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Broadband switch Fiasco - Spalding

Not sure if this is the place for this, but here goes. I'm on Spalding Cabinet 29 ( so may be related.

I am writing to bring to your attention the absolute shambles and disgusting experience I have had attempting to change broadband supplier.

I have been with TalkTalk for phone/broadband for a number of years and decided in January of this year that due to their ever decreasing speeds (latest: 5mbps download and 0.1mbps upload) and connection drop-outs, it was time for a change. A quick comparison at the time showed that BT Infinity was an attractive option as their January sale price was offering me an unlimited package (with 17-20mbps download) at £29.99 for 18 months with no connection charge. So on 30th January I took the plunge a made the order.

A week later after hearing nothing, I decided to check my order status on the BT website and to my surprise, I noticed it had been cancelled. I called the helpdesk and they said that they had noticed that there was two numbers at my address and I had to confirm which one was mine as to not accidentally disconnect the wrong line. I live at a property with two houses – the other belonging to my Mother-in-Law and would have hated for her to be disconnected. The advisor thanked me for the details and said that she had to re-order my broadband with this information. She also reassured me that the January sale price would be honoured.

A few days later, BOTH myself and my Mother-in Law received a letter and an email from TalkTalk saying “Sorry that you are leaving….”. Confused and distressed (as she has to be in constant communication as she is the point of contact for her parents in their nineties), my Mother-in-Law called TalkTalk to say that she did not request a change of phone/Internet supplier. Bear in mind that although she has the same postal address as me, she has a totally different line, number and account with TalkTalk. She confirmed with them that ONLY she wanted to stay with them and that I (Steven Granville) wanted to move to BT.

No further communications from either supplier until my connection date. I waited in all day for my BT HomeHub to arrive by post…. But nothing arrived. I called the helpdesk. I was advised that my order had been cancelled. I was advised that this must have been due to TalkTalk’s database not taking into consideration the TWO accounts/lines at the same address but treated us as we were the same account. Many hours on the telephone later, we believed that we had it sorted and that both sides AND OpenReach knew what was going on. This couldn’t have been further from the case. I received a closing bill from BT for £24.00 a few days later which I had cancelled under the circumstances.

FOUR times we played this annoying game of ISP ping pong over the space of two and a half months with myself getting further and further frustrated. I had my issue escalated several times and had several case managers – all charged with the duty of seeing my problem through to satisfactory completion. During this period, my Mother died, a work colleague committed suicide, my Mother-in-Law had the arduous task of finding a new nursing home for her Mother and I was diagnosed with depression.

Life can be challenging at times. The last thing both of us needed was to deal with incompetencies of Telecoms…. But there was more…

My latest BT connection date should have been Friday 20th April (nearly a full three months since my original order), and still my Mother-in-Law was getting disconnection notices from TalkTalk. At the end of my tether, I called BT again to confirm 100% that they had only requested to take over MY line. This was confirmed and that my phone and Infinity service should start on the 20th without issues. I was then advised to ignore TalkTalk’s disconnection notices as my Mother-in-Law’s line should not be affected. The 20th came and went and my BT connection did NOT go live despite multiple automated confusing text messages to the contrary. The next day, I called the BT Connections Team who ran a multitude of diagnostics on the line and confirmed that all my cabling was correct (I’m an IT analyst myself so the latter was not an issue). They confirmed that there was a fault on the line – and despite it probably being a Connections issue, they raised a fault. I was advised to monitor the situation for 48hrs and to reply to a text message at 12:30 on Monday 23rd April if I was still not connected. Two more days of no Internet/phone later, I responded to the text message “48hrs up and Hub still on solid orange”…. I then get a reply “Good news, your broadband and BT infinity are up and running”………. You couldn’t make it up!

I call the Connections Team again and they arranged for an engineer visit for between 8am and 1pm the following day (Tuesday 24th April). That same day, my Mother-in-Law was disconnected from TalkTalk. She called them and explained and they said that she would be re-connected on the 4th of May! - I then receive a bill from TalkTalk for £39 – no sign of disconnection from them – so they could be still holding on to the line unbeknownst to BT.

The next day (Tuesday) I waited in all day for the engineer… and nobody showed, but to add insult to injury, I received a bill for £71!! Back on to the Connections team, I find out that the appointment had not been made with Wholesale. I was made another appointment for the following Thursday… same thing happened… waited in all day and STILL no engineer visit.. not even a phone-call. Still no connection. So I call the connections team again, who put me through to the Faults Team, who then put me through to the Complaints Team and despite being level headed until now, I was almost in tears explaining the whole situation AGAIN to a lady in the Enniskillen office. This time, I felt that someone had actually listened and ensured me that this would not happen again. She told me that there was a bug in their appointment management system and that it was being looked into and that she would pass me on to a case manager to stick with my problem to satisfactory completion as soon as possible. Oh brilliant, It’s only my fourth one of them since January!

24 hours later, I get a call from Abdi, who informed me that he was aware of my case and that he would ensure that I would have a visit from an engineer the following day – Saturday 28th April. He also confirmed me that he had called them and that there would be no confusion this time..

Guess what? Yup….. NO SHOW. Another day wasted. A Saturday.. A day with my family. I call the Connections Team AGAIN, who called wholesale and confirmed that my appointment was AGAIN not in their calendar.

This is where I’m at. Both myself and my Mother-in-Law do not have any phone or Internet connection, Every day I speak to yet another BT advisor who profusely apologises and assures me that things will be resolved.

But so far they have not been and I am beyond annoyed. It appears we have a system where ISPs are not allowed to talk to each other and in the interests of competition BT Sales are not allowed to talk to wholesale/openreach. I’m sure that in the majority of cases, this works, but in this case, it’s a total shambles.... and I've got nowhere else to turn.

This will also be copied to TalkTalk & BT Forums, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll probably receive more apologetic phone calls with no action... but worth a try.

Thanks for listening.
Good Morning Steven,

Thank you for sharing this rather sorry tale with us.

Sadly, I am not surprised because we are seeing more and more issues of really poor customer care, particularly from BT. TalkTalk are not exactly setting the world alight either.

I can only suggest that you write to Clive Selley at BT Openreach, who I believe is the current chief, although they are prone to changing leaders rather regularly. At the same time, I should contact Ofcom and put your comments to them as well.

Whilst your issue does sit outside our sphere of influence, it is nevertheless essential that ISPs are able to offer a decent upgrade experience to all residents across the county.

Please let me know how you get on.

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