Tiscali - How do they manage to stay in business?

  TerryPutney 13:57 24 Mar 2008

Thanks to the collection of lame-brains masquerading as the Tiscali helpline team, effective tomorrow, Tuesday, 25 March 2008, I will be without a telephone service.
I am a retired 66 year-old living in local authority sheltered accommodation (a cross between an old folks’ home and a care home) where I am recovering from a stroke. So although it might seem a little dramatic to state that a reliable, functioning telephone can constitute a lifeline, in my case this is no exaggeration. But this apparently cuts no ice with Tiscali.
Until recently, or so I thought (read on), I had my telephone service with Post Office Telephones and my Broadband service with Tiscali. In November 2007 I decided to take advantage of Tiscali’s AnyTime phone and Broadband bundled package, and duly completed the Tiscali online form. I subsequently received a letter from Tiscali (mailed, as usual, to the wrong address, but it reached me) advising me that because I had my existing telephone service with other than BT, it would not be possible for Tiscali to provide the bundled package for which I had applied. I accepted the situation and thought nothing further of it until February 2008 when I received what looked to be an attractive offer from BT, and decided to transfer my telephone service from Post Office Telephones to them (BT).
I placed the appropriate order with BT and, to my understandable amazement, received a letter from TISCALI (wrongly addressed, but it reached me) advising me that as I had decided to switch my telephone service to BT, they (Tiscali) would be discontinuing my telephone service effective 25 March 2008. As I was under the impression that my telephone service was still with Post Office Telephones, I managed (after several hours of trying) to get through to the Tiscali number quoted in their letter, and asked how come my phone service was with Tiscali when Tiscali had written to me four months previously advising that the service I required could not be provided. I was then told that a further letter (this one failed to reach me) had been sent advising that the service had in fact been put into effect on 22 November 2007. This was subsequently confirmed by Post Office Telephones who admitted that they (Post Office Telephones) had inadvertently continued to bill me for line rental, but that’s another story.
Now, having achieved (without actually realising it) what I set out to achieve in November 2007, telephone and Broadband services with Tiscali, I contacted BT, explained what had happened, and requested that my order be cancelled. BT immediately email confirmed cancellation of my order and advised that Tiscali had been notified of the cancellation via a central register to which all service providers have access.
When I contacted Tiscali again to advise them that BT had accepted my order cancellation, I was advised that the Tiscali records still showed that my service was scheduled to be transferred to BT effective 25 March 2008, and that they (Tiscali) could not provide service after that date. I got back to BT, who reconfirmed by return email that my order had been cancelled, and again confirmed that Tiscali had been notified of this via laid down procedures.
A further call to Tiscali elicited the same response as on the previous occasion: nothing on file to indicate that BT had taken the required action, and that my Tiscali telephone service was still scheduled to be discontinued effective 25 March. The Tiscali operative went so far as to accuse BT of dishonesty (the word “liars” was used) in order to take business away from Tiscali. When I asked for a Tiscali email address to which I could forward the BT emails, I was told that this was not possible.
So although I have email confirmation from BT that they have accepted my order cancellation and advised the central records system accordingly, Tiscali are adamant that it is not their problem and continue to refuse to provide a means by which I can prove to them that BT is no longer claiming that my telephone service should be transferred to them (BT). Tiscali’s attitude is that the central records system constitutes the service providers Holy Grail and that because BT are probably acting dishonestly as per usual (their, Tiscali’s accusation, not mine), the emails sent to me by BT are irrelevant.
Further attempts to find out from Tiscali what I need to do to ensure continuity of telephone service have been completely ignored.

  techie4me 16:54 24 Mar 2008

Problems like this was recently highlighted on BBC Watchdog.
May be worth getting your local CAB branch to help you out over this.

  Simsy 16:59 24 Mar 2008

a similar situation with gas supply a while back, being pushed from pillar to post, I got graet service from OFGAS, who were very willing to get involved. Once they did get involved it all got resolved very swiftly.

The parties concerned pay attention to OFGAS.

I suspect contacting OFCOM may prove beneficial.

I sympathise and wish you good luck!



  TerryPutney 17:06 24 Mar 2008

techie4me, Many thanks. Since posting the above I came across the email address of Mary Turner, CEO of Tiscali UK. I've email attached the above to her with a copy, coincidentally, to BBC Watchdog. Tomorrow is my deadline for resolving this issue, and if my Tiscali phone service is discontinued, I'll escalate the issue to several interested parties in both the UK and Italy (Tiscali's home base).

  TerryPutney 17:22 24 Mar 2008

Simsy, unfortunately OFCOM will not investigate individual complaints, they simply undertake to monitor the performance of the company (Tiscali) at which any complaint is directed. Judging by the number of Tiscali dedicated complaint websites out there, Ofcom is having their work done for them. Tiscali, from a customer service perspective, is rapidly becoming NTL Mark 2!

Appreciate your input and your good wishes.

  Forum Editor 18:20 24 Mar 2008

is sadly becoming an all-too-common occurrence, and not just with Tiscali - several telecoms providers seem incapable of getting things right first time.

You have my sympathy, and perhaps you'll update us as and when there's any progress. Unfortunately I don't see a way we can be of much help - you'll have to live in hope that your email to Mary Turner triggers some action - or in this case lack of action.

  spuds 20:00 24 Mar 2008

I hope your direct email to Mary Turner brings a result. A letter of complaint I sent to her via Tiscali registered office requesting her intervention on what I regarded a serious matter, met on deaf ears.

You could try this telephone number 0207 0872000 and see if that helps. I also have two other numbers (one or the other is perhaps incorrect, so please accept my apologies) that you could try for higher level complaints 01438 363171 or 01438 363490

  ened 07:11 25 Mar 2008

In case you hadn't found this site you can get a load of numbers for Tiscali:

click here

  TerryPutney 20:05 25 Mar 2008

Following my yesterday's email to Mary Turner, I received a personal email response from a member of the High Level Complaints Team assuring me that someone from the team would be in touch with me later in the day. As promised, a team member called me this afternoon and could not have been more helpful. He assured me (several times) that my telephone service would not be disconnected, promised to correct my address details on the Tiscali database, and apologised (I believe sincerely) for the treatment that I had endured at the hands of the helpline clowns.

It's now 20:00hrs on D Day and my phone line is still (as promised) functioning, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this happy state of affairs will continue.

My thanks to all who have contributed encouragement and advice, and my meagre advice in return is to email (don't write) [email protected] with your complaints.

  spuds 12:26 01 Apr 2008

Any further update, or is everything running smoothly now.

(On Sunday, I and my neighbours using Tiscali were without services most of the day According to recorded service and adviser reports "No problems reported!".Quite a number of unhappy customers in our area, on that day.

  recap 20:18 01 Apr 2008

When my son was at University in Sheffield he took up an offer from Tiscali for their telephone and BB service. Around a week later they said they could not provide the service for another month. My son canceled the order and after several days a cancellation letter was sent from Tiscali. The next month he received a modem from Tiscali??? Needless to say he never connected the modem.

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