on 27-02-2019 09:44 PM - last edited on 27-02-2019 10:08 PM by ferguson
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.
on 28-02-2019 06:24 PM
Haha hey Chris, thanks for the quick response.
To be honest I didn't post this with the intention of getting a TalkTalk response, it was mainly to vent, but since you mention it... yeah, that would be nice. Filled in the profile! And I have a TON of notes I could share while I'm at it! It's an epic adventure of poorly trained staff making incorrect assertions or bad decisions, while deeply highlighting the flaws in TalkTalk's internal processes vis-a-vis organisation, note-taking and information sharing between them and Openreach (on that last, at one point the support staff actually asked ME if an engineer had been sent to my property... like... what is even happening over there??)
What has happened, can only have been possible due to a deeply flawed support and issue management system that can't cope with anything but the most simple of issues. I feel like nothing short of a significant change in the way TalkTalk manages support issues would fix it; the entire system fails at nearly every hurdle. Even the stupid Talksafe thing can't get through an average call without exploding, if my experience is any indication.
But I must say the TalkTalk staff were always lovely to talk to. One guy even got a little weird about it... like I mentioned how frustrated I was and suddenly he was ASKING for abuse, literally "oh I understand if you're frustrated, it's quite alright to yell and scream at me". He insisted, multiple times. It was starting to sound a bit sexual. I half expected a "please, sir, I beg you; kick me in the testicles as hard as you possibly can" and a bit of heavy breathing.
To his credit, I've never felt less like shouting at someone than I did in that deeply confusing, uncomfortable moment. Nice guy.
Anyway I will be moving to another ISP now, it's all sorted. I've got one less call to make to TalkTalk to tell them (politely) to stick their bait-and-switch, slower broadband contract where the sun blazeth not. I'll note the aforementioned competitor is fully willing to offer me the equivalent higher speed package, quite unlike what the last TalkTalk staffer insisted was now "against the law". I mean there's trying to explain something and then there's, you know... lying. Which that was. If he'd just said the real reason was "per new OFCOM rules they have to report speed more accurately now and giving lots of people on bad lines faster packages made their speeds look bad," I'd have understood.
on 28-02-2019 11:14 AM
Welcome to the Community
I'm really sorry to hear that you're unhappy with the service that you've received. If you'd like us to raise a complaint on your behalf to our CEO's Office can you complete your Community Profile and we'll sort this out for you.
on 27-02-2019 09:56 PM
And you know what, something else that strikes me is the incredible amount of TIME I've sunk into this stupid journey.
It just struck me that I've wasted yet another evening on it with the latest 1hr 20 min phone call to arrange the reprovide and now the time taken to vent my frustration on the net, because I'll be damned if someone, somewhere, isn't going to know how ridiculous this was.
I think the time to cut my losses was a really long time ago. I am not a clever man. -_-