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To be livid with Talk Talk on behalf of my very elderly parents! (advice welcome)

(100 Posts)
4c4good Tue 18-Oct-11 20:34:44

Dad 96, very frail, very poor health. Mum 80. Exhausted carer. I live an hour away and work fulltime.

They rely on their landline for essential things like making hospital appointments, social services issues and to contact people to fix things, as well of course to keep in touch with family and friends.

Three weeks ago, Mum reported interference on the line, and what seemed to be a crossed line. They were promised an engineer would call on the phone at a certain time. No-one called - no surprise.

Problems worsen. Line is intermittently unavailable, or incoming calls go straight to voicemail. Mum says she can't access voicemail though I am not 100% clear this is the case.

They now have no dial tone at all, and nothing has happened with Talk Talk. I have reported the problem and was told they wouldn't speak to me as I am not the account holder ( after keeping me waiting 20 minutes)

Meanwhile a series of mini disasters happens. Their loo breaks. There is a minor insurance issue with the car. This happens when they had intermittent service and incoming calls were somehow lost - the upshot being they had been flushing the loo with pails of water for several days until I intervened and got it sorted. Mum can just about receive and make calls but not retrieve messages - on her ancient pay as you go mobile after some tuition so they are now back in touch with the world -but in a haphazard way.

They have one of those emergency bleeper phone line alarm things and this equipment was checked by the provider on Monday and the engineer was sure this wasn't causing the problem.

Now I need to get this sorted with Talk Talk. I recall a thread on here where a Talk Talk community champion or some other interesting title came on and offered help and a link to some kind of complaints forum. I've been on the website and see there is a 'memembers area' (sic) - which I assume will need account info to register with, which I haven't got tonight. Well they are certainly tools, and can't even spell, let alone run a decent service.

Can anyone link me to that and/or provide any assistance?

How dare they treat my parents like this!

coraltoes Tue 18-Oct-11 20:42:47

Hello. They can talk to you if the account holder has agreed on the phone to this. Call them with your mum or dad present, say you will pass them the phone for them to ok you to manage the issue. Explain they a elderly and you manage their utility needs. Demand to speak to a manager if you have to. I had to call them recently after they changed my aunts account tarrif without her say so, tying her in for another year!

Or can you pretend to be your mum?! They can't see you...

KittyFane Tue 18-Oct-11 20:50:41

Agree with coral - just talk to them as if you are your mum.. Obviously not meant to but ...
Drives me mad when utility companies refuse to talk to me and want DH - I tell them that I pay the bill and am named as homeowner, always takes them ages to find my name (after his) on account.
Not relevant to your case but just thought I'd join you in a moan.
Hope it goes well from now on OP, it's a farce.

PeelThemWithTheirMetalKnives Tue 18-Oct-11 20:53:46

I agree, just pretend to be your mum. Sorry they are having such a hard time.

thereinmadnesslies Tue 18-Oct-11 20:59:05

Register for the members only online forum using your parents tel number. Start a new thread with your problem. There are customer services bods who post on there and they will get the problem sorted quickly - my disabled mum had a similar problem, I got nowhere calling them but online sorted it in 48hrs. Definitely flag up that they are elderly/vulnerable too

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Tue 18-Oct-11 21:03:07


MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Tue 18-Oct-11 21:07:43

Had a google and found this which is a BBC Watchdog page about Talk Talk and their terrble service..there is an email adress there from talktalk as a responseto the BBC report and I suspect queries on that email will get a faster response.

4c4good Tue 18-Oct-11 21:10:49

Thanks so much all.

troisgarcons Tue 18-Oct-11 21:37:52

I have no issues with Talk Talk - from my POV they are way over and above BT customer service

DogsBeastFiend Tue 18-Oct-11 21:46:03

When you write that email I'd suggest that you cc to the editor of your parents' local paper and to Watchdog too.

And to this address - the CEO -

4c4good Tue 18-Oct-11 21:46:11

Have emailed the watchdog email.
To register with the forum, you need a tiscali (talktalk) email. I'll do that tomorrow, not now.....
Blimey 3boys. Do tell.

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Tue 18-Oct-11 21:55:47

OOh good one Dogs! That will show them!

TalkTalkSupport Wed 19-Oct-11 10:55:58

Hi All,

Firstly I would not advise committing fraud by pretending to be an account holder when you are not. This is a serious data protection breach and posting about such potential activity on a public forum is not advisable (coraltoes, we might not be able to see you individually, however making such suggesting in public is visible to anyone viewing this forum) and me not addressing this matter would be irresponsible. Breaching Data Protection ahs serious implications and there are due processes in place to discuss faults with non account holders so there is no need to deceive.

With regards the fault this can be reported and managed by the Members Forum. We can conduct line testing and various checks into the issue. Progress of a fault is possible by a non account holder and should we require any account holder confirmation we will informed the poster (this is necessary should we need to send an engineer to the property as this can only be authorised by an account holder).

The forum registration does not require a talktalk or tiscali email address. Valid telephone and account details are necessary to register as only those with an active account can participate on the TT Members Forum. As such if 4c4good registers on the forum using their parents account details we can provide third party fault support as necessary to them.


TalkTalk Online Community Executive
TalkTalk Online Community Department

thereinmadnesslies Wed 19-Oct-11 19:48:56

Mark - I feel really annoyed by the tone of your post. Yes we all know that impersonating someone else is not ideal. But to describe it as fraud in these circumstances is deeply unfair.

Talktalk need to sort out their own affairs before criticising anyone here. How is it acceptable that the OPs elderly parents have been left without a phone for so long? ?? Why is customer service so poor?

My experience of TalkTalk's attitude to elderly and disabled people was shocking. My mother is disabled, lives alone and is dependent on carers. Yet TT thought it ok to leave her without a phone and did nothing to prioritse her. On one occasion the call handler told her that her case would be closed because she couldn't reach the socket ( I'd already done all the required tests the day before and she told them she was paraplegic). sad she made repeated calls costing a fortune from her pay as you go mobile. The overseas call centre just kept fobbing her off with promises that weren't kept. Only when I took it up with the online forum did it get sorted. My mother couldn't do that because her TT Internet was down.

Mark, I think you are out of order here. TT need to spend time to develop a customer service policy rather than criticising the families of vulnerable people for trying to do the best for their loved ones.

fluffythevampirestabber Wed 19-Oct-11 19:52:18


Talk talk were beyond rubbish when I had a problem and I am not elderly and I do not need support in the way that the OP's parents do.

May I respectfully suggest you get off your arse and contact the OP to sort out the problems that her parents are having before you come on here being a jobsworth?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 19-Oct-11 19:52:25

OP... this is a good source:

You can still resolve things with TalkTalk but the ombudsman services will make sure that that happens rather than leaving your parents at the mercy of a paid for service.

Tryharder Wed 19-Oct-11 20:01:43

TalkTalk are indeed a bunch of incompetents who actively lie to their customers and couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery let alone provide a telephone/broadband service.

I would rather have no internet access than ever use their services again.

4c4good Wed 19-Oct-11 22:30:16

Mark - perhaps you could provide me with a link to the forum I can acccess using my parents' account details. The one I found required a Tiscali email. I have written separately to the watchdog/TT email someone posted above.

Things have changed in a way that could hardly demonstrate their plight more starkly, and I promise you on my life this is true.

Mum was on the phone yesterday- her expensive, pay as you go mobile - in desparation to the TT helpline. I hadn't been able to contact TT and the helpline closes at 8pm when I was still on my way home from meetings at the other end of the country. As she is on the phone, Dad collapsed unconscious. Because there was no landline she couldn't call the doctor straight away, or their one-press emergency help - as that is linked to the landline as described above.

Eventually she managed to call the GP from her mobile when her hands had stopped shaking. Dad came round, he's been checked out by the GP and he is OK.

Later on, Mum got through to someone who has temporarily routed her landline calls to her mobile, and promised a fix within 3 days. The plumbing work, though much delayed, is in hand. We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile I tried to call my mother this evening on the landline-routed-to the-mobile - and couldn't get through. Whether this is the TT intermittent fault or Mum's stress getting the better of her ability to handle unfamiliar modern technology, I know not.

But Mark, maybe whilst you may feel obliged to lecture others on their actions, I think it behoves you to reflect with compassion on why it is that your company places its paying customers, and their families in such dire straits that they have to resort to such desparate measures.

Above all, I ask you to reflect on the panic and distress the incompetence of your company visited on my elderly mother yesterday, and the ongoing stress and uncertainty the whole family is living with until this mess is sorted out.

You may be maximising shareholder profits and sponsoring a putrid TV talent show, but your customer service - what really matters - is beyond appalling.

4c4good Wed 19-Oct-11 22:39:27

Don't bother lifting a finger Talk Talk Mark - I've just found the forum link on the watchdog page. But it would be great to hear from you personally.

beachholiday Thu 20-Oct-11 00:20:41

It is abysmal that they failed to address the problem when they first said they would (ie when they promised an engineer would call at a certain time and no-one called) and they make you jump through hoops instead. I am taken aback that they would fail to try to remedy a problem on a landline, when their customers' emergency call system is reliant on the landline. That is just disturbing.

thereinmadnesslies Thu 20-Oct-11 07:26:22

4c4good - that's terrible. I hope thing get sorted soon and that your parents are ok x

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Thu 20-Oct-11 08:09:29

I found the talktalk customer service people fantastically helpful...until we had signed on the dotted line and had a contract with them. Promises, promises. sad

OP, I hope they sort out your parents' line soon - it sounds awful.

purplemurple Thu 20-Oct-11 08:42:04

Talk Talk are rubbish, we tried them when they first came out years ago, The customer service is appalling.

grin @ dogbeastfriend, have broken my specs read that email as was shock

Hope it gets sorted for your parents OP.

ShroudOfHamsters Thu 20-Oct-11 09:04:04

Wow, we are just about to move house and investigating providers - cheers Mark, you've saved me a bit of research - thanks to your jobsworth, arsey, unhelpful post, I can cross Talk Talk off the list before I've even begun.

OP has posted on the SERIOUS stress her very elderly parents are going through as a result of YOUR company NOT PROVIDING the service they are supposed to... and you come on as a representative of that company - not a word of apology or concern, just some po-faced stick-up-your-arse finger wagging to the other folk posting here.

I'm astonished - most service providers posting back here at least have the consumer nous to pretend to be concerned and apologetic in a situation like this. You're either a crap spokesperson, or an extremely effective spokesperson for a sub-standard company. Well done, either way.

aldiwhore Thu 20-Oct-11 09:10:09

4c4Good My FIL has Alzheimers and we're always struggling with sorting out various utilities, and other companies who cold call him constantly. Its a nightmare! Even though we have now activated Power of Attourney for some things, we wrote to TalkTalk asking if they would deal with us rather than the account holders. This letter was also signed by FIL (and written from FIL) and since then we've been able to sort things out for him as and when they arise.

I would look at gained power of attourney, your parents will still be able to manage their own money, but you'll have power to intervene... so now, if FIL invites a loft insulation/upvc window company/ulitity company over, or signs up for anything, we can cancel/rearrage/undo it!

We've been with TalkTalk for ages, but in the last few months their service has slipped and their customer service team don't appear to talk to each other or communicate... I had the same phone call four days in a row, and then once we finally sorted the problem, they'd not included most of the things we'd requested. Its a royal PITA!

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