Tuesday, 27 August 2013

TalkTalk: The saga continues

One day I'll get back to posting the occasional observations here on the fortunes of Nottingham Forest, maybe on that day I'll have fibre broadband too. Yep, that's right, the saga is STILL rumbling on.

Firstly, I was impressed that many people actually read the last ramble I put out on here. It was, in retrospect, a tad on the 'hefty' side but thankfully many people seemed to forgive the rather public airing of dirty web linen.

It seems TalkTalk themselves probably read it too. I can't say that for sure of course because I don't know but I did, funnily, begin to get a better level of customer service after my post and a few (well, ok, maybe a few too many) tweets in the direction of my dearly beloved 'service provider'.

Low and behold they did even begin to live up to that moniker and, well, you know, provide a service. Firstly I had nightly phone calls from a pleasant lady with updates on my issue, informing me that the technical department were looking at things and should have my landline phone fixed soon.

Then, on Friday August 9, I returned from a day out to see a magical fluttering light on my modem. Not only was my phone now active but basic broadband was active. Brilliant. Now at last I could gorge on Alan Partridge trailers, download my podcasts and watch THAT awesome trailer where someone did 'Malcolm Tucker as Doctor Who' (if you haven't seen it, enjoy http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/odd/s7/doctor-who/news/a503970/peter-capaldi-in-doctor-who-malcolm-tucker-mashup-trailer-watch.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=dsuk&utm_campaign=twdsuk).

I had another call that night. This to my landline (a call at last!). Firstly the lady asked if my landline was working. I resisted the urge to be cheeky although was sorely tempted to highlight that I'd have trouble speaking to her if it wasn't. I gingerly raised the subject of the Internet, asking if it would disappear in a day like last week, and was met with a polite - but confused - response. I seemingly, possibly, maybe, shouldn't have the basic Internet. Oh well, let's keep it quiet and, importantly, switched on shall we??

This left just - just! - the issue of the fibre broadband. This was the upgrade we'd decided to treat ourselves to in our new house. One for which TalkTalk would, of course, make a little bit more money out of us for and should (see last post) have been installed on July 31.

The next day I drove to Nottingham for some shopping and to see my sister. En route I missed a call from TalkTalk. They left a message asking me to ring back. Fair enough. I did. Only when I got through they seemed to have no idea why I'd called. I tried to explain that I'd called to return their message and asked what did THEY want but this was to no avail. Did I have an issue? Well, Erm yes, quite clearly! Did they want me to go through it all again?? Surely you know why you wanted me specifically?

Then they asked if I had wanted to speak to a manager. Well, yes, but at the beginning of the week when you promised a call within a day! Did I want to speak to one now? Well, it had to be better than playing 'guess the reason for the call' - so why not? Only then I got cut off. They rang back but after round two of 'guess the reason for the call' I got cut off again. I gave up. Tackling the madness of shopping at Ikea on a Saturday was bad enough without a frankly farcical phone call to add into the flat packed melting pot.

In the meantime with basic Internet, lots of DIY to do and a trip to the excellent and aforementioned Alpha Papa the situation drifted along until, on the Thursday, I received an email saying that TalkTalk had been unable to contact me (odd since I'd never had a missed call or answer phone message) and could I ring them urgently to discuss an engineer.

I did and, after the classic call options/hold music/security questions/call transfer to right department shtick I was told that they wanted to send an engineer to my house on August 27. Could it not be earlier? No. Was I not now a priority case after all this, well, faffing about? No. So, basically, I had to have that date whether I liked it or not?! They wouldn't word it like that of course but I would. (a spade is a spade if not an f'ing shovel - that's what they taught me in journalism training. That and don't waffle on like in this blog - whoops!).

Again the call ended with the obligatory 'was I happy?' question. Not really. It's going to make it a month since the date when I was guaranteed to get this service. Someone needs to rip up that TalkTalk customer service manual. I'll offer my services. But, only on a date I choose that's about a month away.

Why would it take so long, I asked? Because appointments tend to take about 20 days. But, hang on...so why the delay in booking an engineer after my July 31 date then? That would also mean the engineer wasn't booked until, well, until I posted the whole saga on this blog. Hmm. Still, I'd have confirmation in 72 hours and apparently everything would definitely be sorted on the 27th.

[At this point if you're flagging feel free to take a break and watch Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs or something. It's here if you want it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVAVJONEjbA&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Before that date arrived I received my 1st bill. This was odd because I had requested paperless billing. I'd had a letter querying my email address a while ago (they appear to have written an ^ in front of it at 1st) but, when I rung, had been assured that they had the correct address. Plus I'd had emails relating to my complaint. Yet still here was my 1st bill with a £1.90 charge for a paper bill. I queried it and was told I'd have a credit applied to my next bill. A small episode maybe, but symbolic of the the ineptitude that was now, sadly, predictable.

By now I'd found that email, while maybe slow, was a way to get an answer to a basic question and saved an inevitable 20 minute call to an 0870 number. I sent another. This time asking if the 27th still stood since I'd had no confirmation. A reply duly informed me that it was and reiterated that the engineer would attend between 8am and 1pm.

Now, here we are. The 27th. I bet you can guess what's coming next...

No-one showed up. My girlfriend waited and waited (I was at work), ensuring all the kit was out ready and a space was cleared amid our semi decorated front room.

Come 4pm I called TalkTalk. Had something gone wrong? They said it was clear that the engineer was not going to attend. They said I had to ring back the next day and re-arrange for another one to come out.

But, hang on. Could they not contact Openreach and find out why the appointment they booked on our behalf had not been fulfilled? Apparently not. I explained that I found it odd that they would not at least check what had gone on. The lady told me there were many reasons why the engineer may not have attended and then set about listing some possible scenarios. Erm, but rather than guessing how about checking? Did they have the wrong address for example? Or should they not be responsible for putting right an unfulfilled date? This might, after all, not be TalkTalk's fault...

Once again I was banging my head against an impenetrable brick wall. The lady apologised about a dozen times and said she understood my concerns. I don't want to be harsh but these are just words. I've heard them dozens of times. She also credited my account with £5. Again, not being ungrateful but i'd probably just spend that in 20 minutes on the phone to an 0870 number so does little to address the inconvenience.

Would my next engineer take another 20 days? And, given that my girlfriend will be back teaching soon, will I have to take a day off now - something I'm definitely not keen to have to do if the engineer will then not attend.

I also refuse to believe that no-one at TalkTalk can contact anyone at Openreach to find out what went on today. If I didn't turn up to work at the paper I'd expect a call to see what was going on. Surely someone checks up on these things with broadband engineers too?

So, the saga rumbles on. At least I now have a service, just not the one I rang to arrange at the end of June. Surely someone at TalkTalk can see that is not good enough?

At least Forest have started well eh...?

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