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Author Topic: Requirements to leave Talktalk (for free) while still in contract?  (Read 570 times)

cbdeakin

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My family has been with Talktalk for years now, but they recently added extra charges a few months after we agreed a contract in November last year (not my decision!). They started charging us £10 a month for unlimited phone usage and £4 a month to use the Youview box and £5 a month for the 'Fibre Large' boost, despite the fact we changed over to the 'Unlimited Fibre Speed Boost' when we signed the new contract. This put the total cost per month at £49, which seems very high, considering they were originally very competitive on price for broadband and landlines. To pour salt on the wound, new customers can get 'Faster Fibre' for £22.50 per month if they sign a 2 year contract.

They have also not refunded these additional charges (for several months) after we informed them via letter and over the phone.

Also, the speed is consistenly lower than the speed they promised for this line. According to Talktalk's Broadband Speed Code of Conduct of conduct (link - https://community.talktalk.co.uk/t5/Articles/Broadband-Speed-Code-of-Conduct/ta-p/2204642) for existing customers pre March 2019, customers are 'protected if your sync speed is lower than what we promised when you signed up with us'. It also mentions customers can be 'released from your contract without penalty'. Our sync speed has ranged from 50-55mbps (measured by Talktalk's line healthchecker and the router's web interface, after upgrading the BT master socket) since November 2018 and talktalk's promised speed for this line was 62mbps.

So, does this mean Talktalk are in breach of their broadband code of conduct and is so, can we leave our contract early, and as fast as possible without paying? Has anyone else ever done this and how exactly should we go about it, i.e, who should we contact via phone or email? And does this require a formal complaint letter or email?

 The contract we signed won't expire until sometime in 2020 and apparently theres a normally a heavy charge for each month remaining on the contract if customers cancel early.

I'd appreciate any advice or comments you can give.

EDIT - Are speeds on Plusnet good? I know they use BT equipment for their network backhaul and according to the lastest OFCOM report, they have higher average download speeds than Talktalk.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 07:25:39 AM by cbdeakin »
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re0

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Re: Requirements to leave Talktalk (for free) while still in contract?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2019, 10:10:59 AM »

I don't usually delve into the code of conduct for ISPs as I've never gone through this process from what I can remember, so bear with me.

If TalkTalk have promised a minimum sync speed (since you joined or renewed before 1st March 2019) of 62 Mbps, then according to their code of conduct you need to inform them that your speed has dropped below this guarantee and give them 30 working days (yes, "working" days... a while in reality) to resolve the issue. Since the contract has been renewed in November 2018, you must check the minimum guranteed line speed since it may have changed since when first contracted - unless the speed you have specified is from their November 2018 renewal.

If it is the case that they cannot aid you in improving your speed above their minimum guarantee then you should be able to walk free without early termination fees. But I must stress that it is important that you retain and have at hand all the information regarding guarantees they have given you should you need to fight your case if things do not go smoothly. They probably would have emailed you when you renewed with those details, or perhaps it is visible in your account - the reason why I said it is best to have those details in writing is in case the estimates on your account have updated after renewal (I'm not saying they would try and pull a sneaky on you, but you can never be sure).

If you want to make a complaint, then you can do so by phone, live chat, post or email as mentioned here. Just make a note of all the dates and times contacted. It may be better to do it via email or post, just so you have a contact trail with all the times and dates listed but that's just my opinion. It's completely your choice to do what is convenient for you.

Just bear in mind that you must do all you can to rule out issues with your equipment and wiring. Some steps here which TalkTalk has listed here on their website is a start, though I know not all are relevant - it's just important to do what they have specified prior to starting a complaint since they may ask you to complete them anyway. Ruling out internal issues is also another good idea since if they have to send out an engineer and your hardware is to blame, then you may be charged for the visit. TalkTalk may want to send you out a replacement router, which tends to be quite common for ISPs to do when a complaint is made about speed (they just want to ensure that their supplied device is not faulty).

This part is quite important: I am not sure about it, but the new Ofcom Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice from 1st March 2019 onwards specifies that the right to exit applies to bundled products "such as landline services on the same line, or pay-TV services purchased at the same time as the broadband service". HOWEVER, since you renewed before this date, be aware that this may not be the case. You may wish to confirm with TalkTalk since I really have no clue - perhaps someone else will know.

The way I see it, they would be breaching their code of conduct if they did not help you if you made a complaint or prevented you from leaving without penalty after 30 working days specified in their code of conduct if they have not resolved the issue.

As for your question regarding Plusnet, I've never had issues with their network back in the day. I remember they moved from BT WBMC Shared to Dedicated some years ago, and I never noticed any change since everything was still running smoothly. Just be aware that if your modem is syncing at 50-55 Mbps, changing provider should not make any difference to that since the Dynamic Line Management will probably find that is the best speed-stability balance - unless the package you take is on a wholesale product which is capped under the speed you currently sync at then it would be less.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 10:13:02 AM by re0 »
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Weaver

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Re: Requirements to leave Talktalk (for free) while still in contract?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2019, 10:23:17 AM »

Of course one has to consider how much your time is worth, all the hassle emotional upset distraction involved in all the arguing with. I would myself be very loathe to get into all of that, and if I wanted to get out, seeing as paying a lawyer to handle it all for me so as to take away the pain would just be another huge financial loss, I would just pay the early exit fee and then be free with no worries. But you are not me.
However Iím sure that you too have more important things to do with your life and donít want to be confused, angry and frustrated for weeks or months.

Standard wisdom would say there are cheap ISPs and there are good ISPs and they tend not to be the same (otherwise one might be inclined to take over the world).
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broadstairs

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Re: Requirements to leave Talktalk (for free) while still in contract?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2019, 10:52:47 AM »

Relating to TT renewals and speed quotes from my own experience it has been the case that on each renewal the speed quoted has dropped and despite me being on their "Faster Fibre" my minimum now is around 45mbps and because of this they refuse to do anything about the arbitrary cap of 59999kbps applied to my line. So check VERY carefully the speeds quoted on your last renewal.

Stuart
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