Image 1 1077A few months ago I switched my phone line at the studio to TalkTalk Business and at the same time the studio broadband internet was bundled over to TalkTalk as well. All was well… that is, until something went wrong. One day, first thing in the morning, the broadband internet supplied through TalkTalk Business ADSL went dead.

First, of course, I called the TalkTalk Business Customer Service line, which by and large kept me waiting on hold for half an hour until the queuing system gave up and passed me to voicemail. Of course any message left on the voicemail was summarily ignored. Eventually when I did get to speak to someone after a few days, they wouldn’t pass the fault through until I’d tried a different router.

So once I had done that, I called back, and of course couldn’t get through again. So I left voicemails. And I sent emails to the email address given on the TalkTalk Business Customer Service queuing system. But nothing. Absolutely zilch. Except a couple of bounced email notifications suggesting that TalkTalk Business and the parent company Carphone Warehouse have more than a few email routing issues internally.

Eventually, after a week of being ignored, enough was enough. I decided to email the boss of Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk, Mr Charles Dunstone. Of course no email address is published for the man, and it looks like where others have had difficulties with the company and published Charles Dunstone’s email address, they have been threatened until they removed it. So I tried various combinations of initials, surname and so on, and one of them apparently got through.

I got a reply. It apologised. It said someone was going to look into the matter and get back to me. Then a lady called Angela called me and was very good at listening to my complaint and trying to get it all fixed. However, poor Angela, like her boss Charles, wasn’t prepared for the sad fact that, however good they thought their employees were further down the tree, they were and still are, in fact, crap. Dross. Absolutely rubbish. Untrained, unskilled, inept, incompetent idiots.

My phone line kept on going down while someone was clearly tinkering somewhere. But worse, so did the redirection which was keeping my business going at least slightly.

logoBTAfter two weeks, the fault was finally passed to BT to sort out. An engineer (they do misuse that word terribly, which must be a terrible insult to real engineers) came to the studio and ran tests which concluded that there was indeed a fault and that it must be at the exchange. So I got a phone call a little later from a BT bloke to tell me that they had scheduled an equipment replacement at the exchange but that it could take up to a week to be done.

So, yet another phone call to Angela, who promised that it wouldn’t be anything like a week… which I doubted, but never mind. And then a phone call at the end of the week to say that I should expect someone to come back to the studio on the Friday to test that everything was OK after the exchange equipment had been replaced.

Nobody came. Then the Bank Holiday weekend. Then nothing. On Wednesday (yesterday) my phone line was once again completely dead. So was the broadband connection. Angela once again prompted her team into action, which resulted in my redirection being reinstated and my crackly, silent phone line being restored by the end of the day. But still no broadband.

Exactly three weeks on, I decided to write this blog entry. It’s still not fixed. So what am I to do? Whatever compensation or goodwill gesture I eventually get, it won’t be anything like the amount of money I’ve lost on business calls that never got through, or the sheer inconvenience and lost time that all this has caused me.

Perhaps I’ll just stick to a bit of damp string and two tin cans in future. At least until I can move to a country with a half-decent telecoms network, or at least somewhere where they employ people with brain cells and the ability and willingness to use them.

The Final Chapter?

By the time three and a half weeks had passed, I even began to doubt the reliability of my own router equipment, so I even took the step of going out and buying a new ADSL router for over £100. Of course 10 minutes after removing it from its packaging, it confirmed what I’d known in my heart of hearts all along. No signal. Nothing. Not even a whisper of one.

Eventually a very good, communicative BT engineer called James came to look. What he found at the exchange was several problems that hadn’t previously been fixed by the other “engineers” at all. He fixed those, then even took it upon himself to test his work. He called me to say that the signal was now reaching my building. But no connection. “LCP is allowed to come up” insisted the router, and it wouldn’t go any further.

It then took TalkTalk Business/Opal Telecom a further day and a half to work out that it was something wrong within their network, and to fix it. At about 3:30pm on the day before the clock hit four weeks, my internet connection was finally restored.

As soon as my letter to the Carphone Warehouse legal department is processed, I’ll let you know their response.