I am having incredible difficulties in dealing with my phone/broadband provider TalkTalk. Originally I was with BT for a number of years but they became so expensive I signed for a much cheaper deal with TalkTalk. This has saved me a lot of money and so I stayed with them.Earlier this year our village phone system was struck by lightning. My modem/router was damaged and so was the computer motherboard. Shortly afterwards the telephone line went off. I was getting a message on my phone screen that said "Check phone line". I don't use the phone often and when I do it is via NGT. I never make voice calls as I have very low confidence in managing on the phone.
After about a week the phone was still off so I contacted TalkTalk via their online Chat service, accessible from their Web page. I was able to report the problem and so I waited for something to be done. Nothing happened and so after a week or so I contacted them again and reported the fault again. It then turns out that they wanted me to make a phone call before they could fix the phone line. I pointed out that as a deaf person I can't do phone calls and asked for some alternative method. The best they could come up with was "Can't you ask someone else to do it for you?". I thought this was pretty insulting and typically ignorant. I'm entitled to a reasonable adjustment but they just did nothing. Again I contacted them and again they insisted that I had to ring them on a mobile before they would fix the line.
I decided to raise the level of the complaint and made a formal complaint to TalkTalk. They replied by email ( with a no-reply address) saying that they would consider the problem. After a few more days I again contacted them via the Chat function (my broadband is OK it is only the phone that is off) and again the blankety blank idiot on the other end insisted that I had to ring them before they would attempt to mend the line!
So I escalated the complaint to the Equalities Commission pointing out that the company were in breach of the Equality Act 2010 in not making allowances for my hearing loss. It's the absolute pits when a company insist that a deaf person phones them! It's straight back to the 60's. To my surprise the Equality Advisory Support Service also got no result from them. Talk Talk refused to deal with them because they had not given my phone number, although I gave them my name and address.
I then got an email from TalkTalk stating that they had been trying to contact me. Presumably on the phone that I had reported not working! I could scarcely believe this so I then went online and involved the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, a part of the Equalities Commission. They have a service called Communications & Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS). These people have contacted Talk Talk on my behalf and apparently they have 14 days to reply. Meanwhile I still have no phone. It's absolutely unbelievable that Talk Talk can get away with being so awkward and unhelpful. I thought that is what all these laws were designed to avoid!!
So anyway that's the state of affairs at the moment and I thought I would write this up for everyone as a warning to be wary of dealing with Talk Talk. It's OK so long as nothing goes wrong, nice cheap service BUT ... if there is a problem this is what happens. I am so angry that in spite of all the campaigning and the rest this can still happen!
I'm determined not to back down on this, it's just like a throwback to the old days when deaf people were treated like dirt. Not 'aving it!
I share your thoughts on these companies insisting on a phone call. Well done you for taking matters so far.
Do keep us updated, the info you provided about these agencies that can help with disputes is very interesting and informative. Had no idea they existed.