which is agony).


-_- sigh

Message 3 of 24
@marstwain This is a big part of why I didn't bother switching when problems appeared after the line was installed. However, the engineers are supposed to understand that they need to change my line (I will certainly make it clear when they arrive to set up my new service) so it's less a case of them not being aware of it and more whether or not they actually bother or manage to replace the faulty section. Thing is it's no longer just about the line, I just can't tolerate such uselessness out of my ISP any more. And the juxtaposition between how lovely and helpful the TalkTalk staff are and their CATASTROPHICALLY BAD ability to follow through is extremely jarring.

Anyway engineers are supposed to know about my line in advance but Openreach generally turned up with only a vague idea about what the problem was and no awareness of how much time had been put into the issue already, despite the eleventy billion notes TalkTalk staff allegedly left them every time. Openreach are no better, if they even came to the house they'd poke around for a bit and then leave and I'd get a text from TalkTalk marking the issue resolved. Generally if I got that text it meant TalkTalk wouldn't bother following up even if we agreed that was to be done.

Led to some very amusing conversations with TalkTalk staff like:

"OK so we'll arrange a call back for you after the engineer leaves-"

"No you won't."


"You won't call, you never do." (explain the million times this has been promised before)

"Oh... well... we'll certainly hope you get a call back! So when do you want a call?"

"Literally whenever, it doesn't matter, because you won't call haha"

"Uh... how about 5pm"

"(laughs) Sure why not!"

Of course, they don't call. I notice recently they've started clarifying that a promise to call me back isn't actually a guarantee that I will receive a call. That's hilarious as well but I do appreciate the honesty, they must be getting torn a new one a lot about that. You'd think they'd fix the system that led to it instead of just warning customers they're rubbish, haha.
-_- sigh

Message 4 of 24

@r00x00r wrote:

@Chris-TalkTalk Hi Chris, thanks for that; did you manage to find out if the "reprovide" bit was cancelled properly too? I never did get a clear answer on that from when I called up; the guy seemed convinced I'd never booked an engineer for the 11th.


I mean that's fine if they just screwed up again and failed to book it, worked out in my favour for once, but it would be nice to know for sure!


I appreciate the well wishes, everyone on staff at TalkTalk is always really nice, so it's a shame to leave when everyone seems to want to help and make things better, but the awful experience has driven me up the wall, over the ceiling and back down the other side haha, so I'm fine with parting ways!


I wouldnt celebrate just yet !


Wait till you get the final bill and hope it doesnt contain any surprises.


Better still, cancel your direct debit immediately to avoid this, else you might have to end up writing a whole new book, which might become a reference manual for Customer services (how not to) at university level management studies.emoticon.joytears.title


I have my own tale of woes but wont bother, lest the post gets deleted. Happened many times.


Good luck with your new provider.

Message 5 of 24

@r00x00r  The problem is that if you stick with FTTC, all that will happen is that TT disconnect the phone line from their equipment and the new provider takes over that very same crappy piece of copper or aluminium that goes to the fibre cabinet.


Message 6 of 24

@Chris-TalkTalk Hi Chris, thanks for that; did you manage to find out if the "reprovide" bit was cancelled properly too? I never did get a clear answer on that from when I called up; the guy seemed convinced I'd never booked an engineer for the 11th.


I mean that's fine if they just screwed up again and failed to book it, worked out in my favour for once, but it would be nice to know for sure!


I appreciate the well wishes, everyone on staff at TalkTalk is always really nice, so it's a shame to leave when everyone seems to want to help and make things better, but the awful experience has driven me up the wall, over the ceiling and back down the other side haha, so I'm fine with parting ways!


-_- sigh

Message 7 of 24
@martswain Hi! You're right, we're losing the current number, but this is fine by us. We WANT the old line disconnected, it's garbage and we want another one. I hope they rip it out and throw it away on Monday, and we get a shiny new one a couple weeks later!
-_- sigh

Message 8 of 24
@TheHornedOne Hahaha, yes quite the adventure. The less glamorous version is I just have nothing better to do!! 😄
-_- sigh

Message 9 of 24

Thanks @Chris-TalkTalk , I hope you can resolve this for me.


Message 10 of 24

Hi AshAlex,


I've replied on your thread 🙂



Support Team
Message 11 of 24

Hi r00x00r,


Thanks for completing your profile. As requested I've escalated your existing complaint to our CEO's Office, one of our Complaints Managers will contact you within 5 working days to discuss your complaint, I'm sorry that you've decided to leave but I hope all goes well with your new provider.




Message 12 of 24

Sounds like a very unusual case.


I hope, if t's important to you, that your new provider is taking the phone number as well and you have this confirmed.


If you have a cease and reprovide at the end of your contract, which looks to be the 4th, if I have read it all correctly, don't be surprised that now you have mentioned the C word (cancel) you find yourself discoonected on that date.


Best of luck !


Message 13 of 24


What a rich life you live @r00x00r  emoticon.smileyface.title



Message 14 of 24

@Chris-TalkTalk I just had the most hilarious phone call with TalkTalk trying to get the reprovide contract cancelled!! Can you just check real quick for me that it actually has been, if that's not too much to ask? I've signed up with another ISP and although I kinda do want to see a pair of Openreach engineers wrestling over a set of cables at the roadside, it's probably best if I only sign up for one ISP at a time...


The first part of the call was unremarkable. It seems that even TalkTalk's internal staff can't jump the queue to the department that deals with cancellation, as I got routed to the fault management team due to the existing complaint on my line and, though they led me to believe they could cancel it for me, they then spent 37 minutes bouncing me on and off hold until I was passed to the right place. The guy seemed bored at the start of the call but he cheered right up once he heard of my misery and we were giggling about it before long, especially at the part where TalkTalk managed to hang up on themselves and he had to call them and wait in line again. He said they told him to update the notes so they knew what was going on and then pass me over to them.


So yeah that was 37 minutes of my life wasted, but at least I was through to the right place now, right? Except they immediately ignored the notes and wanted me to explain why I wanted to cancel. 


So I had to do that, again. I explain the cease and reprovide, the bait and switch, the bad customer service, and how I'm over it.


This cancellation guy asks me if I wanna cancel, like... several times I think? Yeah, dude. Yeah. Yes. Yep. Yes, I confirm.


I wind up on hold again. I'll note it took 27 minutes to sign up for the new ISP and this included taking down all my payment details and the mini-interview process and terms and conditions review that goes along with setting up new direct debits.


This occurred to me while on hold, at which point it had taken TalkTalk 41 minutes to hit an effing cancel button. I begin to wonder, is the button moving around the screen? Is there a mini-boss to beat first before it unlocks?


But we weren't done, oh no. I'd just started talking to this guy and by golly he was gonna customer service his way into my good books. Apparently, the matter of my cancellation had now become a debate as opposed to something that is very definitely happening because come hell or high water a new ISP is coming to rip out the TalkTalk stuff in two weeks.


So as part of this back and forth he has me check my router connection speed, which is currently 38.9Mbps. He says hey what's the big deal, that's nearly the minimum speed. I should be chuffed to bits! 


I said why yes, I had noticed that it was nearly the absolute minimum guaranteed speed they were contractually obligated to provide. It just so happened to be... below it. I mention that my direct neighbour gets 55Mbps.


Oh yeah and did I mention the frankly disgusting customer service? I did, I did mention that. But I mentioned it again because apparently he forgot. I mentioned how at this point I just don't really wanna give TalkTalk money. I'm pretty sure that would mean they don't wanna give me Internet, so I thought that might clear up any final misunderstandings.


You might think that too, but we'd both be mistaken. After a bit more of a wait he comes back saying that the reason my neighbour gets 55Mbps is because he's closer to the exchange.


If we're going by where the line enters the house, my neighbour is two metres further away from the exchange. This, apparently, does not compute for TalkTalk man. What follows is one of the most bizarre conversations I've had with TalkTalk staff.


I explain we're in a semi-detached property, so neighbour guy is right beside us. And he's like... "what's semi-detached?"


He thinks it's a flat. Is it a flat?


No. No it isn't. It's a house.


"... What's the difference?"


We are now discussing the various different types of residences human beings choose to live in. At some point minutes later he concludes that "oh, it's like a shared house?"


"...sure." I say.


So then he pivots to explain that there's a £70 cancellation fee (um) but that because it's been more than a month I've had issues (yes, 17 actually, if not more) that the fee is waived.


I sense we're getting close!


I only need to pay my final bill apparently.


We're nearly there! Here it comes!


"Ah I see your contract is already ending on the 4th."


... I explain I know this. As I said before, the entire time I've been talking about the NEW CONTRACT I just signed up for YESTERDAY.


The response, in summary: "...what contract?"


The one where a new line was being installed on the 11th? Nope. Doesn't exist. But hey your old contract is already being cancelled isn't that great? Is there anything else I can help you with? Would you like me to close the complaint you had?


So I guess that's that, then. Lucky I did sign up for EE or I'd have booked holiday waiting for an engineer that apparently wasn't coming to install a new TalkTalk line? 


I guess I never needed to call in the first place? So that was one extra hour of my life stolen by TalkTalk. Amazing. Incredible! emoticon.clapping.title Bravo! It was an exquisite final performance. I will add it on top of the twenty billion others, I guess! emoticon.joytears.title


Anyway @Chris-TalkTalk I get the feeling you guys actually know what you're doing so it would be great if you could confirm for me what is ACTUALLY going on with my (hopefully cancelled, if it ever got booked to begin with) new contract that was supposed to begin 11th March?







-_- sigh

Message 15 of 24

I was with SKY for 6 years before moving onto this joke of a company, have had trouble from the word go. Three threads exist on this forum explaining in detail my woes.

Message 16 of 24


I found myself being presurised, via the TalkTalk web site, TalkTalk e.mails, TalkTalk texts, TalkTalk letters, and TalkTalk customer services - I have never received so much TalkTalk attention! - to upgrade to a fibre provision, because apparently, there was a problem providing the standard broadband provision!


I have terminated our relationship!



Message 17 of 24
@AshAlex that's no good! Though I was not mis-sold faster fibre, I fully expected and wanted it, my line is just terrible and can't cope. In theory it should've been a matter for TalkTalk and Openreach to sort out amongst themselves (TalkTalk were let down by Openreach here, after all) but in practice they tricked me into cancelling my faster fibre and tried to sign me up to normal fibre instead.
-_- sigh

Message 18 of 24

@Patricia55 hahaha! Thanks for the well-wishes! And to you too, we all need a bit of good luck here it seems.


I am relatively fast at typing I guess! I can't take all the credit, for I'm helped along by my trusty steed; a £30 mechanical keyboard I blagged off Amazon. It also lights up pretty colours which is great for nighttime visiblity, or dissuading you from smashing your fists into it when, say, your TalkTalk Internet is misbehaving for the millionth time.


Not that it matters but I figured I'd give EE a try! One thing's for certain, they can't be any worse.


In fact we should notify the physicists, for there is a new quantifiable physical constant: You've heard of the Planck Temperature and Planck Mass, but through TalkTalk, I have discovered The Planck Customer Service Experience. This constant is measured to be precisely 6.37626(15)×10^48 times less enjoyable than being set on fire.


Truly, an auspicious day. Once the research paper is published they will have to update the Standard Model.


-_- sigh

Conversation Starter
Message 19 of 24

I am in the exact same situation , I was mis-sold faster fibre with speed boost and have now been downgraded by TalkTalk without consent and stuck with them. They are offering no solutions and I too have spent hours on the phone without any glimmer of hope.


Message 20 of 24



emoticon.joytears.title   And YOU should write a book..........maybe entitled something like "How To Talk Your Way Out Of TalkTalk".


Your energy alone was gushing out through your words!!

Just out of curiosity, are you a fast touch-typist as well?


I'm also dead curious to know which ISP you've opted for but, hey, none of my damned business!! emoticon.clapping.title


I hope it all goes extremely well for you.....emoticon.waving.title


I've learnt a lot about TT since joining the forum on 30/12/18..........I say no more.