TalkTalk’s claim that it “always strives to give customers the best experience possible” has been rubbished after the company used heavy handed tactics – including calling in debt collectors – against an elderly woman who had been trying to close her account for six months.
Last month, the telecoms company hit back after being branded “one of the worst customer service offenders” in an independent analysis of a raft of UK companies.
But a report in The Sunday Times Money section suggests it still has plenty of work to do to win over the doubters.
The report centres on the case of a pensioner who took out a TalkTalk account in 2013. She went into a care home in August last year and sent a letter by recorded delivery to the company five months later to cancel the account.
Three weeks after that, TalkTalk responded, asking for further information; the woman responded with these details, once again sending the letter via recorded delivery.
In March, the customer suffered a stroke, leaving her paralysed and in hospital. Her daughter then took up the issue and contacted TalkTalk herself by phone and letter, only to be told that TalkTalk could not deal with her as she was not the account holder. The firm offered absolutely no sympathy or concern over her mother’s condition.
Exasperated about the situation and to prevent TalkTalk from taking any more money, the daughter cancelled the direct debit, having gained permission from her mother to do so.
Finally, in June TalkTalk agreed to cancel the account but this could not be processed until Aughust because of its cancellation period. In July, the elderly woman passed away, so her daughter contacted the firm once more to inform them. She was then put through to the department which deals with deceased customers and was cut off straight away.
She phoned again to settle the account only to be told not to pay there and then as the final amount was still be calculated. Three days later she received a letter from a debt collection agency demanding £66.
When contacted by Jill Insley, from the Sunday Times Money Section, TalkTalk offered no apology or compensation for its heavy handed approach, claiming the customer – who was still forced to pay the £66 – “had been happy with the resolution of the case.”
Insley wrote: “[This] is possibly the best example of how not to behave with elderly and bereaved customers I have ever come across.”
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