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Low Cost UK ISP TalkTalk Launches Fairer Broadband Charter

Monday, November 5th, 2018 (11:32 am) - Score 7,727

ISP TalkTalk has today announced the launch of their new three-point “Fairer Broadband Charter,” which seems to have been largely designed to promote some of the provider’s key selling points and among other things “challenges the telecoms industry” to end mid-contract broadband price hikes.

Over the years we’ve perhaps developed somewhat of a cynical view where Customer Charters are concerned, not least because they tend to either idealistically promise something that is not deliverable to everybody as claimed or merely act as a clever advertising campaign for features that a company already offers and thus wishes to shout about.

In fairness TalkTalk has in recent years made some good improvements to their products and so quite understandably they’ve decided to highlight those, while at the same time criticising some of their rivals for not having done the same.. yet. But no doubt some will feel as if the ISP still hasn’t gone far enough.

3 Key Points of TalkTalk’s Fairer Broadband Charter

1. Ending unfair price rises:

It’s time to end unfair mid-contract price rises. We are challenging all providers to guarantee that the price customers sign up to will be the price they pay.”

Customers can feel cheated when providers increase prices mid-way through a contract. TalkTalk is the only major broadband provider to guarantee no mid-contract broadband price rises across all its plans. It’s an issue of trust. If customers sign a contract, they expect it to be honoured.

2. Delivering what we promise:

We are challenging all providers to introduce a connection guarantee – allowing all new fibre customers to walk away if the speed and reliability of services falls short of what they were promised.”

Customers need to have confidence that they’ll get what they were promised. That’s why we’ve introduced a Great Connection Guarantee, meaning new fibre customers are free to leave at any point for the first 30 days of going live if they’re unhappy with the connection. Our standard broadband customers who upgrade to fibre can also make the most of this initiative. If they are unhappy with their upgrade, they can rollback to standard broadband without penalty in the first 30 days of going live.

We are now looking at extending this initiative to new standard broadband customers.

3. Rewarding loyalty:

We are challenging all providers to proactively write to customers before their contract expires, warning them about any price rises and offering the option to re-contract at lower prices than standard out-of-contract pricing. That gives power back to customers and avoids hidden price increases.”

For too long, providers have avoided warning customers when their contract is about to expire. That leaves too many customers paying more than they realise. Some customers may prefer the flexibility of being out of contract, but providers should warn them and allow customers to make an informed choice, rather than hoping they don’t realise their bills have gone up.

We already contact customers to let them know their price will change when their contract ends, but to ensure they take advantage of our best value deals we’re taking this a step further.

We will:

* Contact all customers before they come out of contract, offering competitive packages so they can continue benefiting from fixed, value for money broadband that suits their needs.
* Always aim to offer the best available deals and clearly state in the communications that other promotions may be available at any given time.
* Contact all customers, including those out-of-contract, on an annual basis with a ‘value update’. This will allow them to review their products and services helping to ensure they get the best deal for them.

It’s worth pointing out that Ofcom has already proposed new rules, which will require phone / broadband ISPs, Pay TV and mobile operators to inform customers when they approach the end of their minimum contract term (here), but this won’t be introduced until later in 2019.

At the same time the UK Government’s Competition and Markets Authority has opened a “super-complaint” to examine how consumers who remain loyal (e.g. stay with the service at the end of their contract) can end up paying “significantly more” than new customers (here), although we don’t yet know what the outcome of that will be.

In other words, the rest of the market will eventually need to do some of what TalkTalk are already doing, whether they like it or not.

Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

“Telecoms companies have been ripping-off consumers for far too long. The industry has to change to rebuild trust with consumers. We led the way two years ago and became the first provider to guarantee no mid-contract price rises. It’s proved hugely popular and today we’re going even further. Our Fairer Broadband Charter sets out three simple ways we’ll put customers first.

I’m challenging our rivals to follow our lead so that the whole industry can rebuild trust with customers.”

As part of today’s announcement TalkTalk also conducted a poll of 2,000 UK adults with YouGov, which found that 87% of consumers think it’s unfair that providers raise their broadband price mid-contract and 54% would support a complete ban on these price hikes. Meanwhile 62% say they don’t know when their contract ends, as they’re left to roll onto higher out-of-contract rates, which is something that other surveys have similarly echoed.

Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. Avatar EndlessWaves says:

    So TalkTalk, why exactly are re-contract prices substantially lower than out of contract prices?

    An an initial 12 month vs. 30 day contract discount is understandable as it allows set up costs to be spread for those ISPs that absorb them, but that doesn’t apply to re-contracting.

    1. Avatar Dave says:

      It’s probably to do with budgeting. If you know a customer is in a 12 month contract you can better forecast your income/outgoings.

      They will also argue that they’re is a setup cost associated with onboarding new/rolling contacts although these are probably negligible in reality.

      Cynically though it’s to make signing a new contract seem like a better deal than a monthly one.

  2. Avatar CJ says:

    How about also promising not to introduce new charges mid-contract as a way of weaseling out of the no price rise guarantee?

    Maybe they could start by honouring the contract I signed a few months ago that included free Anonymous Call Reject, which they now want me to either cancel or pay an extra £2 per month to keep.

    1. Avatar Colin says:

      No mid contract price rises? Well only for part of the contract, a few weeks after entering my contract earlier this year I got a price increase for ‘anytime calls’, and then couple of months after that my mobile contract was shifted to O2 at an increased price.

  3. Avatar Rural 'Not Fairer' Broadband Charter says:

    Some very disadvantaged UK groups can not order from many providers like Talk-Talk.
    Talk-Talk shows “We’re sorry, our checks show that the address you have entered is outside of our network.”
    How fair is that?

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Do you have an example postcode?

    2. Avatar Joe says:

      Not about fairness different exchanges cost different amounts to provide services from

    3. Avatar CarlT says:

      About as fair as the idea that other customers should pay more so that TalkTalk can afford to make a loss enabling and running the exchanges serving these ‘very disadvantaged UK groups’

    4. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      TalkTalk For Everyone. They refuse to provide any service at all in my area, so it is certainly not “For Everyone”.

      @TheFacts – GL15 6PW is one example postcode, there are lots around here.

      @CarlIT – lots of businesses make different amount of profit from different customers. TalkTalk pretend to be an inclusive supplier, but exclude lots of people.

  4. Avatar StillWaitingForSuperfast says:

    How about rewarding loyalty by having decent ‘out of contract’ prices when your contract ends? My monthly payment jumped from £17 to £29 but I dont want to sign up for a new contract as I might be moving soon.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Apologies if I’m missing something but if you’re not recontracting I’m not sure where the ‘loyalty’ element comes in.

    2. Avatar EndlessWaves says:

      CarlT: You’re continuing to pay them to provide the service rather than taking your custom elsewhere.

      The either of a 12 month contract when the initial costs are paid off is an absurd one, it provides no benefit to the customer at all.

  5. Avatar Venugopal Sakkarayapattana says:

    Point 3 is a joke. When I contacted them to renew, they gave a very high monthly cost and told me on my face “this is it.take it or leave”.

    I left in June 2016. Subsequently they made my life a misery by sending bills online and i had to struggle another 4 months to stop the nonsense !!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The new low cost plans were introduced a short while after you left.

  6. Avatar Michael Grubb says:

    Tried to upgrade to fibre broadband with Talktalk, happy to sign a new contract, but they would not allow my discounted Sports package to transfer at the same price, Customer service???

    1. Avatar David G says:

      Hi Michael, Try to take this issue up through the TalkTalk community, their OCE’s are very good at sorting these type of things out, when I upgraded to fibre all my discounted boost’s were carried over to my new contract for the amount of time they still had remaining.

  7. Avatar David G says:

    I have been with TalkTalk for a number of years now (since O2 gave up providing broadband), and I have to give them credit for their policy of allowing customers to change to a better deal during their contract if one becomes available, I have signed up for a new contract sometimes only after a couple of months because a new deal has been offered. I agree this doesn’t apply to their boost’s and these are subject to price changes mid contract which is unfair.

  8. Avatar STEPHEN ROY ESCREET says:

    All this about pricing but what about a REAL important thing called SERVICE.
    I have been with TT for years but for last 18 months not ONE day of promised and paid for speed. Trying to get engineer through community for 2 weeks but no luck yet.

  9. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    Hard to beat TalkTalk on price, they currently offer 40/10Mb fibre with free UK calls for £19.95, fixed for 18 months. They also seem to only use South African call centres now, rather than India.


    1. Avatar David G says:

      This deal was better than my current package, I have just contacted TalkTalk customer service and was able to get this deal and keep my discounted sky sports boost.
      Thanks for the link Bob2002.
      I do feel sorry for people who have had problems with TT but I have not been one of them, I have only had one occasion when I was getting noise on the line but this was resolved in a couple of days, I suppose it’s just luck of the draw. You always see bad reviews for any broadband company and hope when you sign up with them everything will be ok.

  10. Avatar Wujek Pawel says:

    Never ever TalkTalk again. TalkTalk is a Three of broadband.

  11. Avatar George Harper says:

    I was with talk talk I moved flats from upstairs to downstairs I tryed to moved my phone downstairs after a month they said they still having problems rang them total 7 hrs on the phone no success I got new supplier which I was on within 7 days had to have new number talk talk are so bad never again will I use them they are so bad plz do not trust them

  12. Avatar Not on your nelly says:

    You must be mad to use TalkTalk
    We were with them several years ago & ended up with no broadband for 6 months and not even a working telephone for the last 3 months. Customer service was nonexistent eventually escalated to the CEO to get out of contract to get line repaired by BT
    Three years later we are still having half a dozen calls a week from scam TalkTalk service centres in India because they failed to secure customer data & our account details seem to be re-sold to different scam gangs.
    I have also since had a debt collector looking for a whole £10 after this scum company sold my closed account on to them despite having zeroed my account when I left as part of my agreement with them.
    We are currently in talks with a major law firm to sue them on at least 3 fronts.
    1.The original failure to supply the service we were paying for
    2. The data breach & subsequent problems with repeated scam calls
    3. The loss of my credit rating due to them selling a “debt” to a collection agency
    Once the ruling comes through I will be going to the press with it and fully intend to se the company shut down

  13. Avatar Brenda Joyce Maher says:

    Their so called customer service is pathetic! We have a full package with talktalk and the TV box stopped working. Umpteen phone calls, being talked through trouble shooting procedures with no joy! ! They agreed to send an engineer if I paid £50. He came out and said there was nothing I coutdoor have done to fix the problem and should not be charged! ! Told me to ring talktalk. Ha what a joke! ! I’m constantly ringing to try and clear this up but getting nowhere! ! This month I paid the fee for the services I get but not the £50 engineers fee. Now they email to say I will be charged a late fee of £12 if I fail to pay! ! I’m not paying for their faulty product!!! Can’t leave as I’m in a contract and apart from that I’ve been happy with the service before now and even if I left they would still hound me for the cash! ! Not a clue what to do now! I can’t understand the agents when I ring.I’m deaf and struggle to make out what they are saying. Had it been something I had done it would have paid with no problem! ! No idea where I go from here! !

  14. Avatar Brenda Joyce Maher says:

    Sorry, typing error should say could not outdoor

  15. Avatar Disgrunted says:

    Tried to upgrade from tt superfast broadband to fibre. TT inform me it is not available in my area BUT BT have confirmed it is, people next door have it. So who is wrong and why is tt not interested. With latest offer I could get fibre for the same price, tt need to be reported, pointless talking to tt customer services, just get passed from one to another then the line goes dead after being on for about an hour. Talktalk need to rebrand. No no.

    1. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      TalkTalk only supply broadband (and phone) in LLU exchanges where they have their own equipment installed – so they don’t use BT equipment. That’s why BT broadband is available to you but not TalkTalk. TalkTalk have no equipment at all in my exchange (and many others) so won’t provide any service at all.

  16. Avatar Julie Edmunds says:

    I wouldn’t have anything to do with Talk Talk terrible company my advice saty well clear

  17. Avatar Mummy Bear says:

    I don’t care what TalkTalk promise. Having seen them trying to con £150 out of my daughter (a student), I would strongly advise anyone thinking of switching to TalkTalk to think twice about it!
    They claimed that moving house was simple and free…. but when she tried to move (students do, you know!) they cancelled her contract. Then they kept delaying her re-connection, leaving three students without internet access for the first month of their term.
    And then they charged her £150 because they claimed she had cancelled her contract!
    It’s all sorted now, but it has taken literally hours on the phone, being pushed from pillar to post, going through endless “security” checks, and so on.
    Shysters. Don’t trust them.

  18. Avatar Richard J Mills says:

    I resigned with talktalk as they said no price rises. They then put up the prices if their boosts and started to charge a fee for the originally free mobile. So they just put the price increases elsewhere.

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