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Thursday, August 22, 2013

TalkTalk Trouble

We have been customers of Talk Talk for around 3-4 years. We have broadband and landline telephone with them. It is easier to have both as it means you only have one bill. We have been considering changing providers for some time and had learned that our contract with TalkTalk would come to an end in either January-February next year. We have Freeview as our television provider, but we don't have an outdoor aerial and have to resort to using a somewhat poor-quality indoor one which means our picture quality is poor. It has a tendency to freeze up and at times goes pixelated, which can make watching television really impossible. We would like to have a multi-channel provider such as Sky or Virgin. But we weren't sure which provider to go for and accepted that we couldn't change either our broadband/telephone landline provider until early2014 when the TalkTalk contract came to an end or take on the extra multi-channel service until then. We then got a letter from TalkTalk, which came out of the blue last Saturday, informing us that their service costs would soon increase, and if we did not decide to continue using them as a phone/broadband provider we had 30 days to change to a new provider without incurring any early-contract ending fee. So, as a response to this letter we began to look around for a new provider. At first we had considered Virgin, with a broadband, multi-channel and landline telephone package a possibility. We then discovered that we couldn't have a Virgin Media package for the simple fact that there is no cable installed in the Milton Keynes area, as their service comes through cable. This is something of a shock as I had imagined that a modern city such as Milton Keynes would have been covered by cable, possibly being one of the first cities in Britain to be cabled. But no. We then decided to try Sky (we were with them at our other house in Crownhill, but cancelled the contract due to financial problems which I don't intend discussing here.) We rang their number and have now got a contract organised and they are coming to install the dish and set up the Sky Plus box tomorrow (Friday).
Then yesterday we got a call from Talk Talk. Apparently Sky have got in contact with them to tell them we are changing our provider to them. I was asked, by a surprisingly very rude call-centre agent, why we were changing, who our new provider was and what were they charging? We said we wanted to include multi-channel television in the package, and we were told by the TalkTalk agent that they could provide a package, but we were unaware of this. I have to say their customer service is really poor, they don't seem to know anything about the letter we got telling us we don't need to pay the cancellation fee. So, it's a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. 
We have had a couple of  further letters from TalkTalk, which virtually contradict the earlier on telling us we don't need to pay a cancellation charge if we change providers within 30 days. One says we'll have to pay around £15 for every month left of the contract. The TalkTalk agent we spoke to yesterday seemed to suggest we would have to pay the cancellation fee. So, why did they send the first letter?And today another letter came from them saying we needed a code to transfer the phone/broadband. On phoning I was asked why we were moving our account. I refused to say. And we now don't need the code to transfer accounts to Sky. Why do they need to know. And I got an email this morning with a survey to rate the TalkTalk agent's performance. I gave a very low score, as you may have guessed. So, you can see why I would never recommend TalkTalk as an internet/broadband/telephone provider.
There was one other issue with TalkTalk. When the account was originally set up we paid by Direct Debit, as with most services. It's the easiest way to pay most regular bills. You aren't likely to forget and it's generally cheaper than paying by cash or card.
The only problem was the time of the month it goes out of your account. It would have been better at the beginning of the month, as that's when we are paid, so, logically, there will be cash there to pay bills, such as Council Tax, water, etc, etc. But, no, for some unaccountable reason, best known only to themselves,it had to come out on or around the 20th of each month, by which time there probably isn't sufficient funds in the account to cover the Direct Debit payment. This happened a couple of times and as  result meant we incurred an unauthorised overdraft payment.  I then had to ring TalkTalk and attempted to get them to move the date the D.D. was taken to the beginning of the month, but no amount of trying would get them move it. So I had no alternative each month to either pay using my debit card on line or ring up, which meant we had to pay a good deal more than if we'd paid by Direct Debit, which, over a year, was around £35.
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