Carphone Warehouse against bullying… Unless it comes from them.

A few weeks ago Charles Dunstone amused the cynics and pleased the easy by yanking sponsorship from Big Brother after the Shilpa Shetty Shenanigans. According to him, Carphone Warehouse and subsidiaries don’t believe that bullying is appropriate… or very nice. So, what do you call it when a company keeps customers against their will? When High Level Complaints go nowhere and the result of valid complaints regarding service is to cut off telephone service?

At the best, I’d call it aggressive. At the worst.. well, perhaps Charles Dunstone should pull out of the Carphone Warehouse as well.

From Mike:

I managed to be a TalkTalk customer for approx 6 weeks before deciding to leave. I have never had such bad service from any other. Free Broadband – well over 2 months and not provided. Cheaper calls – nearly double my previous supplier for majority of calls to same number. Customer service – do not answer emails, do not phone you or write when promised. I’m now on my third yes third high level complaint and I still have not hear from them. I stopped my Direct Debit after warning them I would do so if the service did not improve. Their reaction is to put a restriction on my line – now I can not even ring their Customer Services or Accounts department. What stupidity on their part. Goodby TalkTalk why don’t you ListenListen?

PS Not a disgruntled ex employee or connected with any other phone company – I just want my bloody phone service back from them!

We hear ya Mike, oh do we hear ya.

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15 responses to “Carphone Warehouse against bullying… Unless it comes from them.

  1. I also fell for the cheap phone calls etc and switched from BT. I did eventually manage to switch back after very prolonged negotiation, including the threat of £80 disconnection fee. However that was last September and I am still receiving bills from them. I have tried complaining and threatening legal action but they still don’t listen. I have had threatening letters from solicitors, which I have answered but no recognition of any problem. What do you do next?

  2. I made the big mistake of joining TalkTalk. The broadband service was useless and the phone calls were no cheaper so I decided to leave. I notified them last November and switched back to BT. Since then they have continued to charge me, despite numerous calls and e-mails to try to get a final bill my final resort was to stop my Direct Debit. Now I have a debt collection agency trying to collect money I no not owe. This company’s customer service is appalling and their attitude to their customers is despicable. The sooner they are taken to court and forced to stop trading the better.

  3. Well where do i start for those who dont like long stories look away now !!
    It all started in september 06 usual knock at the door ”hello would you like to have the best phone isp provider ever ”i though here we go again talktalk , but wait amin ”how much” ill have it .
    promised connection end sep 06 and then jan 3 07 then then feb 7 07 and then feb 21 07 and yes wait for it [you guesed] now march 3 07 . phew thought i was dreaming then after millions of phone calls hanging on the phone for hours speaking to as many foreign people and trying to teach english to them at the same time ,and one chap giveing me his personal guarantee from south affrica after every other word ,till i fell asleep .now that i have woke up do i give up or shall i wait for this fantastic service or if anyone knows for a better provider please let me know ?
    thanks for reading ohh by the way no offence about foreign people and i’m not racist but you’ll be surprised of the new languages i can speak now!! chow baby

  4. Ah yes, I was once naive enough to enter the store and sign up to TT at the end of August 2006. Being promised a “go live” date of the end October 2006 I felt confident it would be achieved especially after Mr Dunstone publicly declared on television that all the companys (TT) problems were close to sorting.

    My current ISP deliberately obstructed my MAC application for six weeks but I eventually gave TT the code in November. Unfortunately they advised my order was invalid at that point and that we needed to start again because of an admin error at their end. I of course needed another MAC by now.

    I gave them the 2nd MAC some weeks later and regularly checked the order was progressing well and was assurred that as nothing adverse was showing on the screen all was well – probably.

    In January 2007 I rang TT Helpline and was abrubtly told that my “go live” would never have happened anyway as I was currently a Sainsburys Home Phone customer, despite still being a BT customer for the line rental. This is ironic as Homephone is part of Carphone Warehouses TT group of companies and even the salesman in the shop knew this from his screen, when I signed up.

    I wrote to Charles Dunstone – CEO – who passed my letter to the Correspondence Department. Their response merely repeated what I was complaining about and acknowledged their service had fallen short of what I had expected. I expected dire service and was certainly NOT surprised!

    They still do not want to try and sort the problem and still I get a vague letter from the Correspondence Department acknowledging that I wanted “out” from TT.

    Take a look at their corporate website where great promises and mission statements can be read, although these are only to apease the shareholder and gullible.

    I have noted the high street outlets now have an army of laughing, shiny suited, gel haired “greeters” in the door way who shoo you to either a long queue or an empty help point. They do not offer to assist. They tend to only work there for a day or two and then move on. Presumably embarrassed at the companys dreadful reputation and ability to provide a professional service they must go to the next store in town a little disillusioned.

    Mr Dunstone will probably respond by asking why on earth I approached his company when I knew full well that I would receive appalling service.

    We really do need a Retailing Ombudsman to deal with outfits like this, and for them to be held to account.

  5. I dont even want to go into the story again, i have spoken to THEM no less than 50 TIMES THEY ARE USELESS

  6. Below are some parts of an article in the observer I have just read over the internet.

    “But some customers who have given up waiting and have cancelled their direct debit have then received letters from either TalkTalk or directly from debt collection agencies pursuing them for payment of their outstanding balance. Worried readers have contacted us saying they feel threatened and are worried about damage to their credit rating.”

    ‘He resorted to cancelling his direct debit with them.
    ‘Once I cancelled my direct debit that’s when I received a letter from a debt collection agency,’ he says. ‘I sent a letter in reply to the head of credit control at TalkTalk, but no answer.’

    ‘TalkTalk says it will involve a debt collection agency only after it has contacted a customer twice by letter and only after two months has passed from the first default payment. ‘If a small claims court proceeding is brought to our attention we will look to resolve that problem,’ says a TalkTalk spokesperson. ‘We do have processes in place to compensate people where appropriate.’

    ‘Various phone calls to their customer services department hasn’t achieved anything. You are either waiting ages or get cut off.’

    I was in no way surprised at any of the comments made by the contributors to this article. I have been dealing with Car Phone Warehouse/TalkTalk for some 2 years and it is difficult to put into words the aggravation and unhappiness caused by these companies to myself, and my partner who took out a similar mobile phone contract at the same time as me.

    There is no doubt in my mind that his staff are trained to concentrate on SELL SELL SELL to potential customers at any price. Once involved with one of his companies as a customer, and tied up in a contract, there is a very good chance you will become a victim of despicably poor service for which you will be charged more than your contractually agreed amount. Your attempts to complain will be ignored should you contact by phone the so called ‘customer service team’ several dozen times, or write as I did out of hair yanking frustration to at least six differing Directors of the company, the company accounts dept, and the customer (lack of) service team.
    I have had Service Team members make sworn promises to me which they have failed to keep, and knowing the company as I now do, I never now believe a word they say.

    Hundreds of hours of my time have been wasted dealing with this company over the past 2 years. They act like bullies demanding money with menace. They have no interest in the fact that each time a contract has been broken, it is they who have done the breaking. I believe that they rely on the public not wishing to be involved with debt collection agencies and threats of court cases and judgements.

    I have an excellent credit history but have lived constantly waiting for this company to spoil my credit rating due to their despicable working practices. My advice to any person considering taking out a contract with any of these companies is be sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to, be prepared to spend a lot of time and energy defending yourself to people who show no interest in you should things go wrong, and check each and every monthly statement to see you are not paying more than you should.

    I myself, after my latest battle lasting many months, am waiting for a full credit to be put through on my account, this was to take 3 days, this is the 12th day and of course nothing doing. I will also add that the debt collection agency sent to hound me has not contacted me to confirm the case is closed, they were quick enough to warn me “there would be consequences” should I not pay them.

  7. I cancelled my direct debit after Talk Talk kept attempting to take payments out of my account days BEFORE the agreed monthly date causing me bank charges. I made a cash payment in December into Barclays Bank using the account details they gave me and waited for the final bill. It came in January and no-where was my cash payment included. They IMMEDIATELY got their Debt Collection agency onto me and refuse to accept that I made that cash payment. I have copies of emails between myself, Talk Talk and the Debt Collection agency, but am at my wits end. They expect me to pay twice and thats that. The last time the Debt Collectors rang, I was told “we won’t be held responsible for our actions” if the debt isn’t paid!
    I do not have the small slip of paper anymore to prove I made the payment and they are refusing to check their records. I am furious at these tactics.

  8. I have a similar tale. Signed up for broadband, and initially everything went OK. Then the service was unavailable, and I must have phoned 20+ times over a period of 2 weeks before getting a response.
    They said they would look into it and call back, but big surprise, they didn’t.
    I emailed, phoned and wrote, but no reply at all.
    I told them I would cancel my direct debit unless they responded, but no reaction, so I cancelled it.
    Now they are trying to stuff me for breach of contract. I have had two different debt collection agencies trying to collect money, and have taken the time to write to both, but no acknowledgement of my letters – just more demands, and threats of court action. Also threats that “someone will come and call” and “my credit rating will be affected”.
    And today the latest, informing me that “the way I have treated this account is wholly unacceptable, and non-compliance after legal proceedings have been commenced may require you to attend court to answer questions about your lifestyle”
    It is Carphone Warehouse who should be answering questions, not me. Whats the best course? Sue for harrassment? Write to my MP?

  9. Try this link from the national help debt line. It explains what creditors [sic] can do and it seems they can’t do what you say they are doing. Telling them they are breaking the rukes may not stop them but if you get to court or you take them it may show how unacceptable and compliant their dealings have been.

  10. OK, to buck the trendI was one of the first to go onto Talk Talk free broadband and havehad no real problems, occasionally the email servers drop but I route my emails through multiple accounts anyway so no problem.

    What I would say to all of you is sue Talk Talk for breach of contract. It’ll cost you around £60 to issue proceedings in the small claims cout and if you proceed to trial and win you will get your £60 back. Even if you loose beacuse small claims cases are restricted to fixed costs Talk Talk cannot recover their costs from you and it will cost them at least £1000 to defend a small claims case :). Just a word of warning – read up on what you are doing, put forward the facts and don’t try to be clever – if you try to copy something you’ve seen on TV you’ll just irritate the judge which is not good.

  11. Well you people dunno what you lot are doing but ive been with Talk Talk since the very begining I used to pay for my Broadband but now its free. My phone bills have been reduced by over half than with BT. I guess when something is free everyone dashes for it but luckily ive recieved very good service for Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk

  12. I have had a contractual relationship with Carphone Warehouse since April 2007.

    However, when my current 12 month contract ends in August 2007, I will go elsewhere for my mobile services.

    I agree with the concerns expressed above about the poor level of customer service if things go wrong and about the really bad selling practices from sales persons who only care about their own commission at Carphone Warehouse.

    I pay all of my utlility bills by direct debit to AOL, BT, Powergen, TV Licencing etc . and the only utlility provider which has decided to put an entry into my credit file with Equifax, a credit reference agency, is Carphone Warehouse.

    Equifax inform me that unless there is a consumer credit agreement in place with Carphone Warehouse, no data can be entered into my credit file by this company. There may be further issues under the Data Protection Act 1998 where Carphone Warehouse provides my data to any third party without legimate cause.

    I have an immaculate credit history and am simply not taking any chances with a Company which employs such unreasonable and unfair practices towards consumers.

    Also, when there had been a £25 limit set on my account in order for me to remain within a budget, Carphone Warehouse has allowed me to go as high as £85 despite the set limit since it clearly loves the extra level of supernormal profits if customers go over their minutes on a tariff without being aware of this since it takes so long to get an update on the latest situation on your account. You cannnot check the latest position online either. Very convenient for Carphone Warehouse.

    I also suspect that all of the major mobile service providers are operating similar practices but things can only get better from my point of view.

    Its time to go hunting….!!!!

  13. Don’t even get me started with thier horrible services, they are ruthless, rude, useless and stupid. I am from North America, I have never been treated like this, I am not trying to promote my country, or put down UK, but seriously, we indeed had the best services, and no one is rude, they always try to help you to get your money back, and they always really friendly, and the most important part is one phone call, they get things done, but here, with carphone warehouse, 100s calls, nothing is sloved. Any of you guys wants to go to protest against carephone warehouse? email me. thank you.

  14. Poor customer service and unfair contracts at CPW

    Having used several different mobile phone contractors since 1995 with no problems at all I was pursuaded to sign with CPW/O2 in Sept 2007. This was for a 12 month contract for £40 a month. I occassionally used the data facility but never really exceeded £10 in any one month.

    In late March I wanted to update the software on my Nokia 95. A CD came with the Nokia 95 that contained a proram called Nokia Software Updater. I loaded this onto my personal computer and using this program I located the latest N95 software via my personal computer and home broadband. The program then instructed me to connect my phone to a cable to download the software. Nothing suggested that the data would be downloaded other than by my broadband. The process took about 25mins.

    A couple of days later I found my phone would not allow me to make outgoing calls or text messages. I phoned the CPW/O2 customer services and asked why this was. The informed me I had run up data download charges in excess of £400 and that my account was suspended until this was paid off. I asked them to explain how this had happened and they told me I would need to wait for my bill to to confirm details. All they could tell me was that the data had been downloaded through my phone.

    A few weeks later my bill came through. I recognised the data download in excess of £400 as occurring at the time I had used my home broadband to to download N95 software to my phone. Somehow the Nokia Software Updater had switched from my home broadband to using the phone as a modem for datadownload. Something I would never have sanctioned.
    I wrote to Carphone Warehouse and explained the situation to them. I asked them to explain how this could happen and I hoped as a large multi natinal company they would show some understanding for the unfortunate situation I found myself in; particularly in the light that the data download costs to CPW/O2 are insignificant as demonstrated by the unlimited data bundles they sell at relatively litttle cost.

    I was disappointed to get a terse reply telling me that the data had been downloaded from my SIM card and therefore I was laible. No attempt was made to explain how the matter could have occurred.

    I sent a second letter explaining how disappointed I was with the response and level of customer service. I got another terse letter in reply again telling me I was responsible for the data charges.

    I cancelled my standing order to prevent the disputed sums being taken from my account and phoned customer services telling them what I had done and that I intended to continue paying the service contract charges, which I did, despite my phone still being suspended. I had researched the internet for details of how to refer the matter to OTELO. I learned that either 3 months had to pass without the dispute being resolved or the company had to send me a deadlock letter stating that the dispute could not be resolved. I asked customer services for a deadlock letter. They told me I would have to write in to get one.

    I wrote again and again asking for a deadlock letter but recieved no response. I knew they had recieved the letters because they cashed the cheques I sent with them!

    I spoke to customer services telling them that I wanted to get the matter resolved. They told me they would make notes of the points I had raised but still no response. Instead I got threatening letters and home phone calls from 2 different debt colection agencies and from CPW/O2. Strange that they could find time to write and cash my cheques but not respond.

    This went on from March until late July when I eventually was sent a deadlock letter. By this time I had managed to refer the matter to OTELO. The letter arrived 2 days after I went on holiday to the US for 3 weeks. Yes I had even told CPW/O2 when I was going on holiday!!!! Strange that they sent it at that time having failed to do so for months before.

    When I returned from my holiday in mid August I recieved this deadlock letter, a bill informing me that my contract had been cancelled on the 4th August and another telephone contact from a different debt collecting agency. Why this was refered to a debt collection agency when they knew I was attempting to seek redress from OTELO I do not know, but suggest it fits with my experience of a large company using corporate muscle to try to bully people like myself.
    One member of staff suggested I took the phone to be checked to see if it was faulty. I did this but when it came back it jsut came back with notes saying no fault, software changed. I was disappointed that the repair note didn’t allude to what had been checked and why the software needed to be changed.

    I have now had a judgement from OTELO that has told me that I am responsible for anthing done on my phone intentionally, unintentionally or by others.

    I am going to have to accept the findings against me for the charge of over £400 for data download as it appears they have me legally cornered. I cannot afford to fight a multi national company in the courts. The OTELO judgement explained to me that I was legally bound but expressed sympathy for my frustrating position. Strangely enough CPW/O2 took time to explain things to OTELO that they hadn’t explained to me. However the lack of care, sympathy and assistance offered by customer services at CPW/O2 is galling.

    Even more galling is the fact that since the end of March Ihave paid £200 in contractual fees to CPW/O2 for no service. Further they have just billed me an additional bill of £239.98, a charge for cessation of the contract which was due to expire at the begining of September.

    This means on top of the £400 for data charges CPW/O2 have charged me I have also been charged £439.98 since March 2008 for a phone service I have been unable to use. CPW/O2 will no doubt argue that they can terminate a contract for non payment of bills. However I was careful at all stages to explain that it was the data charge I was disputing, that I wanted to resolve this matter with customer services help and through OTELO. CPW/O2’s intransigence prevented me from getting an early explanation and resolution that would have prevented this saga from dragging on for so long. It may even have meant that I could have used my phone instead of just being charged £439.98 for no service. All I got for my trouble and trying to stick up to a corporate bully was frustration, intimidation worry and stress.

    I can’t continue to fight them any more as my partner and I have a little one due in 2 months and I need to think of his/her well being and comfort. However I am going to do my best to ensure that as few people possible fall foul of the unfair contracts, bullying and poor customer service offered by CPW/O2. I will tell this story and ensure it is distrubted far and wide. I am also considering printing up flyers and over the next months distribute my story to people outside CPW shops. If I can prevent just one, let alone 2, ahundred or a thousand people from falling foul of my experience I will be happier than leaving others to unwittingly falling victim as I have done.

    I realise that someone will come in on this blog and say what a great service they have had from CPW/O2.

    I respond – I have had great service from Vodafone and Orange for seventeen and half years. My bad experience is with CPOW/O2 and I will never use them again. I now have an Orange phone and will stay with them away from CPW/O2 for good. I advise others, on my experience, to do the same.

    Hopefully if enough people can write in and complain on blogs such as these CPW/O2 will change their behaviour in the future.

    I am going to write to my MP about this and ask that they table for legislation to control the power of CPW/O2 to charge to fees that they do.

  15. Jon Wilson, can I just say thank you very much for your time to tell us about your bad experience with CPW/O2.

    As a friend of mine works for CPW.
    I can confirm that their services are the worst.
    Also is it apparently highly likely that you product purchased from them will become faulty rather sooner then later.

    Yes, that’s right. They must have a source where they buy their mobile phones from, which is like second choice or even third choice.
    Meaning the stock must have been written off by the manufacturer as not reaching their standards, but yet, CPW gets the rubbish for an extra special deal and sells it as brand new … for the normal price of course.

    My advise: If you’re thinking of buying any mobile phone … get it from the Networks directly.
    Or could you tell me how a return of 45% of all sold phones as faulty can happen ?
    Don’t you dare to think that the fixed phone is any better !

    There you go, now you know a secret only CPW and their repairs departments know.

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