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TalkTalk Cuts-Off PlusNet Broadband Customers

Posted: 18th Jun, 2007 By: MarkJ
Thinkbroadband has reported on problems being experienced by some of PlusNet's broadband customers. It's understood that users who switched their voice line from BT to TalkTalk were not informed that their Internet connection would also be cut.

Typically TalkTalk operates off a different unbundled (LLU) network and has been somewhat less than helpful when customers have requested to be moved back, largely due to conflicts over 18 month contracts and migration codes (MAC).

PlusNet itself estimates that roughly 2,500 of its customers have been "poached" this way. The provider's communications team has also made a blog post about it HERE:

Over the last few months, but especially within the last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in calls from customers surprised to have found that their broadband has suddenly stopped working. Their modems appear to remain ‘in-synch’ with the exchange, but their username and password is rejected when they attempt to connect.

Following the normal procedures for ‘No Authentication’ faults, we quickly identified that all these customers’ assets were no longer owned by ourselves in BT’s systems. Hmm… Strange, we thought, since none of these customers had requested to migrate away or cease their service with us.

After delving deeper into each individual case we found a single common factor - that the customer had opted to move their line rental over to Carphone Warehouse (TalkTalk).

The plot thickens

It would appear, you see, that in areas where TalkTalk have an unbundled exchange, they can move your home phone AND your broadband over to their equipment (fully unbundled) without a MAC key or any authorisation from the customer. So, even if you sign up to only move your home phone service to TalkTalk, they may just swindle you out of your trusty broadband connection - forcing you to take their option.

This doesn’t appear to be isolated to their ‘free broadband‘ option either. Several of our customers who have contacted us had not signed up to the more expensive TalkTalk plan that includes broadband.

The full piece goes on to illuminate a contradiction in TalkTalk's T&C's, not to mention some other issues. Typically moving customers in this way is a deeply unsettling act and can also raise contract conflicts with a users existing ISP.

However this may only be the tip of an iceberg, with other ISP's reporting similar behaviour from LLU providers, suggesting the problem isn’t isolate to TalkTalk. Ofcom recently announced that it was investigating miss-selling, but it’s not known whether the issues above fit that remit.

In the meantime consumers should remember that switching your voice provider could also impact the broadband connection, especially if the new operator is based off an unbundled (LLU) network.
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