back to article TalkTalk says WalkWalk if you've got a mouldy Tiscali email address, or pay £50 a year to keep it

TalkTalk will start charging £50 a year for its legacy email accounts unless you sign up as a broadband customer of the breach-scarred telco. And if you don't pay, it'll delete your account. Presumably sick of ex-customers with ancient Tiscali and TalkTalk Mail addresses talking to The Register about why TalkTalk customer …

  1. Chloe Cresswell

    I wonder if they asked via email, in which case I think we're 100% sure there will not be a response..

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      At least they're telling people this time. Talk Talk killed Homechoice off and failed to mention it. My folks discovered this had happened only when email stopped working on their phones. There wasn't a pay £5/50 option either despite them sticking with Balk Balk for broadband. Trying to find out what had happened was "fun". No one had told the staff in India that Balk Balk owned it through their ownership of Tiscali who had slurped it themselves. So denials it was anything to to with them rang out loud and clear despite that being bollocks.

      1. Ian 55

        It was bad enough when closing an account that had originally been a Home choice one - they kept insisting that various TalkTalk contract clauses applied, when they clearly didn't.

  2. adam payne

    While TalkTalk Mail remains free for our broadband customers, all other users will now be required to pay a small fee. These users can save £2.50 a month with TalkTalk Mail compared to BT."

    Or you could use any of the other free providers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or you could use any of the other free providers.

      > Or you could use any of the other free providers.

      Yea, unlike Google and the rest, TalkTalk doesn't make advertising revenue out of “free” email

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Buy a domain with a host who does e-mail redirect.

    Use a reputable free e-mail service, redirect above catch all e-mail to it.

    Job done. Whenever any free service shut down, redirect where you are sending mail. Been doing this since the 90s.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively..

      Or use a registrar that offers free email. Freeparking who I use (and have had the odd issue with) offer 2 free mailboxes of 100mb each and unlimited catchalls. There are also paid options from them too.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively..

        I also had issues with Freeparking and went with a paid-for domain and MSP service from Mythic.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy a domain with a host who does e-mail redirect.

      And make sure you don't get caught out with various Sender Policy Framework (SPF) enhancements (and their ilk) deciding that the forwarded messages are spam and so silently deleting them...

      Do you need to ask me how I know this?

      1. PADI-Diver

        Re: Buy a domain with a host who does e-mail redirect.

        So who do you recommend?

    3. eldritch

      Re: Alternatively..

      My mother in law is going to lose her Tiscali email address. Will your solution allow her to keep it?

  4. sbt

    In this case...

    ...since they're giving fair warning in advance and an option to pay for continued service, I don't see anything scandalous about this move. I wouldn't expect any ISP to provide free e-mail services to non-paying subscribers. It's better than doing a shoddy job of it to minimise support costs where there is no revenue to offset, creating the previously reported hijack issues.

    1. Antonius_Prime

      Re: In this case...

      It may not be scandoulous, but it's still IT News.

      Which is what El Reg reports, last I checked... :P

      Beer, 'cos it's Friday, and we;re on track for Beer O'Clock soon.

      1. sbt
        Thumb Up

        Still IT news.

        Yes, and very much of interest, particularly to anyone with an e-mail address subject to the change. Also another opportunity to reinforce the dangers of relying on your ISP for e-mail; they get great lock-in value from a pretty cheap offering.

        I guess I was make a comparison between this particular action TalkTalk have taken vs. their general customer service reputation. I was almost pleasantly surprised.

  5. Martin hepworth


    Given they've only recently dropped the pipex address I've had for many years it's about time tbh

    1. JimP

      Re: pipex

      Only recently?!

      They haven't managed to fix my pipex email address since I reported it back in 2012. They haven't told me they're dropping it either. Their broadband "service" started becoming increasingly narrowband recently having been stable for a number of years. They blamed my router for not being a talktalk one, which given I tried two different ones, one brand new, to establish my router wasn't the problem I was not happy about. Anyway, they sent me a new talktalk router and the problem did not go away as soon as I plugged it in as promised. I had to ring their "support" up again (at great expense as I don't have a talktalk phone from which it would be free, and you might be getting an inkling that I won't be getting one anytime soon). This time the heavily accented person at the other end stated, as per all the previous calls, that there was no fault on the line, turned up the wick and bingo, it miraculously recovered to the sort of performance I had been consistently getting for years. The smell of rat is strong on this one.

      Anyway, I wanted to get the email going again because my other option to do support was through "MyTalktalk" on the web, and I can't sign into that or even get a password reset because the "solution" they used back in 2012 to get my pipex email address back to half working (I could send email to anyone, but only receive it from talktalk?!) meant I had no chance of signing in to deal with them free of charge. They are still looking into this, but are having trouble with my response when they ring me up. The conversation goes like this:

      "Hello, this is talktalk"

      me: "how are you going to prove that given you could just be yet another of the thousands of talktalk scam calls I get thanks to you failing to keep my details secure a few years ago"

      So I doubt that'll get fixed. I did try ringing them back, but the support line droids told me they were not allowed to talk to the people in Manchester who were actually dealing with my problem.

      Also, I was paying ~£19/month a while ago, then the sent me a letter saying I'd gone over the limit on my (as purchased from Pipex) unlimited internet package. You sort of assume that that would apply only to months you went over, but no, it's now up to £29/month every month and no cheaper than a decent internet service.

      The final laughable chapter in today's saga is I asked them if I could get fibre as my line has never managed the soon to be mandated 10Mb/s. They did offer me an option to upgrade to 11Mb/s, but refused(!?) to tell me what technology they were going to use to do that. It finally resolved itself because one support accent must have left a note to say to check with the customer if they wanted the O2 4G modem and another accent actually asked me that on a subsequent call. The idea that they think they can get 11Mb/s out of O2 in my location where 2G and 3G O2 reception is negligible is hilariously stupid. Anyway, I'm now waiting to see if their new router stabilises in the 14 day training period at something acceptable or whether it continues its slow plummet back to where I complained to them about it being slow again. One more strike and they're out, which is a pity as it used to be cheap enough that you could put up with an MTU of 1432 which their network somehow failed to pass on though any router other than their own.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: pipex

        "One more strike and they're out,"

        They took over Pipex years ago and you're still with them? I not only got out from under to Be but got out again when Be sold out to Sky.

  6. GnuTzu

    Reminds me of when banks invented the maintenance fee (or whatever they call it) to deal with interest earning accounts that just keep growing endlessly after a person dies. Meh, I don't see why free email should be forever.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge


      Don't ask Why Not?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought that was how you paid the fabulous cost of your meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Way back in 2010, Tiscali actually ranked second in the UK behind BT on broadband subscribers, before a 2009 merger with TalkTalk. Its corporate parent killed the brand the following year."

    If by "killing the brand" you mean discontinuing it, OK. From my PoV their behaviour in "traffic shaping" killed it even quicker then although in my case it was Nldram which had been gobbled once prior to Tiscali's swallowing it although Tiscali's damage to customer support hadn't helped.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Another ex-Nildrammer here

      My Nildram e-mail account, which soldiered on after Pipex, Opal, and Tiscali into TalkTalk never worked properly with the TalkTalk 'customer service' web portal. I had several sites connected up using Nildram, and TalkTalk completely mucked up the account, and I never did get the billing sorted out*. I finally left with TalkTalk owing me money, which I did not chase, regarding myself as lucky to get away without further trouble.

      *I had less patience than this fellow:

      Adam Arnold:Pipex – Opal – Talk Talk Business (SIGH)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Another ex-Nildrammer here

        As I recall when Pipex took over Nldram they reckoned Nildram's support system was so good they rolled it out over the entire business. It went downhill when Tiscali took over but with few problems it wasn't an issue. Then TalkTalk tool over Tiscali and the combination of the two was the end of the line as far as I was concerned. I realised the best way to keep flexible for the future was to separate mail from ISP and even better to use a personal domain to separate email address from MSP should it become necessary. That last step hasn't in fact been necessary although moving both from one provider to another was.

        ISP provided email is a trap. Use it as a short term measure if absolutely required but no more.

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: Another ex-Nildrammer here

          Yes, it is exactly that - a trap. It makes you stay put, because of the hassle.

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    Plenty of decent free email providers out there that don't charge a bean - just use a mail redirect. I'm with GMX primarily who are ok, but I also have couple of Protonmail ones that I'm holding for future use. I'll put my sad sorry hands up and say that I also have a legacy Gmail one - but I'm slowly running that down, with the upside being that once I have I never need to log into ANY Google service ever again.

  9. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I guess charging a fee for none Talktalk customers is better than just closing the accounts, but £5 PM does seem a lot for just an email address. Especially when there are several free webmail services available.

    If your privacy conscious and worried about having a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc then as others have mentioned, you can buy a domain name and setting up your own email and you have full control over it and it would be cheaper than even the £50 annual fee with Talktalk.

  10. joeW

    "provision of a free email address years after one stops being a paying customer is rather generous in this day and age."

    It certainly is. Although here in Ireland, I still have an email address that's active - 17 years since I was last a paying customer of theirs. They've been through a name change since then too.

    I generally use it as a throwaway address to register for all sorts of shite, and maybe check it once every two or three months.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problem

    I have both Tiscali and TalkTalk addresses (amongst others) but have not experienced the lovely TalkTalk's ISP service for some time. There is a little key somewhere (now where did I put it?) that says "delete". No problem - all gone.

  12. PM2

    Better than EE with Freeserve

    At least Tiscali e-mail holders have the option to keep their e-mail addresses. EE didn't give Freeserve e-mail holders that option. I only found out when I got an email from a company who had my address asking for a replacement prior to Freeserve's closure. It took most of day letting holders of that address that it was about to die and to use a replacement.

  13. TRT Silver badge

    Thankfully they fixed the login issue I was having...

    which allowed me to go in and change the password and autoreplies etc.

    The account got pwned because their servers only accepted plaintext POP/IMAP/SMTP login credentials for years and years and years. Probably still the same, actually.

  14. Hollerithevo

    That ticks one job off the list

    Last year I spent about five months going back and forth with Talk Talk to get them to close an old Tiscali email account of mine. They finally said that they could not find such old email accounts on their servers, even though I was able to supply them with info fromt he time I had an all-singing, all dancing Tiscali account.

    So they will be doing me a favour without any more back-and-forth by shutting off these accounts (I guess they'll find mine).

    Who knew I'd ever say 'Yay Talk Talk!"

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: That ticks one job off the list

      You're assuming that they can competently find and delete old addresses, and that this isn't just a ruse to raise some money...

  15. Alex Walsh

    Outrageous. I still remember when Tiscali slurped Lineone and removed our newsgroup access. Revenge is a dish best served 20+ years cold

  16. xpz393

    Breathe takes its last breath

    Anyone else remember early-00s ISP Breathe's offer for "free freephone-dialup Internet forever* for a one-off £120 (ish)"?

    *Forever = Until we realise we launched a wholly unstainable product and get slurped by Tiscali.

    Another legacy e-mail gone. No flowers please.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Breathe takes its last breath

      Yeah, but this is not real world forever, this is Internet forever -- ie about 10 minutes.

      1. xpz393

        Re: Breathe takes its last breath

        100% @RegGuy1 :-D

        I count myself fortunate that I got almost a year out of it!

  17. Camilla Smythe


    Comes with a fixed IP address. Also sell Domain Names. Drop £36 on a Pi 3A. Sam Hobbs will tell you how to set up a mail server. Basically unlimited e-mail for Domain renewal per year. I've been doing that prior to and including ZEN for about 8 years.

  18. Securitymoose

    I dropped them when they went to TalkTalk, and moved to another supplier, but have kept that Tiscali address since. They recently changed the mail system, and I lost reliable mail for several weeks. Their customer service was abominable, and these factors have added together to ensure I never ever deal with them again. I put a redirect on my mail when I got it back and have been advising those I want to know, and am ignoring the spammers.

  19. YetAnotherLocksmith


    Literally yesterday I was asked by someone on TalkTalk about how they could migrate their Toucansurf email if they leave TalkTalk. Sadly, this article contains the answer - they can't, really, any more, they'll have to start paying for it!

    The old chap asking has, as you can guess, had that email since the dawn of Internet time, and it's known around the world.

  20. gzgweilo


    I still have a email who think were WorldOnline or some such biz (initial dial up account) who were slurped by Tiscali.

    I have been receiving these emails for some weeks and have used the time to basically delete everything in the account.

  21. Roldec

    Great - they are closing the email they leaked to the world.

    I was with tiscali for a few years and as someone has said 2nd to BT for service (Though Im not sure that BT service was really No 1!)

    Maybe number 2?) Anyway moved on as Talktalk seemed to just asset strip the best bits from inter alia Tiscali

    I kept the emails (2) thinking they might improve and I might give them another go. They "managed" to go downhill from then on including getting one account on a spammers listing. Gives me hours of fun on spamcop and pinterest reporting images.

    I read all the stories of LIneone Tiscali and other "customers all being frozen out when their password suddenly "failed"

    They could only reset it by going into their online TalkTalk account and resetting , which of course they couldnt do as they didnt have an account. A few months back there was a sort of amnesty for a while where a lot of us had to change our passwords and were allowed to see the "New" Talktalk site. Presumably to lure us back. The password change seemed to go quite well

    but I cant understand why they went to the bother when a few months later they are closing the accounts down.

    Writing was on the wall however and I have moved what I need so will untill closed will just use their resources to report spam to them. Not that I think they do anything - I have criticised their poor spam filtering despite emails arriving after almost half a page of TalkTalk "handling"

    Not sure what I am going to do with all my spare time..LOL.

  22. jjhow

    It is my understanding that when Tiscali took over BT broadband accounts they were required to maintain the free domains and email accounts without charge to customers, when TalkTalk took over from Tiscali what was in the agreement? Did that clause remain in place?. Is TalkTalk now in breach of their legal obligations stipulated within the takeover agreement?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stoopid question!

    So if I only use my email address on my phone via the mailbox function, do I still have access? Booted talk talk years ago when they told me the broadband wasn’t broken, my brand new Apple Mac was!

  24. DavidNW7

    Has anyone had their old talktalk accounts deleted yet?

    I was quite happy to wait for it to be deleted as promised by TT. But when this didn't happen and account was hacked, I had the problems as reported here. My account still hasn't been deleted.

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