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A Tale of broken trust and bad Talk

This sorry saga started on 22nd October 13 when my router, after 24 months of dedicated usage, died. My family's media package was split between BT and TT. BT had the anytime phone calls and line rental (£20 pm) while TT had Broadband (£13 pm). With the fact that there were 6 people living in my house, and more devices than you could shake a stick at, we decided to upgrade to Fibre Optic Broadband.

Our choices were clear: Talktalk, BT, EE or Sky. Sky appeared to be the cheapest offer available, and so we decided to book an installation date for 8th Nov, the day we booked being 25th Oct. Less than 4 days later, we get a call from Sky requesting the MAC, (Migration Authorization Code) and that we would need to contact Talktalk ourselves for it. Fair enough.

Talktalk however saw differently. Rather than allow us to switch, they gave us an offer of TV, Fibre and Anytime calls, and they would beat Sky's asking price. Sky was £29.50 for Fibre/Anytime; so TT wanted to beat that. Their offer: £20 per month, with them "waiving line rental" for 12 months. I thought this offer was too good to be true. How right I was.

The day after we cancelled the Sky order, 30/10, we called Talktalk again to order the 'Special Offer', but were shocked to find out that that particular offer never existed; but we could have the TV, Fibre and Anytime for £25.50 per month, again supposedly waiving the line rental, since we were "loyal customers". Then, later in in the call we were told that our area 'could not get the TV package'...

So as we head into November we are still no closer to getting the internet back, and Talktalk are messing us about something rotten. I do another check for prices and find that EE is offering a slightly better deal than Talktalk. At the same time, Talktalk are saying that the router (which is displaying an error message whenever it is switched on) is not broken, but rather there is an issue with the broadband line. They tell us that a technician will be sent to check the line within 72 hrs. Okay, so it may just be a line fault... Nope; a call to BT tells us that if there were a problem with the broadband from the PHONE line, then we would be unable to make and receive calls from the landline.

A week and 2 engineer callouts later, we reach 8th Nov, when we should have had the Fibre installed from Sky. Talktalk tell us that the 'issue' with the phone line is quite severe, and they will send out their 'Senior Technician' to fix it. In the meantime, we get told that we could get one of Talktalk's loyalty offers, and instead, we get read the entire sales pitch again and again.

Another day passes, and we get told via text that the line should now be fixed, so we should check our router to see if it works. Lo and behold, the same error message that came up for the last 3 weeks rears its head once more - and the message in question is one for multiple component failure on the router's motherboard. I.e. a fuse on the board had failed, causing more components to overheat and break. The power circuit was unaffected, thus the error.

As we are discussing the repeat failure to acknowledge the router failure with them, they tell us that they can send a router out free of charge to verify this is indeed the case. Bear in mind this is the 9th Nov. We agree on the proviso that we have no charges for internet usage, seeing as how we were owed almost 3-4 weeks of it.
We are told that this would be fine, we would get the replacement router, 3 months of internet for free, and no contract extension; and that the router would be sent by special delivery (2-3 days) so we should get it by 13th at the latest.

A week passes, and nothing. We get on the phone with Talktalk again to check on the progress, but the guy we talk to has no record of this 'agreement' on file. In addition, for some bizzare reason, we have had a plan activated on the Talktalk account: Talktalk Plus (broadband and anytime calls, no fibre) costing £25 per month. We had never wanted that package, nor authorized it, nor signed any paperwork to get it, yet Talktalk steal BT's phone pack, and then lock us into contract?!

Finally, the 18th Nov arrives, and with it the shiny new Talktalk router. Despite the fact that it should have been with us on the 14th according to this phantom order. Nevertheless, we plug in the new router; guess what, IT WORKED! There was no issue with the line at all, and it was instead a broken router, which is what we said 4 weeks ago!

But the tale doesn't end there. After a conversation with an EE salesman, I am told that due to the fact Talktalk and Sky use the same phone line, they require a MAC to switch. However, EE, BT and others do not... If I signed up to EE Fibre (£11 pm for 3 months) I would not need to contact Talktalk to get a MAC. In fact, EE would do everything for me.

Suffice it to say, Talktalk may be cheap internet, but if you buy cheap $^!£, be prepared to get it in return.

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Jamie Sergison
Widnes, United Kingdom