Monday, 22 June 2015

Exploited? Remarkable what customers put up with!


We all have stories to tell about double glazing salesmen, estate agents and of course telecom companies!  Some of these businesses are notorious for bad press, whether it be awful customer service or using unscrupulous methods to rip their customers off.

There are of course, good guys and bad guys in every business and it can be a minefield trying to judge who will actually give you the service you are after and who will  really look after your best interests.

The problem is, a few bad eggs spoil it for the rest and it is easy to then become tarred with the same brush, so to speak.

We have come across some rather extraordinary scenarios recently that  we would like to share with you.  

These situations have made us very angry and although we would love to “name and shame” we won’t, but would like to draw your attention to some of the antics some of our fellow competitors and support companies get up to.

First off, a firm of Lawyers who wanted to move a second office over to us were advised by their existing telecoms provider that they were in a contract for three years and if they wanted to leave they had to pay an exit penalty equivalent of  three years up front.  As their typical spend was something in the region of £500 per month it would equate to a fee of approximately £15,000 - £18,000.

It transpired on investigation, there was no written contract, only a verbal one. A dispute ensued and eventually the phones were moved over to us, three years later. During this period, the law firm were plagued with calls and at one point were told they may lose connectivity on the day of the switchover.  The telecoms company would never speak to the Director of the law firm, only the office manager and the calls were so frequent and with a tone of harassment, Merlin  were asked to put call recording on the line (we held) that they rang.  Strangely, the calls stopped soon after!

Another recent instance.  A veterinary firm were paying a large sum of money for a support contract from their telecoms provider,  but did not receive any support whatsoever!   When the firm withheld payment to their telecoms provider it appears they now get support, although it can take up to four weeks to get feedback or a result.  

A small firm of Financial Advisors have also been told they will need to pay an exit fee of £8,000 before they can move to us.  Again, they have been tied into a long term contract with two years remaining.

Another veterinary practice were moving their broadband over to us.  Their Practice Management Software company advised them they would have to send out an engineer to re-configure the router that is owned by the practice.  Their fee to do this was £200, literally for a ten minute job that could have been  carried out remotely and without any charge.  They would not give out the username and password to the client and after a week of calls going to and fro they organised an engineer to go on site on the Friday, although the broadband was moving over on the Wednesday.  After a productive call from us, the router was configured by them remotely and the broadband went live on the correct day.  Imagine the stress caused for the poor practice owner believing that they would have no phones or broadband/internet access for a couple of days!

These “sharp” practice methods leave a very nasty taste in the mouth.  Merlin was conceived with total honesty and transparency in mind.  We have always been fed up with customers being ripped off by the big brands’ pricing and service.  We do not want to tie anyone into a contract or have any hidden charges.  We want our clients to stay with us because they are totally happy with our services and if anyone wants to move, we will help them do so quickly and without going through any painful process.  

So the moral is, to check your contract (if there is one) very carefully to see what the service level agreement is and what the exit fees are, should you decide to leave.  Speak to some  other users and read testimonials.  Carry out an in depth analysis of any call tariffs you are given, to see whether you really are getting a good deal or not.  Often, you will lose out with a bundle or capped call tariff in the long run.  

We are more than happy to analyse bills and rates for you, we really don’t mind.  Remember we are here to help your business run better.

The Merlin Team

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