Part One:

When people have asked me about broadband providers in the past my replies have always evolved around one simple policy, “Stay away from the Sub-ISPs and stick with the main providers”.

This has kept me going well, with no outages, a decent service and no problems. I signed up with Pipex Broadband years ago and have been with them ever since. However at the point at which they were swallowed by Tiscali I was concerned; as  Tiscali’s reputation was not great to say the least. I thought, “providing my service remains consistent then I am OK – and as long as I do not get messed about I will stay”

Several weeks ago I contacted Pipex for the first time to request; quite explicitly “please cancel my Home Call phone package – BUT LEAVE MY BROADBAND ALONE”. A simple request. However yesterday I suddenly had a complete and utter lack of broadband – which was a complete nightmare for someone who works at home a lot. Broadband to me is just as important as electricity!

So I phoned Pipex immediately on the support line (0871 66 333 00) and went straight to query my bill, and discovered that the only thing active on my account was the Home Call Phone package – and no Broadband.

Numerous calls then to the terminations team left me even more confused and angry. Apparently they had cancelled the wrong service with no notification, no customer communication and with no remorse. Problem was that it was going to take 10 days to reconnect me. Oh, I could have a £10 credit to my account as a ‘Sorry!’ – and that just upset me even more as I was probably losing that on the time and calls alone!

You know this part of the tale – lots more phone calls, lots more departments! Long story made slightly shorter – I was told it would still take up to 10 days to reconnect me and there was nothing that could be done – unbelievable. More phone calls and more frustration. Surprisingly one person did say that he would get it reconnected within a few days – but that was a false claim.

After a while I took a different tack – and a bit of searching on Google came up with a few names, namely the CEO, and several of the PR team.

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My advice is to keep an email like this factual, calm and to the point. A letter that simply rants and raves and makes false claims will not get you anywhere.

I later saw this letter to Pipex (http://pipexcommunicationsplc.com/emails-to-pipex-march-2009.html) and thought, “That’s not how to do it!”. It’s from a MSN email address with no identity, it rants, it makes false claims and the grammar is terrible.

Remarkable (and credit does need to be given at this point) within 2 hours I received a call from Tiscali’s High Level Complaints Department trying to sort out the mess. By the end of the call we had agreed a temporary free and unlimited dial-up service to keep me going and a direct contact with someone who’s surname I actually knew, not to mention an email address and contact telephone number!

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Bottom line is that Pipex screwed up majorly. There was no communication, and what communication I did have was simply lip-service; with no backed up actions. Unless I had taken it to a high level – I would still be phoning premium rate numbers; going round in circles and getting nowhere.

Helpful Hint: When facing repeated calls to premium call centres try look at the following site to alternative numbers instead of paying the full price – saved me some money! http://www.saynoto0870.com/ is a great resource provide alternative numbers to common high-rate and premium support centres.

Granted I am still considerable upset with Pipex, and would never recommend them to anyone I have to; in this instance give some credit to Tiscali for stepping in and taking some action on an individual level – and not hiding behind a call centre. If only this could happen more often.

What bugs me now is that at some point soon I will get my broadband back – with Pipex. The problem is that I do not really want to be with Pipex; but what’s the alternative?

We shall see; as this story is not over yet