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.

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2 responses to “Computer systems and death

  1. I happen to work in TalkTalks call centre..

    hence my reasons for not leaving a name or email address

    but the way in which your refer to customer service staff is quite franklyy f–king disgusting.

    i myself am 2nd line tech support

    and hold a CCNA, CCNP and am taking my CCIE exams soon when i will be leaving TalkTalk obv

    so take time to understand that the factors such as Quality, listening in off calls, and been told to follow set precedure come into play when dealing with calls.

    you ignorant retarded fool.

  2. My dad died in August. I have informed TalkTalk as an administrator of his affairs and asked them to drop broadband from my dad’s account and to return it to an ordinary phone line for the benefit of my mam who is now paying the bills on a reduced income.. All they have done is ignore this and just transfer the contract to my mam! She has not agreed to this, nor has she signed any contract. I want her out of the contract which as far as i’m concerned died with my dad.

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