‘Row over phone left me sick with worry...’

Paul Muscat
Paul Muscat

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Paul Muscat was a Sky customer for his home phone, TV and broadband.

When the monthly payments started to get out of hand he decided it was time for a change.

The 78-year-old former sea going marine engineer from Portsmouth noticed an advert in a national newspaper offering a home entertainment switching service, so he decided to take the plunge.

He soon found himself talking to a representative from Talk Talk.

The offer was an 18-month home entertainment plus broadband and phone service bundle for a very attractive £34 a month, so Paul jumped at the chance. But the hasty decision soon exposed a lacklustre service with a sting in the tail.

It all promised to go live on July 29. All started well.

The broadband router arrived in good time and the internet service kicked off on schedule.

But simultaneously the phone line went dead. As his wife had passed away precisely a year ago and he was now living alone, he relied on his landline to keep in touch with family and friends.

Paul used his pay as you go emergency mobile to report the problem to Talk Talk’s customer services team, which to his amazement he discovered were located in India and South Africa.

Four calls later, each of more than half-hour duration, he ended up with a promise he’d be called back, and £26 out of pocket for his call charges.

Left without a working landline for more than two weeks, Paul was enraged that all his strenuous efforts to get the promised package fully up and running were going precisely nowhere.

Paul said: ‘The first call was to India, call number two, three, and four, was South Africa.

‘Despite explaining on each occasion that I just didn’t have a landline they promised to get back to me, but no-one ever did.

Phone call number five was in response to a letter from Talk Talk’s office in Southampton threatening to charge me £234. There was also an additional threat of losing my phone number.’

Realising he had access to the internet service he fired off a series of emails to the firm complaining about the appalling customer service and the fact he was being ignored.

Each one was logged by Talk Talk in Southampton, and given a unique reference number, but they weren’t replied to either.

An exasperated Paul finally decided to take the bull by the horns and switch to another provider, EE. He phoned the Southampton office which denied any knowledge of a problem with the service, so he promptly sent them a cheque for £13 to cover the cost of the email service, and effectively told them to do their worst.

But sick with concern and frustration he dashed off a letter to Streetwise. As soon as we got on the case the matter was quickly resolved.

We sent Talk Talk a copy of his complaint, who then took the matter seriously, apologised for their mistakes, and said lessons would be learned.

A spokesperson said: ‘All issues have now been resolved.

‘We have covered the contract fee and refunded his account.

‘The customer is happy with all the actions and the complaint has been closed.’

Paul told Streetwise of his relief. ‘I was so stressed and sick with worry and indecision that I couldn’t sleep. They didn’t seem to care.’ he said.

‘The hassle and stress they caused me was unbelievable.

‘My relatives were getting concerned. ‘

I reminded them of my circumstances and age and that I’m not used to being treated in this way. I still get upset even talking about it.

Streetwise was my last and only point of call for assistance. I can only say thank you so much. You’re my shining star.’