back to article CPW's Dunstone admits 'dread' over state of the economy

Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, has warned staff in an extraordinary internal email that the future is looking bleak for the firm unless it takes serious action to cut costs. The mail, sent to us by a TalkTalk insider, begins reasonably cheerfully, noting the 6.5 per cent increase in like-for-like …


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  1. Matt W

    Hardly surprising

    Sounds about right to me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way of the Dodo

    If CPW expended as much effort trying to retain customers as they do trying to entice new ones into ever-lengthening contracts (or mugging those who want only a phone service), they might stand a chance. As it is they'll doubtless outsource everything that breathes to Dhungrapur before heading for the Great Receiver in the Sky.

    Hasta la vista Charlie

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Fair enough.

    It's a fair enough reflection on the state of the markets and much better than keeping your employees in the dark like so many other companies seem to have done.

    At least they will have had prior warning and will have been able to have made alternative plans for when their jobs get slashed.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. MYOFB

    My, my . . .

    All true with the most pertinent comment being:

    "Every single one of us is now paying for the mistakes that were made by financial institutions and their regulators over the past decade."

    But at least the latest mistake by the FSA worked in their (CPW's) favour because they (the FSA) should have keel-hauled David Ross for his behaviour!!

    The fact that they didn't just goes to show the regulators, in this case the FSA, should be sued under the Trades Description Act for failing to throw the book at Ross and CPW.

    The FSA's 'trade' is to 'regulate' according to the rules and no amount of pitiful excuses for failing to act on the illegal actions of David Ross is good enough to count as mitigating their entire inability to fulfil their duty!!

    Furthermore, the reason the FSA put forward for taking no action is a complete and utter lie in itself!! To wit:

    "The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said today its rules on whether David Ross was required to declare the loan arrangements had been *unclear*. It added that in future directors must obtain permission from them to use company stock as security."

    Unclear my ASS!!! The reporting requirement when utilising shares to transact first and/or third party business has ALWAYS been as clear as night follows day!

    I think I'll leave it at that (even though there's more I could say) because if I don't I'll be accused of digressing from the story.

  6. Steve Browne

    All the bank's fault?

    I think there was a bit more to it than just blaming the banks. While the banks may have been the high profile and public display of the current difficulties, it was government policy that fuelled it all. This government has encouraged people into a debt fuelled spending binge based on ever increasing house prices and nothing else.

    Even the "fix" being made involves borrowing staggering amounts of money and selling future taxpayers down the shute with spiralling debts to be repaid out of future taxation, all to bolster Gordon's ego. Couple this with the largesse shown to teh banks, and now being offered to all passing by and it will be many years before the effects of this economic catastrophe (that is NuLabour) are fully felt.

    Perhaps if CEOs actually knew something worthwhile, instead of just how to shift blame for their own failings or how to bleat to NewLabour ministers about how they will get their party funding or directorship when they are voted out of office, they may actually be able to justify their salaries. Instead, people who actually need the incomes from these shite companies have to suffer, because people like Dunstone failed.

    Outsource to India if you like, I am sure Satyam could use the revenue ... oh, are they crooks too.

  7. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    Well stop reading things then!

    This whole economic disaster is being caused, and sustained, by the news.

    People read "holy shit, job losses and economic hell are coming, we're all doomed", worry about their jobs, so start saving money instead of blowing it just in case they get sacked.

    Managers read all this bollocks and think "better sack some people, just in case".

    So people read more about job losses, and stop spending even more.

    The cycle continues, until the whole house of cards collapse.

    If all news outlets stopped blathering on about this i bet the economy would quickly recover as people stop fretting and start spending again.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Rubbish ..

    I work for the company and got the email yesterday, this is taken completely out of context and the email basically implies that if we keep our heads down and do a good job to get through the economic crisis then we will be in a very good position. I note that this article omits the last paragraph which sums this up. You cant obectively critiscise the company or the email when you only show a part of it in the wrong light.

    Come on Reg sort it out and give us some decent articles about news and not hearsay! No wonder I spend more time on slashdot these days with tripe articles like this.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just got the boot

    funny that, just got told yesterday that i was being made redundant from the Talk Talk group.... Figures...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Every single one of us is now paying for the mistakes that were made by financial institutions and their regulators over the past decade."

    They had their part but the increased reliance on credit instead of capital is what has caused this to ripple outside of the banks. Companies hold little or no cash assets because they expand their business on cheap credit and run their day to day purchasing on cheap credit. As soon as the credit dries up they realise they have not got enough in their cash reserves to pay for their day to day running. Companies that are not up to their eyes in debt and who run their business with sensible cash flow models will survive this while the debt ridden house of cards companies who borrow to cover payroll will fold up and piss off.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I'm surprised that there are still so many mobile phone shops in the High Street:-

    Carphone Warehouse



    Phones for you




    Mobile Phones Direct, Jag, plus loads more regional multi-store and independent retailers not to mention The Link (DGSi)

    Can there really be enough sales to justify all these outlets? Some cities have more than one branch! Surely these companies didn't actually think there would be enough demand to keep these outlets profitable indefinitely? If not then why haven't they pulled out with the profit a while ago when sales started to fall?

  12. Marvin the Martian

    @way of the dodo

    In my experience, they just expend effort and time.

    Yes, in their N1 (Angel) shop you get quickly helped most hours of the day --- because there's 5, 6 sellers standing in an otherwise empty shop, eyeing each other who loses "the game" and looks at the customer first. Quick, easy, painless.

    All other encounters? Long, slow aggravation. After moving to the boonies, went to local CPW to ask what internet providers they could set me up with and at what price. Well, the providers I could have found online in seconds, but I figured the deals might not. This took ages, before answering the rep insisted in typing in all kinds of personal information, barely stopping before DNA sampling. In a very confused and lenghty mumblification starting 14 (!) minutes later he said as much as I could read from the giant ads behind his back. Time was also take because he kept having to ask the manager whenever we asked something.

    I understand the logic in providing your idiot nephew with a job, but why didn't the manager speak to us directly (2yards further) if we could hear him anyway (and had to listen to the jumbled repeat)? Of course the whole process gave me time to reflect on their pronouncing 8mbps as 8 megabyte per second and thus a seemingly blazing service is more of the ambling type, and how I can't waste that type of time, and if I ever could get my data out of their clammy hands again, and also I forgot to water the plants.

    Long story short, we still haven't gotten around to getting out of the monthly mobile insurance they talked my partner into, long ago; on the phone they say you have to go to their shop, there they say to do it online, and online it mentions a problem so please phone. Of course, it doesn't actually insure any still existing phone, because changing the covered phone (EMEI number) didn't succeed either.

    I'd consider buying some stock just before it sinks, just to spew my gall at the next stockholders meeting.

  13. Danny Thompson

    Paying for their appalling service

    When I was trying to help my sister sort out her problems with TalkTalk following the death of her husband (Guardian story here:,,2179089,00.html ) I tried email Dunstone personally, but the emails bounced back.

    Their abysmal customer service is the reason I recommend that no-one goes near TalkTalk with a barge pole.


  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @ Joe K, RE:Well stop reading things then!

    I recommend you watch the whiteboard videos here:

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me guess...

    Dunstone is worried he may not get his 25% pay raise and £5 million bonus unless all his pond life employees take big pay cuts.

    Yes, times certainly are hard. Have you seen the price of second-hand Rolls Royces recently?

  17. Beelzeebub
    Thumb Up

    Re: Joe K

    Hear, hear!

  18. Onionman

    Perhaps they would save some cash

    If they dealt with stuff like this:

    Wifey had a phone from them, and when the time came, she terminated the contract.

    They then roll up and ask for some charges AFTER THE AGREED TERMINATION DATE THAT THEY ACCEPTED IN WRITING.

    Now, clearly, they are not going to get any cash out of us, even if this goes to court. Why, in that case, have they sent 13 letters and paid a debt recovery company so send us aother 8 and make around 10 phone calls?

    I'd suggest someone take a look at the viability and profitability of their collection department. That would save them a packet. Don't bleat, Dunstone. Act.


    Mine's the one with a CPW employee searching in the pockets for loose change.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear, what a shame.

    > "we need to maximise every sales opportunity"

    Ahh, that explains the attitude of the sales staff then. I've seen secondhand car dealers with a lighter sales touch.

    I've been inside our local CarphoneWarehouse twice, and as a result I won't be going back.

    The staff are so aggressive it's actually unpleasant to go in there.

    Want a spare battery for your new phone? Be prepared to fend off a broadband sales pitch, followed by a handset pitch, followed by a contract pitch, followed by... Well I'm sure you get the picture.

  20. Mike

    @Joe K

    You sir are either a nugget, or a genius.

    The fundamental problem is that if salaries rise faster than inflation the money is devalued, I would hazzard a guess that most people reading this, over the last few years have had above inflation pay rises, and why not? you want to get on, progress, advance, but where does this money come from? the answer is people spending money, but it's a pyramid scheme, the more you get, the more you spend, the more investments like houses and banks have "theoretical values" that don't match their real values, and so on until breaking point and the tip of the pyramid is found, down comes the pyramid.

    The smart money pulled out of virtual investments into fixed resource investments (like gold) over a year ago, this won't stop the crash (nothing can) but it protected the few while they ride the storm.

    So "nugget" I think. Although you have a good point about savings (for the wrong reason), anyone saving money will see the value of their cash decrease, and no amount of cash in a 6% savings account will make up for the decrease in value while the crash revalues everything.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @ Well stop reading things then!


  22. Adair Silver badge


    If I ran my household the way the Govt. and the money boys/girls have run the national economy I'd be out on the street with a massive debt on my head, and deservedly so. People and economies can only live on debt so far, then sooner or later, if they don't wake up and smell the proverbial they reap the consequences of their stupidity/naivety/greed----take your pick.

    That's when the whining begins.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Is he actually serious or does he want a new merc?

    If he is why the hell doesn't he get rid of the stupidly expensive outsource operation he runs that goes to india and africa for the talktalk phone service as it will help him improve quality and get rid of the cack?

    And why not stop leasing capacity from pricey BT/Virgin(NTL) and move to another provider or reduce some of the ridiculous bonu's mid-high level management get? 36k a month sounds a bit unreasonable now they are facing issues?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I would hazzard a guess that most people reading this, over the last few years have had above inflation pay rises, and why not?"

    I'm not sure who pays you, but no. When there were rises at all over the last few years, probably over the last decade had I kept notes, then they were less than inflation. The typical scenario is that we'll pay you well to attract you, and then find reasons to pay you less for the same work (or more) as time goes on. Easier if the company gets sold to different owners during the time you work there. But there again, we have no union here.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this....

    the same Charles Dunstone who was a non-exec director of HBOS (the bank bailed out by Lloyds)?

    If so it is extraordinary that he should have said

    "Every single one of us is now paying for the mistakes that were made by financial institutions and their regulators over the past decade."

  26. Andy Bright

    Silver Lining

    There is actually one huge silver lining - well there is for me. During the recessions of the 80s and the 90s I remember countless heart warming stories about people being harassed by credit card companies, who tricked them into paying credit card bills at the expense of their mortgages and utilities.

    Now all these wonderful people that convinced so many to lose their homes in order to temporarily save their credit cards are facing the very calls we got when we lost our jobs back then.

    Outstanding one liners like "You have a moral obligation to pay your credit card" are soon to be heading their way. Yes you too have a moral obligation to put your family on the street or see them freeze in the dark when the gas and electricity are cut off.

    Still they'll soon be back in a job, because I have a feeling getting money back from people not stupid enough to pay credit cards instead of mortgages will once again become a booming industry.

    And that people is why I'm against any bank bailouts whatsoever. Anyone who thinks giving our money to banks is going to stop anything bad from happening is a fool. Every penny they've received so far from governments has been horded to protect themselves while they ride out the storm. Oh some of them might use it to lend you your money at 20% interest rates, charge you late fees and jack those rates up to 30-40% when the company you work for goes out of business. But what they won't do is lend the company you work for enough money to keep you in a job, because no one is enforcing the rules that went along with the bailouts.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    A funny echo in here... in here...

    Perhaps they wouldn't be staring into the abyss if they had decent processes and clued up support staff with whom one could meaningfully communicate.

    After a month attempting to get signed up with them, during which they prematurely terminated my old broadband connection without my permission, I bailed out and went to PLUSNET.

    Account set up in 6 hours, temporary dial-up available one minute after that, router arrived within 3 working days, full fat 6.5Mb connection within 4 working days, and a clear explanation of what download limitations are in place.

    Now THAT'S what I call customer service.


  28. Florence Stanfield

    With news of free Broadband and calls till 2010

    Just how do they intend to make a profit? If you give the service away for free then expect to not be profitable, I wonder how sone of these who plan these news posts expect to get paid next month if everyting is free.

    TalkTalk Offers FREE Broadband and Calls Until 2010

    "TalkTalk (The Carphone Warehouse) has launched a new Essentials promotion, which offers free broadband and landline calls until 2010. The deal is open to customers who sign up to a contract between 16th January and 2nd March 2009, calls and broadband will be included in the monthly line rental

    This includes calls to 36 international countries - a saving of £77.88 over the first 12 months. The deal offers up to 8Mbps broadband, a 40GB download limit and a free wireless router, contributing to the deal being £190 cheaper than BT.

    Customers who join the broadband package from The Carphone Warehouse can also choose between a laptop, a Nintendo Wii or a Playstation 3 at no extra cost."

    Where do they intend to earn money trust me if you sign up for this for free then you wil be either phormed for targeted adverts or attrocious broadband speeds with no support.

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