Premier Talk (Transparent Telecom and other names) [Removed by ForumTeam] rant/warning

kensiko
kensiko Posts: 278 Forumite
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edited 18 December 2020 at 11:11AM in Phones & TV
Hello all

Currently sat hear livid as to how these companies can keep on doing this 'phone slamming'.  How do they continue to get away with it? 
A story from recent personal experience which may resonate with others, although it seems we have got lucky this time.

Recently my elderly father got a phone call from Premier Talk.
He is usually quite good with calls and ignores them but this one hooked him by them saying 'Premier BT' and then going through the usual script.  He feels foolish but ended up giving his bank details.

Fortunately he rang me immediately and after a quick search on them it turns out they are indeed utter you-know-whats.
I phoned them to cancel anything he had just done in no uncertain terms and asked for a call back (to me not my Dad) from a manager to confirm this was done.
Instead they rang my Dad the very next day to ask why he cancelled so he told them he had had second thoughts to which the call was ended with 'no problem'.
That afternoon I get a text from BT (fortunately I get them and not my Dad) which said they were sorry to lose us as customers and to contact them if we want to change our mind.

Ringing BT with my Dad it became apparent it was an actual official transfer request!  BT have said they have cancelled it but now does this happen?
When I cancelled they said it was within '14 day cooling off period' and nothing would have happened until then anyway.
But one day later they seem to have ignored all cancel requests and also initiated the line transfer.  After ONE DAY?
I rang them to let them know how bad the company is and am still waiting for a mangers call, which I assume I will never receive.

As I said my dad has been lucky but this could have ended up in a very expensive contract for a few years very easily.
Is there anything that can be done?  I assume not as looking at Companies house this has been going on for years anyway:
https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/kZQ9UMxo3pZEGPZwo5aiIO078XM/appointments
https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/AhJYrqiMUbOq-dv6g7lxExkVdNs/appointments
Only other place I could find with any info was a news article from this year that mentions the directors name:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/am-getting-bills-phone-company-21795606

Accoring to Ofcom (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/problems/how-to-avoid-being-slammed) they state one of the rules:
"set out the information that new customers must receive both before and after buying a service (but before the service has actually begun). This includes information about the key terms and conditions of the service;"

This company obviously didn't do this.
Do I write a letter to them which will be ignored and destroyed?
Do I bother complaining to Ofcom?

All the best and thanks for reading if you got this far

Comments

  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Well complain to Ofcom at least does something .
  • kensiko
    kensiko Posts: 278 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Photogenic First Post
    JJ_Egan said:
    Well complain to Ofcom at least does something .
    Agreed, I decided to do that.

    I will update this post if I hear anything.
  • Are you a nominated person on your Dad's account to be able to speak for him and deal with his account? If not then neither company should be paying you any heed whatsoever - in fact doing so makes them in breach of GDPR.
  • kensiko
    kensiko Posts: 278 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Photogenic First Post
    edited 17 November 2020 at 8:54AM
    Are you a nominated person on your Dad's account to be able to speak for him and deal with his account? If not then neither company should be paying you any heed whatsoever - in fact doing so makes them in breach of GDPR.
    We do have POA set up for both parents but as yet have not needed to enforce it.  BT have had my name 'down on record' for a few years not via official POA but after my Dad has given explicit permission to speak on his behalf.  Each time I call them I always make sure they know who they are speaking to and they confirm my name are on the notes.

    Premier talk have nothing as such on their notes but they were fine dealing with me for the first cancellation, knowing exactly who I was.  I did give them the benefit of doubt for calling my Dad back to confirm the cancellation the following day, assuming they may need to speak directly with him and thought that was the end of the matter.  At that point, he did also ask for any future calls to be directed to me rather than himself but I have heard nothing since (via phone calls).  Unfortunately after both cancellation calls the line transfer was still going ahead.

    I have 2 replies so far, one from Ofcom and one from Premier Talk.  The Premier Talk reply is just advising someone will look into the case this week and get back to me.  The Ofcom reply stated "Although Ofcom cannot become involved in individual disputes, please be assured that your complaint has been formally registered with us and will be used to help us continue our monitoring of the communications industry. If we identify that a provider is in breach of our regulations, we can look to take action that we deem appropriate."  They were also very helpful in pointing out their regulations:
    "Under Ofcom regulations, service providers must clearly identify themselves to potential customers when marketing their services and should not misrepresent themselves as, or part of, another service provider."  And :
    "Also, under our regulations, the gaining provider must allow a customer to cancel without penalty from the point of sale up until completion of the transfer period, this is usually defined as 10 working days. Failure to cancel a transfer of a fixed line service at the consumer’s request, resulting in the transfer going ahead is what is known in the industry as slamming."

    I believe it is this that will allow companies to continue to do business like this.  It just so happens that from the initial phone call being 'point of sale' was exactly 10 days before the date of line swap we received from BT.  This must be the cooling off period so it seems they can initiate the transfer at that point.  I have read other reports of the company involved sending welcome packs with no postage on, possibly so they take longer than the 10 days so you don't have time to fully understand what has been signed up for.  But this could be nonsense, so will be interesting to see if my Dad receives anything like that.

    As long as the transfer in cancelled with no costs this will be put down as just an event we can learn from.  I can't see the transfer going ahead now as that would definitely be classed as slamming as both companies have been informed the switch is not wanted.    I don't think they will allow me to listen to the first recording but it would be interesting to hear it as my Dad did think they were something to do with BT.  Whether this was  a misunderstanding on his part or if they chose to put their company across like that, we will probably never know.

    I will update when I hear back from Premier Talk.

  • GyBMSE
    GyBMSE Posts: 2 Newbie
    First Post
    edited 18 December 2020 at 11:11AM
    Kensiko - I can't yet post much here as I only just signed up specifically to pass on and share my experience!! 8 weeks of investigations and I believe I have joined the dots and found 15 years of systematic and habitual pre-meditated abuse of the system where these [Removed by ForumTeam] artists can effectively, operate with impunity.

    I would like to say a  LOT more but not sure what I'm allowed to post yet! :-(
  • GyBMSE
    GyBMSE Posts: 2 Newbie
    First Post
    edited 18 December 2020 at 11:13AM
    A-ha! It might have just been embedded links!!!  Anyway - here goes (sans links)

    Kensiko - We (My 78yr old Dad) got slammed on 1st Sept by yet another unscrupulous "Telecomms Provider" (CP) !!! :-(  From mid September, over the following 8 weeks, the more I looked, the more I found. Even Alice would have been shocked at how deep This rabbit hole went!

    Citizens Advice (CA) were useless. "Oh, this sounds like a B2B situation. Sorry, we can't help." To which my reply was "As you're Trading Standards' (TS) secretary, HOW ELSE Do you expect me to inform TS???" Nevertheless, I persisted and nicely instructed them to pass on my reports (and updates!) to TS. (BTW - I've only ever had a call back from our local TS office - NEVER the TS in Kent.)

    Ofcom were informed and kept updated to ALL my findings. But they will not tell you IF they are or Are NOT investigating complaints. They do say that they do not investigate individual complaints, but they also say that the "monitor and regulate" the industry.

    The CP that [Removed by ForumTeam] us also broke GDPR - we can't confirm how they got hold of our bank details, but they passed them on to a 3rd party (a Direct Debit agency) who set up a DD and took over £330 out of our account. The CP also failed in the statutory obligation to respond to 2 - Yes, TWO - Subject Access Requests (SAR's) within a calendar month. At that time, the CP did not have T's & C's / Complaints Procedure / GDPR Policy on its web site. (They do now though! Funny that!)

    The last guy I spoke with at the ICO said ... basically ... They can only investigate compliant companies that breach compliancy. ("Alright then. I AM the Messiah!!")

    And a reply from the Insolvency Service received just a few days ago informed me that "It is not appropriate to use the powers available to the Insolvency Service to investigate the company at this time."

    Action Fraud only seemed to be interested in whether we got the £330 back or not.

    A summary of my findings after 8 weeks and hundreds of hours research, phone calls, etc.....  All the info I found is in the public domain - I think I just joined the dots after putting together a timeline.

    The catalyst was a message on who-called.co.uk mentioning Kent-based True Telecom Ltd (TT) (details easily found from Companies House). They were investigated by the ICO and by Ofcom, and fined £80,000 and £300,000 respectively. HMRC ordered a compulsory winding up of TT as it wanted £723,000. The two directors from that company (which is still in liquidation due to an "unknown position" regarding the directors loan accounts - to the tune of several million!!!) appear to have had previous experience within dodgy CP world. Select Calls Ltd is another company where a 3rd director seems to have had some involvement - you may recognise a name with that one if you have a look at CH records!

    One TT director had an elder brother. Ofcom investigated him & his company - Just Telecomms UK Ltd - back in 2005, and fined him. In 2007, BBC Money Program featured him. He was also involved in a few other companies too, possibly implicating a few other directors.

    Back to the second TT director. TT ceased trading on 1st Feb 2019. 2 weeks later, his parents were appointed directors of the CP that slammed us. The 3rd director worked at another company investigated and fined by the ICO for sending 3.3million text messages (although I suspect a rogue employee with a memory stick could have been to blame!!) and a subsiduary company (office right nextdoor!!) were fined £35,000 by Ofcom for their marketing practices but also SLAMMING.

    I found at least a dozen companies implicated, all with the same few directors, and do you think I've had any success with ANY OF THE regulatory-type organisations???

    Absolutely useless and toothless. I'm fuming, livid, incensed, and - possibly the worst, utterly disappointed in all the "authorities" apparent disregard for the sheer volume of suffering - financial, emotional, and mental - these b'strds are continuing to cause. And these CP's know it - they can effectively Carry On with impunity.  It's disgusting.

    What I believe I have found is tantamount to 15 years of habitual, calculated, persistent, organised crime, and no one can be bothered.

    FYI - Look at Transparent Telecom on Trust Pilot. You'll be shocked. Then, search for other CP names - you'll begin to wish you'd taken the Blue pill. (reference to the Matrix - Not Numan lol)

    Needless to say that I am seriously contemplating sending a short (Haha! Not really.) email to BBC Watchdog.


  • kensiko
    kensiko Posts: 278 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker Photogenic First Post
    Hi GyBMSE

    Thanks for your reply, it's really no surprise to read a similar story to ours.  We just got lucky as I was able to stop this before it went too far so nothing was lost.  I'm sorry to hear about your problems.

    It is strange as you say that the authorities cannot do anything about these companies with very similar directors who seem to set up new companies every other year after closing the previous ones, all doing the same type of business.

    I knew already about some of the things you posted and it proves it's very easy to spot these things if you just take a very brief look in the public domain.  You don't have to be Sherlock.

    As expected I haven't heard back from Premier Talk (Transparent Telecom) since they promised they would contact me some time this week.  You never know it may be tomorrow (Friday) but I won't hold my breath.

    Good luck with your journey!

    Kensiko
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