Hello there, I am Dave Carter, Marketing Manager at Talk (www.talksense.com), and I just found this site and would like to put my head above the parapit and post a few general comments in light of the reviews here [better late than never]. If readers could just suspend the choruses of "he would say that wouldn't he", I would like to address a few of the comments made here in as helpful, objective and honest way as I can. Firstly, any Talk customers with queries, gripes or otherwise should contact our Customer Service team straight away. You won't be stuck in endless "hold" and "press one for this.." queues and we have knowledgable, fully trained advisors to help you. Secondly, everyone can save money with Talk, but it suits people with moderate to high phone bills best. As a guide, people spending £120 per quarter and above (inc. line rental) will benefit most from the service. If you only make the odd international call then Talk is probably not for you. At the last count, our customers were saving an average of 55% compared to BT standard rates - and many are saving significantly more. How much you will save depends on your call profile. Check out the rates on our website www.talksense.com The essence of Talk is that the product seemlessly uses multiple carriers to deliver the lowest call rates. This also means that if a network fails or is congested we can switch the call to another route with ease, I am not aware of any other residntial service that offers this. Cheap rates are worthless if you can't complete the call. Finally, in nearly all cases we don't set call rates, we track the lowest rates of the market leaders and match them. Yes we have a 3p routing charge on each call to run the service but this is levied per call and accounts for a very small percentage of the total phone bill. In our opinion Talk clearly remains the easiest and best
way to cut high residential phone bills. (I would say that wouldn't I) Thanks for reading.
I was one of their first customers - initially attracted by their innovative pricing - guranteed cheapest rates from a range of resellers - and no minimum call charge or setup charge. However the service has become more expensive as Talk have levied a 3p surcharge on all calls and also a £1 per month billing charge (£2 by credit card). Talksense provides an innovative service as it routes over the cheapest provider for every call. This gives the cheapest call costs from about 15 different providers. This has advantages over other Least Cost routers (such as Alpha Telecom and One.tel) if you ring different international destinations. However Talksense now levy a 3 pence surcharge to every call. This means short calls can be as expensive as BT's Standard tariff (Talk guarantee no call will be more expensive). Therefore short local and national calls can be more expensive than BT Together packages. The box is also quite expensive at £25 and there is a £1 per month surcharge. However it is worth noting that you can over-ride the box by using Carriers 1xxx codes. This is useful to guarentee connection where if the default carrier doesn't connect the call (alternative option to using BT). Talksense advise against this but you will still billed at the cheapest rates by them. Customer Services - generally knowledgeable and helpful. They are also fairly innovative adopters of email and internet based billing (you can view your bills online). However I have been overbilled a few times - calls have been tagged as "international mobile" and surcharged at 17 pence per minute. The credits for these calls have been slow in coming. Online bills are also only uploaded to their website after a few months and therefore are only useful as records. In summary I would recommend this if you make a lot of international calls to different countries or don't want to spend time shopping around to find the cheapest rates. Howe
ver the cost savings are less than they used to be (due to the 3p surcharge) _________________________________________________ MAY 2003 UPDATE I have now cancelled my account with Talksense as I am dialling internationally less often and hence my savings over BT are minimal, due to the routing charge of 3p meaning that UK calls are more expensive than other providers. Talksense have also implemented a 4p minimum call charge in addition to the routing charge. Some reviewers asked about call quality. Generally I have found this good internationally and since Talk "signs" you up to a range of Indirect Access providers you can always override the Talksense box routing by prefixing your call with an alternative 1xxx IDA number before the call. A list can be found on Oftel's website at http://www.oftel.gov.uk/ind_info/numbering/s10.xls . Note that Talksense only use a limited range of providers and therefore some experimentation with different is required to route the call. Therefore I would still recommend Talksense, but only if you spend more than £20 per month calling different international destinations. If you only call one destination, e.g. USA, you are better off shopping around for a provider who does not impose a minimum call or routing (setup) charges.
I was initially attracted by talks excellent rates for local & internatonal calls for BT customers. They supply you with a talk box which connects to the existing phone and you can make your calls as normal from the particular phone. The talk box works out at about £25 including p&p your calls are routed through the box & not charged by BT although you can still use 1471 & 141 but beware when you dial 141 before your call it would be going through BT & not Talk & therfore pay BT charges for the particular call as I found out. You recieve 2 bills one from BT for the line rental & one from Talk for the call charges plus £1 added each month to the call charges if you pay by direct debit the charge is slightly higher for credit cards, I'm sure these are the only 2 ways to make payment or cheapest ways I think. They've had a special offer for about 6 months(still there), which results in your talk unit being free all you have to do is spend £30 or more in one month on calls & they refund £10 that month & then once again when your call charges reach £10. But my own experience with Talk was a strange one although I was being charged less for all the calls I was making more of them which I did find out when I recieved the phone bill it was about twice as much as BT with me making international calls & local calls thinking I could talk for longer as it was cheaper & having friends around who wanted to make a "quick international call" as i'd bragged about how cheap my international calls were. I still thought i'd stick with them & try an be careful which was easier said then done but the final straw came when I made an international call from a phone not connected to my talk unit & recieved a hefty bill from BT for the call charges as the calls made from any other phone in the house not connected to the talk unit sends calls via BT (the talk unit only connects one phone.) So I could either
buy 2 talk units which I was'nt going to as only the first unit comes free or leave so thats what I did back to good old BT. Now when I want to make an international call I go out & buy a card I know it's a hassle but it's saved me alot of money, & for local calls BT rates arent that bad.
Talk... promises users call charges of up to 50% cheaper than BT by means of a 'magic box' which you plug between your telephone and existing BT socket. According to their literature, the Talk... box finds the lowest rate for every call you make. I signed up for a free box during a special offer, though normally they cost £25. After initial teething problems (making local calls), the system is fairly transparent. You can faintly hear the number you dial being redialled which puts around 3 seconds onto the connection time, but that is the only drawback. The bill you receive (supposedly monthly, though I have only had one since signing up in July) compares the Talk... charge to that which BT would have charged. And, if their comparisons are accurate, most calls turn out cheaper, in particular National and International. The one exception is (what a surprise) 0845 (ISP) numbers, which appear to have a negligible reduction at weekends only. Unless your ISP still provides geographical local connections, I would not recommend signing up purely to reduce your internet call charges. Another gripe is that as from 1st October 2000, Talk... have introduced a minimum call charge of 2p. One of the reasons I subscribed was that there was orignally no minimum call charge. With BT, every time you dial a local number and talk for just two seconds, you are still charged about 5p for the privilege. Initially with Talksense, such calls were costing me just 0.6 of a penny - saving nearly 5p for every "almost but not quite" dial-up connection to the internet. The new 2p charge nips this in the bud. However, it is still under half the price of the BT minimum charge. Another minor complaint is not being able to view my bill online at Talksense.com as suggested on the site and in their publicity. The website simply will not recognise my account details. E-mails to customer support on this matter have not produc
ed any replies. But you can't really lose. You have to spend at least the minimum charge of five pounds a month which would only be a restriction to the telepathic among us. And there is a certain pleasure to paying money to an enterprise other than BT for phone calls. Just don't expect 0845 numbers to be much cheaper and recklessly spend weekday hours online like I did... Oops!