back to article TalkTalk deactivates hundreds of email accounts after legacy spam scare

Hundreds of TalkTalk customers have been locked out of their email accounts after the network took steps to deactivate legacy addresses. Customers took to the company's forum to complain their accounts had been deactivated, seemingly without warning. The company appears to have only targeted Tiscali and Lineone email …

  1. hplasm
    Joke

    Well...

    They are called Talk Talk, not Mail Mail...

  2. TheProf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    This again?

    " no doubt using their premium rate phone line. "

    Last time I had to call TalkTalk about a problem (a few years ago since you ask) the call didn't cost anything because it was made on a TalkTalk phone line.

    This is from their help page.

    'Calls are free from your TalkTalk phone. Non-TalkTalk 3ppm plus your phone company access charge.'

    I'm all for bashing big companies but not when it comes to repeating mistakes 'some bloke on twitter' made.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. the_sword

      Re: This again?

      I've been affected by this issue. I'm an ex-TalkTalk/Tiscali customer and I've had to pay a few quid for the privilege of getting my access back (which still hasn't been done btw despite being on the phone to them for a total of 3 hours).

      Their support team is as diabolical now as is it was when I left them.

      So I think they deserve a bashing in this instance.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: This again?

        "I'm an ex-TalkTalk/Tiscali customer"

        In which case, why are you still using the ISP mail address? (And why do they bother to continue providing it?)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >> "And it seems that if you're unlucky enough to be affected, you have to contact TalkTalk yourself to get it sorted out, no doubt using their premium rate phone line"

    Uh, Premium rate phone line ? If you are a talktalk customer it's free, if you are stupid enough to keep using your old ISPs mail system years after you left them more fool you.

    1. FredBloggs61

      if you are stupid enough to keep using your old ISPs mail system years after you left them more fool you.

      Hmm why is that then?

      Especially when a user may not have left them.

      In my case, I was a Pipex customer when that was bought out by Tiscali and they discontinued the Pipex email accounts, Then Tiscali get bought out by TalkTalk, so do I have to then change address again?

    2. the_sword

      A lot of the affected email users are ex-customers who were using their ISP mail at a time when the likes of hotmail and yahoo weren't so popular.

      And after several years of using an email address - you feel not inclined to use a new one. It's like changing your mobile phone number.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And after several years of using an email address - you feel not inclined to use a new one. It's like changing your mobile phone number.

        When you stop paying for Sky TV do you expect Sky to keep on giving you Sky TV ?

        It costs money to run and administer email servers.

        1. the_sword

          You're comparing apples to oranges. TalkTalk I'm guessing are quite happy for ex-customers to use their webmail because of the adverts the users get bombarded with when they're using it.

          Same as hotmail, yahoo....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Last time I looked there were plenty of adverts on sky.

            1. the_sword

              You're so observant. Except the revenue generated by advertisers on Sky don't cover the full cost of their services. Hence you have to pay a subscription.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                You're so observant. Except the revenue generated by advertisers on Sky don't cover the full cost of their services. Hence you have to pay a subscription.

                That's because there are people stupid enough to pay for the privilege of being shown adverts.

  4. Haku

    I still have a working email address from an ISP I was kicked off over 8 years ago!

    Won't say which one in case they hear of this and close it down :)

    (they kicked me off for over-usage of a package with 'unlimited' in the title...)

  5. bpfh
    Mushroom

    Tiscali?

    I thought that they automatically sold your addresses to performance marketing companies to get you spammed within 24 hours of signing up with them.... at least that's what happened in France...

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Tiscali?

      When you remember the Tiscali of days gone by, this comes as no surprise -- other than they are not blaming it on everone else.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If these accounts are being used to send spam...

    Thank you Talk Talk for changing the passwords. Please make your clients aware of extended character sets and check they can count to at least 8 before they change their password.

    1. the_sword

      Re: If these accounts are being used to send spam...

      Yes, it's always the users' fault isn't it? Maybe the fact their webmail logon page isn't encrypted has something to do with user accounts being compromised.

      1. Vic
        Joke

        Re: If these accounts are being used to send spam...

        Maybe the fact their webmail logon page isn't encrypted has something to do with user accounts being compromised.

        Unencrypted login?

        No-one's daft enough to keep on doing that in 2015, are they?

        Vic.

  7. Martin hepworth

    I wonder if they've done the same with pipex emails?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if it's being used for spam.

  8. Chris Evans

    Pros & Cons

    If you are using a service that you have stopped paying for then I have little sympathy.

    Having said that their Customer Support really really sucks especially when you have a problem that isn't a very common one. We had an intermittent problem and trying to talk to human about it took days. I think I tried selecting almost every option to try and talk to a human.

    Also their service status page often lies. Unless a fault is affecting a lot of people they won't mention it on their status page. I would have thought OFCOM should insist on that one.

    Also the status page is (or certainly used to be) only accessible once you logged in, so when I had a problem logging in....

    1. the_sword

      Re: Pros & Cons

      TalkTalk want to have their cake and eat it. They're happy to earn advertising revenue from ex-customers using the webmail but they're also happy not to invest in the service to prevent rubbish like this happening.

      Would you also have little sympathy for users of outlook.com and yahoo if their services crashed and burned. It's free after all?

      I agree with your points about their customer service though. What's most shocking is that it's been like it for years and there's been no change whatsoever.

  9. gwangy

    BarStewarts

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The issue had been announced on the site and internally at least 2 weeks ago.

    If customers didn't have passwords like 123456, abc123 then they'd have nothing to worry about.

    If it was my choice the email account would be permanently deleted until the customer can wear their big boy pants.

    1. the_sword

      Care to tell us where this information is hidden? Plus my password was nowhere near as simple as 123456. The only way someone could have guessed it was via a brute force attack but surely TalkTalk aren't vulnerable to that type of attack are they?

  11. cyates

    My Father uses Talk Talk with an old Tiscali email address. I can assure anyone from Talk Talk's press department that he is not a sender of spam. He sends 2 emails per week to the Golf Club secretary. Talk Talk is being constantly plagued with downtime and technical problems and ought to get its house in order rather than place blame on the shoulders of other people, some who are 74 and whose only affiliation with spam is in knowing it to be processed canned meat

  12. Anthony Hegedus

    Anyone who uses the email address supplied by their ISP ...

    ... is an idiot!

    Email is always an extra service that ISPs add, usually to keep the customer with them (even though you can usually keep your address if you leave). But people don't realise the ISPs don't have an obligation to provide the service. ISPs have an annoying habit of changing the company they buy the service from and cocking it up. BT in particular.

    Why not use a gmail, yahoo or even outlook.com / hotmail.com address? At least with something like gmail, even though it's free, google have some sort of reputation to uphold. The most visible thing after search is their email facility. They tend to want to keep it going.

    Or better still, register a domain for yourself.

  13. sleepy

    Obviously, your email address is long lived unless you kill it. So you don't want it tied to an isp you might change, or who might disappear. You need to get your own domain and hook up your email to wherever is convenient. It is possible to send and receive via gmail servers using an email address in a domain you own, and no-one need know your gmail address. You can change your email arrangements or your isp without affecting your public email address. And you can give web sites individual throwaway email addresses, which helps with spam handling.

  14. roross

    Do Lineone and Tiscali account holders have any rights regarding claims against TalkTalk for suddenly deleting those accounts without any previous notification or explanation whatsoever?

  15. lemac

    lineone account accessible

    my lineone account is accessible via imap but not via webmail and after being passed around various talktalk departments they've escalated the call to networks which apparently will take up to 3 days to resolve. no one I spoke with at talktalk were aware of the issue but they have now put a standard message on their community page.

  16. bob234

    2019 Update

    As an update to all comments above, especially about payment or otherwise, TalkTalk have sent me an email saying they are upgrading their system, with the attached sting in the tail:-

    "If you’re not a TalkTalk customer, you can join us and continue to enjoy TalkTalk Mail for free. Call us on 0800 990 3635 to learn more about our great Fixed Low Price Plans and offers. All our plans include TalkTalk Mail at no extra cost.

    If you want to just keep your email address, we’re happy to keep providing it to you, but you’ll need to sign up to TalkTalk Mail Plus for £5 a month or £50 a year.

    Unfortunately, if you choose not to sign up for TalkTalk Mail Plus, from 26/09/2019 you’ll lose the vast majority of TalkTalk Mail features. For example, you’ll only be able to sign in at www.talktalk.co.uk/mail to check your emails."

    So, if I understand this correctly I must now pay for a service that has run for many years, accepting all my professional group(s) emails, or redirect them to new email account (before they delete the accounts).

    A few months after 26/09/2019, we will start closing down mailboxes that aren’t registered to a TalkTalk Broadband account or signed up for TalkTalk Mail Plus.

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