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  • PAINFULLY slow TV menus on screen
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      05.09.2005 10:21

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      telewest packages are cheap but may be a false economy

      I was attracted by the cheap deals, I'm pretty sure that the monthly costs are the cheapest around. I move around a fair bit because of my job so I was dissapointed to discover that if you don't move into a telewest area you have to pay them off. bt doesn't insist you honour your contract if they cannot provide the service. However, even with this charge the monthly charges were cheaper than the second cheapest phone, telly and broadband providers so I went for it. I was a bit worried about the bad reviews I'd read but I had no problems with the service; it always worked just fine.

      Now I have moved house (early - paid about £90) I don't think I would go back to telewest, because the call charges are so much higher than BT that the cheap deals were a false economy - telewest worked out about £10 a month less before call charges (but including all other incidental charges), but I spent more than £10 a month extra on phone calls than I would have done with BT.

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      02.04.2004 00:40
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      • "infuriating customer "service" departments"

      *UPDATED BELOW* Our first foray into cable TV was with Telewest, just under a year ago. It's not an experience we'll be repeating. The set-up was a fairly painful experience. After nearly four hours of being unable to get the set-top box working, the engineer announced he had to go to another installation, and that we should try the box again every couple of hours! To be fair to the second engineer, he (apparently) lodged a complaint about the first while he fixed the problem - but he managed to get the box working in minutes, and it's a mystery what had been baffling the first guy. We'd taken the basic channels + phone package, and on paper, it looked as if it would save us money. But the monthly bills were fairly erratic, and we eventually realised that the call charges themselves were not working out much cheaper than BT, who we'd left. The TV plan came with the line rental, so there was something of a saving there, but the basic channels can be a bleak wasteland of repeated imports and shoddy original programming. A few months of Living TV was enough to turn us off the previously-loved Will & Grace. E4 is clogged up with the dreary Salon, the frankly execrable Hollyoaks, and so much old Friends that I can no longer hear the chirpy theme tune without shuddering in terror. (And I'm a fan.) The main problem has come from our parting company with Telewest. Moving to a non-Telewest area recently, we asked to cancel our service. We were told that there would be no charge in the following month for telephone line rental or the TV service. Guess what happens next... We ARE charged for telephone line rental and the TV service. Quelle surprise. Of course, we only realise something is amiss when a suspiciously large final direct debit is taken from my account - Telewest have been unable to follow our simple instructions about forwarding mail to our new address, and so we have to wait
      for the invoice to be red irected from our old home. We complain: the call centre can't see what the charges are on our account. We complain some more: the call centre operative says they can't refund the money they've taken from our account, after saying they wouldn't. We ask who we can contact to complain: the call centre suggests the Chairman. Interesting. We don't write to the Chairman, thinking that this might not get us anywhere. We write to customer services, who take a week or so to finally email back - you can't email them, you see, you have to write. Presumably the snail mail process puts enough people off, thus reducing the presumably huge number of complaints Telewest must have to sift through. So, I'm currently in a "dialogue" with customer services. I explain that they've taken money from me that they said they wouldn't; they say they have no notes of the conversation, but that our contract stipulates 30-day's notice, so the charges will stand. That's all very well, we say, but you told us you wouldn't charge. The customer services contact is very professional, I have to admit. But she is utterly incapable of directly answering any of our direct questions. "Why did you charge us when you sid you wouldn't?" "We have a mandatory 30-day notice period which I have subsequently advised you about." "But why did you originally say you wouldn't?" "We have a mandatory..." You get the idea. It's like having an argument with Microsoft Office. In a new twist, the customer services department now claims there are notes on the original conversation - when they said there were no notes! So that's twice they've changed their tune. I'd advise any current Telewest customers to change their tune too (horrible segue, I know) and switch to Sky or something. Anything. There is a p
      rinciple at stake here: they shouldn't be able to take money from you, without informing you, and when they have categorically stated (we double-checked this!) that they wouldn't. And they should give a straight answer to a straight question. Presumably part of the reason they're treating us like this is that we are leaving customers. Well, they can rest safe in the knowledge that we won't be rejoining them. *UPDATED* So, we asked the customer services contact, if they couldn't answer our question, if they could refer us to someone else. They restated their argument and didn't give us another contact. We asked AGAIN for someone who could give us a straight answer - and finally, they referred us to their Higher Complaints Division or somesuch. The new people called within a day and said they'd refund the charges that we were originally told wouldn't be charged. In all, WAY too much hassle to get the refund, requiring too much obstreperous whinging on my part - but it was the only way to get past their blank refusal to acknowledge the issues in question. It's depressing that the systems such companies set up leave you with no option except to turn into some stubborn, narky eejit. Galling. At least we "won" in the end.

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        13.12.2003 23:41

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        Getting Better All The Time - Advantages: Picture Quality, Channel Choice, Excellent Customer Service - Disadvantages: Lack of PVR e.g. Tivo

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        02.09.2003 04:34
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        • "PAINFULLY slow TV menus on screen"

        I moved to a complex of live work units last year and Telewest had the monopoly on the entire place. Poor me. Poor everyone who lives here. I signed up for a phone, TV and broadband package. The first thing i discovered was, compared to my old Sky service, how painfully S...L...O...W all of the TV services were. Worse still, sometimes channels disappear, can't tune or just generally don't work very well. The remote control works when it feels like it. I paid a fortune to have a Sky dish fitted on the roof of my old apartment block but compared to the horror of Telewest it was worth EVERY PENNY. BILLING NONSENSE ONE - A TASTE OF WHAT TO COME Then came the delights of billing. Seeing as how I have my internet service with them, and how even Hackney Council (a Council with learning difficulties if ever there was one) accept payment for their council tax through on line banking services these days, I paid my first couple of bills online. I was then accused of failing to pay. On querying this I was told 'oh, better not to do it that way, it doesn't work very well with us. It might come through but it could take up to 6 months, we'll credit you with it if it does.' Very reassuring for a company providing me with broadband! UNBELIEVABLE After months of having my broadband internet service and telephone line disappear for hours at time, and having my favourite TV channels disappear just as I want to watch them, they've trumped themselves... I paid a £135 bill by credit card back in May. The card wouldn't work apparently, so I used another. I subsequently found out both transactions went through, charging me twice. On calling Telewest I was told I would need to send them evidence of all of this and then wait 6 weeks for the amount to be credited. I told them not to bother and then called Visa who cancelled one of the transactions. "THE NUMBER HAS CHANGED" Fast forward to Sept
        ember and I discover I can't order a pay per view movie. I call Telewest on the number my TV tells me to. The numebr doesn't exist anymore. How fantastic for a telecom provider! Finally, after 20 minutes of hold time someone in customer services answers, giggling away (oh what a hoot those call centres are!), I discover I have a restriction on my services as I owe them (guess the amount!) £135. Turns out they processed the refund anyway on the second amount to. Long after it had been forgotten it got slapped on my card on 23rd August. Obviously I don't know this as I have no statement to show this has happened. And hello, but isn't May 19th to August 23rd a random sodding time to refund something? WHAT YOU WANT SERVICE TOO??? I explain the situation to several people on several extensions and the crux is this: No, I can't use my pay per view option despite it being part of the service I pay for and even if I pay the outstanding amount immediately on the phone I can't get the service turned back on straight away. It 'might' be available after 10pm. But Mel Gibson's in Signs at 20:06. So much for that then. No amount of pointing out that this is NOT MY FAULT gets a result. Given their shocking track record with finances (they still claim they never received 2 payments at any time!) I have no intention of paying them back their money until I see evidence on my statement that this unrequested refund, which has caused a suspension in my full services, has been made. TO SUM UP If you have any choice in the matter whatsoever, go with ANYONE else but Telewest. I read in the FT that they've been in serious financial trouble - no wonder with their SHOCKING SHOCKING SHOCKING service.

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          19.07.2003 04:15
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          • "No prompt attention"

          I was bombarded with telewest promos for quite some time, as Iwas a Cable London customer for about 10 years. As Telewest bought out Cable London I thought that I would upgrade to Telewests digitial service and go for more T.V. progs. I now regret this move as their service is to say the least diabolical. The T.V. service has crashed many times since I have subscribed to them, which has been about 6/7 months approx., As I sometimes need to record some programmes I miss the full content, and having reported this to Telewest customer service I am told it is one of those technicial faults that happen and they appolagise, which does not help my missing programmes that I am paying for. I never had this problem during my subscription with Cable London. Cable London gave a discount on their telephone line rental for having T.V.+phone line, Telewest does not. I hope that I will be able to return to Cable London when my 12 month contract expires as it is definatly a more reliable service. I have reliable information of a close friend who is also a Telewest customer whose telephone service has a fault on his telephone line, he has been informed that he will have to wait until next Wednesday ( 7 days ) for an engineer to call as there is none in his area until then. What sort of service can this be ?. I really think that Telewest is not going to survive for much longer.

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            05.05.2003 11:39
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            • "Just a bit of a naff company all round"

            I joined Telewest in Jan 2002. They were my only choice for digital TV as I cant get sky or Digital tv thru an aerial (live in a flat), and my reception was rubbish anyway so that mad up my mind to go for telewest, especially as they were offering a deal at the time of 9.49 for a telephone line and a basic TV service - all free channels inc ITV2 etc, plus dial up Internet for £10. And I could get Sky Sports the odd month when Spurs were playing for 13.00 and Sky molvies for another 4.50. Being on a low income, it represented a good all round deal. The first time they miffed me off was the £50 installation fee, the previous tennant had had telewest so everything was there, they just needed to bring a box and plug it in. A rip off, plain and simple. I haven't had any real problems with the TV service, the interactive they added is just a load of rubbish, slow to load, and all pretty pointless. Teletext frequently is messed up, it freezes often and you have to switch channel and switch back to get it going again, and the TV picture doesn't fit the screen properly, basically you get a 15" picture on a 14" screen, so there's a bit missing on each side (not what's missing if you don't have widescreen, that, and a bit more) Tho all in all, they're pretty minor, and the picture quality is generally good, unless, for example, on a show with a lot of bright lights flashing it becomes a bit pixilated. The phone service is just naff, full stop. In 18 months it's been down 5 or 6 times. Usually it's a "problem in the area" that gets sorted out in a few hours. Tho one time I was without a phone line for five days and it took two visitors from 2 different engineers (1 good, 1 rude and sloppy) to get fixed. The dial up service is basic as basic can be, generally ok, functional, nothing more, emails can be a bit slow coming through sometimes tho. It's basically either them or AOL, they're the only oth
            er ISP that offer 24/7 fixed price. Devil or the deep blue sea. Anyway, my main gripe with telewest is their persistent price hiking. £9.49 for TV/phone became 11.49 for after six months, and £10 became £12 And Sky Sports went from £13 to 15. So overall an increase of 20% for basic TV/Phone internet service. And a year later they, April 2003, increased prices from £11.49 to 13.50 for TV/phone, and from £12 to 13 for internet. And on top of this, the basic TV package is now no longer available to new customers, and if I ever upgraded to the essential package £18.50, I'd never ever be able to go back to the basic package. I'd love to tell them where to stick it, go back to a BT line, get gio internet for £8.00 or even broadband for under £20... It's just the footie! It's the only way I can see Spurs play, ahggg, I hate telewest, but love footie more. If you want digital, go for SKY. If telewest is, like me, your only choice, then think long and hard of the price you pay for signing on the dotted with Telewest, Naff phone service, limited choice of ISP, only one choice for broadband, a slave to their inevitable price increases every April. Dodgy customers services. THINK VERY LONG AND HARD

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              30.03.2003 01:19
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              • "12 months contract"

              My motto for Telewest:"When they're good they're very, very good. When they're bad they are wicked!" I've been a Telewest customer for 18 months now, and have Cable phone, TV and internet. I've had very different experiences with each service, so think it's only fair to review each of those services seperately. TELEPHONE I first contacted Telewest when I moved house, and they installed my telephone for me. It was a very happy next few months, as, as it should be, my phone always worked, my bills were always correct. I only ever once had a problem with my phone not working - I called Customer Services on my mobile, got through in about a minute (unusual, I know), and the lady I spoke to straightaway offered to call me back on my mobile to save me money. She did so, and the problem was sorted out within 5 minutes. TELEVISION Some time later I met a Telewest salesman who told me all about the Cable TV services available. I would have to pay an installation fee, but after that the basic channel package I would be getting (ie the freeview channels), wouldn't cost me a penny, as they'd be included in the telephone line rental. Even better than that, they had a special offer on at the time that if I went for the next package up (about 20 more channels), I could watch them for free for the next 3 months too - then either keep them or downgrade to just the free ones. It wouldn't cost me anything. How could I resist? I signed the contract, a week later the smartbox was installed, and everyone was happy....until the bill came! Despite my contract clearly stating that my first 3 months of the extra channels were free, I had been charged for them. I called Telewest and explained the situation, and was told it would be looked into. I paid Telewest just the amount I owed, no more, expecting the adjustment to be made on my next bill. It wasn't of course, and the spiral of me getting bill, me p
              honing Telewest, and Telewest saying it would be sorted out carried on for a few months. I was still paying them the amount I genuinely owed them - just not the amount I knew I didn't, so the day they "suspended" my services for not paying my full bill, you can imagine I was furious. After another angry phone call (on my mobile as they'd cut off my phone),my service was reinstated. I then took FIVE photocopies of my contract, and sent to each of the various addresses and departments of Telewest I knew of by recorded delivery (I was desperate to get someone to take notice by then!). Nothing happened, no letter, no phone call, but my next bill had miraculously been adjusted for the months I'd been overcharged. it was a relief, but I had no apology. A couple of weeks after the bill was adjusted, I had a phone call from someone in Telewest sales department. He said he'd heard that there'd been a "mistake" with my bill (actually he didn't use the word mistake, but I can't use his exact words on here - it'd be insulting language or expressions :-) ) He then went on to say, and I quote, "It wasn't our fault, it was billing's". End of phone call. Still no apology to this day. INTERNET I have Blueyonder broadband, and am very impressed with the service! I spoke to Technical support a lot during the first few months (not their fault, I kept changing my computer and needed help setting it all up again!), and I always found them to be extremely helpful, polite, and knowledgable. Sometimes my connection to the internet does a bit of a disappearing act, but it's usually back again pretty quick. CUSTOMER SERVICES I went on to upgrade all my services - changed the telephone over to Talk unlimited, subscribed to most of the main tv/film channels, and somehow got a 1MB internet connection. This was fine for a few months, but then I was overcharged again. I ph
              oned customer s ervices and spoke to the rudest, most ignorant person I've ever come across. He insisted that my bill was correct, and I came off the phone with nothing having been solved. That's when I made the decision to downgrade all my services (about £70 per month less profit for Telewest!). When I was explaining why I was downgrading, Telewest miraculously fixed the problem - adjusted my account for the amount I didn't owe, and (so they say) the man I'd spoken to earlier received a warning. I have since gone on to install Sky digital to take over my TV services (more channels, less money and excellent customer services so far - but that's another review :-) ), though I still have my free Telewest channels. I have no intention of upgrading my services with Telewest again in the future though, I honestly don't think they're worth the extra money. CONCLUSIONS Stick to the basic packages - if you want more shop around first, you probably will get a better deal elsewhere. If you have to deal with customer services (even for something relatively minor), take the person's name and make notes of what is said. Always assume they will "forget" you ever called...because they sometimes do! Most importantly - don't lose your copy of your contract!

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                03.10.2002 06:34
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                I have worked for Telewest broadband for some time. I am not surprised in the slightest by some of the comments posted here, but I would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight. Customer Service The general feeling seems to be that all customer service reps don't know their arse from their analogue NOT TRUE. New recruits spend 4 weeks in training and 2 weeks in 'grad bay' where they have experienced CSR's to help them whilst taking calls. They then go into their teams and are coached and monitored by their TM's. They are monitored and have to meet numerous criteria based on their knowledge and call quality in order to achieve any bonuses. Yes, we get things wrong sometimes, yes we make mistakes. Do we care? Of course we do!! Do people really think we just don't bother to do things? This only results in calls being escalated to higher management and this is certainly not seen has having a positive effect on the business. We are constantly trained and motivated to achieve the BEST customer service. We appreciate that our customers are paying for a service and get frustrated when there are faults/billing problems etc. But we are always fair and do not expect our customers to pay for time they have been without service. We are CONSTANTLY working to improve all areas..billing, service, staff training the list goes on. Just bear this in mind though, a high majority of time is spent dealing with customers who have had their services reduced due to non payment and find this completely outrageous!!! Why is this so unfair? If you didn't pay your gas bill, you'd expect to have the gas cut off! I never ceases to amaze me. The amount of pregnant women, people who are ill,have a spouse in hospital etc etc, It's astouding! I'm not saying that this is never the case, but at the end of the day, if you don't want to get cut off, pay your bill!!! We want to be s
                pending our time helping the people who have problems that are due to no fault of there own. I think i've made my point! Service It's really not that bad as some of the comments here have implied. In fact, I think that Telewest are the best in the business. Their rates are competitive. The telephone service beats BT's hands down. the only problem is that Telewest is not available to everyone. The HSI is excellent. Yes the digital has had it's problems but we are constantly downloading software to rectify this. At the end of the day, we keep our promises. We said that the volume would work one day!! The picture quality is top notch, and the packages are great. No offence to Sky, but who wants to pay nearly forty quid a month bizarre channels like Sky Movies 2 and 3. basically just repeats of Sky Movies! The service is not affected by the weather either. Bonus when you live in this country! One major thing i would like to point out, you rent your digi box from Telewest so if it has a fault we'll come and fix it for free. I have heard of Sky customers paying up to £100 for call outs.. You buy the decoder from them so if it goes wrong...you pay! Finance I won't bore you with the details, we all know the company has debts but they are NOT going under. Yes, a merger with AOL may be on the cards at some point. The debt restructuring that the company are undertaking at the moment is phenomenal. We will get there. We are all optomistic and moral is high. At the end of the day, for all those people disheartened by Telewest, I wish you could see what goes on behind the scenes sometimes. How do you think we feel when we have failed to get a technician out when we said we would? When there's a big match on and a fault occurs? Joe Blogg's cheque gets lost in the post and his services get restricted? Just spare a thought for all those people taking yo
                ur calls when they see the call waiting time jump from 30 seconds to 10 minutes when a major fault occurs and all hell breaks loose to try and answer all the calls and help our customers as quickly as possible. The planning that we do is mind blowing, but things happen, that's life. But please stop talking about us like we don't care. I can't stress the point enough...we really do! And by the way, I've rated Telewest as 4 stars......well there's always room for improvement......!

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                  24.09.2002 15:02
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                  Telewest Broadband supplies my Digital Television, My telephone line, And my internet. The great thing is all the integrated packages to save money(which is what sky lacks) , the unlimited telephone IS unlimited, not just weekends and evenings like bt. They are improving the tv service quite rapidly, it is much quicker that it used to be, espacially after it is restarted a great range of channels. The internet is 'Broadband' Which is more true than what bt says because telewest uses the fibre optic cable.

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                    24.08.2002 01:38
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                    • "Staff clueless"

                    Our box keeps breaking, the remote barely ever works, phoning Telewest for ANYTHING is tiresome because no departments have any idea what any others do nor which office covers which area and when we lost reception completely once they told us the soonest they could get an engineer round was a week later. These blunders are nothing compared to what they are capable of. My turbulent relationship with Telewest began when I moved into an area covered by them and decided I wanted cable TV. I contacted them a couple of times before arranging an installation date. A heavy Internet user, I placed an order for their Blueyonder Internet service and the TV package also, the guy was very helpful and informative and a date was set for installation. The gentlemen (contractors) arrived on the agreed date at the correct time and commenced work immediately. It can’t have been much more than an hour later they had already laid a cable under my driveway, up the side of my house, through the wall, into a box in my lounge. Then the headaches began. The men informed me that the cables to which they had intended to attach my house to were not there. They would need to be run from the junction round the corner down to my house. Obviously a little disappointed I asked how long that would take; “Oh we don’t do it, it’ll need to be done by installations, should take no more than 10 days.” he said. Two weeks later, again at the correct time, the same men returned to finish the job. Or so I thought. “You’re not going to like this sir, they still have not run the cables through.” This really annoyed me because not only had Telewest not done the work, they had wasted my Saturday by sending back two men who had no chance of being able to complete the job. This happened again a few weeks later. After almost 2 months, a stack of phone calls and 4 installation attempts I a
                    ctually had a working cable box in my house. I thanked the men and asked where my Internet connection was. “Oh we don’t do that sir, you’ll have to arrange Internet installation separately.” Although I felt sure I already had ordered it, I accepted this and phoned Telewest up to order it again. I was told by the representative that I was not in a Telewest area. When I insisted I already had Telewest and he’d investigated he told me that whilst I was covered by Telewest cable I was not covered by Telewest Internet. Obviously I then got very angry and bashed my head against the brick wall that is Telewest customer services for a few minutes before I was eventually told that my exchange (or whatever they call it) was still analogue and needed to be upgraded to digital to allow Internet access. When I asked when that would be he said, “Don’t know, some time this year!” A few months later we got a nice letter from Telewest welcoming us to Broadband Internet and explaining that our area was now covered by Telewest Internet and all we needed to do was phone this number to take advantage of the future today etc. Like a mug that loves being pushed to blood-vessel popping rage, I phoned the number. “Sorry, your area is not covered, that letter was sent in error.” When I asked, just to punish myself, when my area would be covered; “Some time in the next 12 months.” Obviously I was really enjoying the, quite staggering, incompetence of Telewest by this time so when they sent through details of their next offer I jumped at the chance to be kicked in the face again. This time it was for a new telephone tariff, pay a few pounds a month extra rental and get un-metered local calls. I rang them (for a laugh) and asked about the service, specifically I wanted to know if LO-CALL (0845/0345) numbers were included (so I could at least reduce the cost of my modem based internet use)
                    . Yes the guy assured me to which I responded with a “great, sign me up”. The guy assured me it was effective immediately so on hanging up the phone I disconnected my modem from my BT line, plugged into Telewest and began surfing. The next day I got worried. Worried that I’d trusted Telewest. I got this supernatural urge to phone Telewest to confirm that the Internet call I made the previous evening was in fact free. I don’t know whether I was surprised or not when I was told “No, the package does not include 0345/0845 numbers. You must have been misinformed” Absolutely livid, I ordered the guy to cancel the service, to which he replied that he couldn’t do that - I had to keep it, and pay for it, for at least a month. I informed him in no uncertain terms that I certainly did not, and would refuse to pay for it when the bill came. He then stated that if I did that Telewest would register a default against me with a credit reference agency. Desperate to choke something, anything, I told the guy that we’d forget the trivial matter of the phone tariff and move on to the far more important matter of cancelling my entire Telewest service and exactly when in the next 10 minutes he’d get the contractors back round my house to remove the cable, everything associated with it and in a direct line of site of it. He put me on hold and when he came back he said that, on this ONE occasion Telewest would be willing to cancel the tariff early and refund the cost of it to my account as, you’re gonna love this, “a good will gesture!” It’s been nearly two years now since I first contacted them and have now completely given up phoning them. I have actually used four other cable companies in my time and although I would say they all fall way short of being good companies, Telewest is by far worst. Avoid them at all costs.

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                      07.07.2002 07:27
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                      I don't expect many readers will take into account my thoughts regarding Telewest's products and customer services as I am currently employed by them and have been for over 4 years now. Before you click on your back arrow to disregard my opinion, I would just like to point out my opinions are not biased. Although I know you will be thinking otherwise, however I don't care - so I shall proceed with my NON-BIASED thoughts. I have been a customer of Telewest's from the nappy stages, when Telewest first emerged so here are my step by step opinions. 1. POINT OF SALE: I had just moved into a new flat and decided to try out Telewest and put to the test their wonderful products I was hearing so much about. The girl on the phone in our Telesales dept was very pleasant and took the time out to tell me what TV and telephone packages were available. I found Telewest's rates to be very competitive and a considerable amount cheaper than BT's, therefore I decided to go ahead with the sale. 2. INSTALLATION: The technicians arrived in time for their cups of tea and biscuits. It took the technicians less than an hour to provide me with TV and telephone, there was no mess and I was given full instructions on how to operate the TV....SUCCESS!! 3. 1st BILL: I received my first bill 4 weeks after my installation, as explained by the initial sales rep there was my first months service charge and a month in advance. I decided to set up a direct debit, resulting in £1 discount being applied to my bill every month. And last of all.... NUMBER 4. CUSTOMER SERVICES: I have never had many dealings with customer services (well from a customers point of view) apart from the odd fault here and there. I have always found the operator to be courteous, polite and eager to help. So there you go - I have had a pleasant time with telewest - have never had any hassles, problems etc, etc (I cant say that fo
                      r British Gas though, however that's another story). And now things are even better, as I get my high speed internet, telephone and digital TV FREE OF CHARGE, now you cant beat a price like that eh!!!!)

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                        04.07.2002 23:56
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                        Ouch - this is really going to hurt a lot! The op I am about to write is quite possibly one of the most painful things I am ever going to write, not in a physical sense, but more in line of a spiritual an mental one. Some of you may liken this to the film “Jerry Maguire”, i.e the rantings of a an employee who has become tired and grown wary of the way his employer has treated it’s customers. Maybe it is inspired by the fact of the ever looming 30th birthday (aargh! crisis! LOL!). More possibly realistic however is the fact that I am one of a few people who actually give a sh*t about the way my company treats it’s customers. Yes – I do work for Telewest. And yes, I do actually give a damn about it! I have read several reviews on different sites regarding Telewest. Some good, most of them bad. To be perfectly blunt, for those of you who have written anything negative about the service/customer service you have received from Telewest YOU ARE DEAD RIGHT! For those of you who don’t know, Telewest Broadband (as it is now known) is a provider of Digital TV, telephone & internet. I have worked for them for very nearly 6 years (yes, that is 6 YEARS!) so I think I am in a pretty good position to pass comment, on what was once a good company to work for, but more importantly for you the consumer, a company that you are happy to do business with and receive a good service from. The majority of issues that you, the consumer, have with Telewest as a company fall into two main categories, Customer Service and Fault Repair. These are the two I’m going to discuss, having worked in both departments, as the majority of issues customers have seem to create themselves from these two categories. CUSTOMER SERVICE/BILLING Where do you start? To be blunt, it is a shambles. How many of you faithful subscribers out there have had to sit and wait in a queue for 10, 20, 30 minutes or
                        more waiting in vain for an operator to actually answer your call? This is of course after trawling through the “ please press option 432 “ to have your enquiry dealt with? Then you get passed to an entirely department!!! How annoying is that? If it is any consolation it is just as annoying for the operator who finally ends up with that particularly disgruntled customer (and quite rightly so for the customer I will add) who gets it in the neck from the customer. Why does this happen you may ask yourself? Simple. Poor information from poorly trained staff. Plain and simple. The training and recruitment process is, at best, poor. Too many staff are employed in an attempt to get “bums on seats”. Virtually anyone (and I do mean anyone) could get a job working for this company. Problem is that so many staff leave for the simple fact that they cant hack the job. They think it’s going to be a doddle. And so the recruitment starts again, a never ending vicious circle. In the meantime the poor customers are treated to a shoddy service by incompetent staff who really shouldn’t be there, or don’t care, or both. Maybe if a bit more emphasis went into the whole recruitment/training process then the customer service side would be a whole better. Having contacted several different call centres myself in my life, banks, shopping etc, it seems that Telewest leaves a lot to be desired in terms of customer service. Training is all it boils down to. But it’s not all the general staff who are to blame. Most of the manager I have ever worked with in the many years I have been here cannot even do the job that their staff actually do, so how the hell can they assist and coach staff to improve their customer service skills? Some of the training officer themselves leave a lot to be desired and that’s being polite. The end result? YOU, THE CUSTOMER, getting fed up and going elsewhere with your business. FAULTS/REPAIR <
                        br>Oh my god! Where the hell would you start with this one? Any of you who have had a service from Telewest at any point in your life will have had a fault. For those who haven’t, all I can say is YOU LUCKY B*STADS! The cable network has to be one of the most flawed systems ever in existence. This is not however unique to Telewest. Ask the vast majority of NTL customers, or any other cable company, and you will hear the same response. The whole fact of the matter is that it is VERY flawed. I can say this for the very simple fact that having had SKY/BT in the past NOT ONCE did I ever have to call them up to report a fault of any nature. Was I just lucky? Hardly. If I had £1 for every customer I have ever spoken to who has said to me “ I never had this problem with SKY/BT” then I really would be a very rich man. So why do you all have to suffer with these faults? Again, a very simple explanation. Not enough research. The technology was not “future proof”, there was no forward planning. The digital TV service was launched at a time when the company was so far behind SKY it had to launch the service for fear of being left even further behind of it’s main rival. This is the reason that so many of you suffered when you subscribed to the much-hyped Cable digital TV service when it was launched over 2 years ago. Ok, it is a lot better now, I’ll not argue that point. Not every service is totally 100% flawless. If it was, we would have no job to do. But really, did the paying public have to endure such a shoddy service? No wonder customers made their own decision and voted with their feet and went elsewhere. I am a customer like everybody else. I am also a human being, and refuse to put up with poor, poor service. Why should you? And don’t even attempt to request a technician to call out. If your lucky it will be a day or two. The norm and harsh reality is that anything between 5-7 days is much more appropriate. S
                        our grapes I hear you shout! Well, actually, no it’s not. Telewest has had a lot of bad press over recent months. Redundancies announced, a dramatically fallen share price. Most companies go through that at some stage of their business, it is not unusual. Look at NTL, they had to recently restructure their finances/debt to avoid “going under”. ITV Digital unfortunately did not have that luxury and went into liquidation. Before them it was ON-Digital. Anybody see a pattern here? Telewest’s biggest hurdle to overcome is to vastly improve not only its’ product but it’s customer service. Ask any successful company one of their “keys to success” and they will give you one answer – good customer service. Why? Good service = loyal customers = more customers = better profits. It’s not a difficult equation to understand. I said at the beginning of this op that I do give a damn, and I do. I actually enjoy working for this company. It does actually do a great many things. The Broadband Internet service is, on the whole, excellent, and has won many awards across the board. Well done! One good product does not make a good company however. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most intelligent and customer-focused staff I have ever met, only too willing to help not just customers but also colleagues. Unfortunately there are many poor staff who just don’t care, managers who just don’t know, and products that are not 100% effective. Maybe someone will take note of my plea, somewhere high up in the heavens. Maybe, and only maybe, then all of the loyal customers will finally get the type of service that you not only deserve but should expect……until that time, I shall continue to fight the good fight and make sure that the customers I deal with do get the kind of service that I would expect. regards Paul © 2002-07-04

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                          01.06.2002 20:45
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                          As an ex ITVdigital customer who can't have a satellite dish my only option was Telewest. Digital is still 2 years away in my area, so I had the analogue system installed. The actual fitting was fine (£40), but I began to have doubts when I saw the cable box. It looks like something from the dark ages. Small and ugly with a green back-lit LCD screen. The back-light doesn't go off even if the box is switched off, which means my bedroom is bathed in green at night. There's no Scart connection and no audio outs (fab if you have an amp). This isn't high technology. The reception is unimpressive, worse than through an ariel, mainly due to cross-channel interference. Now for the actual channels. I went for the Max package, which looked okay on paper. Unfortunately you don't get the full channels. Paramount Comedy is shared with Nickelodeon, Trouble with Bravo, UK Food with UK Drama and Cartoon Network with TCM. I haven't got children so I don't want the kiddie channels, but that's the daytime viewing that I get. Why they can't get rid of some of the minority channels like, Rai Uno, Bloomsberg, Bid-up and QVC (this is on 2 frequencies) and screen more popular channels 24/7 is anybody's guess. Worst of all is E4. I was looking forward to watching this year's Big Brother through the day, but Telewest in their wisdom only broadcast E4 between 4pm and 4am. At 4am the signal dies and the Telewest info page is displayed. What makes this even more frustrating is that foreign language channels like Rai Uno, and the shopping channels are broadcast all day. Also on E4 some programmes are sent out in widescreen (not letterbox) which means on a 4/3 TV the picture is distorted. This service is incredibly amateurish, I presume there's a bunch of monkeys running it somewhere. My contract means that I'm stuck with this awfulness for a year, although I'm reducing my package to the minimum.
                          After that I'll be having it uninstalled.

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                            09.05.2002 02:54

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                            • "Not alot of sky channels available"

                            A good service that is being constantly upgraded and changed - Advantages: Redesigned service, Volume button now available!, Press red button service starting in 1st of June - Disadvantages: No help available, No digital text available, Not alot of sky channels available

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                            02.05.2002 21:00
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                            We used to have ITV Digital, but last year we decided to change to Telewest or Yorkshire Cable as it used to be known as. We use Telewest for the television, telephone and for the internet. I'm writing about the television this time though. With Telewest, you get a smartbox and a remote control. The smart box has your viewing card inside it, which you should not remove. The remote control uses 3 AAA batteries. It is quite a long remote but very easy to use. With the remote, you can change the channel, book films on line, send emails and many more things. One thing you can not do with this remote though is turn the volume up or down, so you have to use your normal television remote to do that instead. There are 4 different television packages to choose from. These are:- Starter Package Essential Package Essential Plus Package Supreme Package All four packages have the base channels like BBC1, BBC2 etc, lifestyle channels, music channels, factual channels and entertainment channels. We have the Supreme Package which has loads and loads of channels. We chose this package as we watch quite a few different channels which only this package had. The prices now for these channels are:- Starter Package = £11.49 Essential Package = £18.50 Essential Plus Package = £21.50 Supreme Package = £25.50 These prices include the television and telephone. If you have both then you just pay your phone calls and not a line rental, so we have them both as it works out cheaper in the long run. These prices are what you pay monthly. It is best to pay by direct debit every month, otherwise they charge you an extra £2 on top of the prices that I have just mentioned. We pay ours by direct debit. As well as having all the different television programmes, you can also listen to the radio on your television as well. They have radio stations like Radio 1, Pulse, galaxy and ma
                            ny more. There are plenty to choose from and something for everyone's tastes. Favourite Channel Option - This allows you to choose your favourite channels and arrange them in number order, so that your favourite channel is first. This makes it easier to go to the channels that you want to go to. At A Glance - This allows you to see what is on and when. You can also see what is on the next day as well. This is a good idea, so that you do not miss any of your programmes. TV On Demand - Here is where you can watch movies, sports and special events. All these you pay seperately for. The movies did cost £2.99 each but have now just gone up to £3.50 each. Not sure what the other's cost, as never watched any of them. I have seen concerts on here under special events and they have been about £9.99 each. You can order all of these through your remote. You just choose what you want to watch and at what time. You get a reminder on your television screen that your film is about to start, so that you do not foget about it. You have a pin number to book these so people without this number can not order any of these. There is a choice of 20 movies a day, so there will be something for everyone. They are always adding new channels and when they are added they go to the end of the rest of the channels that you have. I have seen new music channels added and cartoon channels too. Email - You can email anyone who has an email address. The emails you send are free so you can send as many as you want to. You can buy a keyboard to type your emails and this costs about £15. If you do not want to buy the keyboard, you can type your emails with your remote control. We use the remote control as it's just as easy. As well as all the channels you get with each package, there are extra one's that you can buy. These include:- Premium Channels - Sky premier, Movie Max, Sky Cinema and more. Each of these have dif
                            ferent prices, ranging from £6.00 to £10.00 each a month. There are also adult pay per view, which are available after 10pm. These cost £5.00 each, and no I have not ordered any of them before you ask lol. For more information on Telewest, you can call them on 0800 953 11 33 By calling this number, you always end up waiting in a queue for at least 15 minutes before anyone picks up the telephone. If you do not want to phone them, then go on there website at www.telewest.co.uk So for anyone wanting digital television, then I recommend Telewest. That is if you can get it in your area though.

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