back to article TskTsk: UK ISP TalkTalk told off by regulator over 'misleading' adverts promising fixed price service

TalkTalk – the Salford-based telco which has more than four million broadband customers – has been ticked off by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following nine separate complaints about misleading ads. The initial objections centre on two ads – on TV and via email - that ran early in 2020 which talked about a 24 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    futher told the ASA that it "did not believe consumers expected

    to be lied to, again again". But then, anyone what signs up to talktalk should (honestly!) expect Spanish...

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: futher told the ASA that it "did not believe consumers expected

      So basically TalkTalk got a finger wagging and that was it? Not even a refund to the affected customers over trading standards?

      Also... I do have to wonder by this point who are these customers that TalkTalk have? You'd think by this point they would have been through enough to go elsewhere?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: futher told the ASA that it "did not believe consumers expected

        ASA is basically a private organisation set up by the Advertising Industry itself for Self-Regulation to try to avoid Regulation by Legal Statute.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We believe the customers want to give us free extra money

    >[TalkTalk] futher told the ASA that it "did not believe consumers expected to pay a fixed price for the level of usage seen during the lockdowns."

    Why would they "not believe consumers expected to pay a fixed price"? After all, is that not what they signed up for in their contracts!?

    May as well simply say what they actually mean:

    "Given the pandemic has happened, we think consumers should expect to pay us more so we just went ahead and raised the price on fixed term contracts without asking first".

    Perhaps I should just start paying them less monthly for my broadband. After all, why would they think consumers expect to pay a fixed price? Doesn't say it can't go lower.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: We believe the customers want to give us free extra money

      Well, it's a contract breach so you can leave without penalty, and reduce what you pay them to zero.

      As you should.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We believe the customers want to give us free extra money

        I believe that if a seller is contracted to supply something at a certain price and defaults, oneremedy us to go to the market for alternative supplier, buy there and hold the original supplier liable for the difference in cost.

        Certainly worked for me a few years back, when I got £1300 knocked off after it had got magically added to the cost of a booked holiday.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We believe the customers want to give us free extra money

        > Well, it's a contract breach so you can leave without penalty

        That's not how contract breaches in general are dealt with. If party A defaults on a contract, B might want a better remedy than being permitted to walk away as well - either forcing A to stick to the terms, or receiving damages. After all, both sides are bound by the contract.

        One question: did the *advert* say "no mid-contract prices rises", but the wording of the *contract* itself allowed them?

        1. nijam Silver badge

          Re: We believe the customers want to give us free extra money

          > did the *advert* say "no mid-contract prices rises", but the wording of the *contract* itself allowed them

          In civilised countries (not sure if that's applicable in this case) the advert is part of the contract, and cannot simply be overridden by other clauses of the contract.

  3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    The universe isn't big enough to get comfortably far away from TalkTalk

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And unless the leopard now carries stripes, they can be interestingly hard to get away from in the first place.

      When I met my now Mrs AC, she was with Stalk Stalk. So I waited for the contract term to come up (they'd sent her a new router ready for the non-existant FTTC complete with new contract term) so I could leave for someone less irritating - and who allowed fixed IPs. Then I get home from work one day, a few weeks before the contract is up, to be told that we were getting one of their TV boxes - but what she didn't mention was the new 2 year contract. I was not amused.

      Of course, we exercised our legal rights during the cooling off period, returned the unwanted TV box, and made it perfectly clear we were leaving. And we did. But after leaving, they billed us all the penalty charges the contract would have allowed had we not used our legal right to a cooling off period, and started down the route of sending us snottygrams. In hindsight I wish I'd just gone to the police and reported them for attempted fraud, but it took a while to realise just how utterly 'kin incompetent they were - of the "agent assures you that it's all sorted, then you get the next step up in snottygram" type of incompetence.

      No bargepole in the universe is long enough to make it safe to even think about going near them ever again.

      That said, with a previous work hat on we did have clients with connections supplied by them - but via ISPs we dealt with. When it was just their business section providing a connection, and you never ever had first hand dealings with them (we only dealt with the SP who'd subcontracted the provision of circuits to them), their network was OK.

  4. b_armitage

    The straw that broke the camels back

    Having been with TalkTalk since they started this was what did it for me. I don't know why I didn't leave sooner.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The straw that broke the camels back

      You stayed through TWO data breaches and are only leaving because the price went up a bit? I'm surprised anyone who reads El Reg would have stayed with TalkTalk after the first data breach, never mind a second one.

  5. Justin Case
    Flame

    And yet...

    They still keep on doing it. It's almost as if they don't care. Who'd have thunk it?

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: And yet...

      It's probably baked into the cost of doing business. x people will sign up based on the false promise, generating £y income, which is greater than the weighted cost of the probability of a fine £z

      Also, a large subset of the people that signed up won't do anything.

  6. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    "TalkTalk – the Salford-based telco which has more than four million broadband customers..."

    Proof positive that at least 6% of the population are either irredeemable idiots, or somehow unable to switch to literally any other provider. After my abysmal experiences with them, the loss of my personal data, mis-billing, and poor service, I'd even take BT over TalkTalk, despite all that dodginess with Phorm.

    1. DreamEater

      Cheep barstewards

      Unfortunately it's all down to price, the majority of people who ask me for recommendations never go with who I suggest, I tell them of the great service they will receive and the faster and more stable connection, but no, they sign up to TalkTalk because it was "free" or "really cheap".

      ID10T5.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Cheep barstewards

        Not free, or cheap, it's just the cost is not up front. They tried to charge me £50 for an engineer's visit when there was a fault in the street cabinet (the ADSL speed dropped from ~12 MB to ~0.5 when it rained heavily). The first "engineer" didn't show up, and the first thing the second one did, when he did turn up, was to rip out the carefully patched extension to the master socket (which was done with CAT6e), which I then had to re-splice when the idiot had gone. He then acknowledged that the problem wasn't inside the property. It's almost like he didn't listen when I carefully explained that I had unplugged their shitty modem from the extension socket and tried it in the master socket as the first thing I did before reporting the fault.

        I then had to argue for a good half an hour with a call centre operator in India who ended up congratulating me on my ability to argue my point and refunding me. Others would have just swallowed the cost.

        The other costs are the externalities, like those caused by losing all their customers' details to hackers. The cost of that doesn't show up on your monthly bill.

        Anything that has been touched by Dido Harding needs to be taken outside, put in a skip, and burned lest it infect others. That probably includes her Tory MP husband, metaphorically speaking. (To be clear, no matter how obnoxious people are, I don't advocate actually immolating them).

  7. Dabooka

    I would expect not have a price increase mid-contract...

    ... if the advert states 'no price increase mid-contract'

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: I would expect not have a price increase mid-contract...

      Yeah, but what some seem to do is "suggest" by careful wording that the price is fixed, but in the small print is the detail that the cost will go up by CPI+3.9% each year. So the customer has accepted the contract without really reading it, and is then surprised to find that the contract didn't actually say what he assumed it would say based on the deliberately misleading, but strictly speaking a lie, advert.

      You see, a fixed price contract can have price rises in it. It's just that the price is static except for defined changes - vs changeable at any time they feel like it for a "not fixed price" contract.

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