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! :???:

Pipex: Farce upon Farce

Well, my opinion of Pipex was already very low. Before today I had them pegged as a terrible ISP with almost criminally poor customer service and basically inept technical support.

Today, they offended Forseti, and have managed to sink to a lower level on my opinion scale.

I wont fully repeat the tale of farce which has Pipex firmly in my “Bad Shop” category (in fact, I suspect they have more entries there than any other company), but in a nutshell after a month in which they were too inept to get BT out to fix my line (leaving me with no connection), they have still yet to get the service restored to the levels for which I am paying.

On Friday (four days ago), I spoke to technical support, who claimed to have carried out some tests and would now “escalate” the problem to BT. This is pretty much as far as I can push Pipex, as despite my only contract being with them, they do not have any form of service level agreement with BT – ineptitude, basically. Anyway, I was assured by the minimum wage arts student they have working as “technical support” that BT would respond to the fault within 1 – 6 days and get back to me.

Today, I had an SMS text message which informed me that Pipex Technical Support needed to carry out some more tests and could I ring them while I was sitting at the PC. This is a touch problematical, as I was at work miles from my PC, but never mind. Eventually I got home and had logged on by 1930 hrs to call Pipex as requested.

Now the farce got worse.

Every time I ring Pipex it annoys me. First off, it is an 0845 number so it costs money. Then the first thing they ask you is “if you are a residential customer, please enter your phone number now.” When you enter your phone number, you get presented with a list of options which runs “If you are a residential customer, press 1 now…” Why, in the name Kvasir do they ask you to enter your number first? Why?

When you finally get to press 2 for customer services, you are faced with an interminable wait, listening to some bored out of her head woman telling you “Thank you for holding the line. Your call is valuable to us.” Over and over. Why do companies think this is a good thing? What lunatic believes that the call is important or valuable, when you wait half the life of the universe for them to actually answer. And when they do, finally, answer it just gets worse!

After waiting a full 19 minutes (listening to how valuable my call is), the tech support arts student answered and went through the pointless list of “data protection act required verifications.” Finally, she asked me how she could help.

This left me a little confused, because she had just told me she’d called up my details and open tickets, so surely she should know I am calling in response to the text. Anyway, I explained I’d been asked to call and she went away. For four minutes. Eventually she came back and said that the “Technical Support” people (who was I speaking to?) had asked that I be contacted to confirm I wanted this escalating to BT. Slightly stunned, I said “yes” and she typed away and said, thanks – it will now be passed to BT. When I asked what had happened the last time they had promised it would be passed on to BT, she had no idea. She said it hadn’t been logged and didn’t know who had dealt with it. Now, I have the pleasure of another 1 – 6 day wait. Unless they text me half way through and ask if I want it to be sent to BT again…

This level of incompetence is mind boggling. I am at a loss to describe how frustrating, and how bad, Pipex customer service and technical support is. In August, I was given an identical run-around where over the course of a whole month they pretended to send the fault to BT, but never quite got round to it. It looks like this is going to happen again.

Showing that Loki really does have a monumental sense of humour, Pipex’s home page has a blurb which reads:

Pipex - Terrible Service - False Claims

Sadly, this leaves me speechless. If it really is their “customers that matter,” why am I being singled out for this poor treatment. What have I done wrong, which makes Pipex pick me as the only person they are happy to mess around month after month?

If so many people like them “so much they’d recommend” them, why dont they bloody recommend them. I wouldn’t recommend them to Bin Laden…

Pipex are a terrible ISP. Their technical support is so bad it has become funny. Their service is abysmal (for instance, what happened to NNTP access?). In short, Pipex is bad. Do not use Pipex.

Terrible Pipex Service – Fiasco Continues

Well, I will try to keep this short and I promise to try and find a new topic to complain about, but surfing the internet at snails pace is painful.

I mentioned yesterday the fiasco I was having with Pipex, and their final suggestion was to do some tests for 24 hours then call back. Well, I carried out the tests and called them back. If only it had been that simple.

After a short lifetime listening to a bored “we value your call” (obviously they value it, I am paying to call them….) I got through to an operator who went through the questions required by the data protection act (I assume if it wasn’t for that darned act, they would happily give my details out to every one…) and once more I was asked what the problem was.

I explained, in detail, what had happened and the tech support creature started to ask me the standard questions about “had I checked the filters…” (etc). Fighting the urge to scream, I reminded him that I had already gone through all this and I was just calling with the test data so they could escalate it to BT. Rather than ask what the data was, he asked me “what sort of speeds” I had been getting “over the last few weeks.” I was stunned. So much for the 24 hours worth of tests nonsense. Anyway, I told him that before the “fix,” I’d been getting a consistent 4 (and a bit) mbps downstream and the line reported it was an 8mb connection and since BT fixed the exchange I was now on a line which reported itself as 500kbps. Then it got really comical.

The “technician” asked what sort of download speeds I was getting. I said 350 – 400kbps on average. He then explained to me how 350 – 400kbps was “about 4 meg.” This jaw dropping announcement left me silent for a moment or two while it really sunk in that he thought three hundred and fifty kilobytes per second was “about” four megabytes per second. What abstract definition of about do they use at Pipex? When I, politely, explained that 400kbps was “about” half a mbps he went quiet for at least 30 seconds. The silence became painful after a while and I genuinely wasn’t sure if he was still there.

Eventually, he found his voice again and said he would carry out some tests. After a few (silent) minutes where all I could hear was his frantic typing on a keyboard he confirmed the line was reporting it was a 500kbps and he would escalate it to BT – who would deal with it “in 1 – 6 days.” Wonderful, now I know that this time next week I will call Pipex again, who will say “sorry, BT had a problem, they will investigate in 1-6 days” and so on, ad infinitum.

Fundamentally this shows yesterday’s tech “support” person was lying through his teeth when he asked for the tests to be carried out. Today’s person didn’t care about my results and ran the test himself before sending it on to BT.

It amazes me that Pipex is still getting such rave reviews from people when they, basically, have untrained buffoons running their call centres and spend more money getting a low-life Z-lister like David Hasslehoff to front their campaigns than they spend on providing a service. As far as I am concerned Pipex is the worst ISP I have ever used (it is now even worse than Tiscali who used to be top of my List of Hate, comically Pipex’s fall from grace came when Tiscali bought them…) and I have no idea why every few weeks I get an email telling me how popular they are, how good their service is (for everyone else, obviously) and how I should recommend them to my friends. To be honest, there isn’t anyone I hate enough to recommend Pipex to them.

Please, feel free to spread the word.

[tags]Pipex, Bad Shops, Bad Customer Service, Pipex Sucks, Pipex Bad ISP, Bad ISP, ISP, Internet, Rant, Technology, Network, Tiscali, David Hasslehoff, Internet Service Provider, BT, ADSL, DSL, Modem, Networking, Orders of Magnitude, Bad Mathematics, Bad Networking[/tags]

I missed this on Virgin, being offline at the time…

Spotted in The Register was an article on Virgin’s secret/open fair use policy, which came up in the context of Virgin demanding other DSL providers are more “open” about their bandwidth limitations. This piece is well out of date but still worth noting (Note to self: Keep up with the Register)

Virgin is trialling bandwidth throttling in the north west, which it prefers to call traffic management. It would not say when the trial is set to finish, or whether the system would be rolled out nationwide, but said the aim is to rein in very heavy users during peak times. More stable access speeds would then be available to the majority.

The comments on this article is bursting with enraged Virgin customers, one of whom makes pointed use of the “pot calling kettle” metaphor.

One customer contrasts the satisfying service from Telewest (of sainted memory) with the current botchery. No argument from me, I just didn’t realise it was a deliberate policy.

Paying pretty large monthly sums – well more than someone on unemployment Benefit is expected to live for a week on – for a supposedly “Unlimited” service, to find out it is limited is somewhat confusing. Especially given the recent haemorhage (sp?) of cable customers, you’d imagine that there was more empty bandwidth than Virginmedia knew what to do with.

It’s not just Virgin, of course. It’s more or less every service provider that thinks they can get away with it. (So much for the mysterious laws of the market, then. Surely, the company offering the better service should get more customers? Oh, you naive fool.)

I was looking at Tiscali’s “fair use” policy, coincidentally. They tell heavy users that they will be capped, only in the evenings. Hmm, so they will only be choked in the times when people actually use the Internet? So they can use as much bandwidth as they want when they are asleep or in work. …..