Good thing, bad thing

I may as well begin with the good. I noticed a jump in traffic yesterday. That’s because we got a blurb in the technology Guardian:

Check it here

The petition is a bit difficult to find at the moment due to the site’s redesign. There is a reason for this, which is the bad thing. Things will slowly start reappearing as I assess them for potential damage.

On September 13th I received an e-mail from YFouquet at the Carphone Warehouse. They claimed the following:

1. The blog claimed defamatory statements
2. The blog was an incitement to harass employees
3. The blog was violating the Data Protection Act of 1998
4. The logo was infringing on their copyright.

I disagree with a lot of these things but have made what I consider to be reasonable edits in an attempt to cooperate. I haven’t sent it yet but below is the e-mail to their legal team. Several of these edits were mentioned specifically in the original letter.

I’ve had to remove or edit several posts proclaiming to be from Carphone Warehouse Employees. CPW claims that all statements were untrue and misrepresentative of the company’s practises.

I am particularly annoyed they keep calling me sir.

So you guys know, I have no intention of closing this site. We’ve had various comments from people who have been helped enormously by the information here, which is the intent behind setting it up in the first place. I’m just going to have to be a bit more vigilant when it comes to the comments and what is posted.

Here’s what I’m sending:


Dear Sir,

Sincere apologies for any issue the blog may have caused, I assure you they were published in good faith. I have edited the site to address your specific concerns as detailed in your letter and other possible causes for concern. If the listed edits are insufficient, please can you provide me with an exhaustive list containing the direct link, part of post you find infringes on your rights and reason you (the Carphone Warehouse) believe it is defamatory (and not simply vulgar.) I will then address them accordingly on a case by case basis.

I hope we can work together to resolve potential issues in the future.

Kind Regards,

E-mail continues below:

You will find the following:

1. The Talk Talk Hell logo has been removed and replaced

2. Phone numbers and information not already publicly available for CPW employees has been removed.

3. The following posts and comments have been edited, deleted, or protected: – protected. Numbers removed. (added ‘according to the below’)
‘The difference between June and August, (in many reader experiences,) for Talk Talk is minimal so as to be completely non-existent:’
Comment removed.
Added: It’s taken up to 3 hours to actually talk to someone and when you do, they don’t seem to be able to help you.
Remember, this is just opinion.
Last names removed from comment
Added (alleged) to Fido’s call centre claims
Edited for content
Edited for content
Removed e-mail addresses.
Comment parodying Charles Dunstone removed
Alleged added to title
No one in the call centre I (Ed: Added alleged) work in “p**s about adding things like caller divert to peoples accounts for them instead of actually sorting issues!” as you so bluntly put it.
Removed Charles Dunstone’s e-mail address
Removed customer liason e-mail address
Post is now private
Added ‘allegedly’
Edited for content
Alleged added to title
(satanic removed) Talk Talk are s***** (Ed: Removed as requested by CPW PLC’s legal team.)
–A (alleged) talktalk tech—
Added ‘alleged’ to title
Added alleged to description of employees
Added ‘in my opinion’
Removed comments from ‘charles’
Added alleged
Removed phone number
removed e-mail addresses
Title changed, ‘Insane Homer saner than Dunstone’ to ‘saner than some practises’
Removed comment
Removed comment

Edited for content

Edited for content

Edited for content
Removed comment containing mobile phone numbers of two directors (saved)
Removed: the insider’s perspective.
Removed: was to apologise on the part of Talk Talk customer services.
Edited for content
Edited for content
Edited for content
Edited for content
Post deleted.

Comment removed (saved)

Comment removed: (saved)
Comment removed: (saved) Fidothedog

Comment removed
Post protected
Removed comment:(saved)

Removed comment:(saved) please press 1:

Edited for content
Post protected, no longer public.
Post protected, no longer public
Edited for content
Edited for content

Comment removed

Commenr removed (saved:) Mohammed#721 ou guys make me laugh!

Comment removed (saved:) curved slightly:i reiterate!
Edited for content

Post protected, no longer public

Edited for content
Edited for content

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10 responses to “Good thing, bad thing

  1. Hi,
    In regard to the way that you have been effectively censored by the carphone warehouse, may I suggest the following:

    1: The Freedom of Information Act:
    this would appear to contradict the rights of free speech

    2: Forward these details to Which, telecomunications department, as they are interested in what is happening within this company/industry

    3: Have a second website cloned from this and run from a country that protects/ignores this type of censorship.

    4: Tell them to go F**K themselves and let them whistle for redress

    5:We need the ability and the right to make comments on this level of dis-service, to help get it improved.

    6: I hope you can continue to let us air our comments freely and without editing

    7: Finaly by forcing you to edit comments without consent, you could be left open to accusations of misrepresentation by those of us that use this site, as any changes may significantly change the meaning represented by the user. Who will then protect our rights?

    Thanks and keep up the pressure and good work

  2. Hi there,

    I believe that is the idea from CPW. I’m attempting to prevent litigation action on behalf of them and hope they will see we’re running the site in good faith.

    I’ve done a bit of research over the last few days regarding defamation. Sadly, this seems to be a tactic used by several when things are being said they’re unhappy with.

    I’ll keep you guys updated. I have had no response from CPW to that letter as of yet.

  3. I was shocked and surprised by what appears to be censorship by CPW.

    Definitions of defamation on the Web:

    * a false accusation of an offence or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions
    * aspersion: an abusive attack on a person’s character or good name

    Firstly, it can only be defamation if it is *misrepresentation* i.e. untrue, or attack on a person’s character or *good* name, so given the track record collected not just on this site but elsewhere against TT, it would be difficult if not impossible to call it defamation!

    I suspect that the onus would be on TT to prove that you are wrong, and with the evidence, you should easily be able to prove that you are right! Remember the McLiable case? Also, the DPA I believe applies to businesses, not individual users (worth checking with the DPA).

    If my earlier statement is included on your site then TT are wrong to say ‘all statements’ are untrue. They have yet to respond to my letter of 12th July, and in a month’s time, I will be able to start my claim against them via Otelo.

    From my own site (follow links from Public Relations Failure for Mummies), there is an interesting link to how others were threatened with legal action for using the ‘… for Dummies’ name on their website. Fortunately, the ones listed refused to give in and are still using the name several years on!

    Furthermore, I am of the view (and may yet be proved wrong), that people are entitled to their opinions, true or untrue. If I happen to think that TTs customer service is crap, I am willing to put it on record and I am confident that there is nothing TT can (legally) do about it, except perhaps, improve their service.

    For a little peace of mind and to make things awkward for overpaid legal teams, I would suggest the following disclaimer is added at the foot of your webpage: “Use of this site is on the understanding and acceptance that all articles contained herein are only the opinions of the respective authors and are not to be construed as statements of fact.”

    I hate the thought of CPW censoring free speech and although I can understand your reasons for the moderation, I think (a), they’re bluffing and (b) the publicity you would gain from them actually taking legal action would be worth it. You could even set up a support fund and given the 1000s of apparent disgruntled customers, I am sure it would be well supported (don’t forget the PayPal DONATE button)!

    Personally, I would either ignore them or simply inform them that the articles are the opinions of the various authors, and if they want to sue, they can. Check the wording of articles by all means to cover yourself, but certainly think twice about letting them bully you!


  4. I think you can add control freak to the list of crimes now.

  5. After seeing some of the comments you have quite rightly removed (but still have printed on the front page of this wordpress site, ignoring the context) and I have to say, I’m ashamed. Im disapointed in the mindless few that have been quite emotional with there take on store staff – people trying to make a living I might add. Im further deflated by the fact that every single individual complaining about the service has not even attempted to put the situation into any reasonable context. You have internet issues – your not suffering with a loss of a loved one.

    Do me a favour, open a new window or tab, and google search for “internet problems” or “internet provider problems” and look at the MILLIONS of hits you get back. Over in the states they’ve been having staffing and call centere issuess, together with connectivity issus. people bitch about it, but mainly they deal. The US have also been outsourcing to channels overseas to take calls for a lot longer than we have also. We are the great british public, and a once trustworthy business has made a move on the market to attempt to make broadband access available to ALL – unfortunatly the “all” includes a massive population of elderly and/or inexperienced men and women.

    To those people I say this. “Welcome to high speed internet. The tech support are crappy, and the service is sketchy. Please stop bitching and get on with it, like the rest of us have been doing for YEARS, and in other countries, over a decade. ”

    I’ve been at my wits end with my ISP for months, but I havent created a website focusing on the fact they are falling short for me. I’m certainly not going in and abusing their staff (which are not high street based, I’m not as lucky as you lot to have real live people i can go in and deal with face to face). You may even notice that I’m not even going to mention the name of my ISP, just to prove a point. They are one of the 4 companies I’ve been with, all of which I’ve had issues with. But I’ve delt, because I’ve had to. As do you.

    What shocks me is that you’d come on here and flame the staff rather than get back on the phone and restate your point. and again. and again untill its sorted.

    Im very sorry, but I cannot agree with any one of you, and I hope that my “two cents” inspires you to get back on the phone and have another go at sorting things out. or, get down to the shop and take advantage that a sector of your ISP has high street stores. But please, realise that just because you have issues, doesnt mean that you can let your inner child dive out whilst you go shouting at some young adult sales consultant who just wants to make a few bob for his family.

    I believe that one of Carphone warehouse’s fundimental rules (they have this printed on their business cards) is “Treat others as you would like to be treated. Might be an idea to try that one out if your not getting anywhere 😉

    I’m not dismissing your issues, rather than pointing out they’re not as dire as you think, and giving you a few pointers as to how to resolve them.

    Take care, Shaun.

  6. I can understand your comments Shaun, but please understand this…

    Until TT, broadband service & customer service in the UK has been at a standard we have all come to love. Not always perfect, but a hell of a lot better than what we have experienced with TT.

    I daresay as other ISPs cut cost inorder to compete, their service standards will go down also, and, as you say, that is something we will probably have to live with.

    The complaints from TT largely stem from the fact that receiving this sort of shoddy service is rather new to us in the UK, so is it not surprising that people are ‘bitching’ about it??

    regards, jon

  7. Thanks Jon.
    I think, as far as my experience with Carphone Warehouse goes, the billing system has always been sketchy. Online billing for example, is good if you’ve done it before, but I tell you, it’ll take you months to set up if they get your email address wrong, or you enter an account number in a wrong account, or the system is down when you try and sign up and you only get half way through. because for some reason, changing things with CPW billing is nigh IMPOSSIBLE.

    .. Unless, you know what to ask, and who to ask. I believe that, comes with trial, error, and experience.

    I wonder if the British public have reacted so badly to this because of our inate stiff upper lip, and misguided belief that everything should be perfect?

    Its a question of culture I suppose? Interesting topic in my honest opinion.

  8. Incidently, I have to disagree with your belief that customer service was at an acceptable level before talktalk come along. Carphone warehouse set the standards of customer service, as voted by us, the british public, in many publications, hence why they DID display all their “voted best ” badges all over their website.

    I cannot and will not accpet, without proof, that ISP’s EVER had good customer service. AOL, 6 years ago – A call center run buy hundreds of locals reading off cue cards. “listen, I know whats wrong, your dumb “must have” client has messed up, a driver has become courupt, I just need to know how to replace it.” –

    The answer I got?

    “have you checked your user name and password?”

    and THEN..

    “are you using the right number to connect”

    NOTHING to do with the problem at hand, DESPITE me being lucky enough to get through to our dear home country.


  9. I have just come across this petition if any one is interested. The more people who complain the more chance we have of getting satisfaction?

  10. Pingback: One of the many petitions « Less Talk Talk: More Service. The unofficial, unaffiliated Talk Talk blog.

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