Friday, April 11, 2014

UNICOM... or is it UNICon?

Do NOT shop where you see* this sign!


*For one (of many, petty) legal reasons, the company in question's logo, no matter how 'fair use' for journalistic purposes it may be valid to share, has been removed by demand of some very expensive lawyers... for some reason all over this 'case'.

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STOP PRESS - Moving a post up from 1/9/10 to 11/04/14 takes some doing, but I think in this case worth it, even if also OT to Junkk's main remit. I just think it shows the power of patience, persistence and people joining together, which the internet has revolutionised on blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, etc.

The reason is summarised in a comment kindly shared today:


"It took time but we got there in the end.

Ofcom have just announced that they are investigating Unicom's Sales and Marketing tactics and their requirement to offer 12 month contracts.

The BBC have already filmed an item about them for Rip-off Britain which will be shown in the new series and Radio 4 are doing an item about them"



Ofcom investigates phone firm Unicom after complaints

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27026272

17.04 - Just listened through. Very disappointed. Superficial investigation at best, with the lamest, tamest 'expert' possible to locate, dealing in generalities and neither host nor he getting their teeth into the meat of real abuses. All topped off by a breezy 'these three cases have been swallowed by Unicom... aren't we clever?'. Er, no. There are many more, worse, and longer that were either lazily ignored or venally suppressed. And no pulling in otelo, OFCOM or Government to explain their sorry selves. I hope someone does take them up on their invitation to write in with more. I might even do so myself. But given I am fighting the BBC Complaints system, which makes Unicom's seem ethical, not sure it would be worth it.

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Chanelling my inner Churchill, it with luck heralds the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end for what is clearly a seriously messed up situation that has caused misery, legally, with clear indifferent oversight by authority, for too long.
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O/T, but as it goes to the state of this country and governance in general, I'll allow it.

I have not had much fun with bullies lately, but when a smug bean counter from a service company I pay invokes some legals when they screw up and says 'there's nothing you can do about it', that makes me see red.

So, for a start, Unicom, there is the power of the internet. They used to say good personal stories reach 3 others, but bad ones reach over a dozen. Let's see if I can do a tad better than that.

Google can be your friend. Starting here.

So if you're up for a fight between a David (though it seems I may not be alone) vs. a Goliath, read on.

A long time ago, our house alarm kept going off. So we called out the engineers.

Who said it was not our system, but the line.

So we called our telecom supplier, Unicom.

They said there was nothing wrong with the line. So we called back the engineers.

They insisted all in our house was fine.

So we called Unicom back and said the line was definitely at fault. They said it was not, and if we called them out and it was our problem, we'd be charged like a wounded bull. Fair enough... IF it was us getting it wrong.

So a BT engineer (go figure) lobs up, tears our house apart, and eventually finds the fault... on a pole halfway up the street. Insult to injury, in putting it all back together in the house he has disconnected a line so I have to call back the alarm engineers a 3rd time.

These folk kindly only bill me for one call out: the first.

Hence I get back to Unicom and after working through a myriad of departments end up with a customer service bod who concedes my point that if I get charged for a false call out, they should cover the inaccurate no-fault claims. We agree the engineer invoice should do it. Sadly, and to my backside-covering, contact-report obsessed shame, I did not confirm it in writing.

Because nothing happens. And when I chase I find it has been 'escalated' first of all, and when I show little by way of being impressed with that, it ends up with 'compliance'. Who seem happy to write endless letters reneging on our deal.

So I involve OFCOM. Who bounce me to yet another (why??????!) quango, sorry 'ombudsman', otelo.

But they bounce me back because they can't get involved because I have only been told to go fish by an administrator when they need a note of deadlock from a manager. Which Unicom, playing the (very rigged, with the authorities who in theory are acting on our behalves, totally complicit) system, seems unable, unsuprisingly, to provide.

So, enough is enough. I decide that whatever else, I'm off. So I move to another supplier.

But, quicker than you can say customer service #fail, I get a note from UNICOM 'retentions', pointing out that I am on a 3-year contract, and I will be slammed with a bill for nearly a grand if I move.

I look at my contract, and lo, it was signed in June 2006. Sorted. By 5 months.

Oh. no. In the minute-pt type of this contract (so small that when they sent it by email it was unreadable on screen), it says that a) you are required to give them 3 months' notice, and at the end of the last contract, with no one mentioning a thing from their side at first sale, or prior to the point of renewal, it gets automatically renewed.

Now, it maybe be 'legal', but where I come from it ain't right. And I am going to raise as much of a stink with UNICOM, OFCOM and Otelo as I can until one or other feels the warm glow of public loathing is getting uncomfortable, or if they still feel like digging in, then the media and our elected representatives.

Maybe in their corporate overlord minds 'I can do nothing', but in other ways there's still fair few options I have open.

UNICon... you are so on.

Addendum:

Had another conversation with Otelo, who accidentally sent me a 'you are on your own' notice the last time. After an initially terse few words, the officer in question has proved quite reasonable. I now have a case file and number.

Addendum 2

It would appear big business is flexing its muscles with an ever more 'sympathetic' establishment which, coincidentally, also seems less and less keen on the principles of free speech.

I have been approached by the owners of the complaint thread that was linked above:

Many thanks for your contribution to Review Centre!

As a consumer review website we encourage people to express their opinions (both positive and negative!) of the experience that they have had, but we must also take into consideration any concerns of businesses affected by these reviews.

I have received contact from a representative of Unicom Phone Company regarding reviews published on Review Centre. I have included a copy of the review you have written for your reference - (included below).

They have expressed their concerns regarding the review content and so we have temporarily removed your review from www.reviewcentre.com while we ask you to confirm your position on the matter.

Please let us know which one of the following options you would like to take by 26/02/2010

You would like the review to stay on Review Centre in its original form.
You would like to write the review differently on reflection as some of the information is now not relevant.
You are happy for the review to be deleted as the matter has been resolved.
If you wish to stand by your original review (or an edited version), we ask that you provide your contact details for our records (full name, address. telephone number, plus any evidence to authenticate your review).
Information collected is to validate the authenticity of your review and will not be passed to anyone without your expressed permission.

Please be aware that representatives of Unicom Phone Company may at some point in the future choose to take the matter further.

We look forward to hearing from you soon

Thanks again!

Your Review

Looks like I am joining a 'select' club

http://junkk.blogspot.com/2009/12/unicom-er-make-that-unicon.html

Noting the legal, if unethical stance taken, I have also written to them as follows:

Meanwhile, for the record, might I just ask a few questions of you or whomsoever you feel might be qualified to respond meaningfully:

1) At the time of signing the contract, is it not the obligation of the salesperson to make clear all relevant and pertinent t&cs to the customer?

2) Even if in writing, and a carbon copy left, is there not an obligation to make these in a form that is both reasonable and readable?

3) In the case of a renewal after a signed dated contract, especially one where the original is taken away on the spot, is there no obligation to issue to advise the customer, in good time, when this becomes due again?

To which I have replied:

Disputes are tricky things. Just as it takes two to tango, so there will (almost) inevitably be variations on the circumstances between protagonists that will be as different as night and day.

You guys are not journalists, I accept. But I was very relieved to locate the thread on this bunch that you had hosted, and find so many, with such similar stories, all in the same boat.

It seems unlikely we were/are all chancers trying to bilk some poor, honest company.

In fact most seem to have been screwed over in some way and simply wished to have the option of withdrawing our custom.

I do note that the entire thread, at least as I linked to in my blog, has now vanished. I hope there has been a record kept.

There is now a rather worrying trend in the UK where freedom of speech and various out-dated libel laws are (ab)used to serve the nefarious interests of those with money and no ethics. Supported, too often, by the very government and its agencies that we pay to protect us from abuses.

I would be interested in knowing what the Unicom 'rep' had to say. That these reviews were false? Misguided? Or just that they were hostile and they didn't like them. Was any factual rebuttal offered?

As to your questions, as far as I am concerned it can stay on as 1). However I do need to update my blog entry as linked, as things have indeed moved on a tad. I have now an otelo complaint log and do need to respond to that. Though that [Unicom] think that customers are here to dance to their systems is half the problem. I don't have floors of pencil pushers dedicated to wearing the other side down into giving up.

I don't think you need to worry about the content of my blog, though it seems I might. In the circumstances I am surprised they have not approached me directly, though my first response would be to ask which part they found inaccurate.

Actually I wrote nothing on your thread that anyone could take issue with, surely. In fact, all I do is share a few perfectly legitimate questions to seek clarification of the legal and or ethical business validity of their actions. Ironically none answered to date. Hence no evidence is required, though I have plenty, which I will be sharing with otelo now, having had a few other, better things to do than jump though endless box-ticking hoops designed to encourage giving up.

Might I ask if other, fellow, posters, have been so approached? And if they are as impressed with the service thuggery of this sweetheart outfit as I am?

And as it sounds like it came from them, what, precisely is meant by 'Unicom may want to take this matter further'? On past evidence I am presuming that conceding they have screwed up in just about every way, and feel it best to part company now as amicably as possible and go our separate ways, is not what this cabal of litigious bean-counters has in mind, despite the already vast PR hole they have already dug, and seem evidently keen to excavate further.

I am now turning to the otelo documentation. I really have better ways to spend my day, but principle matters now.

Addendum 3

One for the 'when in hole, keeping digging' files.

I decided, as I tend to, to check back to see about 'progress'.

I checked back to see what has happened. And was moved to write to reviewcentre.com

You have got to be kidding me!

http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews140628.html

After all the horror stories and zero ratings... this is all that is now up!????

1 Review For Unicom Phone Company

· ElizabethAdams 1st Jul 2008Reviewer rating:

Good Points: Excellent customer service, with very friendly and helpful staff.

Bad Points: None.

General comments: I have always found Unicom Phone Company to have excellent customer service, with very friendly and helpful staff.

I did try to add another of mine, asking where the scores of negatives and zero rating went. It is now advised as 'approved', though there does seem to have been a bit of editing first.

Your comment on Unicom Phone Company has now been approved and can be seen at :
http://www.reviewcentre.com/review387349.html#all_comments

Maybe they are still nervous of lawyers. I think the derisory tone still comes across.

Addendum 4

Just as otelo have and now are proving ever more interested, involved and helpful, so things are moving in other quarters.

reviewcentre.com have not stood still, and it seems some if not all critical reviews are going back up. Mine included. They have kindly offered advice on where a few comments of mine above might have been 'colourfully worded' in ways that may have distracted from the total rectitude of the facts and value of opinions as to how I felt as the victim of the corporate treatment meted out.

I sense Unicom have lazily tried default suppression and a heavy hand, and have merely uncorked a genie.

In case they get suppressed again, a few goodies:

For over a year now we have told them we are not paying their cancellation fee,that their contract is not legally enforcable and if they think otherwise then simply take us to court! However, despite receiving in excess of 50 telephone calls and letters all threatening court action , baliffs and debt collection agencys and even a copy of the court claim form that they " will be sending" they have not as yet done so. Remember, you do not need to do anything until such time as you receive an official Court Summons!!!!! Meanwhile, hang up on them if they call!!

Had the typical hard sales phone call and made a meeting for her to come down for 4.00 to discuss services.

4.20 some random guy walks in with the usual really hard sales pitch. I told him I wanted to think about it and would not sign there and then. I asked for some of their paperwork to read through and also a copy of the contract - didnt get anything based on the company or agreement just a leaflet saying how much they can save me.

In my opinion a very rude sales guy, who also asked me for some of our corporate wine for his girlfriend. Wouldnt touch with a barge pole.

I entered into this contract without the knowledge i would be tied in for three years, apparently I had to read the small print to be aware of this. I have been with the company three years now and rang them to terminate my contract, I was told this had to be in writing. I then did this and as the letter was received 10 days after the start of the three month notice period I have been tied in for another three years.
You have to ask yourself why they have to have such restrictive tie in periods.

Had a line fitted at my new offices to be phone,fax and broadband, after 8 weeks they could not supply broadband on the line so cancelled contract.
Now being taken to court for not paying the £115 installation charge and another £100 for cancelling the contract.
Beware of the 1 year rolling contract, you have to cancel by giving 3 months notice before the end of the contract or will roll on for another year,or they will charge £100 cancellation.

many customers including ourselves feel that Unicom are a company operating with staff who have no knowledge of contract law. We cancelled our contract on the basis that they were unable to maintain uninterupted telecoms supply to our business. They then argued that we had entered into a three year contract and had seen terms and conditions that allowed them to take in excess of £3,000 in cancellation fees. Having previously taught contract law..and knowing that we had not seen any such terms I was amused..but I was not amused when then took £2,7000 from our account via a Direct Debit. We decided to take them through the courts but now they are wanting to settle..check switchingon.info* ( a web site set up to cover their antics) to follow our progress and that of others.
Please please please do not sign a contract with this company.
My husband is a builder who signed with Unicom at the side of a road where he was building an extension, he was given little time to read any of the small print. We realised that there is a 3 yr rolling contract when we tried to change (then you can only end the contract with 3mt notice pre the actual end of the contract), we feel the salespeople have no customer skills, no communication skills.

Today I have just paid 450 inc interest and 2.5 charge for using a card to get away from this company, PS I DIDNT WANT TO RATE THEM ANY STARS AT ALL BUT YOU HAVE TO TO BE ABVLE TO POST YOUR VIEWS

I had phoned Unicom in January 2009 to cancel one of our three phone lines I was told that I had three months to run before the contract could end. I then rang in May and was told that all three of our lines had been rolled over for another three year contract and I should have put the cancellation in writing and I had been told this when I phoned in January. So now we are stuck with a line that is not being used and being charged which is now a lot more than BT. Check out Unicom on Moneysavingexpert. [I did, but the search threw up no results... another example of corporate shenanigans underway?]
This company fails to point out that it is a 3 year rolling contract and is buried in the small print so unless you have a good memory or a 3 year diary you will be with them for life.
Unicom is fine until you find a better deal only to be told that your contract was recently automatically renewed for a further 3 years. It is Unicom policy not to remind customers or send renewal notices when contracts are coming to an end. Unless you have an extraordinay good memory or an exceptionally long diary and give the 3 months written notice prior to the end of the 3 years you could be with them for a lifetime! Either that or pay up the massive termination fees.
Why do Unicom choose to not send renewal notices?
I have been in business for 30 years and all the other companies I have dealt with do!I would NEVER recommend.
In the interests of balance, it should be said that there are a few who love 'em to death, with 5* ratings and long, detailed, heartfelt and in no way corporate reasons why Unicom Phone Company (no 'TM' too?) are the bee's knees:

I have always found Unicom Phone Company to have excellent customer service, with very friendly and helpful staff.

There are many others now aware, and involved, including my current MP. Also our PPC knows the main players in the Free Speech movement and has kindly introduced me to them.

Links

Defamation Act
FreeSpeech Blog
Libel Reform
switchingon.info - *the site is now closed. It apparently achieved what it needed to do. Shame others yet to enjoy this aim are not to benefit from the experience of others, but one can empathise in light of what can 'go down'.
Business Zone - Top 10 ways to deal with customer complaints - Or....

Addendum 16/10/10 (yes, it still lumbers on - had a 'final judgement' from Otelo that needed to be bounced back as the adjudicator had clearly not read any details on the case) -

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/8067565/Renewal-rip-offs-dont-roll-over.html


Patience can be a virtue.

Addendum 05/07/11 - More as a memo to self, in dealings with the authorities, it is worth bearing in mind today of all days that oversight bodies claiming powerlessness yet finding in favour of client partners is not now easily explained away by 'but they lied to us'. Especially when imposing penalties, under the guise of impartiality, on those individuals being abused that they in theory are there to protect.

Addendum 14/09/11 -  a great deal of water has passed under many bridges but suffice to say that, recently, our issues were totally resolved, in our favour and to our satisfaction. This is not to say that others are or will be as lucky.


One day I'll get time to share what went down, in case it helps.


Perhaps more relevantly, I feel it is important to share major developments that will, with luck, help for those caught up and facing further distress:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ofcom-bans-rollover-phone-contracts-2354028.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14900185

Addendum 11/12/14 - Fellow 'rebel' Mary has kindly shared what seems a clear new victory at high level, and inspiration to others still fighting. Quite why anyone still needs to fight given the wealth of evidence and testimony countrywide who knows, but here you go:

http://www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/news/December/telecoms-bill-dropped-after-john-s-debate-over-shameful-mis-selling/

"also exposed the failures of the communications industry ombudsman – set up to be the consumer’s champion – which sided with the company"

Not over yet, clearly. I suggest those in office get their fingers out and COORDINATE!

New discussion URL -

WHICH! - http://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/ofcom-auto-renewal-contracts-ban/comment-page-1/

Another worthy URL as folk still in dire straits and seeking help: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3578981&highlight=unicom

74 comments:

John said...

I am also somewhat vexed by Unicom. They had my comment removed from review center, shut down the Facebook group "i worked for Unicom and it was shit" and threatened the chap at the .info site with libel, just for telling his story.

It's not David v Goliath with me, I'm not David, more like Ho Chi Min and the Viet F***ing Kong!

Peter said...

All things considered, 'somewhat vexed' seems a model of restraint in commentary.

So I must empathise.

Intriguing that there is (well, has been, sadly, for now) a disaffected element from within the organisation, too. It cannot be pleasant, if a normal human being, to go to work and find oneself required to progress and/or defend the indefensible crushing individuals with fair grievances.

Telling that the main response seems to have been, again, threats merely for folk seeking their right to free speech.

I was 'colourful' in my descriptions initially, and the site name you quote is/was (if understandably) pretty provocative, so it's a pity a baby perhaps was lost with the bathwater.

The key is truth and accuracy.

I have to say reviewcentre.com have turned out to be quite diligent, and seem prepared to put some heft behind ensuring what they put up is as fair a representation as possible. It can't be easy sorting out the painful realities from hyperbole.

Hence I will point people at this site for detailed comment as they are better resourced to ensure the back story is verified.

All I can do here is tell mine. As it was...is. That otelo has taken the case and passed on the t&c issue is encouraging.

Like Ford with the Pinto, it seems it is just about money. They would prefer to retain money-making aspects such as the in-home/external line unidirectional responsibility 'policy', and hence seem to be keen to fight this vigorously. Silly, as my case more surrounds the agreed deal with service representative having had to arrange 3 callouts from my engineers.

It also seems the rewards of keeping and then re-retaining very unhappy customers outweigh the cold logic of preferring to have relationships with those who are happy with their service.

It is to be hoped the swelling negative PR, combined with a national unease at the easy resort and misuse of the UK's libel laws by cash-rich corporates to suppress legitimate customer feedback, will give the company pause to reflect on the wisdom of reaching for the lawyers rather than reviewing policies.

sushisnack said...

Hey. Talk about necroposting.
I work for the company in question. I'm not going to defend their practises because in the end, I disagree with some of them. I did just want to mention that the vast majority of us who work for them really just want to help the customers. I know I do.

It might be of interest to note as well that BT Openreach (The engineers in question) are an entirely separate entity, not involved as a subsidiary of any telecoms provider despite what the BT tacked on the front would have you believe. Disputes with false charges have to go through the provider to Openreach and be negotiated between them -- It's dumb, and it's inconvenient, but... It's how it is. It's not really anybody's fault, but it makes for a huge mess.

Hope it got resolved,
-SS

Peter said...

Dear SS,

That was a new term to me; ensuring it was fit for posting for family readers I can see why you use it!

And I appreciate your posting, and in the spirit you have.

The 'issue' is, sadly, still very much active for me. otelo had passed an initial view, but as is was based on misinformation and rather odd failure to ask some key witnesses it has been booted higher up the chain.

Equally sadly, when brands are found wanting they, and all those within them, do tend to get tarred with the same brush. Which can be unfair.

I was very happy with the initial Customer Service response. Where it fell off the rails was when a deal was reneged upon by a collection of ever dafter title engineering munchkins whose sole role was/is to ensure nothing gets conceded and no precedents are set.

That is no fault of most employees, but some have invested their careers in this aspect, and I have no sympathy as it is, very evidently, a high profile face being put forward. Guys like you might wish to suggest that the financial gains may not be worth the reputational impacts, especially in a twitter/FaceBook age. This goes to those at the top. You know it. I know it.

While the engineer was not the most capable or 'together' (he even left his expensive meter behind and I had to get in touch to return it), I fully accept that errors get made and will be totally chilled if put right honourably. Note I did not get excited at all at how the whole thing was handled, being relieved only it was eventually sorted out.

Ignoring, as you suggest, matters of accountability are easy to dismiss... so long as the customer, especially one who bares no responsibility, is not the one expected, or worse forced, to pay for the failings of others.

As it stands I did nothing wrong yet have ended the only one out of pocket, yet have been essentially seen a deal reneged upon that would have made all this pass easily and maintain an ongoing relationship with your company that would have benefited every protagonist in this sorry affair. If it has resulted in a huge mess, as you say, that is unfortunate, but explains a lot. But that is not for me, the customer, to suffer from... or put right.

That I am now subject to significant corporate harassment instead of honouring that fair, agreed deal, speaks volumes.

Just how much goodwill has been compromised, and vast executive time expended, to ensure that nothing gets conceded, even my desire to leave a hostile service relationship?

Does that make sense to you?

From much you have shared, I suspect not.

Yes, I hope it gets resolved. And there are two easy ways for this to happen.

But after all that has been ranged against me so far, I am not optimistic.

But in simple human terms it is nice to know that even Unicom has some real folk working there who may collectively be able to influence a clearly bean counter/legal driven management structure.

Charlie said...

I too have a UNICOM contract problem. They have been trying to get £838 since January 10.

Is there a resolve in our favour at all?

Why are othelo allowing this to happen?

Why is there no hope for small businesses against these crooks?

Can anyone help?

Peter said...

Charlie,

I wish I could help more.

All I can say is 'we' must persevere.

Our case is now in the territory of years.

I had harboured hopes that, as an Ombudsman, otelo would act on behalf of the consumer's interests in the face of massive corporate bullying, but this cannot be relied upon.

Having eventually arrived at adjudicator level, I find myself dealing with a person who, for some odd reason, keeps misrepresenting clear evidence and refuses to contact witnesses to support it... all in favour of the entity who pays his salary.

Go figure.

I have hence escalated the case to the level of my MP and, for all the good it will do, another quango, OFCOM.

The final option is, of course, the media, and as folk such as us find each other and our individual stories add up to something very rotten, you never know what may transpire.

Mary said...

Count me in!!! I too have a Unicom story to add to any collection.
It infuriates me now Unicom are getting away with such appalling business practices.
• They didn’t refer to the 3 year rolling contract clause at the point of sale.
• They didn’t mention that the required 3 months written notice has to be given before 2 years and 9 months into the contract.
• They bury the terms & conditions of their 3 year rolling contract deep within the tiny mumbo jumbo of an ungrammatical and unreadable contract.
• They do not send reminders at renewal times.
• They calculate exorbitant termination fees for anyone that wants to leave them.
• They have tried their utmost to get any negative comments about them removed from the Internet and usually succeed – but not always.

A few articles about their awful contract had already been published …… I would like to see a few more.
Mary

Peter said...

Mary,

Welcome. You join a select, but growing band.

I don't know whether to be thrilled or appalled, that there are so many out there with shared experiences in this regard, or that the numbers finding each other can surely no longer be abused and/or ignored as we have been and are being.

Not just by Unicom, but by 'the system'.

I need to update my personal saga when I get a moment, but only yesterday I had to notch things up further with OFCOM and my MP, having had a totally unsatisfactory response from Unicom's 'Ombudsman' Otelo, claiming not to be in the business of finding out the facts, but then happily seeking to close cases based solely on 'evidence' they have had,and sought to consider, from but one source... the company that funds them.

OFCOM logged the complaint, but suggested my only recourse now was a civil action. Yeah, right. One person arguing over a minor amount (plus onerous t&cs & practices) vs. a massive corporate backed by their own Ombudsman, who for some odd reason have fought this precedent tooth and nail to date, gobbling up scores of man hours to not concede an inch.

One wonders why?

Hence time to move things to the next level.

I am wondering of now may be a good time to seek support from other avenues, such as trading standards... and the media.

Individual cases may not register, but there are too many, too consistent in their stories, to be dismissed easily now.

Uniconvict said...

Oh yes, you can count me in too!!

I can pretty much mirror most of the complaints and examples of bad practice already detailed here Peter.

Unicom have been after me for over £1300 fees since early last year.
I'm not paying it unless a Judge instructs me to do so.

Q. Have Unicom actually ever taken anyone to Court, I can't find any evidence to suggest they have? They can take me, I'm not worried.

Ofcom have already upheld a complaint with regard to consumers that were sold a contract over the phone Search the Ofcom site using CW/00941/12/06 for details of how to claim back any cancellation fees paid in such a circumstance.

There is also another glimmer of hope on the horizon as Ofcom have published a proposal to ban this type of rolling contact altogether and if successful it will protect consumers and small businesses with up to 10 employees! See here for more details> and to add your fourpenneth.




Marvellous

Peter said...

Hi Uniconvict, tx for the share.

Sorry to be so long in replying, but much as the principle of all this keeps me swatting away, like most I really have better things to do than keep up with all their shenanigans.

But, yes, a few addenda updates long over due.

As I write now, I do so from being an ex customer. We'll see how that pans out.

They have been informed that any legitimate costs - rental, call charges - will be honoured, but by cheque.

No word so far.

If the silly legal stuff on terminations follows up, then that ... would be unfortunate.

The way this seems to be working out is the only resort is to get lawyers involved.

Even though the amounts are not small, they still are small claims territory, and if they wish to invoke major league legal then that is their prerogative.

I have followed all complaints protocols whilst they have pulled out every trick in the book.

Even if a judge has to go with some arcane interpretation (which I doubt), the media seem keen on such stuff.

OFCOM are indeed in the frame, but despite their latest moves to address the mis-selling and rolling contract issues seem pretty toothless.

Frankly I feel more will happen by getting individual abusees together and more coordinated, and then even the powers that be may take notice if only by being held to account for their pathetic consumer protection efforts thus far.

chichiki said...

In a similar situation with Unicom, have tried the Otelo thing but they were of little help. Initially got a judgement in my favour. Unicom then appealed, submitted evidence which I consider fabricated lies, in the form of their notes. Judgement then went their way. Otelo says I can't appeal as it is a final judgement but I am not bound by it. I feel that their lies will not stand up in court but they have worked the Otelo system by not submitting these things at the first review and only when I would be unable to offer any defence to their accusations. I feel inclined to wait and see if they take me to court, have they taken any one else???

Concerned business owner

Peter said...

Hi Chichiki,

Thank you for your share, though sorry to discover yet another tale of woe.

If a positive can be taken out of this, is that there are a lot out there with stories to tell, those stories seem consistent, and damning... for Unicom.

The best thing therefore is to continue to link all together, and the internet offers unique opportunities and methods to do so.

Interested in your experience with otelo, which seems an area the media need to get onto as 'official' consumer protection resources seem less than useless.

I find it incredible that all these quangos/Ombudsmen are portrayed as so expensively 'there for you', but soon turn out to be almost powerless or rather partial. Having a court testing 'investigations' where no one seems to have been contacted or interviewed, or claims made without concern for perjury, would be 'interesting'.

I am now possibly in the area of court, having had quite enough their shenanigans over the years, and broken free.

The experience since the actual transfer has been comedic if also tragic.

A whole raft of individuals and departments have been deployed to 'handle' this, and it appears none have bothered to read what must be some pretty thick files, then often see my point and get replaced.

The latest is a lady from "Escalations' who assured me the harassing mail, emails, phonecalls and mobile texts making threats would cease (I have involved the authorities, from The Information Commissioner to OFT to Trading Standards) as we tried to 'resolve'* this. That a further aggressive text advising my line would be cut off (as I am now with another provider that would be interesting) if I did not pay that day rather made a mockery of that, and their pathetic claims on internal comms, continuity and who said what and when.

*As far as I can gather, this involves me conceding on everything, including a rather quaint several hundred £ 'termination fee'. Beyond the discredited contract terms, how they support that it was no clear I wanted to leave their malign 'service' will be a fun one.

jarvo8 said...

I have a lot of debt but I have been able to negotiate with my creditors but one particular company called Universal Debt Collection in Whythenshaw Manchester are not prepared to show any leeway what so ever on a debt they have took up on behalf of Unicom telecoms. The debt is for £529 the majority of which is made up of charges they said they can't drop the charges as it was stated I would get them in the contract if I fell behind with payments on my account this is before it became a debt.

I sent them a expenditure form showing everything and what I can afford to repay I offered £2-50 per week I work but don't earn great money my wife is on disability payment and we get benefits for housing.

This company rang me and told me they can only accept £12-50 per week and when I said I couldn't afford that they told me that debt collectors would be visiting or they would take me to court I replied that as far as I was aware they couldn't send debt collectors for a phone bill & if they did I wouldn't let them in I stated I was going to send a expenditure form & put the phone down.

After they got the expenditure form a woman rang me & said my offer of £2-50 was not acceptable and £12-50 a week was all they can accept when I again said I couldn't afford it she threatened me with bankruptcy stating they would apply for it at 6pm that evening if I didn't agree to their terms this was the end of that call.

A week or 2 later a man rang and told me £12-50 was again only acceptable this time he said to Their client when I asked if I could have the phone number of their client to discuss this debt they stated it was out of their clients hands and they were dealing with this debt so how can £12-50 a week be the only acceptable deal to their client if they are not even dealing with it any more?
I was told in no uncertain terms I would be taken to court and have to pay all their costs as the judge would come down in their favour as they have done on numerous occasions I agreed to a one payment of £12-50 just to get them of my back, can this company do this to me after what I have offered but I do feel under pressure from them and feel they are using bully boy tactics any help with these would be appreciated.

I have been getting useful help from a debt forum and at this moment waiting on UniCON'S next move

Peter said...

Jarvo -

They really are sweethearts, are they not?

Can't comment on the extent of the validity of the full debt amount, but there are clearly circumstances surrounding your attempts to settle what you can, as you can.

And these are being crushed by an unthinking machine backed by the full force of the law.

Fight.

I have involved my MP (as have others), who has taken up my case, plus OFCOM who, though seemingly limited, can nonetheless monitor and raise case files.

As a final resort there is the media, and they LOVE this kind of thing. Greedy business supported by money-grubbing lawyers and debt collectors. Irrespective of dispute or circumstances. In the UK. In 2011. While troops are dying to protect basic decency and freedoms.

Money saving expert, Which, Tabloids, BBC/C4/SKY investigative programmes.

I now have vast file, and many inter-linked connections, which I must soon update on this thread, as it seems to get picked up.

The internet is a great tool... use it!

Get on forums and tell your tale. Find others and hook up.I even found one with ex-Unicom employees sharing their unethical practices to customers... and staff with consciences.

I must get all these resources up soon, but in case you don't know it, for your particular, immediate issues, try CAG, who are on all such issues, from telecom t&cs to loans to debts to sharp practices:

CAG

Ferret said...

Jarvo. Unicom's threat of bankruptcy really sums up their entire operation.

i.e. it is a lie!

No one can initiate bankruptcy proceedings for debts less than £750.

Is the debt forum CAG?

I'll look for you there.

jay said...

Count me in too. From bullying tactics on phone, text,e.mail... to invented contracts. rollover signed contracts while you are hospitalised(confused). have had 3 years just amicably trying to get away from these people who pick on the vulnerable members of the public who got sweet talked into their grasp and then frighten you with their charges and termination fees let alone their legal department and actions when the charges are beyond practical use and affordability. Dreadful in all aspects. Such a shame as so much promised

Peter said...

Jay - what can I say... add?

One can only presume the lure of profit by their adopting such a 'service' stance outweighs any ethical qualms.

I am just amazed that they DO make money in this way, as they must to persist.

I have added a new URL to the piece that may be of interest.

dave taylor said...

After being stuck with unicon for 6 years because I was misled by customer services on how to end the contract 3 years ago, I wrote to universal utilities at the correct address ( you have to get this right other wise your letters get ruturned and your missed the 3 months deadline) 14 weeks before the 6th anniversary and had a letter back saying I still had to pay a termination fee of over £400 for 3 lines because of clause 8.3 which says " in the event of the agreement being termination pursuit to clause 8.1b or 8.1 c above then the customer shall pay to universal utilities a termination fee in the some equal to the following an administration fee of £100 plus a total amount that would have been payable inrespect of line rental or other select services for the remains period of the supply period had the supply period not Been terminated early because of the customers breach or insolvency plus 30 per cent of the customers estimated expenditure as set up over leaf for each of the remaining months of the supply period that would have occurred had the supply period not been terminated early because of the customers breach or insolvency"

Peter said...

Dave... another jaw-dropper.

I persisted and prevailed, but only by digging in my heels and marshalling a bunch of support. Even then it was really on the most egregious of cock-ups on their part that broke the deadlock in my favour.

The ombudsmen, otelo & OFCOM, are wastes of space.

But what gets me is how powerless the highest offices in the land also seem to be.

And how vague on making a concerted effort to change this.

For every awkward sod like me, or you, there must be many, less able to fight, being totally abused by this.

Time for a medium to get in, and really go to town on behalf of the public interest, naming and shaming those responsible.. and those complicit, if only by doing nothing as others suffer.

Peter said...

To poster Jay... I can sense your frustration, but cannot publish your comment just now.

a) For language reasons.

b) Things these days, said in jest that can cause you, and maybe me, unfortunate 'issues'.

If you would like to repost a little less colourfully and controversially I will moderate in.

Stick to facts and keep it clean.

Mary said...

Hi Peter

Another one bites the dust.

Noting your comment 'I believe in freedom of speech', unfortunately, Unicom don't agree!

Someone had recently set up a web site unicomcomplaints.com to bring together customers who were experiencing distressing situations with Unicom. The idea was to offer help, advice and support using the experience and research of other former customers who have already had bad experiences with Unicom. Only lasted less than 2 weeks before Unicom sent in the 'heavy guns' and the site administrator was 'silenced'. The website has gone and the site administrator cannot make any comment about Unicom whatsoever, anywhere.

I also noticed that someone had recently tried to do a similar thing on Facebook - but I I think that one lasted less 48 hours.

Why are they so heavy handed do you suppose?

Mary

Peter said...

Mary,

I am so sorry to learn of this.

I prevailed, but in doing so had hoped that some I had roped in (otelo, OFCOM, my MP) may just think that if it was bad for me, it was a lot worse for some others, perhaps needing more support.

It is hard to find the principle of divide and rule so brutally, and (sadly) effectively being still applied.

And worse, with the tacit approval, if not connivance of those in theory tasked and paid to protect the weak from abuse by the rich, powerful and strong.

It speaks of a UK I am no longer too happy to witness.

The only outlet I can imagine left is the media, who have the resources and experience to fight off legal threats that scare those you mention into submission.

But in perverse irony, the media only tend to get on board as people start to get together as one to protest. And this... is what is being cynically intercepted and prevented. For obvious reasons.

If FaceBook is being shut down on a telecoms scam, when oppressive governments in the Middle East can't do that, you have to wonder where folks' priorities lie.

Especially those highly paid, and pensioned ones in government here, or quangos, etc, who are meant to prevent this from happening at all, or deal with it swiftly when it does.

ps: I see you posted several times. As duplicates I have now approved the last. I needs me to get back to the PC to see a new post and do so.

pps: I would contact you directly but am not sure if I know how I would, or you me. Emails are not good things to share over the internet. Long day... I'll hunt around tomorrow in case there is a way I am missing.

Telecoms Manchester said...

We are all with you . we will be there where you need your support.

Peter said...

Telecoms Manchester - Tx. 'support' is always welcome, if genuine, relevant, for the right reasons and tangible. I should point out that I of course no longer need any having escaped. But as you will note, there are many still well and truly caught up and in dire need of help from industry advocates who can surely petition otelo/OFCOM that such activities are NIT helping the reputation of the telecoms sector.

Peter said...

I am still getting heartbreaking contacts on the ongoing abuses heaped on folk by this outfit:
Two URLs to remind you of:
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3578981&highlight=unicom
From:
http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews140628.html
It is hard to credit that the head of OFCOM, overseeing all this in theory to protect those being abused, is up to be DG of the national broadcaster.

Anonymous said...

I will keep this vey short and not too sweet. Im spending to much time and negative energy on this whole matter, i have had and am currently having a nightmare with the mentiond company. I would not recomend them to any of my friends and family, even my worst enemy (which would be said company).. Sorry to all other victims, im never going to be bought in by any deals ever again... fingers well and truly burnt

Peter said...

Dear Anon,

What can I say?

Still they persist, and others, like you suffer.

Yet the authorities do... what?

willnotletthembotherme said...

Blind in one eye, partially blind in the other following a stroke. Unicom sales representative tells me she'll read terms and conditions to me. Omits vital information. Misinforms and lies. Fails to tell me about rolling contracts despite being specifically asked. Then pre-dates the contract by 3 years to a date when I wasn't even in business. I cancel contract 4 years into what I believed was a 3 year contract and I'm landed with a termination fee. Heavy handed bullying tactics when I refuse to pay. Threatening Letters. Appalling manner on telephone. AND one of their advisors tells me that a judge will rule in their favour as he knows how Judges rule in such cases. This is simply criminal. In fact I'm considering involving the police. They will get no termination fee from me unless a Judge in court awards it. I'm not going to waste my energy worrying about this company. I look forward to my day in court. Shocking company.

Peter said...

willnotletthembotherme - and so, it persists.

For the life of me I cannot comprehend how.

The authorities seem powerless, disinterested, or complicit.

The media's attention span appears that of a gnat. Maybe get horsemeat involved?

I am not averse to a day in court, but considering how the legal system operates in the UK these days, be cautious to how blind justice is.

Other than wishing power to your elbow, I could only try and imagine what more of use can be deployed.

But maybe, as you found this blog, others will find you too, and suddenly the divisions will become bonds and this stain of corporate abuse will yet fall.

Mary said...


Hi
I was just reading aboud Lord Denning's 'Red Hand Rule'.
"Basically, he ruled that any clause in a contract which has huge ramifications, needs to be brought to your attention with ' red hands' pointing at it, and the more onerous the clause, the more attention must be drawn to it. "

In the unlikely event that Unicom progress 'will not let them bother me' to court, this ruling will go much in his favour.

I am in the process of preparing a web site to invite people who are having or have had problems with Unicom and Titan Calls who are sister companies, to email their experiences to me and once I have collected a few hundred I will send them to all the various authorities that 'might' actually take some notice. I will post site address once I am up and running

Peter said...

Mary - tx for that, and more power to you!

Please do share the site when up. People seem to find this page still, I guess on Google searches.

Bear in mind the forcers that will get deployed against you in this.

They are powerful and they are without conscience.

And, given they seem at best given a pass by too many in authority, they appear to feel invulnerable.

The review site I featured here before was subject to vast pressure and took their page down for a while. I credit them, and whatever processes swung behind their right to share such information, for sticking to it and reposting, and with more.

I of course was also 'contacted'. I caved on a few issues (the logo) but remain convinced that facts and honesty must not be censored to serve the demands of sharp practice and legal muscle.

Mary said...

Hi Peter,

In the meantime, I have setup a new email address to make a start on collecting people's experiences at uniconbuster@yahoo.co.uk. Any emails I receive will be treated in strictest confidence and will only be seen by Ofcom, Trading Standards and other relevant authorities. I don't think it will take long to collect a few hundred complaints. It speaks volumes that one particular thread on another forum entitled 'Can Unicom charge me cancellation fees?' had had well over 17,000 viewings.

I know how vigilant Unicom are when it comes to negative postings on the Internet and how quickly they move to get them deleted. Yes - I am sure that Unicom will 'deploy' but will keep you updated and publish any correspondence I receive from them on my site when up and running.

Many thanks

John said...

Mary. Hello. The yahoo email address you provide doesn't work! Did you mean Unicombuster not UnicoNbuster?

Would like to send you some stuff on Unicom. I'm 'John' who posted one of the earlier comments.

Thanks

Mary said...

Hi John and all

Address is uniconbuster@yahoo.com. Not .co.uk

Sorry about that.

Will look forward to hearing from you

Regards

Mary

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...

Mary - apols - just saw the private bit.

If you want me to delete let me know.

I am happy for my reply to stand.

Peter said...

Mary - it appears I can only delete, and did. Feel free to repost, and I will repost my reply:)

Mary said...

Hello Peter,

Just to let you know that the postings I had left on 3 other forums asking for people to contact me with their Unicom experiences have all been deleted. Gone.

You might also be 'contacted' about my earlier postings and hope it doesn't cause you any problems

I am not giving up!

Regards,
Mary

Peter said...

Mary, I am sorry to learn this. If you are able to find out why, let me know. I can see no reason why such sharing of information, especially in cause of collating those suffering similar problems would be an issue or concern to any other than those with something to fear from possible victims uniting, and the truth gaining a louder voice. If I am contacted I will be interested in what is being proposed, and the legal basis for any attempt at censure. I will then pass this on to my MP for him to share/forward to his colleagues in Parliament, and the media who took an interest before. Post BBC/Savile/McAlpine, the NHS/Stafford recently, and Elder Care failures ongoing, the ability of any large corporate, be it public or especially private, to engage in or persist with alleged abuses and be protected from being held to proper account, may be set to soon end.

Mary said...

Hello Peter.
I finally published the web site I created to try to bring together the people who are having problems with Unicom and it can be viewed at www.unicom-complaints.co.uk. The more people that write in the better we will be heard.
Many thanks

Peter said...

Mary - a lot of work there; and as it looks very objective and factual; happy to make it accessible.

When I get time I'll go through and see what more I can do.

That the simple act of sharing experiences is resisted in such draconian ways by the company is perhaps understandable in a purely business defensive sense if they are seeking to retain the practices that so obviously still make them money, but the PR fallout must surely by now be hurting the sales uptake even if once snagged folk find it so hard to leave.

Sites like this, and internet-driven campaigns are now impossible to ignore.

Maybe create a twitter and FaceBook account in complement? I was part of one campaign when Santander decided not to honour an Abbey free banking for life promise, and after a hairy few months they blinked when enough folk decided enough was enough.

And that was a promise being broken.

This is much worse, IMHO.

What I still can't figure is why the authorities, and to an extent the media, are still so disinterested and/or powerless.

If ever there was an example of corporate abuse running unchecked, this was it!

Peter said...

Anon - Thank you for your contribution.

As requested, not for publication, but I'd encourage you to let me do so as it does have information that others may benefit from.

And I don't see anything that could reflect on you from your time with Unicom or is in any way other than good advice.

You can repost or advise me in a new one quoting a segment that only you or I currently know about.

Getting in touch directly can be via info@ the Junkk or Firebird URLs.

Peter said...

Dear 'Anon' -

[A word of explanation to any other readers: the thread has had a few posts recently form a poster who is, and hence easily can remain, anonymous, asking not to be published. I value the input and can only respect the request]

You have now provided a great deal of information, and some opinion/advice that is not for me to judge on its merits any more than others. None appears anything other than from the heart and well-informed.

Obviously if you have inside knowledge that can have a bearing on how others view and deal with Unicom, then I'd encourage you to share this with the authorities directly. Especially if you have evidence.

I am uncomfortable editing, as per your request, your experiences, as you know what you know and and what you don't want others to try and trace, so may I suggest you package what you have written so far as a 'for publication' post, and either let me know to approve it to appear or, if you are worried about tracing via Blogger, I will cut and paste under my name here, specifying it is testimony from a whistleblower, that cannot be confirmed.

People can then make their own minds up on what is shared, and act on it, and the advice you offer, accordingly.

I can do no more than share my own experiences, offer a few thoughts based upon them, and provide a forum for such information to be shared.

As you point out, Unicom seems to devote a significant amount of resources to trying to police such exchanges when they might be better investing them in improving the deals and customer services in support.

Mary said...

Hi Peter

It took time but we got there in the end.

Ofcom have just announced that they are investigating Unicom's Sales and Marketing tactics and their requirement to offer 12 month contracts.

The BBC have already filmed an item about them for Rip-off Britain which will be shown in the new series and Radio 4 are doing an item about them tomorrow (10th April) at 12 noon

Peter said...

Mary - Well done; thanks for letting me know. I'll update the date on this thread to bring it to the fore, so others can share.

It seems amazing that it has taken this long. Not out the fields yet, but the official response sounds serious and if the state media are weighing in too in complement there has been some kind of shift in the establishment.

I did get some support from my MP on a personal basis, but was amazed how cheerfully powerless he admitted to being on abuses that legislative bodies are here to correct.

I just hope justice is served all those who suffered. Too much to hope in the same way as some bank mis-selling correctives?

I'll try and catch the show and share the iPlayer URL.

Mary said...

Hi Peter,
I just had a call from Lydia (Radio 4) to let me know that the Unicom item has had to be postponed until Monday 14th April at 12 noon as the piece was too long for today’s programme and she didn't want to have to shorten it.

Peter said...

Thanks for letting me/us know - Mary.

Credit it too to the BBC (or the production team at least) for seeing the importance of telling the full story without time constraints, and for letting you know too to pass on.

I had it bookmarked and the screen just flashed up to tune in!

Mary said...

Morning Peter,
As far as I know, the Radio 4 'You & Yours' Unicom follow up item is on today at 12 noon and can be heard here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/on-air If anything changes, I will update later.

Peter said...

Tx Mary. Will try and catch it. Hope they delve/d a little deeper than the last.

Mary said...

Hi Peter,
If anyone missed the live broadcast of the follow up Unicom item this morning (4th June 2014), it can be heard here and the Unicom item starts at around 6:30 minutes http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b045bss8

Peter said...

Tx again, Mary.
I did miss it as my ancient system got a very terse message from iPlayer about compatibility.
With luck this one will work better:)

Peter said...

Mary - Just listened.

Fine as far as it goes. I'd hope the BBC may see something as amiss when restitution only grudgingly happens when a national medium weighs in on a single case or... they fight tooth and nail basically trading 'who is lying' claims.

At least they are asking for more victims, but frankly the BBC should be tasking regulators & government on this by now.

Unicom can laugh off a bit of PR and write off a few BBC-wangled fees. What they need to be held to account upon is institutional sharp practice going in and clearly abusive retention activity when folk want to part company.

I'd want an otelo, OFCOM or Minister to explain how this happens on their watch.

OFCOM is being put forward as the next BBC Trust. Given how they bend over to private corporations, one can only imagine the level of compromise dealing with fellow public sector employees.

Mary said...

Hi Peter,

We have heard from the BBC and the Unicom Telecom piece they filmed earlier this year for Rip-off Britain will be aired on Wednesday 1st October at 09.15 am.

Peter said...

Tx, Mary. Made a note. Will try to catch.

Peter said...

Mary - tried to locate it. Sadly the BBC site defeated my attempts:( If you have a URL to direct me to, appreciated.

Mary said...

Try this Peter. It is available for the next 6 days http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04kft46

Mary said...

Hi Peter
MP John Healey raised an Adjournment Debate with the Minister for Telecommunications and Creative Affairs in the House of Commons Wed 26th Nov about Unicom, miss-selling and the Ombudsman's failure to protect his constituent. The recording of the debate can be seen by clicking on this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-politics-30208533 Click on Live Coverage, then click on House of Commons, then scroll the time bar to around 7hrs 13 minutes.
Mr Healey does not hold back and we are left in no doubt how he feels about Unicom!

Mary said...

Hi Peter
I hope everything is OK with you.
I just wanted to let you know about the Parliamentary Debate on the 26th November about Unicom raised by John Healey MP who named Unicom as a predatory company who were ripping off an elderly vulnerable constituent for £3,500
http://www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/news/December/telecoms-bill-dropped-after-john-s-debate-over-shameful-mis-selling/

Peter said...

Tx as always for keeping me updated, Mary.

This seems a step up, as these abuses need legislative pressure because Unicom clearly feels the money it makes from abuse outweighs adverse PR from niche media exposes.

Good to see the Ombudsman's woeful performance called out too.

I'll add the URL to the main piece to inspire others to contact MPs, who in turn may see merit in fighting on their constituents' behalf.

Mary said...

Hi Peter,

Finally, after a 16 month investigation of Unicom Telecom, Ofcom concluded their investigation on 29 July 2015.

Here is a quick update – Ofcom have fined Unicom £200,000 for mis-selling landline contracts. Ofcom have also ruled that Unicom must release customers free of termination fees and compensate affected customers if they were misled at the point of sale. Details can be seen here
http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/unicom-misleading-customers/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/31/ofcom_fines_unicom_for_misleading_customers/?mt=1438337960507

Ofcom will monitor Unicom to ensure that the appropriate remedial steps are taken. It will be interesting to see how this pans out!

Peter said...

Mary,

Tx for the update. Good news and congrats on the persistence paying off!

£200,000 is a drop in the ocean to them, but it is a large amount and the monitoring puts them on notice at least.

I simply feel for all who have been so abused and have had no satisfactory outcome.

Mary said...

Hello Peter
This update might interest consumers who have experienced the business ‘practices’ that Unicom apply.
Universal Utilities T/A Unicom who were fined £200,000 for mis-selling on the 29th July 2015 have registered a change of name on the 9th October 2015 at Company House and they are now known as Verastar Ltd T/A Kinex. Same Registration Number, same VAT Number, same trading address as before, just new name. Interestingly, the domain name verastar.co.uk was registered just 2 weeks before Ofcom announced the findings of their long investigation into Unicom and the £200,000 fine

Peter said...

Tx, mary. Well worth adding to the sorry litany of sharp dealing this outfit are enacting, and getting away with still.

Tse Tsui Ha said...

New year...still having troubles with titan telecom..ombudsman found in their favour...HOW??

Peter said...

Tse Tsui Ha - Not familiar with 'Titan', but sadly am familiar with the contributions of ombudsmen.

Too often it seems their role is less to represent the public but more to present a false sense of official oversight on the industry that funds them.

You could try your MP.

Tse Tsui Ha said...

Titan part of unicom....theyve been slated over past few years but with me being a newbie on the web,it was too late...went with them now being faced with terminations fees of £600 and rising..!they have as yet to materialise copies of telephone and paper contracts when challenged.ombudsman found in their favour???

Mary said...

Hi Peter
It won’t surprise you to know that Titan and Unicom are associated companies under the same parent company Verastar. As you probably already know, Unicom renamed themselves to Verastar in October 2015 after they were fine £200,000 by Ofcom for mis-selling.
Tse Tsui Ha – you don’t have to accept the Ombudsman’s decision and if you contact us at unicom-complaints.co.uk we might be able to help

Peter said...

Mary... sadly, no, it doesn't.

That they are playing games on names suggest they are less than trustworthy, yet the 'ombudsman' acting in oversight is still tried to them over the public they are meant to protect.

Tse Tsui Ha... I hope Mary and her link offer avenues to name, shame and reclaim... not just titan/Unicom/Verestar, but the 'official avenues still facilitating these abuses.

If they work out, do drop us a line to update as it seems this little thread of mine still gets picked up and can act as a matchmaker for those fighting on.

Tse Tsui Ha said...

Hi Mary tried to contact you but says given email address is invalid?

Mary said...

Sorry Tse Tsui Ha. it is a web site - not an email address. If you click on www.unicom-complaints.co.uk you will get to the site. There are quite a lot of complaints about Titan on the ‘Links’ page. There is a contact address on the site to get in touch.
I look forward to hearing from you

Mary said...

Hi Peter
BBC Radio 4 ran an item about Unicom / Verastar on the You & Yours consumer programme on Monday 11th January. The story was about a Sheffield dinner lady who commenced court action against Unicom to claim a refund of termination fees and to claim compensation for the harassment she had to endure due to Unicom's debt collection procedures. Unicom settled out of court and paid the full amount that was claimed. The programme can he heard by clicking on this link and the Unicom item starts at around 15 minutes http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06wc6qp
More details about this story can be seen by clicking on this link http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/01/sheffield-dinner-lady-wins-compensation-from-troubled-uk-isp-unicom.html

Peter said...

Tx for that... duly shared to help inspire those who have yet to defeat the Dark Side and stumble past here.

I also pop snippets across to my MP.

It is a shame he and his legislative colleagues seem powerless to simply stop this once and for all.

Tse Tsui Ha said...

Ey-up..the phone calls have started this morning from Titan probably chasing termination fees..!
Mary if you see this..advice?

Mary said...

I have sent you a couple of emails. Have you not received them?