Category Archives: bad customer service

SMTP restrictions?

Derek wrote in with this regarding sending e-mails from another ISP’s network. My thought is it’s an IP restriction to try and prevent relaying through their mail servers.

(For a run down of open mail relays, clicky on Answers.com

Check Derek’s e-mail:

I have been in France for the past eight weeks. A friend allowed me to use his wireless network but not once could I send an email via talktalk on my VAIO laptop. I telephoned the talktalk help line using my mobile telephone but was told that everything was OK, or that I should use the talktalk internet mail service. This I could do. I then sent an email to talktalk telling them about my problems in only being able to receive emails and not send them. They sent me a reply again asking me to telephone the help line. I asked them to telephone me and another reply simply told me to again telephone the help line.

As you know, using a mobile telephone to contact a help line, press one, press two press three etc. is very expensive. Fortunately, I had retained my dial-up connection to waitrose.com and was able to access this to keep in touch with emails and such like.

When a customer is in difficulty and sends an email asking for help, surely it should be within the bounds of the help line to ring back to try and discover the problem.

I have been a strong supporter of the TalkTalk telephone and Broadband service since it started and recommended it to many friends. I appreciate that the service has attracted incredible numbers, as there is no service to beat it at the price. I hoped that after the service had been in existence for such a length of time most of the connection problems should have been sorted out.

What do you guys think? Any confirmation? Honestly though, the tech should have known if this was the case.

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Dial contact centre in South Wales

Looking for insight into CPW’s contact centres? Look no further than the Lone Voice and Kimi Magazine.

Both are former employees of a company called dial. They supposedly:

gives you the ability to concentrate on your core business and still respond to change, rapidly and effectively

dial specialises in the design, implementation and operation of the people, process and technology that constitute a modern contact centre

Their biggest customers are the Carphone Warehouse, British Gas, Welsh Injury Network and the Basic Skills Agency. Impressive no?

Dig a little deeper though and you’ll find some difficulty. Apparently dial was purchased by http://www.yesloansuk.com/, an unsecured loan company. On the news section of the dial website, this apparently means:

The deal secures the immediate future of all 300 employees, who will now be paid all monies owed to them.

Wait, so employees were working without pay?

It gets better. Yes Loans, the company that now owns dial has a rather large history of sketchy business. According to the Mirror:

THE first thing you need to know about Yes Loans is that it’s not actually a loan company. It charges £49.50 to put you in touch with other firms, which may or may not give you a loan.

And if you don’t get one, receiving a refund proves a nightmare, according to victims who’ve contacted us.

The second thing you need to know is that Yes Loans is owned by Keith Chorlton, who is currently serving a 10-year ban on acting as a company director.
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Chorlton, 56, had siphoned £460,000 from his insolvent dating agency, leaving creditors unpaid.

Yes Loans says he’s just a shareholder. Yet his Linked In profile has him down as owner twice. Once for financial services and the other for IT services.

His current company doesn’t seem that er, above board either.

This quote is from one of his former employees:

Dan said, “I didn’t feel personally that I was misleading them, because I did stick to the script, but I felt the script was fairly misleading. I was speaking to a lot of customers, that after they made their applications, and returned their fee with the forms, they had been advised that they had been declined for the loan, and they felt pretty unhappy and were saying they had been misled by the company.”

Not to mention the employees that alledge they were hit, or generally taken advantage of.

Kimi and Fido both say they weren’t offered holiday or sick pay when working for dial. Not only horrible but highly, highly illegal.

Knowing all this I’m rather terrified of the idea of these folks knowing who I am or what my bank account details are. Read for yourself….

WLA Case Study
Mirror story
BBC Wales: The customers who wish they’d said “no”
Kimi: Talk Talk/Dial/Yes Loans – The dire telecoms company.
Fido: Keith Chorlton – Post 2. Dial/Yes Loans

USwitch poll shows Orange and Talk Talk at bottom of customer satisfaction

It’s all better, right guys?

Orange and TalkTalk — which collectively own 14 percent of the market, with over two million customers — have failed to pull themselves out of the bottom two spots in the league.

The companies, both of which recently launched “free” broadband, have the most dissatisfied customers — 35 percent and 31 percent respectively.

Household names give worst broadband service

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

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

CPW’s board think it’s all better now.

How many more times are they going to say it’s fixed?

Gildersleeve apologised in the report saying he was “very disappointed to have let customers down” in dealing with the initial connection delays with Talk Talk despite its broadband arm faring well against arch-rival BT.

Gildersleeve said: “We have dedicated significant additional resource in our call centres and re-engineered our provisioning and customer management processes to create a robust and scaleable platform. It is our aspiration to differentiate our broadband proposition not only on value but also on service, and this will be one of the
group’s key goals for the coming year.”

So, these ‘significant’ resources and ‘re-engineered’ thingies. Has it worked?

Mad.co.uk:Carphone Warehouse apologises for Talk Talk

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Hidden charges with Talk Talk

Over at moneypages.co.uk they have a brief rundown of some hidden charges you may get from various ‘cheap’ providers.

Virgin charges £5 per month and Talk Talk £3.50 for non-direct debit payments.

Free calls to UK landlines only applies to numbers starting with 01 or 02, not the commonly called 08 numbers. Daytime calls to mobile phones can cost more than 20p per minute with Tiscali, BT, madasafish, Talk Talk and AOL.

The Money Pages: Broadband contracts require scrutiny

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