Category Archives: help 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

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

Also: How to file a good complaint

Some tips from someone working in a call centre.

I’m not actually allowed to say if this is from CPW staff. (Thanks CPW Legal team!) However, it has some good advice.

1) *Always be polite and friendly.* I’m sure most of the time this is
the last thing you want to do, but an advisor would much rather help a
nice customer.
2) *Clearly explain your problem.* Avoid saying things like “as you can
see from my previous emails…” as this only extends the amount of time
an advisor has to spend researching the problem, making some of them
less likely to give you a proper response. Ideally paragraph but avoid
any kind of HTML or formatting as the email system we use removes all of
3) *Don’t bother asking for the email or letter to be passed to Charles
Dustone, etc.* It just won’t happen. And, even if it did, I doubt he’d
have any idea of how to deal with the issue.
4) *Always include DPA details if discussing account-sensitive
information.* DPA stands for the Data Protection Act, and we need to
complete this process in order to look into your account, so it’s best
to include your telephone number, address, account number and the bank
from which TalkTalk takes your Direct Debit in every bit of correspondence.

There’s some good info as well. Like there’s a phone pilot going on? Has anyone been called back by Talk Talk staff over the last few months?

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73 year old cancer sufferer SLAMMED by Talk Talk

Oh man. I’ve seen a lot of stories here… but this is one of the worst. Brian was slammed in January after trying to upgrade his long distance plan. For 5 months Carphone Warehouse and their bully boys, Corporate Credit Media, have been hounding him for a service he didn’t want. What’s worse is they did so AFTER they said they’d refund him the money.

It’s horrifying.

I’ll summarize since the docs are in pdf format!

On 12th of January Brian received a document in the mail thanking him for signing up to Talk Talk broadband. He called on the 16th of January to cancel.

On the 20th of January Brian wrote to Charles Dunstone by letter telling him he wasn’t happy being slammed.

1, Feb they received their broadband username and password. Phoned again to cancel on the 7th of February.

22 February received first broadband bill. Called again on the 27th.

Sometime in March received a letter from credit control saying account was overdue.

Replied (with solicitors cc’d in, good move Emma and Brian!) on 16th March notifying them they pay by direct debit.

17th of April received confirmation broadband cancelled on 2nd March (?!!)

18th April received final notice for broadband bill with a different disconnection date

19th April Brian wrote saying he wanted confirmation this was cleared.

2nd May received confirmation from CPW that the 11.33 for broadband was credited to his account.

5th May 2007 received notification from Corporate Credit Media about an outstanding debt.

12th May 2007 received ANOTHER notice from Corporate Credit Media about same outstanding debt.

13th May Brian sent a sternly worded letter to CPW via his solicitors with correspondence attached.

Not sure where they’re up to now. So, debt collection law. Anyone know anything?

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A plea for help.

Hey guys!

I know I’ve been a most negligent Talk Talk Hellion recently. Lots going on in the old personal life. I’m still moderating the comments though. I find most of the issues from last year (!!!!) are still relevant, a lot of the answers are still on the site.

I’m pretty disappointed that I’ve been running this blog for over a year and the CPW still hasn’t shaped up their act. It’s bad business. I’m also disappointed people claiming to be employees are still leaving abusive, ignorant comments. You guys aren’t saying anything new. I give the readers free reign to rip into these jerks.

Here’s a letter from someone being chased by debt collectors:

i’m glad i’m not the only person to suffer at the hands of the single most incompetent, negligent, and frankly outright company of liars it has ever been my misfortune to call a service provider. I would be genuinely interested to know if the case i am about to recount is unique (although i think i already know the answer!) and if there is any legal action that could be instigated.

In september of last year i moved house. I was previously with talk talk and had contacted them prior to the move to arrange transferring the service. At that time they informed me they had started the process and that i would need to establish a bt line when i moved in and let them know the new number. From that point they said to allow 10 days to get up and running. This was done. After about 15 days i contacted them to find out why i still had no service and was told they had no record of the request. This was a little annoying and i politely informed them that as they had not fulfilled their end of the bargain i no longer wanted their service, a service at that time i didn’t have. They agreed and told me that as no request had been made (by their records) they would go away and i would never hear from them again. Great. I was happy.

I continued to set up a line with sky and for the next 3 months experienced a similar level of incompetence from them (or so i thought), sky unable to transfer my service from bt. In January sky finally managed to set up the service from bt. About two weeks later i received a letter of impending court action from a debt collecting agency acting on behalf of Talk Talk (cpw). This was a little confusing so i made a few phone calls. It transpired that a week after talk talk had confirmed they wouldn’t set up an account, they went ahead and established a phone line anyway, which explained why sky had had so many problems taking the service from bt. As i had not set up a direct debit with talk talk the line rental and call charges accrued until january when they finally passed the outstanding debt to the debt agency. During this time i received no bills or notification that they would pass the debt to a collection agency. I was blissfully unaware i had their service.

In this instance is it not illegal to act in this manner, passing a debt on without informing me i owed them money in the first place?

After a long and heated conversation with several talk talk employees ( well actually several phone calls because they kept cutting me off and not returning calls) they agreed that as their records clearly showed i had cancelled the request that didn’t exist in the first place, the fault was theirs and they would credit the account with the sum and go away and never contact me again, again.

I was a happy bunny… for a while.

About two months later i received another threatening letter from a second agency. Apparently i still owed talk talk money. How so?! I contacted talk talk again to enquire why. They informed me that after having told me they would credit the account with the full sum (again their records confirm this), they decided that they would only credit the line rental and i still owed money for the charges. I was no longer a happy bunny. Although this decision was made after telling me differently no attempt was made to let me know of their change of heart. Following further heated discussions and my continued refusal to pay for a service i didn’t want they again agreed to honour their original sentiment, credit the final outstanding balance and go away and never contact me again, again, again. The manager i spoke with promised me he would credit the account personally and contact the credit agency himself. Wonderful. I was a little happier.

Today, a week later, you guessed it. Another phone call from the same credit agency informing me that unless i paid the money owed there and then they would issue a county court judgement against me. As bunnies go, i was the single most annoyed bunny in the world. Another phone call, another round of apologies and more promises.

As i write this i am sat here waiting for a knock on the door from a debt agency maintaining i still owe them money!

I cant believe these actions are legal. Passing a debt to an agency on two separate occasions without informing me i owed them money must be at the very least dubious business practice, if not outright illegal.

I am in the process of compiling evidence to support this sorry tale, their records of conversations, my phone bills, etc, with the intent of at least sending this to the ombudsman and watch dog. If there is any way this could be taken further or incorporated in a larger complaint by others in similar positions i would gladly involve myself actively in exposing talk talk for the criminal bullies they are.

thanks for taking the time to read this and i look forward to any comments you might have.

This is not an isolated story, sadly. I don’t really know what the ins and outs of credit collection laws are. Does anyone have any advice they can provide? Any pointers to laws (they have to be breaking some) they’re in breach of?

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More e-mail woes. Don’t cry, you’re not alone!

Deary, deary me.

Just a few, teensy, itsy issues with e-mail at Talk Talk right now. Impacting a few customers….

From Tim
Yes I too have not been able to receive any e-mails for a couple of days even though if I sign on to their webmail with internet explorer (not firefox) I can read them. I use Thunderbird normal but it seems TT is playing DumbDumb. There is a bright side the tremendous amount of spam TT lets through has also stopped

And Jan

I am also in South Wales and have had the same problems. I have received a couple of emails in the last few days – but I know for a fact there are a lot i’ve not got yet. Just have to hope that they all come through soon, fingers crossed.

And PR

I’m also one of the unlucky ones concerning the current email fault – I seem to be able to send OK but cannot receive (using OE), nor on frequent occasions even able log on via webmail. It would certainly help if talktalk had a ‘service status page’ so that customers could check to see if the problem was at the ISP or one of their own making. or not.

And Neal

Totally unable to access emails AGAIN – seriously thinking of moving ISP – service is non existent and to the web constantly drops- very fed up!

And Mo
I am having trouble with talktalk emails – has anybody got a solution – it is slowly driving me mad

And Colin

Exactly the same problem for days now – can use internet without any problems. I use outlook and can send emails, but receiving them is a nightmare…..I just keep on hitting the send/receive button and occasionally I get lucky and my emails are delivered. I haven’t called anyone as talktalk must be aware, but why is it taking weeks to fix?

And Dave

Yes I am in South Wales too and it is still bad this morning, I use Thunderbird and Outlook both have problems with talktalk Email.

And Allan has had it with this. Can’t blame him. It’ s been what, two months since the last time?

six months into TT and no usable email service I have been up the hill and back again with support, I even had the florida geeks look into my PC all to no avail. My in box works sporadically and never when I want to recieve anything important. I’m getting to the point of dumping them and facing the consequences. Surely a small claims court would not be on the side of a supplier whose goods are unfit for purpose whatever it says in the small print. Why should we have to “buy out”. Are there any leagal experts out there to advise ?

And Ian doesn’t want to go broke calling you.

Also problems (receiving e-mail only) for 2-3 days. Can send e-mail fine. However the fault in receiving has been intermittent over last few weeks and I have not yet been able to access webmail since signing up as a customer months ago.

Haven’t got time / patience / or phone budget to phone the so-called help desk after the reports that I have read about the service! Please post if anybody gets any sense out of them.

And Delli have not been able to log onto my talktalk email for 2 days…. different error messages each time

Am i the only one?

Paul’s born to run

We’ve just got our PC fixed today only to find the emails are down yet again. This is falling into a sadly familiar pattern. Unbelieveable.

Mark S, yes you can leave Talk Talk but it’ll cost you £70. I can’t bring myself to do this on principle. But rest assured that when my contract is up I’ll be off quicker than a very quick thing. Along with hundreds of others, I guess.

And David can see the problem. Can you, you know, at tech support?

I’m really fed up with being unable to receive emails. This evening i have been trying to receive them for over 2 hours and each time it times out connecting to the POP£ server. I wish i had never joined talktalk broadband, although the telephone part of the business is just fine.

Dave D has some sage like advice for the customers:

Last time this happened was in December when talktalk started to play around with the servers, the symptoms are you simply just cannot log on to the Email sever, but it will allow you to send but not receive. Last time I spent hours looking for a conflict in my system. I have my email on two different servers the non talktalk server still works perfectly every time so don’t let talktalk’s idiots try to convince you that its a problem with your system. Just another example of talktalk’s total incompetance

We’re telling John it’s probably a screwed POP3 server. Though, you won’t tell us, so we don’t actually know.

can get online but cannot send/receive e-mail. Have complained and received a £20 credit. (Threatened to cancel contract). Company informed me that it could be several days before the e-mail problem is rectified.

Can’t log on to e-mail (using outlook express or mozilla thunderbird) and cannot use or talktalk webmail. In fact, I can’t now login to ‘my talktalk’ on their website because it doesn’t recognise my username.

So, is it an authentication problem (radius server?) or is the whole system b*****xed?

If you know something tell me please.

Oh but wait! Maybe you do! A little snippet of info from Tim

Appears no one knows whats going on as have just received Email from Talktalk stating that problems are due to error on POP3 server and engineers are trying to rectify????

And I want to hug Jane.

Oh please help me. I’ve been sitting here crying for the last two hours. I’ve been trying for 6 hours to get my talktalk webmail to do what i want it to do. it took over four hours yesterday to clear it out and get it to send stuff to Outlook. i’ve spent at least 200 hours over the last couple of months just trying to get it to work when i want. I want to tear my hair out. what can i do to get the stupid thing to work. what do i do to get my broadband connection to stay on. i’ve spent hours on the phone to tech support going over the same stuff time and again and never getting through to 2nd line support until i’ve been made to go through it all once more at least. are they trying to get rid of customers who signed up for the ‘lifetime’ deal so that we will be replaced with customers on less favourable terms to the consumer. are all these problems deliberate systems failures so that we must spend more money on the phone to them thereby generating income. please someone, help me out i can’t stand much more of this.

But the ones that know obviously weren’t talking to David P

4 Days- can send (so far) but cant receive email except sometime during the night! Collegues have resorted to old technology (fax)!

Spent 11/2 hours on phone with Tech Services (19th). At first swore blind was my anti- virus etc. although his own ‘tools’ were down and he couldnt access my account direct apparently?

With his instructions tested all ports etc and hes stumped– then his ‘tools’ come back and he tries to access my account on the server- but hey it rejects- and rejects- then hes in…….but cant see emails!!!!!!!! Well Done- new answer- it must be a very, very large email/ or corrupt email thats ‘blocking’ the account…very original! Wants to finish shift- can only recommend I leave a couple of hours and try to access via http:talktalk and delete all ‘bad’ emails myself!!! Up to me to get phone charge @ 10p min back- £13.00 Absolute BS of course- some come down during night, but off again now. Can these complaints be forwarded to OFTEL or something- a 10 Downing Street petition maybe- desperate now as going to have to alter sleep pattern otherwise!

And Alexandra has some advice

Microsoft have published ‘white papers’ and techie tools with clear instructions on how to use them. Purpose? to give the equivalent of a driving test to a business user of a particular operation of a server -aka Email Server- so you know the signs and symptoms of OVERLOAD before the server becomes OVERLOADED and everyone who depends on your business like prowess -falls over as a result of holding their breath.

Rocket science it most definately is NOT, buy more servers and employ a resident mechanic who can put the wheels back on! Incidentally, for the concerned millions of T2 email users who come home in the afternoon to eagerly check if they’ve had a reply (to anything….) the customer service reply of having trouble with their “email server” – is not a good sign. Talktalk would do well to get a grip, and relax their stranglehold on their customers lives. The excuses have run out, hand in hand, with their credibility. I think.

But somehow I don’t think they listened.

Here’s what they said to ah

I have now had a reply from TalkTalk to a customer service e-mail I sent them yesterday about the ‘no response from server problem’.

“I understand this is very frustrating, however, we are currently

experiencing a fault with our email server, which is why you are unable

to access your emails. This is currently been looked into by our

engineers as a main priority but as of yet there is no exact time in,

which this will be resolved. If this problem persists please contact our

Technical Support Team on 0871 226 7146 who should be able to give you

an update as to the problem been fixed.

Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused due to this


So, there you have it. POP3 problems at Talk Talk.

Dear Talk Talk,

Talk Talk Hell

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IP addressing means trouble with PC?

This conversation strikes me as being a little odd. It’s kind of right but mostly not.

Lets just say, we have recently signed up for talk talk, and have had an absolute nightmare with customer support.

We had a customer support rep telling us that because our IP address started with a certain number, we had to contact our computer manufacturer to resolve the issue. This is when the net connection was working before we switched to talk talk 😦

From Matt

The reason this is a bit strange and seems like a bit of a quick way to get someone off the phone is the way IP addressing works.

There are several different kinds of IP addresses. You guys don’t really want to know the nitty gritty. For your purposes, they can be broken down into two different types: public and private.

A private IP address is something like what you probably have at work. It might start with 192 or 10, very occasionally 128. These addresses are reserved for private networks. When you go out onto the Internet; a proxy, firewall or router will have a different public IP address. This is called Network Address Translation.

If you’re using a different kind of router, other than the USB thing Talk Talk supplies, you may have one of these IP addresses as well. Your router gets its public IP address from the Talk Talk network. Ideally, what should happen, is your router will get its IP from Talk Talk and give your PC a private IP address.

The settings might look something like this if you’re using a different kind of router:

If you’re using the +USB thing, they might look like this:

If you’re using the USB thing and you’re not getting an IP address from Talk Talk, it might look like this:

The latter is an APIPA address. That stands for Automatic Private IP Addressing. Windows gives your PC an address beginning with 169 when it can’t get one from your ISP. That means Talk Talk isn’t giving out IP addresses and there’s something wrong with your connection.

Your PC can still connect to the Internet but is masked from the rest of it. Confusing, I know.

But if they ever tell you that your IP means there’s a problem with your PC, ask for second line support. They either don’t know, or they’re trying to get you off the phone.

What is APIPA?

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Get help with 3rd party routers?

One of the most popular articles on this site is the one detailing the Dr. TCP MTU fix for certain websites. Most of the time it seems to work. Sometimes though, sometimes your broadband laughs at you. (Not, from what I understand, unlike some of the employees of CPW.)

As a side note, employees of the Irlam site. I’ve heard it all before, say something constructive or… shoo off.

What happens after the MTU tweak?

Darren still can’t upload.

I have canged the MTU setting to 1400 on my Belkin router and used DRTCP021.exe to change my computer to the same setting (as I was advised) and still I can’t upload anything. The packet activity is ZERO on the upload. Please help anyone!!

Clark saystry 3rd line…

Hopefully tweaking that MTU value should work for most people. The key with 3rd party router support is to stick to your guns and insist on going to 2nd line support. Admittedly they’ll pretty much tell you straight away that they don’t support 3rd party hardware, but they’ll have a willingness to help you out and have a facility to put you through to a 3rd line(!?!?) which is in the US, but free and will deal with anything and stick with you until your problem is resolved.

Any ideas? Could it be throttling?

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