Pipex still sucks

Long suffering readers of this blog will be aware of the problems I have had with my crappy ISP. Pipex used to be really good, and I have used them for years, then one day they were taken over by Tiscali. Tiscali had a reputation for being a terrible ISP, so logic would have said they’d buy a good one and learn how to improve.


Tiscali took over Pipex and it went down the toilet. My internet connection is normally barely better than a 56k dial up modem. I have been trying to change ISPs, however I am caught between the problems of being on a contract with (the no longer existant) Pipex and being due to move house in a few months (making a new contract a pain in the ass). As a result I have to suffer this interminable service for a while longer.

To prove a point, this is what my connection has been like for the last year:

Speedtest Results from Thinkbroadband.com

Speedtest Results from Thinkbroadband.com

There are some gaps in the results – normally because for long periods of time my connection is so slow it wont run. Isn’t that a fantastic example of the modern, 24/7 connected society we live in.

Sadly, there is nothing I can do about it except continue in my quest to spread the word about what poor service Tiscali/Pipex offer. If you know anyone in the UK, please feel free to warn them! :???:

12 thoughts on “Pipex still sucks

  1. I have a Tiscali phone/broadband package, and it works just fine! BUT I’ve tried to find out whether I can get a TV service from tiscali, and they will not tell me. Actually they won’t communicate with me at all, their website is astonishingly hostile, and their technical support is too. They are utterly determined not to have to communicate with their customers! And that’s customers who want to give them more money… I don’t think that’s a very good sign!

  2. Be realistic. You are obviously expecting Tiscali to act like any respectful company offering a service to consumers for which it is paid well.
    Tiscali are well known as a organisation who are quite happy to set up an account initially, but then abuse and ignore clients queries, complaints and criticisms. I personally have been told lies and been given false promises by Pipex/Tiscali. I have been given false telephone numbers (don’t exist) just to get me off the line. They have ALWAYS made me wait up to 45 minutes on their premium line at 10p per minute only to be told it’s another department that I will not be allowed to contact. A mere paying customer is not allowed to know when anything will be put right. Will not be allowed to know IF IT WILL BE PUT RIGHT. As I said, they have never done anything whatsoever other than say its another department and this is over a period of over six months. I for one am now sick of their false promises, deceitful ways and downright lies. Check the websites for so many complaints about them. Like I said initially “DON’T EXPECT THEM TO BOTHER WITH A REPLY. THEY ARE ALREADY GETTING YOUR MONEY SO WHY SHOULD THEY BOTHER?

  3. I just hope that people out there will post to this site and make it absolutely clear that Pipex / Tiscali are bordering on theft. Ask for a MAC code, an email comes saying I may be charged if I break the terms of my contract and a charge goes straight to my card before using the MAC code. Happened twice even tho they admitted I was not informed I was going onto a new contract end 07. They have logged every other detail of conversation but have no record of an email they sent confirming that any future charges would be refunded if I left Pipex. I have to send a letter with a copy of *their* email sent 4 months ago. Customer care is absolutely appalling, charges on every phone number they give you, they have no interest in me or my complaints whatsoever, I get passed from department to department, they just want my money. And it took three minutes to open the link to this page, I was not informed about any migration to Tiscali, my connection speed in the evenings is dreadful / non existent many times in the evenings, I dont use P2P, I dont use anything that hogs bandwidth, I just get a crap service form a crap company. I used to think trying to get somewhere with BT was bad but believe me, Pipex / Tiscali really do get the award for not knowing how to treat their customers. Come on guys, there are plenty of you out there moaning on other sites, get this thread going and get the truth out to anyone else considering signing up. PLEASE.

  4. Ade – well said. I couldnt agree more and will see about doing a more recent post looking at the current levels of crap they are offering.

    If you have any other posts about this please let me know.

  5. I’ve had it with Pipex/Tiscali.

    I signed up for pipex in June 2002 to their Solo512 service, since then I had excellent service, all my email queries were answered within a couple of hours, all queries by phone answered quickly, all downloads were reliable, etc.

    Then Tiscali bought the company and my connection has been getting steadily slower, emails are never anwswered, telephone calls passed from one dept to another with no solution, etc.

    When I was with the real Pipex all queries to why I was still on 512k were answered promptly with what seemed to be good honest reasons for being unable to upgrade me (BT’s fault – all online speed checkers also reported 512k as max on my line) but since around the time TIscali took over it appears my line has improved as online speed checkers kept reporting increasingly higher potential connection speeds. However the customer support went downhill to the level where I could never get a reply to repeated emails asking if they could guarantee higher connection speeds if I started a new contract so I kept the old one.

    In January I got a letter from Pipex notifying me that my account had been temporarily suspended for non payment and that I would be unable to make any outgoing calls other than 999 on my ‘Pipex homecall phone line’ (no mention at all of broadband despite the fact that I’m a broadband customer and don’t have a Pipex phone line). I checked my phone and was relieved to find it still working – then went to check my email and found my broadband wasn’t working. I rang the number on the letter and was told they’d lost my DD payment details in a server move so suspended my account for non payment. I set up a new DD instruction and was told my payment would be taken in 14 days and account reactivated then.

    As this is totally unacceptable I then paid my balance on debit card and was told my connection would be restored in 2 to 48 hours – 3 days later I rang to ask why my connection was still broken and was told there was no problem with my account and that any fault was my end, that is until I mentioned the block on my account when they then claimed the 48 hours wasn’t up yet. Day 4 I ring again to ask why I’m not on yet, was told the 48 hours is still not up and that it’s 48 business hours. My connection was finally restored 6 days after paying.

    2 weeks ago I get another letter threatening to suspend me for non payment – when I ring to ask why it turns out that they entered my new DD details wrongly and I had to reset them again and make another debit card payment to avoid suspension. While paying I ask for my MAC – yes, you guessed it wrong department. More calls and I finally get them to agree to send a MAC after threats of going to OFCOM.

    All this on top of a connection that’s degraded so far any downloads time out after the first 1mb or so making it impossible to download anything (I like to keep up to date on current Linux CD’s) impossible without using P2P and then the speed drops to zero every minute or so.

    While researching cheap broadband for my Dad a couple of weeks ago (he was still on dial-up) I stumbled upon Plusnet value (5.99 per month – lot better than my 19.99 with pipex) and as this was less than his last lot of dial-up charges he signed up. His connection was enabled last saturday, the same day my MAC arrived, I signed up to Plusnet on Sunday and have a predicted 4M connection speed after being unable to get pipex/tiscali to upgrade me beyond 512 for the past 2 years and hopefully after my connection goes live I’ll finally be free from the evil that is Tiscali. My new ISP has 10gb limit on their cheap account (or unlimited for an extra tenner) but as I’ve been struggling to keep my pipex connection running long enough to download more than a few MB for the past couple of months this may be enough now.

  6. Nigel, great comment and it is reassuring to hear I am not the only one who has had a catalogue of problems with Pipex since Tiscali took over.

    I am looking for a new ISP (moving house) so will check out PlusNet.

    Thanks for getting in touch.

  7. FYI I migrated to O2 and have had nothing but excellent service with a great price ( £7.50 / mth) being on O2 airtime as well – you can also get the same deal if you have an O2 pay as you go SIM. Download speeds faster than BT suggest (4.5Mb max advised, 4.9Mb actual and *consistent*), unlimited bandwidth. Calls answered immediately, polite, helpful, the complete and absolute opposite of Pipex.

    I didnt take my complaints further with Pipex, it would have cost me more money and wasted time than it was worth.

    Good luck guys…

  8. I cannot comment on how good plusnet’s service is yet as I won’t be connected till tomorrow and dad has only been connected for a week but do know at least their sales dept is easy to deal with (dad signed up over the phone with no trouble).

    Interestingly they also seem to be more interested in getting happy customers to get new members to sign up than spend a fortune on advertising (the opposite of Tiscali) as they have a referral system where existing customers get at least 25p off per month if someone they refer signs up (I won’t post my referral details here as likely to be against forum rules – unless moderator asks me to).

    I’ve heard great things about O2 also but my mobile is on Orange (due to rest of family being orange customers – cheaper calls if all on same provider) and their reviews for broadband aren’t as favourable, the only advice I’d give anyone now when looking for a decent ISP is forget the advertising and remember google is your friend (meaning do your own research).

    Lets face it people are more likely to complain about problems than praise good service so if you can find an ISP where most comments online are praising the company (as those for O2, Plusnet, and many of the smaller ISPs seem to be but then they may be from ex-tiscali customers where anything’s an improvement)) then maybe that’s the one to go for and avoid any like tiscali where 99% of comments are complaints.

  9. Interestingly I arrived home tonight to find my connection has now been switched over to Plusnet.

    Despite being unable to get Pipex/Tiscali to upgrade my connection from the 512k service I originally signed up for nearly 7 years ago due to my line being apparently unable to support a faster connection my Router now shows me to be connected at 4.9m and speedtest.net shows my connection can deliver 4.3m (possibly reading a bit low due to having other browser tabs and email sucking some bandwidth).

    Just hope my old account gets closed cleanly without pipex continuing to charge me as others have reported.

    I’ve also been browsing for the past 2 hours without a single disconnection problem – too early to tell how good my longterm reliability but far better than yesterday on Pipex where my connection was dropping every 2-3 minutes (router status pages show it kept losing it’s ISP-allocated IP address so was being logged out by pipex or their shoddy hardware), presumably it couldn’t have been my line causing pipex connection to keep dropping if a day later it reliably supports 9x the bandwidth from a better ISP.

  10. Nigel,

    Thanks for the info – please keep us informed how it goes. I am going to be looking for a new broadband provider in about two weeks, however I am somewhat restricted by location.

    I checked O2 and they have some good offers but I wont be in their network area – meaning I would have to pay £22 a month for their service.

    I dont know what my new phone number will be yet, so I havent been able to confirm PlusNet’s offering but I suspect it will be £19.99 a month for me.

    I am also considering NewNet which seem to offer a good service for £19 but its capped at 20gb a month and while I dont often hit that, sometimes I need to do massive downloads (such as when I needed to get several different distros and a big tool box set up – came to about 50gb worth).

    Please, any other suggestions or feedback would be great. I did like the look of what Freedom2Surf offered (F2S) but then I discovered they are owned by Tiscali as well….. Bah.

  11. Hi,

    The Plusnet connection is going real well so far apart from some downloads being slow depending on where from as the value account limits ftp to under 256kbs – http downloads are limited at peak times but run at line speed overnight (currently get 5000kbs overnight) but at least the company is honest enough to have an easily accessed page showing what protocols get which throttled speed unlike Pipex where it’s anyone’s guess how fast things are going to come down (last large download on Pipex took 4 days to download 4gb of data – last night I set up 5gb of downloads expecting them to be finishing as I got up this morning but the file timestamps show they took under 2 hours to complete).

    So all in all I’m still real happy with plusnet, just have to be careful how I use their service – I often download Linux CD’s and now have to be careful where I get them from (using FTP a CD can take 6 hours to come down – using HTTP sites for same CD takes around 20 mins). However if I’d paid for their unlimited service I’d have got full speed overnight for everything (still crippled at peak times though) so partly my fault for being cheap (went for value as don’t do large downloads every month and can afford to wait for any that download slowly).

  12. Nigel,

    Thanks for the update – and it is good to see its going well.

    PlusNet is certainly one of the main ISPs I am considering for my new connection. The biggest hurdle is I am moving to a place that is quite poorly served by ISPs and the best connection I can hope for seems around 4meg. Sniff. Sniff.

    It strikes me as a shame that the places you can get the best internet connections are also the ones where you need them the least. In rural communities you are massively reliant on accessing services online, and you get terrible connection speeds – however in the big cities where you have 24/7 everything, you also get lightning fast broadband. It seems you can only properly telecommute if you live outside the office!

    (Ranting over…. for now….)

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