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Aren't there a lot of reviews on TalkTalk? That is either a very good sign or a very bad one. I'll leave you to judge.
I was impressed with them when they were 'got' by the BBC consumer programme 'Watchdog'. There was a long saga concerning them and the head of TalkTalk was rather impressive.
In early 2006 they began offering free broadband if you signed up to a telephone calls package. They were so inundated with people signing up that they couldn't meet the demand and got a reputation for poor service and appalling customer relations. The broadband service was patchy and lots of people never managed to get online. Hundreds contacted Watchdog, who took up the cause.
Watchdog got lots of information - including non-contact from TalkTalk when customers complained, billing continuing after cancellation, ignoring official letters, bringing in debt collectors unnecessarily, etc.
TalkTalk's many customers were furious. The Watchdog guy at the time - Nicky Campbell I think - met with the guy in charge, Charles Dunstone. To Nicky's challenging style, Dunstone put his hands up and admitted fault - literally, it was wonderful to watch, he put his hands in the air in surrender and said they had messed up. Well I forgave him on the spot, I was really impressed with that. But that was easy to do, because I wasn't a frustrated customer then.
ABOUT DUNSTONE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If, by any chance, you are looking for an expensive after-dinner speaker, one of the chaps or chapettes you may be offered is one Charles Dunstone. I'll remember that next time I have a few chums round for a takeaway.
Dunstone is one of the co-founders of Carphone Warehouse. Do you know they have only been around since 1989? It seems like they have always blotted the landscape. Carphone Warehouse is the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the whole of Europe. They were the first mobile retailer to deal directly with the public, which at the time was a novel idea.
If you are morally against Dunstone and/or TalkTalk/Carphone Warehouse, you will have to avoid a plethora of other companies as well, because he is on a lot of boards, including: HBOS (owners of Halifax & Bank of Scotland) Daily Mail General Trust (which has tentacles around the world in national and regional newspapers, TV, radio, etc.) Independent Media Distribution PLC (radio advertising) The Princes Trust And probably lots more in the future.
For anyone particularly interested (which probably only includes his accountant and his mother), Dunstone has a blog - http://www.talktalk.co.uk/talktalk/servlet/gben-server-PageServer?article=M AIN.UK.TALKTALK.STATIC.BLOG.HOME - on the trials of offering free broadband. Aah.
Plenty of people have lots of good things to say about him, he comes across as a nice guy. He is also a bachelor, ladies.
OUR EXPERIENCE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After a very bumpy start, TalkTalk apparently improved their service, took on extra staff to deal with the complaints (a bad sign?!) and improved their public image tremendously. So when we were frustrated with Tiscali's service, we decided to try out TalkTalk's latest offer. It was broadband and calls (all calls free) for £21 a month.
They said they would deal with all the transfer details and all we had to do was sign with them. Well that didn't work out, there was some hassle with Tiscali.
Then our Caller Display (which we were paying them extra for) wouldn't work.
Then they charged us £30 for a modem which they had said would be free (and which we didn't need anyway).
Then we kept falling offline and speeds were patchy.
Then they charged us too much and sent an incomprehensible bill.
We lost patience and rang them. It was a long call and showed up on a later bill as being expensive. The representative was apologetic and admitted they had let us down - I'm starting to see a pattern here.
The latest is that we are going to cancel. We can do this, even though we had signed up for a 12-month contract, because they have not fulfilled their part of the deal.
I checked them out on some Internet forums, and they crop up a lot! One was particularly interesting - Scream (http://www.the-scream.co.uk). That is a UK-based ISP user group. There's a lot of good information on there. There are still a lot of complaints about TalkTalk, they are rated worse than Tiscali (which, by our experience, is pretty bad).
THEIR OFFERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Their current (end Aug 2007) offer is £10.50 line rental + £5.89 call plan with broadband free. They say this will save you £195.67 if you were with BT, £64.81 if you were with Tiscali and £197.09 if you were with NTL/Virgin.
Of course you would also have to add the cost of the anti-depressants, tranquillisers and alcohol which are the only way to arm yourself for dealing with the frustrations and customer service personnel.
Download speeds are all up to 8 Meg except with NTL/Virgin, which is only up to 2 Meg. Of course, download speeds are all dependent on your local exchange. You could be paying for fast broadband and not getting it if your exchange can't deal with it.
We are still falling offline - just like on the old dial-up days - and don't have the Caller Display we are paying for. All in all, I think I'd rather do my surfing at the library.
Nicely constructed criticism - I also liked the way you included details of the bad press and Watchdog feature that TalkTalk have got themselves into.
pgn0 05.04.2009 17:23
Nice review - currently researching TalkTalk after they cold-called me and made me an offer that seems, for taking over my voice calls and land-line, like a pretty decent deal. All I need now is some corroborating evidence...
customtattooblue 16.10.2007 19:05
great review we have just compared prices of talk talk to bt and i dont think we will be swapping