When you go to a supermarket to buy some eggs, you expect that a box of a dozen is going to have twelve eggs in it. Imagine getting home to find it only contains two eggs, and then when you complain to the supermarket they say “Tough! You shouldn’t eat so many eggs!”

Well, that’s exactly what Tiscali did to my company. On their web site I found the 1Mbit business broadband offering. It looked a good deal, especially the business-standard 20:1 contention ratio. Now, for the uninitiated, the 1Mbit measurement indicates how much you can squeeze through the connection per second. Home broadband is normally around 500kbit/s – this is twice as fast. The contention ratio refers to the number of other users you’ll be sharing your 1Mbit/s with – in this case, up to 20. It’s self-limiting. The amount you can download is limited by the 1Mbit spec.

So imagine our great surprise when on Feb 17th, we got a letter from Tiscali saying that our internet usage had been particularly high. Not surprising, because we got 1Mbit in order to transfer large image files back and forth and our email server works nineteen to the dozen. However, Tiscali said they’d “manage” our bandwidth usage during peak times to make sure we didn’t adversely affect their other customers, and that they’d cancel our contract in May.

This would have been bad enough. But the thing is, what they actually did was to completely cut off our internet access as of Feb 17th. When we tried to complain about this, we were told there was a note on the file saying not to discuss it with the customer, and that we had to email [email protected]. This was getting frustrating. I used my mobile phone to email Tiscali about our no-service situation, but only received automated replies. Of course they continued to take our money on Direct Debit.

So why not just go elsewhere? Well, all ADSL in the UK is provided through BT. Only one provider can supply ADSL broadband through any given telephone line. Tiscali was listed as providing ADSL to ours. Until they released it, we couldn’t go to another supplier. This was severely damaging our business.

One day I broke. I phoned Tiscali’s head office and left a message for the Press Director. She cast doubt on whether our business account should actually be subject to over-usage restrictions, and promised to get someone to look into it. The first significant thing to happen was Tiscali’s admission and confirmation that our account should not have been restricted. There was a week of phone calls to and fro, the main theme being Tiscali claiming the problem was ours, not theirs. But when it was all finally resolved, the technician involved told me how hard it had been to convince anyone at Tiscali that this mistake had been made and that the technical problem lay at Tiscali’s end, not ours.

So there you have it. Tiscali is the company that doesn’t give what it offers. Tiscali is the company that refuses to talk to its customers, or even between its own departments. Tiscali is evidently a company with massive failings of its internal and external business processes. Tiscali is in my opinion one of the most ridiculous companies in the UK, and its attitude stinks. RIP.