How not to do customer service

Although they taking a knocking on the forums these days, I have been with Pipex for some time (long before they were bought by Tiscali), and have been pretty satisfied with the quality of my connection, if not their customer service. A couple of years ago, I also paid to put mum on Pipex, so I had broadband when I was visiting her (of course, she used it as well!).

As we are selling the house, and I am not going to be back there much now, I cancelled her account at the beginning of October. I was told it would take 30 days for the account to be closed, so when I saw a payment go through in October, I did a mental shrug.

But today I received another of their “We’re pleased to tell you that your bill is now ready to view.” emails, pointing me at an online PDF. This was one bill too many.

The first problem was that I wasn’t actually able to access the online bill; because the account the bill was for had been cancelled. I did check, and the username/password no longer worked.

So then I phoned them, using the wonderful Say No to 0870 website to find a non-premium number. I got through to a call centre, and explained the problem. The customer support person went through the usual security questions, and then asked something that amazed me:

“Many of our customers are setting up an account security password. Would you like to do this?” she read from her script.

“Um, what’s the point, the account is *supposed* to be cancelled.”

A pause. “OK”, she said.

After a while she confirmed that the account had been closed on November 9, to which I asked, again, “So why am I being notified of a bill?”

It was then she actually looked at the bill for me, something I couldn’t do.

Despite the wording of the email, it wasn’t a bill. It was a credit.

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