"No Eddie! That will not get the phone working!"
This account of utter incompetence by our late service provider, TALK TALK, follows my previous post which describes our total inability to receive any call for an unacceptable period. This time round we could just about make feeble outgoing calls due to a line fault. My account of all this shows just how difficult it was to 'galvanise' these folk to restore our service. It took 3 days to get it fixed.
Mrs Bluelights and I enjoyed our fully working phone and internet service for just ONE DAY. The following morning I picked up the phone hoping to make a call and it was completely DEAD. We were cut off from all phone conversations AND of course all internet communication was now impossible.
From our front window I could see the cause of the problem. Workmen had been digging up the pavement, YET AGAIN, but this time further up the road. There was no-one there - just a big hole cordoned off and in the hole I saw all the telephone cables and a large supply of chippings were ready to bury them. The company responsible for this was OPEN REACH who are contracted to repair and install telephone lines for both BT and TALK TALK. As mentioned before TALK TALK use BT lines for their service. I enquired of a few neighbours asking them if their phones were working and they all said yes and the neighbour living alongside the hole said they had just had a business line installed which was working. From the OPEN REACH sign I obtained a telephone number. I rang the number on my mobile and I was pleased to hear a human voice immediately. I reported that due to work by their engineers my line had been cut and I would like it restored. The lady said rudely, "Nothing to do with us!" and she said it was not possible for me to report the fault to them and I should do so to BT. I felt like saying it had everything to do with you, you silly bovine creature but I asked her for a BT telephone contact number so I could report the fault so they could come back and fix it. "Sorry, I do not have a number please look in your local telephone directory!"
At home and already fuming I tried in vain to reach BT line faults through their menu driven automated voice system and the annoying part was that the 0800 freephone service from a land line was not available to any mobile user, so this was a very expensive call. The automated lady kept apologising that they were very busy, my call meant a lot to them, my call was in a queue and they would deal with it as soon as they could. Ten minutes later I was still in the queue and getting very frustrated. This fruitless call cost me £10. Mrs Bluelights advised I had better give up for the night because I was showing tell tale signs of blowing a fuse.
I left a note in a prominent position the hole hoping it would be found and read by those morons who had cut my phone line explaining that my line was cut and would they please investigate and restore it. Some hope!!! The note was protected by a clear plastic wallet. The next morning the hole had been filled and my note buried for ever, perhaps to be discovered by a future archaeologist investigating a series of rude notes found regularly relating to similar circumstances.
Next morning, armed with all the TALK TALK telephone numbers, I made my way to my daughter's house where I am doing some restoration and decorating work and sat down to use her telephone to report the matter to TALK TALK. The call was an 0800 number which is free of charge to land line users. After a whole series of automated menu driven and highly annoying choices I was cut off after being thanked for calling TALK TALK by this female android voice. Fuming, I rang the sales department where I obtained an immediate human voice seemingly drooling to sell me their services. I explained that I was already a poor and badly treated sod and as their customer and I wanted to report a fault. "Which number, Sir?" was the reply and when I gave him our telephone number he said, "Ah! I see your fault has been corrected!" I counted to ten and explained the fault was indeed corrected last week but I was trying to report a subsequent fault, hence the call.
"Are you speaking from that phone now, Sir?"
"Er! No! I cannot because the bloody phone is not working, so how can I?"
"No need to shout at me, Sir. Are you at your house and can you speak to me on your mobile phone!"
"No . . . . and No! I am not in my house and I cannot afford to waste money talking to you on my mobile! I am using a freephone service elsewhere which is denied to me using a mobile where I have already wasted £10 trying to report this! I am not willing to spend a fortune using my mobile Pay As You Go phone. How do you suggest I communicate with you? By bongo drums or semaphore or carrier pigeon . . . or maybe pony express?"
"We must test your line, Sir!"
"You can! my wife is at home all day!"
"Has she a mobile?"
"Well we cannot talk to her! . . . can we?"
"Then send someone round to fix it and then you can talk to her all day long, can't you!"
Anyway I reported the fault and he said he would get an engineer round to my house first thing in the morning.
Next morning arrived and sure enough a young fellow called round with some kit and tested the phone. Surprise, surpise, he pronounced it stone dead and proceeded to trace the external connection. He returned half an hour later to report that our line was no longer connected to anything! It should have been connected inside a telephone cabinet a quarter of a mile away but was not and he actually found it three quarters of a mile away terminating in the middle of the road. No wonder the internet had been so slow! He said "I shouldn't be telling you this but it may be that your line might have been used by BT for the business line up the road because you are serviced by TALK TALK, a rival company and this was the easiest way for them to fix it." I told him I suspected this right from the outset.
He said that he was a line specialist (Line Man) and not an underground specialist (UG) and that he would report this and we would hear from them soon.
I received a call on my mobile from a BT engineer who said he was on his way and wanted to confirm where the overhead line was. I said there were no overhead lines because it is all underground in our area. "Oh! glad I called, saved me a journey, I will get a UG specialist to call at your house as soon as possible. I received a call from a very pleased Mrs Bluelights saying that an OPEN REACH engineer had called round and he had partially fixed the phone. We could now make calls but not receive any.
Well some progress . . . . Rome was not built in a day!
When I returned home Mrs Bluelights explained that a poor lady round the corner could now no longer receive any calls and that all their calls now came to our number. Not sure how she found our mobile number but the dear old lady pleaded with me to try to report it to BT (her service provider) because she could not do so. She could not contact any of her family except by expensive mobile. I could now make calls and use the 0800 fee number so I was pleased to report the fault . . . . eventually!!! I had to go through yet another series of menu driven choices before finally finding a human female person at BT. I was now able to make the call and explain everything about the lady' line fault and my fault and that we had a crossed line.
Next day an OPEN REACH engineer called at the lady's house and fixed her phone and rang me on my mobile to say he was coming round to see me. After a few minutes he rang the door bell and explained that my fault had not been reported so he was unable to deal with it regrettably. He rang his HQ to check again and still it had not been reported. He said it was a pity because he could easily have fixed it that afternoon. He went!
I checked the phone . . . . . . and . . . . . complete silence!!
My line was uncoupled yet again and I could neither make or receive calls and the internet was down, as it was from the start. All extremely depressing.
I promptly rang TALK TALK on my mobile to find out what the blazes was going on! With fire coming out of my ears and steam from my nostrils I got through to the fault line and asked them to ring me back which they did, fortunately. I was asked for my telephone number and was advised there was a fault on that line!!! To use a Jim Suldog expression, "Holy Mary on a pogo stick! what dumb and cretinous collection of twits they all are at TALK TALK! Why don't they rename themselves as CAN'T TALK?" The line went silent - my mobile had run out of money! All this is not good for any one's blood pressure and a very good lady friend of mine said that if this had happened to her someone would have been killed by now.
Next morning at my daughter's house I managed to reach the fault department . . . . . eventually.
An android said after some awful fill in music, "If you would like to talk to someone about this fault please press 3 on the key pad!"
Ah! . . . . . we might be getting somewhere!", I thought eagerly after a good night's sleep.
"Hello Sir, my name is £$@?$%", said an eastern gentleman with an incomprehensible name in an almost incomprehensible voice, "how can we help you!"
I went through the whole thing yet again and asked him why he had not reported the fault.
His amazing reply was that under the terms of the contract they had 30 days to fix the fault but they would try to do so within 72 hours!
"Oh and when exactly do you propose fixing my phone? Day 29 maybe? or perhaps it might be my birthday day 28? Now look never mind the 30 days I want this resolved today!! . . . . savvy"
I was absolutely blazing by now and demanded to speak to the managing director immediately.
"Solly, Sir, Zat is not possible!"
"Your manager then!"
"Solly Sir, I am authorised to deal with zis call!"
I ended by saying that unless my phone and internet service was fully restored this day I would terminate my contract with TALK TALK and write to every newspaper and magazine in the country explaining their total incompetence of this organisation. I slammed the phone down!!
Silence for 24 hours . . . . . not a Dickie Bird from TALK TALK or anyone . . . . still no phone or internet!!! GRRRR!!
Next morning I rang the sales department explaining that I could get no sense whatsoever from the fault people and I had been left dangling for 24 hours not knowing what if anything they were doing. I threatened to cancel my contract there and then unless I received prompt action. I was transferred to someone managing the engineering section and he informed me that my case had been referred upwards since it was a rare case of taking a while to resolve. I gave him an earful explaining that the problem could have been fixed 2 days ago if someone from their organisation had bothered to report the matter to OPEN REACH who had knocked on my door informing me that no-one had done so. Why had they not done so and finished my sentence by informing him that next door's cat could give me better service.
"Don't shout at me!" he said, "I am trying to get it fixed for you!"
"You are lucky my friend you are dealing with me . . . . Mrs Bluelights would crucify you . . . and may yet do so unless you get this resolved TODAY!"
That afternoon I received a call on my mobile from their engineering department asking if I was at home and would I be available to make tests on my phone. They wanted to make sure the line was dead because if it wasn't then they would have to invoice me £100. I was furious!! . . . . saying with vitriolic words spewing from my mouth to the effect that two OPEN REACH engineers had already tested it and agreed that the line had been terminally ill and had 'snuffed it' four days ago.
You will not believe this but that afternoon I received yet another call from OPEN REACH advising that they might have to charge me £100 if the line was found to be not dead.
"IT IS DEAD . . . . AS DEAD AS A DODO!!
I received a text message from TALK TALK saying my fault would be rectified in 72 hours.
I received another text from TALK TALK saying their engineers had found a fault.
I was absolutely at a loss to know what else I could do to get ANY sense out of ANYONE at TALK TALK.
Well . . . . next day an OPEN REACH engineer did call round and eventually managed to restore our line just in time to hand it over to Virgin Media my new service provider with whom I am well pleased . . . . so far!!
TALK TALK did not like this at all . . . . another customer defecting to their arch rival. Well it is purely their fault and no-one else's. I now have a much faster broadband, clearer phone (which works) and a good TV service. . . . . . all fed by fibre optic cable . . . . much faster and much more efficient that the copper connections on a BT line. I tested the broadband and it delivers an impressive 30Mb and opposed to about 6 Mb I was getting before.
Now, who's had the last laugh?
Up yours TALK TALK
Up yours TALK TALK