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Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Before I lose my broadband connection, I thought I would have a vent on here about the service I have received from Plusnet and SKY.  I am exhausted after almost 12 hours trying to resolve things between Plusnet and SKY and I have made no progress today
By the time I made my last phone call to Plusnet around 8.30pm, I felt sorry for the customer service advisor. I was stuttering and slurring over my words with the occasional rant about Plusnet and SKY. I apologise to the poor devil who took the call at 8.30pm. I am sure you had as long a day (as had I Roll eyes)  and didn't need another argumentative customer at 8. 30pm.  Sad Anyway, I digress and I should start my rant relating to Plusnet and providing a broadband service to a new customer.
My story actually begins with the migration  from O2 broadband to SKY. I was aware that O2 broadband customers were migrating to SKY but I tried to stay as long as possible because (a) O2 broadband customer service was excellent (b) I decided it would be better to transfer the whole bundle to Plusnet in August (I am currently with BT for the landline and line rental) (c) I am not exactly a fan of the SKY corporation. Unfortunately, my plan was stalled when the wonderful people from SKY forwarded me a new SKY box. At that point, I had resigned myself to the enviable with SKY and was prepared to put the nosepegs on and ignore certain principles. It was only when I undertook a bit of research, I noted that SKY had put me on to a 40GB contract, as opposed to the unlimited broadband service I had with O2. SKY neglected to inform me in writing, by e-mail or by telephone about this change of service.  Apparently, that does not matter, if my e-mail from SKY this evening is an indicator.
As a heavy broadband user (I am studying a secondary degree externally due to ME/CFS), both SKY and I concluded that I needed needed unlimited broadband access. Letting me transfer to a new broadband provider was a little more difficult and it took several attempts to secure a MAC code and release me from a non-existent  12 month contract. With that information in my hand, I hot footed my way to the Plusnet website and ordered my new landline/broadband bundle on the 17th March. There was a slight issue with the payment details and I contacted Plusnet to complete the order. Everything processed and I was told that I should have my broadband connected within the next 5-7 days. Or so I thought....
Initially, I  received a plethora of information via e-mail, welcoming me to Plusnet and confirming payment. After a couple of days, this communication ceased. This resulted in me contacting Plusnet by telephone by the end of the week. Plusnet informed me that the order had been held up by the wrong last digit of the MAC key. Why they could not e-mail me 5 days earlier about this issue, I have no idea? It certainly would have speeded up the broadband order and I may have had my nice, new, shiny unlimited broadband with Plusnet by now.
The following week, I telephoned Plusnet, as I had not received any further e-mail or updates to my order.  I was informed that my router was on its way. It was a couple of days later that this transaction took place and I received it a few days later.  I was also informed that my unlimited broadband service would be available next week on the Monday. Checking the Help and Support communications, Monday was actually the 2nd April before midnight. Still not long to wait, I thought...
On the 2nd April, I had no updates about my service going live and went to bed hoping that my Plusnet broadband would be available on the 3rd April. Alas, I wake up to no further updates and decided to call Plusnet. Apparently, there had been a system error and the order would have to be processed again. That would mean another 7 days wait. No apology for the mistake or a resolution to the problem. The onus was on me to acquire a new MAC code and check my existing providers service. I contacted SKY and I was informed that a MAC code could not be provided as the account had been "taken down" and a MAC code was not necessary at this stage. I telephoned Plusnet who insisted that SKY were embellishing the truth and they still provided the service, according to their records. At this point, I contacted Ofcom, who told me to telephone SKY again and request a MAC code. In accordance with their instruction, I contacted SKY again and was told that my account migrated to Plusnet on the 28th March and the "takedown" term was utilised again.
Acting on the advice provided by Ofcom, I contacted them again. They e-mailed SKY and I received the following message this evening from SKY:
With regards to your MAC request, Sky did send one to you as you are aware and this was used and our system showed that your broadband service ceased on or around the 28th March 2014 on our systems but the error caused by Plusnet has meant that the broadband service has not completely cancelled on BT Wholesale's back system(as you had broadband connect with Sky this shows on BT Wholesale's systems as they are effectively providing the service for you). You are effectively being provided with a free broadband service presently.
As the broadband has ceased on your Sky account is is impossible to generate another MAC on a cancelled account.
To resolve this for you I need to contact BT Wholesale and have them cancel the service completely on their systems, this will then mean that you can order your service with Plusnet without the need for a MAC. The only issue with this is that you will lose a broadband service from the time that BT Wholesale cancel on their system to the time that Plusnet activate your new service

That sort of makes sense to me. In short, I had been in no man's land since the 28th. Plusnet had taken over the administrative side but SKY still "officially" provided the service, even though it is effectively BT providing the service.  SKY expected me to go live sometime after the 28th and extinguished the account
I telephoned Plusnet again at 8.30pm, which resulted in a half garbled relayed message from SKY and a few rants about Plusnet's mistake. According to Plusnet, if SKY can effectively switch me off via BT they can provide a MAC.  Angry
I could scream (and possibly cry) after 12+ hours of this claim and counter claim. I am exhausted and will probably have to write off tomorrow again.  Surely, Plusnet having made the mistake with the order and only realising the issue today should be going out of their way to resolve this issue? Why didn't this system error emerge prior to my telephone call today? Also, surely there should have been more communication from Plusnet in relation to the original MAC key issue and service updates.  Instead, I have had Plusnet customer service advisor treating me like a halfwit and failing to appreciate why I may be quite so frustrated with their actions.  They have also suggested that they (Plusnet) take over the line and change my telephone. I do not want to change my telephone number after 35+ years and wait a further 2 weeks, as advised this morning.
I actually understand SKY's position on the second MAC code. Why should they go out of their way to resolve this issue when I am effectively a Plusnet customer? (They were happy to take my money on the 17th March, despite the inability to provide a service. )
Anyway, if anyone has managed to read my rant/stream of consciousness so far, thank you for listening). Smiley I feel better, even if you don't reading this long message Wink If anyone has got any suggestions with my telecommunications predicament, I would appreciate your advice. Cancelling Plusnet and switching my broadband account to BT did enter my though process tonight. Returning to SKY, also figured in my considerations. I am sure this is not possible at this late stage but it was a nice option in my dreams. In reality, before I entered into this contract with Plusnet, BT would have been top of my least favoured telephone providers. In fact, I actually advised a friend tonight who has to change providers to stick with BT and SKY and avoid Plusnet. How things change in a matter of weeks...
I guess first port of call tomorrow is Ofcom to escalate a query into a complaint.  Angry Thank you again for listening and reading.
140 REPLIES
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 5,101
Thanks: 425
Fixes: 5
Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Hi,
Linn in our Digital Care team will pick this up tomorrow and work out what's going on.  She used to work in our Provisioning Team so you'll be in great hands.   Really sorry about the mess and we'll hopefully sort it out for you soon!
Kelly Dorset
Broadband Service Manager
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for reading through my rant. I really don't like complaining in this fashion but something seems to have gone badly wrong somewhere down the line.
I look forward to hearing from Linn tomorrow. Hopefully, I still have broadband!
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Good morning,
Unfortunately Linn is away from the office until next week, but we're still here and we'll do all we can to get this sorted out for you.
I just have a quick question, is the Sky broadband still working? If this is the case then Sky are still providing the service, which is why Sky are still showing as the TAG: Provider (Service provider: BRITISH SKY BROADCASTING LTD (IPSC)).
I've just raised a query on this with our suppliers to see if they can manually remove the TAG. If this can be done, we can simply place the order without the need for a MAC Code. I'll keep pressing on this with our suppliers and I'll let you know once I get further information.
Really sorry for how things have been so far Sad
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Good morning Chris,
That is not a problem. I am happy to deal with anyone who can resolve the problem. Smiley
In answer to your question, the SKY broadband is still working. I begged SKY not to switch me off over the weekend and it seems this morning I have been granted a stay of execution. Whether this lasts or not is anyone's guess.  To reiterate this is the message I had last night from SKY:
[With regards to your MAC request, Sky did send one to you as you are aware and this was used and our system showed that your broadband service ceased on or around the 28th March 2014 on our systems but the error caused by Plusnet has meant that the broadband service has not completely cancelled on BT Wholesale's back system(as you had broadband connect with Sky this shows on BT Wholesale's systems as they are effectively providing the service for you). You are effectively being provided with a free broadband service presently.
As the broadband has ceased on your Sky account is is impossible to generate another MAC on a cancelled account.
To resolve this for you I need to contact BT Wholesale and have them cancel the service completely on their systems, this will then mean that you can order your service with Plusnet without the need for a MAC. The only issue with this is that you will lose a broadband service from the time that BT Wholesale cancel on their system to the time that Plusnet activate your new service
I hope this information is helpful to show the way forward and I will be contacting BT Wholesale tonight by E-Chat to request that they remove the service, this could take up to 48-72 hours to cancel

This is a further message:

I will make contact with you again on Monday, I will be out of the office from tonight until then but I would not expect you to lose access until I contact BT Wholesale.

These messages originate from the Executive Support Team. This case was escalated by an e-mail from Ofcom and myself.  At this stage, I do not care who is to responsible. Instead, I would like my telecommunications bundle up and running asap and to avoid losing broadband. I also do not want to change phone number, after 35+ years. I hope you appreciate where I am coming from and why I have so upset and frustrated over these issues.
I am exhausted today, after staying up to 4am this morning trying to complete a backlog of work (and my father's VAT) in case I lose a broadband connection.
Thank you for the apology. and I hope you can find a resolution to the above problems  Smiley
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Thanks for the information, I've read through the tickets on your account so I know where we are with this.
I understand what Sky have said, however, as the service is still active with them, it's still Sky's responsibility to provide a MAC Code. I understand that they have a cease order in place but this has completed yet as you still have a working service.
I've raised a 'Tags Query' to see if we can get the Sky TAG removed, however I'm not sure we can get it remove given that Sky are still the active owner of the line. I'll do all I can from this side to see if I can get the TAG removed.
We should have got the order placed the original MAC Code in the first place so I appreciate the inconvenience has been caused by us but Sky really need to provide a MAC Code :/
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, none of the tickets were responded to on the 2nd/3rd April, hence, why I came on here before I got cut off.
Regrettably, I know not what to believe at this stage. This claim and counter claim is what I experienced yesterday. SKY have ceased my account and I can no longer access my details. SKY claim that my account moved to Plusnet on the 28th March. SKY also maintain that a MAC is no longer required.
I have been told if the TAG is removed, if may have to have a new phone number.
Certainly this situation would not have happened if there was no issue with the original order. In sense, I feel that the onus should be on Plusnet to resolve the issue, as I am not responsible for the original mistake. Instead, the burden of responsibility is with me when I have neither the time or energy to resolve this issue. At times yesterday, I treated as some sort of simpleton and the guilty party.
I am sorry to say that SKY will not provide the MAC code whatever I and Ofcom have tried to do at this stage. Sad
I will speak to Ofcom this morning. I have had mixed views from their perspective too.
On the plus side, I have managed to placate things with BT. They were suggesting that I should transfer my broadband to them. 
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Further to my previous message, I have taken advice from Ofcom and this is what they have to say in relation to the issues I have outlined:
1. They state that SKY are correct in their analysis of the situation and they would side with SKY in this situation
2. I provided the original MAC and this transfer should have been seamless in the first instance.
3. Therefore, the onus of responsibility is on Plusnet due to the original mistake/issue and, in general, the burden of responsibility is with the provider that derives the benefit from the transfer.
4. I should not have been running around both yesterday and today attempting to resolve this problem. In fact, it should have been Plusnet who should undertaking this task due to their mistake
5. Plusnet can make a request to remove the TAG and it is their responsibility to chase this issue from a network perspective.
6. From a technical perspective, I should be able to retain my existing telephone number and it would be a commercial decision to change my number by Plusnet. On no account, should I be forced into changing my telephone number and I should not have to deal with a lack of broadband etc, as this should have been a relatively simple transaction.
I am leaving this in your hands for a few hours and will wait for some feedback. If I receive no feedback, I may action the other issues discussed with Ofcom. The ball is in your court Plusnet!
ps: I am happy to provide any references should you wish to check the advice I provided above by Ofcom.
pps I don't like being difficult customer. All I want is a broadband/landline service with my own telephone number and no cession of service. I hope you can help and resolve this issue! Smiley
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
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Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Thanks very much for the information, I've absolutely no doubt about that information you've been provided.
I've requested the TAG on the line be removed so I'm just waiting to hear back on that, as soon as I get that cleared, I'll get the rest of the orders all placed and we'll get the service up and running for you ASAP. I can't see a problem with keeping your phone number to be honest, we've said we would, so we will.
I entirely appreciate where you're coming from and I'd probably have done the same in your position so don't worry, I know where you're coming from - we just want to get this sorted out for you ASAP. Leave this with me and I'll post here shortly once I hear back from our suppliers.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,657
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Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

One very relevant fact is that you had the telephone number from before you moved to Sky. Where the number was one allocated by Sky there can often be issues retaining the number when you leave but that obviously doesn't apply in your case.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Thanks for the update Chris and I'll await a response on here.
And thank you for your understanding.
Jelv - That is an interesting point and something I was not aware of. The landline/line rental has been with BT for the past couple of years. This appears to be a godsend from the information you have provided.
Having spoken to friends and family about SKY. They appear to provide a satisfactory service until you try to leave them.
abstruse21
Grafter
Posts: 80
Registered: 28-03-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Having left Sky all I ever seem to get from them is bills warning final payment overdue £0.00 to pay. Please pay promptly or we may take further action.. Followed by phone calls asking why we are leaving (THEY told us they did not provide a service at our new address) and no matter how many times we tell them this fact they still call us trying to see why we left and if we would consider using them again!.. idiots
As for moving to Plusnet, well keeping my number was never an option anyway and its unclear if they will ever get me connected at all but that's a whole other story.
Hope you get your problems resolved quickly and get everything you were promised!
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

I have no idea where I am with bills with SKY. I have had 4 bills in the past month and the last one was a refund.  That is extremely poor service and borders on harassment in some form. I hope they do not to the same with me, as they told me they could not provide an unlimited service.
I was actually reading your case this morning and felt so sorry for you. Are you on engineer no. 8? Does anyone appreciate that it is not your full time job to supervise engineers and chase this case?
Thank you for your kind words. And good luck with your case and the rest of the pregnancy/new baby etc. After reading your story, I did think I had got off lightly.
I am now waiting to hear from Chris. Hopefully, I won't end up being cut off before Plusnet can resolve this asap. It was unedifying having to beg SKY yesterday not to cut me off.
abstruse21
Grafter
Posts: 80
Registered: 28-03-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

Thanks. Yes waiting on Number 8.. I will update my case every bit of news from now on until the day it is resolved.
My wife assures me that having spoken to Sky the other day they will stop calling as she told them in no uncertain terms ringing an 8 month pregnant woman constantly about a service they cant even provide is not the best thing for them to be doing right now unless they want her turning up at the call center hormones ablazing! lol
I do really hope Plusnet resolve this for you without having too much (or any) downtime! Though from what I have read Chris does seem to follow up his posts with actual action.
gphancock
Grafter
Posts: 74
Registered: 03-04-2014

Re: Poor customer service from Plusnet and deadlock between SKY and Plusnet

That is awful. Two or even three engineers you can accept (just!) but eight is simply ridiculous.
LOL - SKY have been warned and should take heed of what your wife said. I wouldn't want to cross a hormonal and 8 month pregnant woman!
So do I. I will be taking the action discussed by Ofcom, if that happens. I hope Chris is good to his word and he resolves this issue ASAP.
In the meantime, I look forward to reading your posts and some positive updates on all fronts.