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Plusnet to John Lewis broadband rant

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Plusnet to John Lewis broadband rant

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Broadband & Internet Access
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Broadband & Internet Access
Just needed somewhere to rant as it's another hour before I can ring Customer Services.

So, as Plusnet wouldn't offer me a retenion deal I decided to move my line rental and broadband to John Lewis, whose broadband is still provided by Plusnet and who share the same offices and staff. Should be a simple process I thought. WRONG.

So far my switch was delayed by several days without explanation. Whilst John Lewis did tell me there was going to be a delay, they never contacted me with a date when the switch would happen. Luckily Plusnet did.

On the day of the switch nothing happened, first call to John Lewis who told me it did happen but that they had forgotten to do something their end. This was done straight away and end of matter I thought.WRONG.

I then proceeded to get an email invoicing me line rental for the period I had paid upfront. Also Plusnet tell me that they have only been informed about line switch not broadband and that they will be charging me for standalone broadband.

Second phone call to JL Customer Services, who after listening put me on hold and passed me over to someone else, where I had to go through the saga again, they initially tried to tell me the second charge was an activation fee, before admitting that it was there mistake and they would refund the second charge. At this point I also told him what Plusnet had said about the broadband, but I could tell he was ignoring this.

So I come to this morning where Plusnet have emailed me to say they are taking broadband payment from my account for service.

How can it be so difficult to sort, as I say they share the same offices and staff. To make it even worse I signed up via Topcashback which should have tracked at £50.50 but only tracked at £10.10, so doubt I will ever see that money. Also signed up when the free Google home offer was on, doubt I will ever get that, and as the final insult, today I notice they are now offering the same service for £2.50 a month less.

Anyone think of changing from Plusnet to John Lewis, proceed with caution, and make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the multiple payments they take.


  • J_BJ_B Forumite
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    It all seemed to go swimmingly for me, sorry :o

    Transfer was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but didn't till Friday.
    Plusnet kept working and then, when it cut off, I simply plugged in the JL router (which used all the same cables) and carried on regardless.

    Free Google Home arrived about ten days later which I soon sold

    DD's all worked fine - payments taken by PN and then refunded.

    Rather bizarrely, the JL DD shows up on my bank as JOHN1234 (where 1234 is my account number)
    You would have thought they might have used their full name!!!

  • phillwphillw Forumite
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    MILLIEMOGS wrote: »
    I then proceeded to get an email invoicing me line rental for the period I had paid upfront.

    The same thing happened to me when switching to plus net. It wasn't just an email either, they took the money. Conveniently for them, It seems their billing system doesn't automatically get told to stop taking payments when you pay up front.

    As for the broadband, you need to double check everything you did when you switched (screen shots, notes from phone calls, prices etc). Then make a complaint to john lewis and plusnet, if you don't get anywhere then you need to take your complaint to the ombudsman.
  • HoweverHowever Forumite
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    Milliemogs, you might as well as written my own rant. Exactly the same - in mid February this was. I paid for the service three times over - twice with John-Lewis Broadband and once with PlusNet. The hours spent on the phone! At least I got £45 compensation from John-Lewis Broadband and my (written) complaint, and the requisite refunds from JLB and PlusNet.

    PlusNet couldn't cope with my order to retain my PlusNet email address (at a small cost - it's a standard offering so why should there be a problem?), to the point they deleted my account without warning. I and their agent spent three hours one morning getting it reinstated. My (written) letter of complaint to PlusNet has gone unanswered. I'll review after the next billing date and ask the Ombudsman his views on complaints not even being responded to within the stipulated time.

    More seriously in my mind, my formal (written) letter of complaint to Customer Relations at John Lewis' HQ in London has also gone unanswered. If Customer Relations don't have the manners to reply to a Customer's complaint, then we are at a pretty pass. It makes it worse that it's John Lewis not having the courtesy. I thought they had a good reputation.

    After two months, although everything is working, I am not confident that the situation will remain stable. The one phone bill received so far doesn't make sense but at least it's in my favour. The email account's billing seems to have sunk without trace, again in my favour, but leaving me wondering what's in store.

    What a carry on.
  • matelodavematelodave Forumite
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    I feel your pain - have a shufti at my experience trying to get connected with BT.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
    14 posts
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    Just to update . I did get the Google home and I did, after five phone calls, get the additional direct debits refunded. Still down £40 on cashback though. Have to say four out of the five people I spoke to at customer services were lovely and helpful, but everything just moved at a snail's pace.

    As Plusnet are increasing their prices we are thinking of changing my mum over to John Lewis now, wish me luck!
  • edited 19 August 2018 at 4:21PM
    ChordeilesChordeiles Forumite
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    edited 19 August 2018 at 4:21PM
    This is all painfully familiar.

    As in your case Plusnet claimed they didn't know both my 'phone and broadband were to transfer (although this was very clear to JLB in the same building). They also claimed I was transferring within contract so there would be a fee for months to end of contract. Not true, so I called them and the story was that I had signed up for a further 12 months in a recent "online chat". Happily I had kept the chat transcripts so it was easy to challenge that, but the only recompense for trying to defraud me was an agreement that they would stop trying to defraud me, which doesn't exactly speak well for their ethical standards !

    Probably due to miscommunication between folks at adjacent desks my transfer didn't happen for over a month. And that was just the 'phone, it took a prod to get the broadband swapped a couple of days later, but to be fair they seemed embarrassed the broadband hadn't moved the same day and it was subsequently sorted well.

    Then the billing error. I had of course paid a month up front when signing up. My first bill after that was for two months, one was for the month I had been waiting (i.e. when I wasn't a John Lewis customer), the other was for the following month (that's the one I had already paid for). I actually got someone at JLB to agree this bill was a total nonsense, but it still resulted in a debit to my account a few days later, which still hasn't been rectified over 4 months later ! I've today been offered a free month in respect of this error (actually I just want OUT), but I still didn't see a refund of the wrongly-debited amount to my bank.

    Don't get me started about their website. They have tried to hide the "contact us" section and when you get there it's buggy. Time was you could create a "query" and see a reply, and carry on a conversation by adding a new comment. But it's broken at the moment, no way to add a comment. Another thing that is broken is the ability to download records of called numbers.

    Either they keep on making the same mistakes or else this is a totally dishonest operation.

    One piece of advice I'd offer is always to make complaints in writing (either by recorded delivery or on their website - if you have the patience to find the relevant page). The preferred way of complaining is by telephone (they say) but this gives them the opportunity to NOT record your complaint as a complaint. This makes their complaints statistics look better, but of course it may delay you taking the matter to external arbitration if it wasn't recognised as a complaint at the time.

    I know the way they have behaved means this is a contract I can legally just walk away from, but I just don't trust them not to pull some obnoxious stunt like preventing the transfer of my 'phone number !
  • ChordeilesChordeiles Forumite
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    However wrote: »
    More seriously in my mind, my formal (written) letter of complaint to Customer Relations at John Lewis' HQ in London has also gone unanswered. If Customer Relations don't have the manners to reply to a Customer's complaint, then we are at a pretty pass. It makes it worse that it's John Lewis not having the courtesy. I thought they had a good reputation.
    Yes they did have a good reputation, but that was then, this is now. They are still trading on that good reputation but policies to back it up and continue it into the future are gone now. I have a complaint open with them (nothing to do with broadband) and I received an automated email asking me to rate their response. Well at least that email confirmed they got my complaint, no-one has actually addressed it in any way !

    I did learn on other forums that JL just don't get involved in JL broadband issues. Which says it all about "protecting the brand", really.
  • edited 5 October 2018 at 11:13AM
    ChordeilesChordeiles Forumite
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    edited 5 October 2018 at 11:13AM
    Ok, so I am now very happily gone from John Lewis Broadband. I didn't accept the offer of a "free month" after all my billing problems (the overbilling was more than a month's charges and I was still waiting for that refund), I told them I just wanted to leave, at which point I was offered the opportunity to leave without cancellation charges "as a goodwill gesture". Of course it was more than cheeky to describe this as a "goodwill gesture" when it was my right to be able to walk away without charges if they couldn't bill me according to the contract we had in place. But I didn't quibble because at the time I was very pleased to hear it, as their behaviour up to that point had looked like they were deliberately messing me about. At a time when these folks measure their success partly in customer numbers, I was surprised at the lack of "retention effort", but it did occur to me that they were happy to lose customers that actually check their bills !

    In the event the transfer to a new telecoms supplier (I may explain in a separate post why I had chosen TalkTalk) went very smoothly indeed, but still plenty of weird stuff from the John Lewis Broadband end, like letters telling me when my service would end (it already had) and a final bill that DID include termination charges. In a 44 minute 'phone call to sort out the termination charge issue I finally changed my mind about the idea I was being victimised, and came around to the realisation that on the contractual and billing side they are in a state of chaos. The guy to whom I was speaking did admit "our billing system is in a mess" (now bear in mind that PlusNet are part of BT, whose recent slide from stock-market grace started with an accounting scandal in an Italian subsidiary !).

    And what about the overbilling (debited from my account on 12th April)? Well I received a cheque about three weeks after I had left JLB, i.e. about 25 weeks after I first pointed out the billing error (and they agreed at that time !). I am now promised a further cheque in respect of (most of) my final month with them, of which there was only a couple of days service from JLB, I wonder when that will arrive ?

    As I left I still had some open complaints and "queries". These have continued to be handled using the usual online query system, but that is hidden to me since my account was closed (I can still get to the billing area). To be fair they took this point and I now get emails explaining the reply they just added on the website, but it's usually an email from an address that doesn't accept replies (how annoying is that !) and my only way of progressing these matters is by 'phone.

    Again trying to be fair to them, I had some technical issues whilst with them, eventually sorted out by Openreach. Whilst it's hard to find a good word to say about Openreach, the John Lewis Broadband contribution to this process was always helpful and courteous, so I'm going to take this opportunity to say their technical support is very good (just don't hold your breath waiting for their own website to be sorted out !).
  • edited 5 October 2018 at 11:18AM
    ChordeilesChordeiles Forumite
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    edited 5 October 2018 at 11:18AM
    TalkTalk are consistently top of the "complaints table" published by Ofcom. So why did I go (back) to them after a dismal experience with PlusNet and John Lewis Broadband ?

    Well since I had joined JLB I had become aware of the availabilty of "fibre broadband" at my address, or maybe it's just that I had become aware that the small extra cost of fibre was worth it to me. Apart from the fact that I really wanted to get away from John Lewis Broadband, they had told me that fibre was not available at my address (the comparison sites tell me JLB fibre IS available at my address, but only for new customers - what a way to treat existing customers !).

    Another thing that piqued my interest in fibre was a Vodafone broadband offer that dropped through my letterbox about that time. But a look at the reviews of Vodafone (online reviews, not the Ofcom statistics) soon kicked that idea out of my head. Then the new TalkTalk prices arrived, and they were in the same ball-park. Now I had been with TalkTalk from 2008 to 2017, they never seemed great but I never had real cause to complain. The worst thing they ever did to me was the data theft that occurred from their Indian call centre, even today we get regular calls purporting to be from "TalkTalk technical" wanting access to our computers "so they can sort out our virus issues" - but happily we never fell for that scam. Then, after my experience with PlusNet and JLB, TalkTalk didn't seem bad at all ! I have now learned that TalkTalk's call centres have returned to the UK from India and an online chat I had with them during the sign-up process was a breath of fresh air compared to dealing with TalkTalk's Indian call centres.

    Another thing I really like about TalkTalk is the refreshing lack of "introductory offers". Well, it could be that my price WILL rise after the 18 months "fix", but any deal TalkTalk are advertising to entice new customers is available equally to existing customers (of course this is a policy that could change). This after having been enticed to PlusNet in 2017 by an "intoductory offer" that I didn't even realise was going to end after a year (but of course I was free to leave - and I did).

    The new "WiFi Hub" (nobody calls a modem-router by its proper name, so let's use a totally different name !) is the subject of some boastfulness from TalkTalk. It's a pretty good piece of kit, exceptionally easy to set up for those who don't want to mess with the settings (but exceptionally hard to mess with the settings for those who do !). I think it'll get better after a few few firmware updates, but honestly if I was totally non-technical I'd really appreciate it.

    When I was with TT before I consistently got downdoad speeds of 8 Mbps. That had continued with PlusNet but curiously had dropped to 5 Mbps with John Lewis ! TalkTalk guaranteed me download speeds of 35Mbps with fibre, in the event I consistently get 40 Mbps. And 10 Mbps upload. So now I can realistically backup precious data (encrypted, of course) to the cloud. And I listen to a lot of "internet radio", that is totally "glitch free" these days.
  • ChordeilesChordeiles Forumite
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    So the guy who answered my call when I was protesting about a "final bill" that showed a termination charge assured me that the direct debit would NOT be taken and that the refund I was due would be in the form of a cheque. Happily he confirmed this in an email, too.

    So I cancelled my Direct Debit yesterday.

    Now this morning an email from John Lewis Broadband protesting that my direct debit has been cancelled, and telling me that I must put in place another payment method (debit card).

    I guess this is is all my fault, I should have seen this coming. I had protested about the original April overbilling as soon as the "your account will be debited" email was received, and in that 'phone call not only did the JLB representative agree that the bill was indeed not due at all, but I was assured that the direct debit would not be taken. But it was, and it has taken 25 weeks to get it back.

    What to do now ? I think I'll do nothing and see if they want to take it further !
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