back to article Ofcom to TalkTalk, Tiscali: Stop over-billing

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has told TalkTalk and Tiscali UK to stop charging customers for services they have not received, or face a fine. Which seems fair. Ofcom said it had received over 1,000 complaints this year from punters who've been billed for services they had already cancelled. The regulator has sent both firms a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tiscali and Talk-Talk..

    The "Hotel California's" of the broadband world.

  2. xyz Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    A tale of 2 bills

    I went through thids farago a couple of years back.

    When you cancel say, your broadband you have to explicity cancel your phone by calling another dept. Not that anyone actually tells you this, but that's the story.

    You keep phoning up and people keep telling you that you've cancelled and you've got the cancellation letter...but that's just for the broadband.

    Without the "you must cancel the phone seperately" info, you still get billed and get ballifs.

    Complete con

  3. Anonymous Coward


    This has been going on for years. I cannot believe how long it's taken for Ofcom to react. What is needed is far tighter regulation of public service companies, and for a few executives to go to jail.

    . If Tiscali, Bulldog or Pipex conned you don't ring their public numbers, they're useless. This number, 0207 087 2000 is the one to try. It certainly used to connect to a UK call centre.

  4. LinkOfHyrule

    There's no excuse

    There's no excuse for this. You can't just go round sending people bills for stuff they aint brought. Oh, hang on, looks like you can until you get threatened with a fine. Silly me.

    Bunch of fraudsters.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    It seems then...

    That Virgin Media must use the same call centre. I made a complaint that I was being repeatedly billed for services that I had not ordered. The response with instructions as to how to fix the problem was two pages long, and after completing those, that I had to phone their call centre... at a rate of 50p per minute.

    Deliberately obtuse to prevent people actually engaging with them.

  6. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Isn't sending people bills for stuff they have not bought plain and simple fraud?

    Just ask the police to get involved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      title goes here

      +1 for irony

  7. CM

    Stop.. or else

    The problem is that they are a mess. I dropped Pipex in 2007, along in 2010 comes Talktalk with an "overdue" bill and a threat to disconnect. They duely "disconnected" nothing, sent a letter, followed by a Welcome To pack. Such incompetence beggars belief (worse than Virgin with their Dear Occupier letters offering a non-existant digital service).

    Don't waste your time with call centres, local numbers or not. Use letters, build up a stack of evidence, be ready to take legal action. The official busybodies will take their sweet time and "threaten" but rarely deliver.

    1. John Murgatroyd

      Don't even mention orange

      As a mobile contract holder I got home broadband for "free".

      Except it got charged at 8 quid until they did llu...which was happening "soon"

      Then they gave it all back to BT.

      I cannot even end the mobile contract because the home broadband cost will be backdated to start of contract....oh well, two months to go then it's "Byeeeeeeeeeee orange"

      1. david bates

        I feel your pain....

        I was with Orange Broadband for a while. Then I was audacious enough to move house and was forcibly shown the error of my ways...

  8. BongoJoe

    Hope they get done

    My aunt was charged many years for her supposedly free broadband.

    I can't despise this company enough.

  9. Joe Montana


    We ended up with tiscali after signing up to localtel (when they offered free dialup calls), who became worldonline who later became tiscali.

    They switched our phone service over to a company called "servista" despite telling us they wouldn't, and for a phone company they seemed very difficult to call...

    Whenever we called them (via their expensive 0870 number) we either got no response, or were told to use their online portal (which we had never heard of) using our login and password (which we had never received).. Eventually we moved house and couldn't cancel the phoneline at all, so had to simply stop paying and try to contact the company through the resulting debt collectors - who couldn't contact the company either. I believe in the end they must have written it off and simply disconnected the line for non payment.

    Also this was just our phone service, we had ADSL from tiscali for 2 years and never once got billed for the service.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Mines a pint

    just happened to me

    Just yesterday I got a call from Virgin for not paying my bill since August, broadband, phone, and TV. The young lady was most apologetic when she looked back through my file and found that they had received a letter from me on the 7th of August cancelling all services as I was moving over seas. Nothing had been done with the letter so as far as they were concerned I was still a customer and should still be paying. I’m looking forward to the next call in a couple of months, should be fun to see how long they can keep this up for.

    For what its worth I've been told by several people who work for credit companies that they ignore anything on a credit history from any telecoms company for this exact reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: just happened to me

      >> For what its worth I've been told by several people who work for credit companies that they ignore anything on a credit history from any telecoms company for this exact reason.

      I can tell you that is not universal - though it should be. I had a "disagreement" with Orange back in 2003 and their complete and utter refusal to employ anything that might even tenuously be described as reasonable practice meant that they eventually put a default notice on my file. Since I had no desire whatsoever to have any more contact with the <insert derogatory term of your choice> numpties at Orange, I just ignored it on the basis that :

      a) any sensible person would be able to see that it's completely out of character (there are several other mobile accounts listed, all in good standing)

      b) it's from a company with a well established track record of being <insert derogatory term of your choice> incompetent idiots

      and c) it would expire in a couple of years anyway.

      I recently applied for a new mortgage - and one of the stipulation is that I have to clear the bad debt.

      Fortunately, the rules for CISAS have now changed, so this IS going to arbitration for which Orange will have to pay - previously they could prevent it by making excuses to refuse to provide a deadlock letter. Of course, Orange could do the sensible thing, admit their error and apologise - but my money is on them dragging it out and hopefully getting ordered to apologise by the arbitrator.

      And I'll be asking to be paid what they owe me as well !

  12. Cpt Blue Bear

    What is it with telcos?

    Seriously, what is it with telephone companies?. It doesn't seem to matter where in the world you are even the best of them are, um... a little odd to deal with. The industry seems to be infested with the semi competent and outright dishonest well beyond the norm of utilities. Anyone got any suggestions as to why this is?

    1. dylan 4

      what is it with telephone companies?

      Another frustrated ex-telco customer here. I moved to Naked ADSL2+ earlier this year, and while my line rental cancellation seems to have gone through, I still keep getting an "overdue bill" reminder every month, both on paper and elctronically through online banking.

      The bill amount you ask? "$12.57CR" (yes, credit!). I'm grateful that they feel obliged to credit me the unused portion of my final month's line rental payment, but somewhat bemused that the plonkers can't work out a way of actually doing it! All the call centre can say is "we'll take it off your next bill", which isn't very useful since my next bill is always "$0" since I'm no longer a customer...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    David McMahon

    There is such a thing as to close for DSL .

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Pedantic mode on

      That would be "too close"

  14. Pandy06269


    I'll chime in here too - cancelled by old broadband and phone contract in December 2006 when I moved house - I gave them my new address and telephone number to send the final bill.

    Their debt collection agency caught up with me almost a year later demanding over £200. I phoned Tiscali to complain who said that the contract hadn't been cancelled as they'd sent me a letter to sign and return. I didn't receive the letter. I didn't receive any communication from me until the debt collection agent phoned.

  15. Harry

    If Ofcom has any sense ...

    ... then how about insisting that every telco has an online-accessible cancellation process which issues some kind of official "receipt" proving cancellation, which is completely binding on the telco.

    Its completely daft (and a blatantly unfair contract term) that a telco will let you order a service on line with no formalities, yet there's no FAQ on how to cancel and it apparently requires a snail mail letter to be sent to an address that can't be found by searching their help site for sensible words like "cancel" (that's Three Broadband in case anyone asks).

    However, telcos don't always get it wrong. I recently transferred my voice line to plusnet and didn't even think about whether I might need to cancel the BT account. But to my surprise a couple of weeks later I received a BT refund for the outstanding line rental.

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