Category Archives: admin

Is anybody out there?

In an attempt to step this up after a year of no contact from anyone willing to give their names in CPW, I’ve decided to contact them. I’m sending the below to Charles Dunstone and the press office. I’m pessimistic but genuinely hopeful someone will come back to us.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m the webmaster behind Talk Talk Hell, the blog featured in the Observer in December and used by your disgruntled customers for solutions (and general gripes.) I’ve been running the site now for over a year and still get around 800 hits a day (600 of those unique.) Over 100,000 people have come to this blog seeking support. And yet, I realize to you that these numbers seem small. However, our page ranking is 1st on Google for ‘talk talk problems’ and various permutations of the above. Any answers you provide will be read by your deeply unhappy customers.

In the time I’ve been running this blog I haven’t had any direct correspondence with anyone within CPW PLC willing to give their name (beyond your enthusiastic legal department.) I thought it was time to provide you with the opportunity for ‘right to reply’ and give my readers some answers to the issues they’re having.

I was wondering if someone would be willing to address some of the current issues on my website.

Amongst the most frequent problems people are reporting:

1. Billing issues. Your billing department, despite promising they wouldn’t, recently sent a 73 year old man to a debt collection agency. This isn’t the first or last time I’ve heard of this happening. In fact, on the blog now, there are 3 separate incidents within the last 6 months that readers e-mailed me about.

2. Connection problems. Despite Charles Dunstone stating over and over again connection issues are being or have been resolved, I’m still getting reports of people taking months to get connected.

3. Compatibility issues between Talk Talk’s products and popular models of Netgear routers. I realize Talk Talk states in their T&Cs that they won’t support routers purchased from other sources. However, many people still do use these products! We have a fix, but your tech support providers seem unaware. This is, by far, the most highly read article on the site.

4. LLU issues. People are still being left without phones/broadband. You’ve just launched a cheaper unbundled product. Are there any contingency measures to make sure the issues you’ve had with Openworld don’t get any worse?

5. Continued e-mail problems. There are regular disruptions to your mail service. As of yet no fix, solution or status has been provided.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
Tiffany Craig

Anything else you guys want to say?

Edit: Well, that didn’t go very well!

his is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

PressOffice@cpwplc.com

Final-Recipient: rfc822;PressOffice@cpwplc.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.2.1
X-Display-Name: Press Office

Edit2: Decided to give it another go:

postmaster@cpwplc.com
to me

show details
13:40 (1 hour ago)
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

PressOffice@cpwplc.com

Final-Recipient: rfc822;PressOffice@cpwplc.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.2.1
X-Display-Name: Press Office

Edit3: From Charles Dunstone’s office (bets on whether or not they’re popping a nice Pinot and laughing at me?)

Thank you for your email, this is a courtesy response to let you know we
have received it. We always strive to respond within 3 days

This is an automated response, please do not reply to this message.

Charles Dunstone’s Office

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Consumerist.com: How to win phone battles

Some tips for you guys! 28 tips to winning battles with Customer Service reps:

1) Use a speaker phone
2) Set aside at least 30 minutes
3) Get a human.
4) Gather your evidence
5) Act like a human
6) Don’t think the world revolves around you
7) Know your enemy
8) Take notes
9) Don’t be afraid to hang up and try another operator
10) Run out the clock
11) Be firm

12) Keep calmly repeating your story
13) Say exactly what you want
14) Don’t ask for yes from someone who can only say no
15) Make a business case for your wants
16) Honesty begets honesty
17) There’s sometimes more freebies to give out early in the day, or early in the quarter
18) Email a company executive, then print it out and mail it

The next ten tips are from the customer service rep side, compiled together by the call center slaves who run CustomersSuck.com.

19) Be civil
20) Let the rep talk
21) Don’t ramble
22) Don’t blame reps for corporate policies
23) Remember the other person is a person
24 Demanding a supervisor will not always work
25) Be reasonable and keep perspective
26) Consider seeing a therapist if you’re screaming at a powerless rep
27) Sometimes you just can’t be helped
28) Don’t tell them how long you’ve been on hold

Consumerist.com

Also: How to file a good complaint

Linking policy at Talk Talk Hell.

Just another quick admin update. I check every day to see if there are new incoming links to this site. Sadly WordPress only turns up Google blog search results and actual click throughs. If you’ve linked to us (on a website or blog) and I haven’t linked back, it’s because I don’t know about it. Drop me a comment, let me know and I’ll add you to the ‘mentions’ part of the side bar.

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Happy holidays!

Just a quick note from me before I get back to updating.

Apologies for not being more on top of things, Talk Talk Hell is something I do in my spare time. Sometimes I don’t have enough of it. September, October and November was a mess of legal advice and drawn out e-mail conversations with the Carphone Warehouse’s legal “team.” The result was I couldn’t post as much as I wanted to. I had to figure out what you can say, what you can’t say and what you’re liable for if you do. There seems to be an uneasy peace at the moment but there’s also not a doubt in my mind they’ll be back in the near future. Right now they seem to be pre-occupied with attempting to censor other bloggers.

Sadly it seems that their legal standpoint is not to live and let blog, but rather threaten and let threaten.

Dreadful, isn’t it?

What I do appreciate is the help of everyone…. and the nice people at the Guardian who keep mentioning us, the original Thisismoney.co.uk journalist, the people who post this link on boards, blogs, websites…. And then the thousand or more of you here who keep posting with your problems, solutions and rants.

Hopefully we’ll have a better and more service oriented new year and then I can archive this into the halls of customer rage. That would be the ideal right? To no longer have a reason to post about the dreadful spawn of Talk Talk’s service, to have it improve and move on. But going by their behavior this year, I doubt that’s going to happen and can see this going well into the future.

But Christmas season is time for hope and a brighter outlook right? So here’s to hoping that Talk Talk Hell can close down in 2007, here’s hoping it won’t be necessary to run this blog or log the complaints, here’s to hoping they get their service sorted for good.

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New! Companion forum for the Talk Talk Hell site.

Hey guys.

Want to do some testing for me?

http://talktalkhell.jconserv.net

Go to the new Talk Talk Hell forum!

I’m still planning on running the blog and I will definitely administer the board. I thought you guys might like something a little more interactive. Like our friends at Orange Problems.

Go, register, discuss!

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Hey guys!

Some good news to report.

1. The Guardian linked to us again. Hooray!

2. The site owner for Orange Problems dropped me a line. Check out his site if you’re changing to or from Orange broadband. There’s also a forum for mobile phone issues.

The usual band of updates later. Start the day with the good stuff eh?

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Something nice? Never.

It’s not often that I get to say something nice about anything to do with the Carphone Warehouse. (On Sunday I actually glowered at one of their stores rather fiercely. That’s right, you heard me, glowered.) I mean, this blog isn’t called Talk Talk Heaven right? Saying that, there is one, but their hit counter definitely hasn’t gone over 80,000.

They’ve dropped the domain name dispute.

They also deny starting any arbitration. However, my domain is still locked. It could be a product of Go Daddy’s mystifying control panel… No one seems to know!

Go Daddy did decide to eventually answer my support question and are allowing me to unlock it. What, like I did it myself in the first place? Surely there’s a difference between ‘redirect’ and ‘lock.’ Who knows though?

Essentially, they’ve said that they’re happy the domain name isn’t being used for anything commercial.

I would pay good money (you hear that J?) to see the inner workings of the Carphone Warehouse legal team.* All I get is the other end of it, which occasionally makes it seem like it might be a vortex of oddities that may or may not have green alien women.

In response to the vortex’s other requests, I’ve edited some additional comments that I didn’t realize were still lingering around. This is the problem with broaching 1000 in total, you guys are as easy to keep track of as those beatles on CSI:New York. The edit was kind of a ‘oh, fine, fair enough’ sort of gesture.

There’s still one stickler issue that CPW really, really, really wants taken care of and that’s the posting of Charles Dunstone’s e-mail address.

I’m iffy about this.

A quick Google search comes up with about 9 websites (22 if you get rid of the ‘similar’ filter) proudly displaying the e-mail address of the big man himself.

On one hand, when my work e-mail address was posted on a completely unrelated website by one of my colleagues as a point of contact thing, I was livid. I mean, I don’t actually answer customer queries, I am technical. I’m not even a big MD mouthpiece. I am a small little techie peon that occasionally answers the phone. Under my gaze of death, they did eventually capitulate and the address was removed in favor of theirs (ha.)

So, it’s kind of similar to that.

On the other, there’s a teensy clause in the DPA that says stuff about ‘in the public interest.’ Now, you guys keep writing to me with tales of customer service depression. You get cut off, or kept on hold for 45 minutes at a time, reach people that don’t fulfill their promises, or people who don’t know how to fix it. In Charles Dunstone’s own admission, customer service at the Carphone Warehouse is pretty poor. They’re understaffed and at times frighteningly inept.

Due to the bargain basement customer service, some of you have been sent to collections. Others charged for months on end for a service you’ve never received.

So, why shouldn’t I have the e-mail address of the man who admits to the problem posted? If you click that same search, you’ll find that people relay it as a way of helping others. Oddly, after e-mailing Dunstone or calling his office, things tend to get fixed in short order. Now that’s public interest.

It’s also not like I’m publishing something that’s super secret. Surely, if it’s that big of an issue for the man to be on the direct receiving end of his customer’s ire, his own internal techies can change his alias and make that one bounce. Easy enough to do in modern e-mail programs. Yet, from what I can tell, they haven’t.

So, TTH is pondering what to do about that one. I’ve been leaning towards no, unless CPW legal can point out the bit in the DPA that says you can’t post e-mail addresses. As of yet, they haven’t.

In better news, Talk Talk Hell has the day off work tomorrow. What should she do besides update this thing a lot? This beast has given me a lot of catch up work, including more issues with NetGear routers.

*Obviously, this is a joke.

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