Telephone problems

2 May

I have spent my life trying to get through it without being a bore. That was always my greatest fear.

Now I realise that to be boring, annoying, getting on peoples nerves is something that helps other people so I’ll give it a go.

Judge Rinder says one should write everything down so hear we go.


I had been to the UCH hospital and I had a need to go to Boots to pick something up but found that the whole of Tottenham Court Road was blocked and I couldn’t get across the road. So instead I went into PC World – the biggest mistake of my life.

I bought a new phone – which I needed but something else happened. I met a young man called ICE.

I was having a good time chatting to Michelle who sold me the phone and this young man called ICE asked me – out of the blue I thought – what I was paying monthly for my internet. Who was the supplier?

I gave him the name and they called Time Talk. They had patience – they knew how long it took to get in touch with any supplier, but eventually they discovered that I was paying £48 a month. I had a deal but that finished a year ago and I was unaware of this.

The young man called ICE gave me the name of a company that recommended suppliers that would do me a good deal

When I got home I rang that company and they put me in touch with TalkTalk. They warned me that most suppliers expect to change one’s landline number, Talk Talk would not do that. I replied that I had previously been with Talk Talk so they already knew my number. It was the number I had originally got in 1964 – it was the number known by many people including all the audiences I had had at the Pindar so it was very important to me

I gave TalkTalk a call they gave me a splendid deal and said of course they wouldn’t change my number.

The engineer – called Chris – came to fix my new router. Afterwards he said triumphantly ‘And this is your new telephone number’ and waited for me to be delighted. I said ‘No, my number is 02077225395 and he said ‘You have to change your number when you change your supplier and I said ‘When I left TalkTalk a few years ago IO kept the same number’ He told me that was impossible – I must have forgotten.

I spent the rest of that day – it was a Thursday – on the phone to Talktalk trying to get someone to talk to about the change of number – which I didn’t want. I had proof of having my number many years ago. It used to be Primrose 5395 and when I was at the BBC I was ex directory. I have headed paper from that time with the telephone number 722 5395.

But – there is a big problem with Talktalk and I remembered why I left. The calls – once one had got through to a speaking person (another problem – explain later) it turns out to be a young woman who gabbles in a strange accent from a script she has learned. She is incapable of understanding anything I was saying. and I can’t decipher what she is saying. Eventually I give a sigh of relief when she said she didn’t understand and would have to speak to somebody else.. She would put me on hold for three minutes. That is when I found out to my cost that three minutes could last up to half an hour. Eventually I gave up and tried later.

The difficulty getting in touch with any speaking person is the mechanical voice. He asks first of all a question. ‘Are you calling about your broadband press one – for pricing press two etc . When you have pressed one, he comes back saying ‘if you are a new customer press one – or two – or three – usually about five options. When you have pressed one of them, there is yet another question – and so on – may I have your post code, then The first line of your address, so on – ‘date of birth’ – ‘are you the main line holder’ and so on until you have given your life story and they ask for your TalkTalk telephone number which of course I replied 0207722 5395. They say they have no record of this number and eventually say they will put me in touch with an operator. This is when I get another South African/Indian maiden who has the same script and lack of knowledge of the one before. Again I say I need to get back my original number I have had since 1964. Again they say hold the line for three minutes. I hang up and try again. Exactly the same rigmarole, yet another South African/Indian young woman who told me to hold on for three minutes. (The music they put on is horrible and very loud)

I rang a friend who said ‘These people are not good’ and suggested I try PlusNet who are based in Hull. I rang them – there was a mechanical voice again but with only two options. Did I want to join them or was it about pricing – number one or number two. I pressed one . They answered immediately in English and said if I joined them they would try to get my number back.

I got a call from Talktalk saying I had been in touch with another supplier and they had been making enquiries about me. I said that was true, and they had said they couldn’t guarantee the number problem. The Talktalk man told me my number had been discontinued when IK left Talktalk the last time several years ago. I told him IK had been using the number with Time Talk and again he told me I was lying and it was impossible that I should have kept the number as the number did not exist. Friends told me they had tried it and it was on voice mail. People were desperately trying to get hold of me and the voice mail made them think they were leaving me messages which of course I didn’t get.

I called PlusNet

I rang my number. It was on voice mail and the name that popped up on my screen was TalkTalk.

Eventually I got a male person who kept saying ‘I understand’ over and over again when he obviously didn’t. He said how he felt for me, because when he was in South Africa he found it impossible to understand what English people were saying. He said ‘Hold the line and I’ll put you through to the supervisor.’ I said ‘How long would I have to hold?’ He of course said ‘Three minutes.’ I said I don’t have time to wait that long. Please call me back.’

Unexpectedly I get a call back – from a lady with a different accent. She really couldn’t understand what I was talking about. She seemed to think I wanted to change my mobile number. She repeated it over and over again, obviously paying no attention at all to what I was saying. ‘No I don’t want to lose my LANDLINE NUMBER -WHICH I HAVE HAD SINCE 1964. ‘ She didn’t even bother to tell me that that was impossible which is what everyone else said. We parted on not too friendly terms. I had a visit from a very important person during this call – he left.

Then I had a call from a salesman – oddly enough they were quite good at talking. He wanted to know if I had definitely cut myself off from TimeTalk. I said I would call them to check. Oddly enough I got another list of questions from the mechanical voice at Time Talk. I used to have a number for the tech department that I could get straight through to. Now I am told that number does not exist.

I spoke to the salesman at Time Talk and said I would stay with them if I could keep my number. They said that was impossible as Talktalk would have my number and Time Talk would have to rejoin me and that would take at least two weeks and they couldn’t guarantee anything about the number.

I called Plus net again. Again I got through straight away. I got another man who had actually looked me up on Wikipedia and was sympathetic about the telephone number. He promised he would try his bet to retrieve the number.

I called Talktalk – again the long rigmarole with all the numbers. I asked for the s ales department and told them I had joined up with PlusNet and told them I had joined up with Plusnet. I was told that as a special favour they would waive the hundred pounds or so cancellation fee. I said I had cancelled during the cooling off time so there would not be a cancellation fee. They said I would have to stay with them until Plus net became active – May 13th.

I then said – so as its I not a deal I shall have to pay for everything I do on broadband etc. They did not deny it.

Later I got a letter saying that I owed them over a hundred pounds for cancelling but they would waive the fee because I had cancelled during the cooling off time.

I will have to wait and see what happens.

One Response to “Telephone problems”

  1. alinewaites May 2, 2019 at 5:16 am #

    Reblogged this on alinewaites.


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