talktalk inept integration of pipex accounts

  eddieareader 21:04 16 Nov 2011

If this seems long, I'm sorry but TalkTalk have managed to make a simple matter very complex. I used to be a TalkTalk customer for calls, the phone line remained with BT. A couple of months ago I transferred back to BT as they promised to block ridiculous sales calls.

About a month after I switched I received a letter from both TalkTalk and Pipex, both on Pipex headed paper, warning/threatening me that unless I gave my consent to merge my Pupex account into my TalkTalk account I would have my broadband disconnected. Assuming this was an error due to the letter being produced around the time I had cancelled my TalkTalk account I ignored it.

A few weeks later I received two letters again warning/threatening me as before. So I decided I had better sort this out.

Ringing the number on the letter I explained that if I did agree to this merger the cancelled account no longer had a direct debit to support it and so I risked being disconnected due to non-payment. So if I gave consent to merge the Pipex account with the cancelled TalkTalk account I ran the risk of being disconnected. And if I didn’t I ran the risk of being disconnected, a Catch-22.

I was re-assured that this was all a mistake and should ignore the letters.

However, being someone who considers information passed over the phone to be of dubious quality I waited a couple of weeks, the deadline fast approaching, and rung again. Funnily enough on both occasions TalkTalk was having ‘system problems’ and could only answer general questions. Mmmh.

I repeated the Catch-22 situation I was in. The individual I spoke to had no idea and went to speak to his manager. On return he confirmed that indeed I would be disconnected and passed to me someone else who passed me to someone else whose phone then went dead.

So I repeated the exercise, spending some three hours being shuffled around and ending with being told I did risk being disconnected if I did not consent to merging the Pipex account into the cancelled TalkTalk account that had no means of being paid.

On the way someone did mention ringing Pipex. So I rang Pipex who told me the number on the letter wax wrong and gave me another number. In fact the website gives yet another number.

At last I contacted someone who seemed to know what he was talking about and told me the problem arose from the fact that I did not have broadband bundled into another offering. That it was not possible to make a profit on standalone broadband services and a bundled package was the only profitable option.

This surprised since the maximum bundle is broadband, line and calls. The line rental goes to BT anyway, calls are the teaser to bring in business so not likely to be a big earner and that leaves broadband as being the cash cow. Anyway as he seemed to have sorted me out with a (presumably) TalkTalk package that satisfied all concerned, despite the fact he was working Pipex re-pricing, I thought the matter was solved.

As this bloke had been very useful I eventually found the email address of the individual whose name appears on the letters, who, according to Linkedin, has an MBA from Harvard. I complained that his letter could have addressed all possibilities with three sentences, that the bloke who had helped me should be commended and that TalkTalk could not manage a day out at a brewery. The broadband was originally provided by Bulldog, who was bought by C&W, sold to Tiscali, acquired by Pipex and all the time never a migration problem, Come to TalkTalk and it’s a nightmare. And the right phone number would be a good idea.

Last week I received another letter again warning/threatening me that I must consent to this merging of accounts. So again I rung the number on the letter, explained the sorry mess and was advised the best way was to re-activate the TalkTalk direct debit.

Using online banking this proves impossible. So I went back to Pipex re-pricing who confirmed this package I had agreed a few weeks earlier and that had appeared to resolve the matter was assigned to me and suggested I speak to billing.

Billing told me the direct debit could not be re-activated and this was all a mistake.

The deadline is this Thursday (tomorrow). So it remains to be seen what Friday brings.

If anyone else has experienced anything like this I would like to her from them. Assuming they have not been disconnected, that is.

  lotvic 23:32 16 Nov 2011

"Billing told me the direct debit could not be re-activated and this was all a mistake"

Why not ring Billing and make a new Direct Debit?

  eddieareader 09:46 17 Nov 2011

Thanks for your interest. I don't think that is a viable way forward as a) by taliking to the TalkTalk billing dept, accessed via the phone number on the TalkTalk web page that is concerned with this account migration but the phone number is that of technical support who passed me to the billing dept, the matter has to be pursued through the Pipex billing dept b) Pipex billing say it's all a mistake c) TalkTalk billing say that in order to open a direct debit I must open a TalkTalk account and transfer calls back from BT d) I have no confidence TalkTalk knows its bits from its bytes and agreeing to giving them further access to my bank account is asking for trouble. I have sought escalation paths and got nowhere.

  lotvic 14:15 17 Nov 2011

As I understand it:

Was: Phone Line Rental from BT. Calls from Talktalk. Broadband from Pipex.

Then you cancelled your TalkTalk account and changed to: Phone Line Rental from BT. Calls from BT. Broadband from Pipex.

Because of the merger, you arrange to have: Phone Line Rental from BT. Calls from BT. Broadband from Talktalk.

This puzzles me as as far as I know Talktalk don't offer a BB only package.

I think you should take this opportunity to change Suppliers if you end up getting cut off

Then again you can only purchase from companies what they have to offer. Pipex accounts are finished and have merged with talktalk. If they mess you about, then change suppliers. I have found TT billing is a nightmare to sort out if it goes wrong. You get some good deals though if you tell them you are leaving and then get put through to Retentions Dept (who seem to be on the ball - just complain a lot to them)

  Graham* 15:29 17 Nov 2011

Post your problem on TalkTalk Forum

  eddieareader 23:40 17 Nov 2011

iotvic Yes you have the problem correct. Strikes me if TalkTalk takes on a customer base it has to offer the equivalent service, and Pipex re-pricing claim to have sorted that. But I'm not so naive as to not realise honest fair dealing is at the heart of any business, let alone one run by a UK firm and certainly not by TalkTalk. The problem really is that this Nigel Pearson, despite having a Harvard MBA, has not determined the Pipex customer profiles and considered all the possible configurations - bundled Pipex cusromers, unbundled Pipex cutomers with a TalkTalk account and undbundled customers without a TalkTalk account - and how to deal with them. Should they disconnect me I have TalkTalk and Pipex phone numbers to get MAC code and I will go with BT. Graham Tried that but I need to have a TalkTalk account number and I only have a Pipex one. Think I have someone interested on Twitter but Twitter doesn't seem that good a communication system.

  spuds 01:04 18 Nov 2011

Nigel Pearson seems to sign a number of letters, but he is a very difficult person to contact, Dido Harding is the person in charge. I find that neither will answer complaints, but pass any letters onto their customer services for a reply. Which I have found, can give more added problems, unless you can get any complaints escalated to Senior Level Complaints.

I have had account problems with a Lineone/Tiscali/TalkTalk when they were being merged, and was disconnected suddenly at one point without proper notice, due to their accounts stating that I had not paid a previous months bill. Strange really, because TalkTalk had valid and confirmed credit and debit card information on their records, which they had used previously. TT accounts system just didn't request the money, because I had asked them to collect from the debit card as they had requested, because credit cards had a monthly surcharge, hence non-payment.

I was not alone on this, because many others had serious problems with account failures, which Ofcom are fully aware about. Ofcom warned TT and threatened fining TT, if complaints continue. An internet search should reveal all this.

You may find that the old method of line rental and telephone only use through BT was probably called BT Surftime, but this was discontinued years ago, when Tiscali took over the accounts and commenced bundling the telephone and broadband services.

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