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Archive for January, 2007

Official Complaint

On the 30th January I wrote an email and posted a letter to the on the front of the EFH broadband.com site: 195 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS7 2AA.

I wrote:

I am writing to you to complain about the EFH Broadband Service. Since, 186K took control of the service, it has degenerated with huge lags, time outs and generally extremely poor speeds. Currently, I have no connection at all and no means of contacting you to resolve this issue or even to request a MAC code.

I have tried numerous times to contact you to get support and a MAC code; your telephone lines are always engaged and I have literally queued for hours without any success what so ever. On the 29th January I spent a total of 5 hours and 50 minutes waiting on the phone, only to be cut off before It was answered. Today, the 30th I have spent over 4 hours waiting for your customer support to answer the phone again without success. The level of customer support offered by 186K is absolutely appalling and is completely inexcusable.

I expect you to restore my broadband connection, supply a MAC code without delay, explain your actions and offer an appropriate level of compensation. “

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I haven’t yet had a reply to this letter. Generally, its expected to recieve some sort of formal rely to my concerns within 6 days. There hasn’t been any response at all.

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EFH Rebels

Steve from the EFH Forum has set up an alternative Rebels forum in light of the pending doom of the official EFH forum. We expected 186k to take away the only means of support since they had taken every other means! Of course, i suspect all the negative/truthful comments on the EFH board didn’t help. The Rebels Forum is located at: http://xeboards.com/efh_rebels/index.php

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The Clive Letters

27th January 2006

My first contact with Clive was soon after the take over, where Clive asked worried EFH users to email him rather than posting complaints on the Forum. After reading that it was 186’s intention to *upgrade* us to LLU and onto a Tiscali core. I sent the following email to Clive.smith@186k.co.uk on the 27th December 2006

“After reading your forums posts with regards to 186K plans to moving current EFH customers from IP stream to a Tiscali LLU core, I have been advised to urgently request a MAC code and move to a service provider that is more representative of my specific requirements.

I would appreciate if you can get my Mac code organized since there appears to be issues with your customer support department in causing a delay in sending out Macs for seemingly various reasons, which is raising a few suspicious eyebrows amongst us. ”

As you can see it was clear that my intentions were to move even before we were moved to a rather painful Tiscali core. Later that day Clive wrote back and said:

“You wont be moved instantly to LLU and also why would you not want to be on LLU eventually. Interested to know who advised you to get your MAC”

My initial thought was that everyone that has ever been in contact with Tiscali!

On the 28th, Clive mailed me to say:

“Please email efhmacrequest@support.186k.co.uk to get your MAC.”

I wished I had requested a Mac then and hadn’t waited a month so see how bad 186K really are. I’m informed that it takes 186K several days to generate a Mac code for some unknown reason. To be fair many ISP’s appear to like to delay the Mac generation process, despite in reality it being a 30 second process. You can generate a Mac code for any ISP under a minute. Its not BT that decides how quickly a Mac is generated, its your ISP.

On the 29th December 2006 I replied:

“I have nothing against LLU in principle, but I do have big issues with the Tiscali network and it represents a degradation service in my opinion. Its only these proposed changes in the EFH service that is prompting me to seek a mac and move elsewhere. An additional problem with LLU is the £45 charge BT will apply to customer wanting to switch back to IP Stream, as others have pointed out. I’m not happy about the proposed changes as if I wanted to migrate back it will cost extra. Will 186K be offering to cover these extra costs? I will be interested to see your response to the last post in thread on the EFH forum with reference to:

  1. Giving specifically more details about your “core network”. How it works? How much involvement Tiscali have in managing it etc,
  2. Giving Links to satisfied customers that we can ask how they are getting on with it?
  3. Giving details of speed, router sync`s, latency (pings) & basically the reliability/stabilty/robustness of product.
  4. Details of Proper info, links & testimonials even I might be willing not to use my mac when I get it & stay here?

Like many I have been a very happy EFH customer up to the point where has started to make cost cutting proposals. Many of us are very aware of Tiscali problems and the complete lack of real actual benefits to the end customer. The customer base on EFH isn’t like others, whose users are obsessed with after faster speeds, but instead we joined EFH because it had a reputation of stability, reliability and excellent customer support. 186K is putting all this at risk in my opinion, as the company is giving the impression that its dismantling EFH from within removing all the reasons EFH customers signed up for. I don’t particularly want to have to migrate away but 186 is giving many of us few choices.

Apart of the problem has been communication from the new parent company hasn’t been to the same high level we have all be accustomed to during our time at EFH broadband. What we all find worrying is that there appears to be only one support person (you!) that is responsible for multiple brands.This in reality represents a dilution in the speed of resolution of potential problems. Why is the only one of you?

I have not yet made a decision whether to migrate away. If you can give me some proof that your Tiscali core can provide the same or better stability and reliability and obviously speeds, pings, latency from the customers point of view etc then its open up for discussion still. I know Tiscali involves less costs to you both in terms of wholesale and running costs, but a end customer doesn’t see these benefits unless it means a reduction in their subscription of course”

By this time I was getting a little bit annoyed as connectively was becoming more difficult and the lack of support to really starting to bite. Clive responded extremely quickly, like within hours. So this proves he can answer emails when he feels like it!

“186k use Tiscali service for its customers, not the managed service so all Tiscali do is pass the traffic to our servers and we give out ip addresses and user login details etc etc.

The reason we use Tiscali is a basic one, they are stable and reliable. I used to work for Tiscali support and know that the unmanaged service that 186k use is the best way to go.

As for other reasons, Tiscali are one of the leading suppliers of LLU, which allows greater access and understanding of the business, allowing us to change speeds, diagnose faults and resolve issues without having to involve BT at all.

As you might have noticed the response from this change is slightly longer as we have to get all the staff trained on the systems EFH were using and also with it being xmas there is always a slight backlog!

I had a choice of companies to go to when I moved from Tiscali and as I came from the business I knew what companies to avoid and which companies I could really move forward and so hence why I know that 186k are one of the best around.

There are a few customer complaints but isn’t there always for large companies with massive amounts of customers.

I hope you don’t leave and if you ever needed help and felt let down by us I would want you to contact me direct to resolve any issues, I can generate a MAC for you but it’s a big change for you to move supplier so please think carefully.”

I did because no one really wants the hassle of having to move broadband suppliers. I would had been happy to stat with EFH if 186 hadn’t taking it apart from the inside, like it has with every ISP it had previously ‘rescued’

On the 31st December I sent the following email to clive:

“I’m not that convinced to be honest, when you take into account the top 4 most complained about ISP’s (according to isp review) are: Tiscali, Plusnet, v21/Biscit and EzeeDSL ~ Many of these appear to be complaints relating to customer service and bad connections. Don’t all these now use a Tiscali network/core? Can name some successful residential ISP’s that already use a Tiscali core?

According to the EzeeDSL customers they find it difficult getting in touch with their support departments who are on a 0870 number. I have one question that has been unanswered so far. Do you plan to keep the freephone number for ex-EFH broadband customers, even when they have been successfully moved to your core? Or is the plan to move back to offering technical support via a 0870 number? To be frank if thats the case, many of us at EFH will be paying over the odds for our broadband and will be financially I’ll be better off elsewhere.

What is the schedule for moving EFH customers to your Tiscali core? Another words, How long do I have to make a decision?”

His rely came within 12 hours, which is still reasonable. More reasonable than what was to follow so to speak.

“Sorry for late reply, email crashed. I don’t know if the number for support will change. I can name a few customers of Tiscali that have good customer service, but not sure if they would want me to tell anyone that they are customers of Tiscali. I would like you to give us a chance to make you happy and provide a stable service”

Yet another rely that gives almost no information and doesnt actually address any of my concerns. Still out of laziness I thought I might as well wait and see what this core is like. A decision I regretted!

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