Radio 4 listener John spent hours on the phone trying to get out of his contract – which TalkTalk eventually agreed to. But not without trying to sign him up again. Is what happened to John typical? Here’s part of James’ interview:
John is definitely not alone in this situation. If we look at complaints to TalkTalk in the past six months, overcharging and cancellation issues add up to about 30 percent of the complaints going through our system about TalkTalk.
What are the rules regarding cancelling a contract? When can a company impose a penalty on leaving and when can’t they?
You should get a 14-day cooling-off period, depending on the type of contract, where you can leave with no extra charge. After that, a company does have the right to say that if you’ve signed up for something that you do have to pay a termination charge. This is often the period of time you’ve been locked into the contract for.
However, if you feel you’ve been mis-sold, or you’ve been signed up without consent, you have the right to cancel without being charged.
Ofcom is looking into these arrangements for termination and cancellation. What do you think needs to change?
Things need to be cleaner and clearer for the consumer to be able to better understand these situations. In addition, if a consumer is not getting the service they expect, we believe they need to be offered the opportunity to be able to cancel their contract. For example, if you’re not getting the broadband service you believed you’d signed up to, or your mobile phone’s not working, why should you be tied into a contract that you didn’t want and that is not right for you.
How much of TalkTalk’s complaints are down to the data breach?
Originally it was thought that the TalkTalk hacking issue could affect up to four million users, but now it seems that the actual number is around 150,000 customers. Of that, there are about 15,000 whose bank details have been compromised, and about 28,000 whose credit card details have been partially hacked.
The good thing for customers is that any loss on your part will generally be covered by your bank.
What if you have lost money because of the data breach, and if you can prove that this loss was due to the data breach, then TalkTalk will be happy to let you leave.
(Skip straight to 10 minutes to hear James’ interview)