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Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

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Dabbler
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Registered: ‎25-04-2019

Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Firstly, let me be clear - PlusNet phone support has always been top notch IMHO, and the well-patrolled forums make up for any gaps. However I made the mistake of using the Chat service today, and although I know the background to all the problems, and so have some tolerance, what I experienced today would definitely frighten off any new punters.

I have dealt with PlusNet for many years, for many businesses (and various relatives). This account was upgraded to fibre in Sept 18, with an initial price set at £7.99 for the fibre bit, £18.99 for the line, £2.50 for divert service i.e. £29.48 total, plus any phone cost charges.

Since then, only three bills have been 'correct' (even if the product description has been non-fibre rather than fibre) - 04/12, 04/01, 04/02.

Every other bill has been incorrect, leaving me with an estimated £20+ over payment to Plus, which looks set to increase month by month. The bill descriptions are all over the shop - one minute saying 'sorry, you don't have fibre [incorrect] so we'll charge you (more) for ADSL again' through to being charged twice for various items etc. etc.   04/03 I should have paid £29.48... got charged £45.30. 04/04 should have paid £29.85... got charged £37.85.

Made the mistake of going the Chat route today - within 1 minute of starting to explain the issue, the operator (K...) pressed the auto-text button (which rambled on about " issue (IMT-2487) with the billing system which is preventing us from adding discounts to certain accounts currently") then I was thrown out to the 'How Satisfied are you with PlusNet?' screen.

(the agent was  - I think - trying to make out that my issue was simply due to the new billing system not applying 1st year discount, when in fact it has been more complicated than that - as he would have seen if he had looked through the bills).

For the first time ever in all my years with plus, I have to show the red card. When Plus take customer monies incorrectly, then refuse to attempt to stop taking the next amount incorrectly as well - that is theft, pure and simple. It is Plus saying 'well, we know we are messing up, but we'd rather you lose the money for the time being rather than us...'

No, that isn't going to happen folks. The correct procedure (obviously the managers are to blame here) would be for the agents to be told 'look at the first month agreement, if the customer's last bill is more than this then manually apply an emergency discount to lower the bill to that value, and apply this to the next 3 months worth of bills so at least the customer is not overpaying'. Explain to the customer that once the billing system is sorted, we may have to clawback some dough if it turns out we have over-compensated, but actually we shall probably just write it off to goodwill.'

Actually I feel extremely sorry for the vast majority of PlusNet staff who are extremely competent. Either the total incompetents who are developing the new billing system are a third party outsource (in which case I would expect the contract to be written in such a way that they can be fined appropriately) or an in-house group (in which case the project lead should have been fired a long time ago, even if s/he might be the type who plays golf with the Chair(wo)man).

Whatever, PlusNet senior management clearly have still not got a handle on the situation, and I fear for the reputation of the company as they continue to advertise for even more custom.

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Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎25-02-2019

Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Hi @dirpluscom

I am extremely sorry for the way you feel. I have addressed your concerns through a ticket on your account. Click here to view my response.

Feel free to let us know if you have any further queries.

 

 

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Faris
 Plusnet Help Team
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Newbie
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

I am also expieriencing the same issues but have been given the same excuse time and time again.
I have been overcharged £10 a month since November (Deal at £18.99) costing £28.99 and took out a new contract after moving house this month as its cheaper than moving and im struggling for cash, again another £23.99 contract and im being charged £28.99 im owed £65 after 6 months of being decieved by plusnet.

How can this be allowed to continue? And no refund given?

All these threads and complaints and still no fix.

How?
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Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Hi @Courts2704

 

Please accept my sincerest apologies for your poor experience.

 

I can see my colleague Maddy has responded to your other post and provided a complaint ticket link that can be followed here

 

 

Kind Regards

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Pro
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Notice carefully NO reference to who is responsible and "running" the new billing system or should that be 'not running' the new billing system or perhaps even who is now not running Pnet?

Whatever happens always remember "We will do you
.........................proud" say Pnet.
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Dabbler
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Fix

Been away, but in fairness to PlusNet staff now updating my original rant.

Staff have now been in touch and organised a refund for the money overpaid (£20+) and say that they will make sure the  - £8 discount does get manually applied in future.

So, as ever, the Forum Staff to the rescue (to be specific, Faris)  - heaven help PlusNet if they ever get rid of this forum or try to 'streamline' it.

However the procedural guy in me is itching to see a proper solution in place - the amount of time and energy (and staff costs) involved in trying to firefight the repercussions of the new billing system c*ck-up must be appalling.

Will someone, somewhere in PlusNet please just send the whole story of the billing system development saga  anonymously to The Register ! - it's going to be the only way to really get the management to pull their finger out and make sure a solution is found in the shortest possible time...

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Dabbler
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

So, in the interests of balance, giving you more of the saga since...

The good news - I arrived back yesterday to find a small package, which turned out to be... a nice bar of chocolate with a big 'We're Sorry" sticker on it (thank you, Faris). I actually thought this was quite a classy move, as it felt a bit more personal than a simple £5 credit or something similar. (This was in addition to PlusNet rectifying the over-charge situation by issuing a refund).

 

The bad news - cheerfully listening to radio via my Sonos system today when it conked out. Assumed it was TuneIn service (which can occasionally do that) then went to go to a certain web page... and that failed.

Looking in my mail, I could see the ominous "We've not been able to take the payment due on 4th May 2019. " message - which of course should really read "Despite the fact that you have repeatedly given us the correct CC details and we have repeatedly re-entered them, our catastrophic new billing system has not been able to take the payment due on 4th May 2019."

So, the old routine again - phone Support, get a nice person who is clearly embarrassed about the situation, give them my CC details again... and now Internet service is working as it should.

However, if I could repeat another set of facts ad nauseam:

Why we know that this is not just typical teething problems, but a major management failure and the reason why one or more PlusNet managers need to get the boot asap:

a)  The message ""We've not been able to take the payment due .... "" could easily and should be modified to read: ""We've not been able to take the payment due on 4th May 2019. This may be due to issues with our new billing system, in which case please accept our apologies"".  No such rewording has happened in all this time.

b) The message "To avoid restrictions to your service please make a payment in the next 14 days." clearly suggests that the service will continue as normal in the interim - in fact what happens is that some sites work, some don't (my Sonos/TuneIn service etc.). The solution is to NOT restrict access to these services until +14 days. No such simple action has been taken in all this time, nor a rewording of the message instead.

c) The message "You can pay online by logging into https://www.plus.net/pay/ and following the on-screen instructions." is totally incorrect. When you follow the link (with your now restricted service...) you get "This page can’t be displayed" (http://failed.billing.plus.net/apps/payment/failed). The solution would be to either not restrict access to this page, or else remove the reference to it. Neither simple action has been taken in all this time.

d) The reaction of many users would be to automatically visit plus.net website - but they can't as that is one of the websites to which access is denied. The solution would be for access to plus.net - above all - to not be denied. No such simple action has been taken in all this time.

So, there we have it - four very simple actions that senior management could and should have taken in the past few months, and clearly have not. Many 16yr olds working stacking shelves in Tesco would have been able to come up with these easy solutions using simple common sense.

And so, Watson, that is why without us even stepping foot into PlusNet Towers in sunny Sheffield, we can deduce that the problems at this company are not primarily technical, but managerial.... how the general staff there manage to keep polite and calm under all the flak they must be getting from customers is anybody's guess...

Again, will anyone at PlusNet please put a hanky over the telephone receiver and phone whoever it takes to anonymously pass on the dirt about how all this started and how managers are failing to deal with rectifying the situation - while all the dirt is kept within the building, there is not enough pressure on PlusNet management to finally sort the s*dding issues!

 

 

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Aspiring Pro
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Well said Thumbs_Up

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Pro
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

The problem is also compunded with people like martin from the Money programme still saying people should sign uyp here because t hey are a BT subsiduary.

Whatever happens always remember "We will do you
.........................proud" say Pnet.
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Pro
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

@dirpluscom 

Ofcom complaints procedure is here:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/how-to-report-a-complaint/billing

Have you lodged a formal complaint with Plusnet?

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Dabbler
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

I'm afraid I take a rather cynical view of Ofcom and all the numerous other quangos set up to supposedly protect the plebs.

At the end of the day Labour and Tories just use them to provide salaried employment to their various cronies and ex M.P's, rather than as a way to ensure any meaningful improvements to any of the services they are supposed to monitor. In fact, I suspect they are in fact covertly used as a way to diffuse and suppress popular protests about service - think about how little has improved on the railways and with energy suppliers for example, despite numerous quangos being set up.

Firstly, complaints take so long to be processed that you end up being of pensionable age before you hear anything back - secondly the end result is usually just some sort of fine, which is either pathetically small or else causes annual fees to rise further down the line.

The only thing that improves a badly-led organisation is... to get rid of the people leading the relevant parts of it and replace them with people with a brain and hopefully some integrity.

Also, the situation is more complicated than usual  - unlike, say, TalkTalk, most parts of PlusNet work fine - it is the new billing system and the failure of management to sort the problems in a timely fashion which is the specific problem.

Personally I have always dealt with issues like this by either emailing/phoning the CEO direct (especially where there is an American company owning the UK subsidiary - nothing more effective than managing to contact the CEO as s/he is on the golf course to tell him/her of the reality on the ground at the company s/he has just been boasting to their golfing partners about... )

... or by getting 'the hidden story' of the debacle from an insider, and spilling the beans to one of the media e.g. The Register or the newspapers. They can run a story which then embarrasses the company so much that they axe the right people...

The problem with the PlusNet billing system issue is that the loyal staff are not giving much info away (and unfortunately none of them seem to have taken the positive step of contacting The Register anonymously either).

Through a friend of a friend who knows somebody at PlusNet, I did manage to find out that a third party company is involved with at least part of the new billing system. If anybody manages to find anything else relevant, maybe post here.

 

 

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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

Hi @dirpluscom 

I am not saying that the process required by Ofcom would necessarily get a result but it would be a prerequisite to complete it before, eg, taking legal action.

 

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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

You did not need a friend of a friend to know this is a third party that has been intimated by staff in much earlier posts.

 

My guess is that they are not to worried about the money because they will expect the third party to pay for any 'out of pocket expenses' and losses.

 

I found the process of going to the Ombudsman Services both easy and fairly quick. Would be good if Pnet could act like them. Also going means that they flag up to OFCOM and hopefully with enough flags they will take action against Pnet.

Whatever happens always remember "We will do you
.........................proud" say Pnet.
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

@Anon

I have made the point elsewhere that the Ombudsman Services procedure precludes an immediate direct approach. See https://www.ombudsman-services.org/

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Dabbler
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Re: Long-time Satisfied user, first time Furious User - thanks to bad Chat experience

"I found the process of going to the Ombudsman Services both easy and fairly quick."

I note that a lot of your posts revolve around telling the PlusNet member that they should go to the Ombudsman if they have any problem with service ...

Perhaps you could give more concrete information about your own experience? i.e. what company (PlusNet?) you were complaining about, what the specific fault was that you were complaining about, how long the procedure took exactly and what was the outcome for the company and yourself.

Based on the information you supply other members here can make an informed decision.