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TalkTalk broadband customer cut off after switching confusion

Monday, October 19th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A TalkTalk customer has hit out at the company’s “appalling customer service” after her phone line and broadband were cut off.

Sarah Beattie, 43, received several letters between August 2014 and September this year saying she had opted to switch to another supplier.

Each time, she contacted TalkTalk saying she had not spoken to any other supplier and didn't want to switch.

But despite her efforts, she was cut off on 16 September and left with no phone or broadband.

Providers are legally obliged to release a customer's line if they get a request from another company that the person wants to switch, unless the customer tells them otherwise.

Ms Beattie, from Ealing, west London, who has had a contract with the company since April 2010, said after having to contact TalkTalk each time she received a letter saying she had asked to switch, she asked for – and received – written assurance from the company that they wouldn't disconnect her.

“I explained that I use the phone and broadband for business purposes and given the potential impact of this, I asked for a written confirmation that my phone and broadband would not be disconnected.

“I was categoric – please do not cut me off,” she told Cable.co.uk.

She got the letter on 2 September saying she had successfully stopped her service from being cancelled and would experience no disruption.

But despite this, her broadband and phone services were cut off two weeks later on 16 September and it was only after several calls to various customer care departments and two weeks without broadband that she was reconnected on 2 October.

Being without phone or internet during the two-week period made it difficult to work from home and impossible to watch catch-up TV or use the Netlifx service she and her partner pay for, she said.

Never tried to switch

When she complained and asked for an explanation, Ms Beattie said TalkTalk told her they had received another request to switch her on 2 September, and did not hear back from her so her account was cancelled.

The switching process for broadband and landlines has recently been changed to a ‘gaining-provider led’ system, where consumers who want to switch can simply sign up to a new provider, who will take care of the switching process for them.

But Ms Beattie said she had never tried to switch.

She said on the latest occasion, she had not received any communication from TalkTalk suggesting the company had been informed she wanted to change providers.

“Had I received this, I would have contacted TalkTalk like I did on all previous occasions.

“Furthermore, had anyone checked the notes after my very recent phone call, it would be clear that the cease request was contradictory to what I had stated and should have been investigated.”

As well as cutting off her line, Ms Beattie said she had received “appalling” customer service, including one person being unable to provide her with any information on how to escalate a complaint.

“The team leader also seemed unwilling to believe that I had not contacted other providers to take over our contract,” she said.

“My partner and myself are the only adults that have lived at this address for the past five years and neither of us have made any contact with other providers during this period.”

She claimed she was also originally told that it was impossible to restore her old number on a new account – something she was later informed was incorrect, and was also incorrectly told she was not eligible for any compensation.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “We are very sorry that Ms Beattie lost her service when another company took over the line, and we did everything we could to get her back up and running as quickly as possible.

"Although Ms Beattie had previously told us she did not want to switch, we are legally obliged to release a customer’s line when we receive a request from another company unless the customer tells us they want to stay.”

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