NTL fails again. (in Off-topic)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] August 16 2005 7:43 AM EDT

Hi All, Claire and I used to have the full cable package from NTL. TV, phones and Broadband. And it was good.

But, a couple of months ago, Claire was stolen away by an offer on the installation of Sky + (Which is great!) coupled with the fact Sky TV was cheaper than NTLs TV package.

Being organised, Claire did everything by the book. Notified NTL a month in advance in writing of cancelation of the TV side of things. Doing this, she found out that NTL were offering a 1 Gig broadband connection for cheaper than we were paying for our slower speed. So she arranged for them to upgrade our connection as well.

Job done!

We got Shy installed, and we're informed by NTL that we would continue to run our broadband through the TV set top box, they would just disconnect the TV. All sounded fine.

Then we were sent our latest bill. Which still included a charge for the TV, although we had cancelled in time for this bill. Claire was livid. On speaking to NTL she found this was common practice, and they would credit back the extra charge the month after. Also, our Broadband would have to run through a new Broadband Modem, and not the set top box, so an engineer would have to come and install it. We arranged the installation for a Saturday, when we would be in. Claire also canceled the DD to NTL, and wrote them a cheque for just the Braodband and Phone charges.

And wrote a letter of complaint.

The engineer turned up, but with instructions to disconect everything, and hadn't even got a broadband modem with him anyway. So we turned him away.

After her second angry phone call, another engineer was arrnaged to come out, with the correct instructions. We had two weekes away planned, and could only fit him in on one of the days in our holiday we were actually going to be home. A morning appointment was made (8-12) as we had planned to go out in the afternoon, and the engineer was made away of this and asked to visit us first.

No-one turned up. We were given no indication our appontment was not going to be met.

Thrid phone call. We were told morning appointments were acutall until 1 and not 12 and he was on his way. We waited until 1 until calling again. Engineer was still at least two hours away and NTL could give no guarentee he would even make it to us. Another appointment was made for the end of our holiday.

No-one turned up. Even with numerous phones calls to NTL. Also, the booking was inccorect again, and the engineer wouldn't be able to install the Broadband Modem anyway (as would have been the case with the second appointment we also found out.).

So, three of our days wasted by NTL. More phone calls and a second letter. As we are buzy at weekends now, NTL can't make an appointment we can make. But the last person Claire spoke to was very helpful. Got the problem with the bill sorted, and siad he would remotly upgrade our connection through the set top box. Which we isisted upon, as they still wanted to charge us the extra cost for having a slower speed, although they were unable to get their act in gear and do the installation...

So. All well and good. We settled to wait at least a month for an appointment time, knowing the bill was sorted and we would have a 1 Gig connection anyway.

Last night, I come home from work, to find an answerphone mesage for Claire from NTL responding to her first letter, and that our Broadband access had been disconnected along with the TV now. They finally got round to stopping TV access thorugh the set top box (which we hadn't been using since Sky was installed) which also killed the internet access.

Yet another fed up angry call to NTL.

As of this morning, I still don't have internet access at home...

NTL still haven't responded to the second letter we sent.

Part-time Barman August 16 2005 8:01 AM EDT

Sadly typical, but still a shocking indictment of British customer service.

I could go on about how great Natwest is at mucking up my mortgage,
but I'll spare you the agony :o)

NTL are muppets. The others are not much better, which is why I've got a freeview box and feel so much better about the 30-quid I now pocket every month. My BT broadband is surprisingly good, although I hear that I am an exception to the rule on that.

Stephen Young August 17 2005 2:36 PM EDT

Unfortunately, this experience is all too common with most Broadband ISP's. I know because I used to work for one. Your story can be heard all over the world, and the problem is in how the company handles their tech support, customer support, and billing support.

Most ISP's hire other companies to handle calls from customers because it is cheaper this way. The trouble is, these "call centers" hire employees that are pretty good at smiling brightly and dealing with customers, but they don't know their heads from their butts when it comes to handling billing issues, technical issues, and so on. In fact, most of the time that you call an ISP's Technical support line, you are dealing with someone who doesn't know how to fix your problem. But he does have a computer in front of him that gives him step-by-step instructions that he can read to you over the phone.

If these guys actually DID know anything about what they were helping you do over the phone, they wouldn't be working for the call center. They would be working for the ISP.

Alas, money makes the world go 'round.

Stephen Young August 17 2005 2:40 PM EDT

By the way, you'd never know that you were speaking to someone that doesn't actually work for the ISP. Call center employees are trained to tell you that they do in-fact work for the company you are doing business with. That way the ISP seems more customer friendly and cohesive.

House August 17 2005 4:40 PM EDT

i work for a small cable company here in the states..we pride ourselves on our curtomer service and our call center is co-located with our tech center :)

move to havasu and your problems are solved :)
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