Monthly Archives: July 2008

Computer systems and death

My heart goes out to this family, what a horrendous thing to have to go through.

Gaby Ferris is a young mother whose husband died of cancer in May. In the weeks following his death, she had to cope alone with a baby and with relentless and unforgiving paperwork, including notifying TalkTalk, which provided the couple’s landline and broadband.

The account was in her husband’s name and Ferris wrote to the company informing it of his death and requesting that her name be substituted on the account. In reply she received a letter addressed to her late husband informing him that since he had signed an 18-month contract he was not entitled to a change of ownership form. Apologies for the inconvenience were added.

Distressed, Ferris asked her brother, Danny Thompson, to intervene and he reports that on the numerous occasions he has phoned the company he has been left on hold, hung up on, and been given repeated false promises.

Weeks passed and all the while Ferris continued to receive bills in her late husband’s name. “How can we make them listen?” asks Thompson in desperation.

After a phone call to the TalkTalk press office, the account name is at last changed reasonably swiftly and Ferris receives further apologies for the “inconvenience”.

The culprits, of course, are the computerised systems that govern most customer services and the overstretched staff who have come to rely on them. So used are the latter to pushing a button and issuing standardised replies that customer services are often little more than machines incapable of handling individual customers and applying sensitivity to individual cases where necessary. In this automated world even the deceased are expected to comply with corporate red tape.

I’m glad the Guardian could sort it out in the end. I’d like to think things are getting a little better?
Why won’t TalkTalk stop and listen?

Thanks to Danny for sending this in.

Peter Needs Help Sorting Contract Nuances

So, I’m not sure about the finer points of issues like this. Anyone have any advice?

I have honestly had all the energy sucked out of me by TalkTalk.

My Broadband experience has been nothing short of awful (I’m
surprised that I’m connected right now).

But that is not my gripe.

Basically I joined TalkTalk in June 2006.
Transferred my line in May 2007.
Tried ending my 18 month contract today (June 2008).
Only to be told that I have 5 months left on my contract.
They told me that my contract began in May 2007, and would charge a
£70 disconnection charge.
I argued that my contract started in June 2006.
They did not accept this and told me that they had to create a new
account when I moved in May 2007.
They really do not care about the customer. You can hear it in their voice.

I was never informed that I was placed on a new contract.
I can not find this information in the terms and conditions.
Doesn’t a transfer mean just that? Otherwise they should say ‘cancellation
then connection to a new 18 month contract’.
I am absolutely flat broke and this has come at the worst possible time,
especially since they have cost me so much pain over the 2 years.

They have informed me that they are sending me a letter that they had
sent on the 3rd May 2007 stating that I’m on a new 18 month contract.
I keep all my letters, and I never received this letter.
Also, if I never agreed to it, how can I be bound. Especially if it’s not
in the terms and conditions.
Even if it is on the letter, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. I would
not have paid over £100 to install a BT line, then another £30 to cancel, then I
think more money, just to be told that I am on another 18 month contract
with those vultures! Pure Evil the pain and frustration they have caused
so many people.

Do I have a leg to stand on?
Please help.