Monday, 25 September 2006

PostHeaderIcon Pipex are bloody useless

Pipex are bloody useless, if you are looking for a broadband supplier you might want to consider this before choosing them.

I've been a Pipex broadband customer for over five and a half years during which time I've been, on the whole, very happy with their service. However it's only during the last couple of months that I've had much dealings with their customer service and all I can say is it sucks.

About a year ago, when ISPs tended to charge based on the line speed and the maximum speed you could get then was 2MB, I looked at upgrading my 1MB connection to 2MB. Oddly it was cheaper at the time to change to their HomeOffice 2000 product with a static IP then it was to upgrade from their Xtreme Solo 1MB to Xtreme Solo 2MB, so that is what I did and that has been the cause of all my recent problems.

Earlier in the year BT upgraded all their exchanges to support up to 8MB (I'm suppose to be able to get 7MB) and most ISP's upgraded their products accordingly. Pipex though have been very slow in this regard; whilst their residential Pipex Max product has been available for a while their business products are still limited to 2MB and they class the HomeOffice product as a business not a residential product.

At the beginning of July I contacted Pipex asking that my service be changed to the Pipex Max product so I could get the 8MB. The Pipex Max product is also cheaper though you don't get the static IP address which I found useful at times but not critical. I was told that I could not change to Pipex Max as it was not possible to regrade from a business account to a residential account, even though they had no problem in doing it the other way around last time. They said the only way to do it would be to cancel my existing broadband and then set it up again on the new product but that this would possibly leave me without service for 7-10 days. I asked them if I'd be better off migrating to another service provider as to do so I would get the 8MB without loss of service and they agreed that I probably would.

A few days later I contacted Pipex asking for a migration code as I'd been looking around and found I could get the same level of service, including the static IP, but at 8MB instead of 2MB from another ISP for over £50 a year less. Pipex weren't keen to lose me as a customer so as an incentive to stay they offered to reduce my monthly subscription by £10 and assured me that they would have an 8MB product I could regrade to within a month or so. I took them up on this offer.

Two months later there was still no sign of any new 8MB products and I hadn't been getting the £10 a month discount they promised me. I contacted Pipex to ask what was going on and was told that I could now regrade to any product and to get back to them after reviewing all their service offerings on their website. I asked what had happened to my £10 discount but didn't get a meaningful answer and haven't had one since and I've mentioned it every time I've spoken to them.

I checked their website and as I thought, no changes to their products but I was told I can now regrade to any product so I asked to be regraded to the Pipex Max product. This was done via email and I had a reply saying I couldn't regrade from HomeOffice to Pipex Max as that was a residential product and my HomeOffice was a business product! Arrrrgh.

Once again I rang them up asking for a migration code, they asked why and so I had to explain the whole saga. This time I was told that actually they can regrade you from a business product to a residential one but they don't like to publicise it as it requires more paper work to do or something like that. I couldn't believe what they were telling me but they did offer to do it for me to keep my custom and they offered me a month free for all the trouble. I took them up on this offer and they said the regrade would take 7-10 working days to complete.

The 10 working days came and went and I was about to get on to the phone to them again when lo and behold I had an email from them saying the regrade work was complete! I could hardly contain myself but my excitement was soon short lived when I realised everything wasn't quite as it should be. My line was still connecting at 2MB and I had the exact same static IP address that I had previously which I wouldn't have had with the dynamic IP addressing used by the Pipex Max product.

I went online to check my Pipex account details to see if there were any clues there as to what was happening and everything was as before saying I was still on the HomeOffice service. I thought maybe the systems hadn't updated but then I noticed a new invoice they had raised for my new service and it clearly stated that I was on the HomeOffice 2000 product. They had only somehow managed to regrade me onto the same service I was already using! Not only that but the invoice covered not only next month but also the remainder of the current month. My previous invoice had shown a zero balance to cover the months free service they'd bribed me with but they were invoicing me for the remainder of the month so I only actually got 10 or 11 days free not a whole month.

I got on to the phone to Pipex asking what the hell was going on but the girl I spoke to was unable to enlighten me. She promised that either her or one of her colleagues would definitely call me back the following day to let me know what was happening. Of course nobody rung me back.

Today, five days later, I again spoke to Pipex and they made some lame excuses and said that they'll re-request the regrade and it should be complete within a couple of weeks. Again they weren't able to comment on the accounting irregularities of my missing discounts and me not receiving my full months free service. So I asked for a migration code and this time I think they knew they'd failed me miserably as they didn't offer me a single incentive to stay.

I rang Demon, I'm changing to their service which I believe is better and cheaper. It only took a few minutes to arrange the migration and I expect it'll be done in a couple of days.

Pipex have now had the cheek to charge me a cancellation fee.

So to summarise first I was told I couldn't regrade, then I could, then I couldn't, then I could again. I was offered two different monetary incentives to stay with Pipex which I never received in full. When they finally did do the regrade they cocked it up big time and they didn't return my calls which they promised to.

I'm sure this saga isn't over, I still need to recover some money from them.

Update October 4th

I am now a Demon customer and no longer connecting to Pipex but today I had an email from them saying they had completed regrade work on my account - nothing Pipex does surprises me now.

Of course, as previously, with the regrade notification also came a new invoice and charge to my credit card! They have charged me again for the period up to 8 November, this is odd as I am no longer a Pipex customer.

What's more, had I still been a Pipex customer then you'd expect this to happen but you would also have expected a credit to be raised against the previous invoice for the overlapping period on the new invoice, but no, Pipex don't do refunds.

I have tried and tried to contact them regarding this but even when you don't get the busy tone and eventually make it through their automated answering system you just get cut off as there are already too many people in the queue. I resorted to emailing them and received an automated response saying their current response times for billing queries is 7-8 days!

Ironically it's National Customer Service week.

I'm getting well and truly pissed off now.

I must add that after migrating to Demon my service was still a 2MB one but after one email to Demon they promised to get it changed the next day and indeed it was. If Demon can do this in 24 hours why can't Pipex do it in three months?

Update October 10th

Today I had a reply to my email of six days ago. This email was just to inform me that my queries had been forwarded on to the finance department who are currently taking a further 7-10 working days to respond to emails!

Update November 17th

A few days after the last update they responded saying they will refund pretty much everything I'd asked them to but it would take 28 days to do. 28 days! well those 28 days have been and gone and still no sign of my refunds. I have sent a couple of emails to them regarding this and neither have been responded to.

Update November 21st

Today I had a response to my recent emails querying the lack of the refund and the wording of the email is exactly the same as the one I received way back on the 10th October saying they will refer it to the Finance Department who'll be in contact in 7-10 days. I'll expect another email from them shortly to say I will receive my refund in 28 days. It's a bit like Groundhog Day.

Update November 22nd

Well it only took one day for the finance department to respond this time but what they have to say is a complete load of bollocks. They say they applied a refund on 4th October but it will take 28 days to go through. Well it's been 49 days now and I still haven't recieved it. If they had applied this refund on the 4/10 then why didn't anyone mention it in the 3 emails I received from them on the 10/10, 12/10 and 22/11? The amount they say they've refunded is also around £24 less than the amount they said they were going to refund me on the 12/10!

Update November 22nd (2)

I've had another one of those emails saying my query has been forwarded to the finance department who'll be in contact in 7-10 days! At least their auto-responders are functioning a bit more promptly now. The funny thing is, this response was to an email I sent to the finance department. So I guess they must be forwarding it to themselves!?

Update November 23rd

Today I received another email saying a refund had been raised for an amount that's actually a few pound more than they originally quoted me on the 12th October and to allow 28 days for it to be processed. I'll keep my fingers crossed but I really think I'll be lucky if I get the refund this year.

Update January 17th

I notice from my bank statement that Pipex gave me a refund on the 15th December, however it's for only about two-thirds the amount they said they were going to refund. According to my reckoning I think that took 54 working days to complete (assuming they were truthful about applying the refund on the 4th October) almost twice the 'up to 28 days' they kept quoting. I've no longer got the energy to keep chasing them, the bastards can keep the rest of my money.
Saturday, 23 September 2006

PostHeaderIcon Photos: Jan & Kerry's Wedding

Just a few photos from Jan and Kerry's wedding.


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