WHO REGULATES THE REGULATOR
17 December 2018
On the morning of 14 December 2018 Ofcom announced that millions of people in the UK are paying too much for their home broadband services. They launched the Boost Your Broadband campaign together with announcing that they are in the process of releasing further regulation requiring ISP's to notify customers when they are coming out of contract, as well as advising them of the best available price for their services on the network. Ofcom proudly state that fast broadband can be found for as low as £20 per month.
Whilst we welcome some of the announcement, i.e. notification of coming out of contract and providing the best prices to customers, we are very disappointed that the rest of it is severely flawed and to the detriment of consumers.
• Some basic research of the industry that they regulate would have alerted Ofcom that for many months fast broadband is found from as low as £16 per month, 20% less than what they think.
• Ofcom should have cleaned up their accredited comparison site scheme to become 'whole of market' before telling trusting consumers where to look for the best deals.
• Which?, who use one of their accredited comparison sites, and many of the other listed accredited sites do not show the best deals.
Ofcom provides an accreditation scheme for comparison sites, there are certain rules and regulations which these sites have to adhere to, one of these is listing packages in order of price (obvious right) - well this is the norm for some, but not for others.
More importantly, 4 out of the 5 Ofcom accredited sites comparing fixed line broadband do not display the cheapest deals available. Given that Ofcom have launched an initiative to tell the consumer that they are paying too much for their broadband, surely the accreditation which Ofcom provides (for a fee) should ensure that the whole of market is listed, which in turn ensures that the consumer will get the best price.
Stavros Tsolakis, Chairman of Direct Save Telecom says "it appears that the Ofcom announcement only really serves to promote Which? and the handful of comparison sites with this pointless accreditation. Ofcom are right in what they are saying - consumers are paying too much for their broadband. The consumers own supplier may not provide the best possible deal in the market but there are suppliers out there who offer the same service for a better price. But if the very sites Ofcom promote do not provide the consumer with the best deals, we want to know how will this ever be possible?"
MY BROADBAND IS TOO SLOOOOW… WHAT CAN I DO???
9 April 2016
There is nothing more annoying than slow internet speeds. We have some infuriated customers contacting us regularly complaining about this problem… with a few even believing we have a magic broadband button that we can press to either speed up or slow down their connection.
In actual fact, the real speed of your broadband – when everything is working fine with no interference – is down to where you live. Standard broadband over telephone lines slows down the further you live away from the telephone exchange. To a lesser extent, this is also true for fibre broadband. As the link between the fibre cabinet and your house runs through the same copper telephone wires, so speeds will again depend on the distance of your house from the fibre source. A simple internet postcode check can tell you what you can expect to achieve, so always do your homework before signing up for a deal.
In saying all this, there are often other reasons why your broadband runs slowly, such as the position of your router or interference being cause by other devices. So to try and help I have enlisted the assistance of our Technical Support Manager, Martin Dix, to give you some tips to try and speed up your internet speed at home. If anyone requires any further help please get in touch via Facebook or Twitter, or give our technical help team a call. Over to Martin.
What causes slow internet speeds?
There is often a simple reason why your internet is running slowly, with the most common problems being the following: - Poorly/incorrectly wired routers. - Poorly positioned routers resulting in bad wireless performance. - Degrading internal wiring (sockets etc). - Wireless interference from other devices.
So what measures can you take to make sure you get the most out of your broadband connection?
Firstly, it is vital that you make sure your router is connected via a micro filter to the master phone socket, this may not seem important but can have a real impact on the speeds you receive. If you connect your router to another socket you will still receive a signal, just not the optimum level.
It is also important not to hide your router away. If it’s hidden in a cupboard firstly it could overheat; and secondly it will restrict the routers ability to broadcast its wireless signal effectively, especially if it is tucked away behind something metal. So make sure you place the router in a central, open position in your home to maximise the signal it provides.
Nothing lasts forever, so anything electrical, sockets and wiring can degrade over time. So if your speeds are continually not to up to scratch you need to consider upgrading. Unfortunately, it is not easy to tell if a socket is working properly or not, so replacing it is really the only way of finding this out. But if you are having persistent problems, it is definitely worth considering.
Electrical interference could also be causing you problems, as other devices in the home can affect signal strength. Baby monitors, microwaves, and fairy lights are examples of electrical items that sometimes surprisingly have a negative impact. The easiest way of diagnosing such a problem is to turn other electrical items off and have just the router and the device (for example laptop or TV) on to test if the signal quality improves. If it does, turn on electrical items one by one, testing the internet each time, until you find the device causing the interference. You can also change the wireless channel (frequency) on the router to try to work around the item causing the interference.
These are just a few hints that may help you improve your broadband speed, if you have any other questions or would like to know more please get in touch with me or a member of my team.
Thanks - Martin.
COULD YOU SAVE A BUNDLE BY SWITCHING YOUR TV AND BROADBAND?
6 March 2016
We all couldn’t live without our TV and broadband, we want all our favourite TV programmes, films and music, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… at our fingertips whenever we want them – but you don’t need to pay a bundle for the privilege.
I’m genuinely amazed by how many people are tied into a TV, home phone and broadband bundle with the likes of Sky or Virgin, often paying a lot more than £100 a month, when they don’t actually know what they are paying for.
What TV channels do you actually watch? And then consider how many you are actually paying for! A bundle may be the way forward for some, but for most of us, especially with the arrival of streaming, it does not represent value for money… in fact it represents a big fat waste of money!
95% of the nation’s favourite TV is available on free to air and both Freeview and FreeSat are providing great choice and value - for free. If you want to add premium content such as movies and sport it has never been easier.
For all your TV and film needs we believe services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime TV offer the best value for money, where for £5.99 a month you can stream thousands of films and TV programmes whenever you want.
Sky Sports channels can be accessed from NOW TV on a non-contract basis, you can buy a day, week or monthly pass. All you need is a good broadband connection to get started.
The Discovery Channels, Crime Investigation, Animal Planet and many more channels available on Virgin can be streamed with TVPlayerPlus, again on a non contract basis.
No longer do you need a triple play bundle with Sky or Virgin costing anywhere between £70 to £140 per month to ensure you satisfy the viewing habits of everyone in your household. If Fibre is available where you live then our 38Mb Superfast Fibre is a perfect solution at only £14.75 per month (and you get the first 3 month FREE), with line rental and free weekend UK calls it will cost just £32.50 per month. Combining Freeview or FreeSat with Netflix, Amazon, TVPlayer or NOW TV you can get the right blend of programmes and save hundreds of pounds every year.
Fibre coverage is increasing all the time (80% of UK so far) but if Fibre is not available where you live you have a 95% chance having fast broadband (ADSL2+) and unless you live a considerable distance from your exchange you should be enjoying speeds good enough to stream TV. If this is the case then our £1.95 Broadband Deal can more than double your savings.
PHONE, EMAIL OR ONLINE?
19 January 2016
When it comes to customer service everyone wants the same thing– to have your problem solved or question answered in the quickest time possible and with the minimum of fuss.
But do you prefer to contact a customer service representative by telephone where you can actually speak to someone who can help, or do you prefer an email response, or is an online chat the simplest way of getting your query dealt with?
This is a question we posed to our customers via Twitter and the results are in. Almost half of the customers we asked said the traditional phone call is still the best way of getting customer service help, an online chat came second, with email languishing in third.
1. Telephone call 47%
2. Online Chat: 34%
3. Email: 19%
We agree with our customers, and use phone calls to deal with the vast majority of customer service queries. We feel it is important to actually be able to speak to a well-trained human being who is based in the UK, as this gives our customers the best service and allows us to deal with any problems they may have in the quickest time possible.
We believe customer service is vital to every business that needs to have regular dealings with the public. There is nothing more annoying than waiting in huge long telephone queues, or waiting forever for an online or email response, when you have a simple problem or question that needs answered. I wouldn’t put up with it, so neither should you.
Let us know via our Facebook or Twitter pages whether you agree with these results.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS TO SAVE LOTS OF CASH
Move over Santa, Direct Save has the best Christmas gift of 2015
There aren’t many stocking fillers you can buy for under a pound these days, never mind get some change in your pocket. So why not give your loved ones something they really need this festive season – the broadband deal that just keeps on giving!
Introducing the unlimited broadband deal for 95p!
And yes we are blowing our own Christmas trumpet – but we think we deserve to after launching the best value unlimited broadband deal available in the UK today.
Our incredible 95p deal gives users speeds up to 17Mb, comes with a free wireless router worth £35, and line rental will cost as little as £11.50 a month if you pay for a year in advance – that’s less than £12.50 a month all in!
This really is an incredible broadband deal, but it’s not just about low prices for our customers – it’s about delivering excellent service, the fastest internet speeds possible, with the best equipment, providing a quality and reliable service – all backed up with UK based support.”
To find more information about Direct Save Telecom’s new 95p unlimited broadband deal please visit: 95p-broadband-deal
FREE DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN FREE WHEN IT COMES TO BROADBAND!!!
DIRECT SAVE TELECOM’S TOP TEN TIPS: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN SWITCHING YOUR BROADBAND PROVIDER:
1. Shop around and do your homework and always read the small print.
2. The eye catching headline price that you see won’t actually be the price you pay.
3. Free broadband does not exist, you will pay for it via hidden costs.
4. Always check and compare the price of the line rental, low-cost deals often come with higher line rental.
5. Always check for usage caps, today most people will need unlimited broadband to cope with all the streaming of music, films and TV.
6. Check the available speed, there is nothing more annoying than slow broadband, also there is no point paying for a higher speed if you cannot receive it in your area.
7. UK-based customer service and technical help is a must.
8. Check that your home phone is included, many internet service providers do not include home phone in their low cost deals and charge for you to add it on.
9. Always check the length of the contract you have to sign up for and make sure there are no hidden price jumps, for example sometimes the price can double after 12 months.
10. Getting tied into a bundle is not always the best deal. It may seem like the simplest thing to do but you often pay more. Again make sure you shop around, eg if you want Sky TV you don’t have to take their broadband.
CONNECTING WITHOUT THE CONTRACT
1st September 2015
What are the UK’s best non-contract broadband deals?
There are lots of amazing home-phone and broadband deals currently available in the UK. For less than it costs to buy a pint of beer people can enjoy unlimited broadband and free calls, but these deals all have something in common – a long-term contract.
To enjoy the discounted prices broadband customers have to sign-up to a minimum 12 month contract, often longer. Internet suppliers will simply not drop prices for a shorter time period, as it offers them no security and therefore makes no financial sense.
But what about the people who cannot sign-up to a long-term contract? There are many instances where people require broadband but simply cannot commit to a long contract, for example students, travellers, short-term renters, temporary workers or someone in between jobs. What happens to these forgotten broadband outcasts, are they simply ignored as are not considered a key target market by the internet service providers?
Unfortunately, this is partially true. It’s a fact if you do not want a long-term relationships the ISPs do not fancy you. However, there are still some great deals currently available in the UK contract free, but of course you have to pay more if you want anything without commitment. The cheapest is currently supplied by budget telco Direct Save Telecom, which offers a no-commitment 28 day rolling basic package for just £11.95 a month. This deal includes free weekend UK calls, a free wireless router worth £35, free set-up worth £24.95 and line rental at £15.35. There is also an £8.95 postage and packing charge.
So to add it all up, the cheapest someone can get telephone and broadband without signing up to a long-term contract is £36.25 for the first month, then £27.30 thereafter. Then when a customer wishes to exit the deal they have to give 28 days’ notice in writing and return the router if when leaving the deal they are within 12 months of their start date.
The shortest contract any of the big 4 telcos offer is Virgin’s 9 month contract 50Mb fibre broadband deal.
Here is a list of the best non-contract broadband deals currently available in the UK:
|ISP||Broadband Cost||Line Rental||Total||Router, Setup, PP&I||Usage Cap||1 Month||6 Months||12 Months|
|Direct Save Telecom||£11.95||£15.35||£27.30||£8.95||20GB||£36.25||£172.75||£336.55|
|Direct Save Telecom||£16.95||£15.35||£32.30||£8.95||Unlimited||£41.25||£202.75||£396.55|
"Customers who want broadband without a contract are often overlooked by the bigger providers as basically they are not going to make a lot of money on them,” explains Stavros Tsolakis, CEO of Direct Save Telecom.
“However, there are good non-contract deals out there if you shop around, yes you have to pay more than if you were signing-up to a longer-term contract, but you still do not have to break the bank. We have customers from all walks of life who take our non-contract offer, such as students, non-contract workers and travellers. Recently we have seen an upsurge in take-up in Edinburgh as thousands flood there for the Edinburgh Festival.”
Edd Dawson, Editor of broadband.co.uk, explains that there is a market for short-term broadband deals, but they will always be more expensive.
“Non-contract broadband is more expensive and often comes with extra connection costs in order to maximise profit as there's no guarantee ISPs will retain customers for very long. It also makes the cheaper bundle prices more attractive and probably sways quite a few people to committing to the longer contracts.
“However, there IS a market out there for non-contract broadband, for a variety of reasons. Some people live in short-contract rented accommodation and need to move around a lot, making long contracts unworkable. Others may be tied into longer line rental contracts with another companies, or perhaps simply don't want to switch due to good phone service and customer loyalty. Some people simply dislike the idea of long contracts and want the option of being able to switch quickly if the service doesn't live up to expectations.
“Of the major providers, Plusnet (which is BT owned) are the only ones who offer short contract deals. Zen, a more expensive yet highly rated ISP, also offer short contract deals. However, some of the more budget providers, such as Direct Save, has been offering these deals for a while, and TenTel even make it a selling point that their contracts are short in order to attract customers looking for broadband without long-term commitment.”
How can I help you?
Good customer service is vital to the success of any business - 18 August 2015
Whether you are buying a house, a car, a TV or a service such as gas and electric or phone and broadband, one thing which is much more likely to tempt you into buying is good customer service.
It seems like a no brainer for all organisations which are selling goods or services, but in reality this could not be further from the truth. We have all been there, interested in buying something or need assistance with a product and the customer service rep could not be less interested. Instead of trying to do their job they make you feel like a nuisance and can’t wait to get rid of you.
It’s easy for me to say this is totally unacceptable, as all companies - even those with (how shall I say) questionable customer service practices - will say the same, but it really is. If this was happening within my company I would want to know about, and I would ensure that it stopped as we would lose customers as a result.
Overseas call centres play a large part in this problem, as they are the cheaper option for a lot of companies. For these to work you have to be very sure they are actually going to provide a worthwhile service for customers, and not just annoy them with huge queuing times and unresponsive call centre staff.
What companies need to remember is that their customers are their greatest asset, and therefore need to be looked after. Customer service is what people remember, so it represents your business as a whole. People will always remember if your customer service was really great or really terrible. If you have good customer service people naturally think you have good products, and vice versa. When you take the time to help someone, it shows you truly care about them. You have to genuinely care about your customers, as they are literally the most important aspect of your business. Without customers you sell no products or services, without sales there is no revenue stream, without a revenue stream you can’t pay overheads, if you can’t pay overheads ultimately your business will fail. It really is that important.
All our customer service and technical help centres are UK based, and all staff are well trained so are knowledgeable about all the products and services we provide. We know to try and compete with the big 4 telcos our customer service has to be excellent, so cutting corners is not an option.
UK Summer of sport heats up
15 July 2015
England are winning the Ashes, the Open is about to begin at the home of golf and believe it or not the football season kicks off again in a few weeks – with our home team Watford in the Premier League! I’m also told the UK’s heat wave is set to continue… so who needs to spend a fortune on a holiday overseas when you can enjoy a sun tan and all this sport right here!
OK, OK, the rest of your family may not agree and all the non sport lovers may see it as the perfect opportunity to get away from it all, but a holiday at home is certainly the cheaper option.
The pressure on families to go on an overseas trip during the school holidays has always been high, and has always been expensive. Many parents will be forced to pay up the holiday expenses throughout the next year, even with the Euro taking a plunge against the pound.
But where do these families find the money from? Cheaper car? Stop the Sky TV? Stop eating out or cut out the carry outs? There are various options to save money throughout the home, but no matter what cuts you make the savings are going to hurt if you have to give up something you like.
Broadband is an area you cannot cut out as all family members from your 4 year old to your 84 year old rely on it, even if they don’t always realise they do! Whether its shopping, watching TV, playing games or listening to music, broadband is now essential for them all.
Although you certainly can’t do without it, broadband is definitely an area you can save on. The latest stats show that the average UK household could save over £100 a year if they switched from one of the big four providers to one of the cheaper deals on the market.
A survey of 2,500 broadband users conducted by Cable.co.uk has just found that price is the most important thing to consumers when looking for a new broadband package, ahead of speed, usage limit, contract length, inclusive calls, provider advertising, provider reputation, freebies and router/hardware. In fact 2 in 5 broadband users rated the importance of price as 10 out of 10.
Despite these results, half of us have never changed our broadband supplier and continue to pay way too much for getting online. Why is this? It really is quite hard to work out. But gradually we are all starting to realise there is usually a better deal out there if we take the time to do our homework.
One of the problems we have, and this is putting people off changing, is confusing and misleading advertising. An example would be a company offering “free” broadband, but in reality, it has expensive line rental and no call package which means the “free” option is actually way overpriced. This needs to be stopped.
So make sure you always read the small print and are aware of all the costs. If you shop around you can pay under £2 a month for your home phone and broadband and as little as £11 a month for line rental. Visit www.directsavetelecom.co.uk for more details.
Protect yourself from constant cold callers
WHAT TO DO - 19 June 2015
We have all been there, you are just about to settle down to a nice dinner or to watch that film you have been desperate to see for ages and the phone rings.
Do you answer or do you ignore? For most, our inquisitive minds get the better of us and we answer in case it is something important, just to get infuriated when it is someone or an automated message trying to sell us insurance or PPI.
There are various ways you can protect yourself from this including registering with the Telephone Preference Service every 12 to 18 months, or if the calls still persist using a service such as Choose to Refuse or Caller Reject. (feel free to call our customer service team and they will happily explain all your options)
I need to point out that I am not against telemarketing, in fact we rely on it to generate many of our new customers as we cannot afford to throw millions of pounds at advertising like BT or SKY. But we do it ethically, if someone has opted out they will not be called by us, and we certainly do not employ tactics such as:
• Automated calls
• Answer machine detectors
• Withheld numbers
• Presenting a local number
• No option to opt out
• Continuously calling people who have opted out
• Abandoned calls (supposedly only allowed 3.1%)
Firms, such as your PPI callers, who are constantly getting away with employing bogus tactics to try and trick the public into answering are threatening to destroy the telesales market for everyone and are actually stopping people from answering their landline. This needs to be stopped.
As a company we want to protect telemarketing, and with all the negative publicity it is getting right now, it certainly needs protected. But we do not want to do this at the expense of the customer, if someone does not want to be disturbed they should not be disturbed – end of.
Direct Save Telecom rebrands to improve customer experience and grab greater share of the telecoms market
STRIVING TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - 29 MAY 2015
We have just completed rebranding with the aim of improving customer experience and ultimately grabbing a greater share of the home phone and broadband market.
As part of the rebrand we have replaced our older, dated website, with a completely new site which will greatly improve functionality and make it much easier for new and existing customers to navigate around. We have also streamlined the ordering process both online and offline making it faster and more straightforward for new customers to sign-up. The new website is also mobile friendly, so customers can now access the site from any device.
We hope that the rebranding will lead to increased customer engagement, ultimately leading to more customers coming on board. In particular we are targeting the customers of the big 4 telcos who have 86% of the market, even though they are the most expensive. Recent stats show that the UK could save around £2 billion collectively if all these customers switched to one of the cheaper deals on the market.
We have invested heavily in this rebrand to offer a cleaner fresh approach aimed at greatly improving the customer experience we provide. Not only is our new website now much more aesthetically pleasing on the eye, it is much easier to navigate around so customers can easily find exactly what they are looking for whether it’s a home phone or broadband deal, contract or non-contract, or whether they are just looking for a price comparison. It has been specifically designed to engage customers so they spend more time on the website.
The feedback we have received so far has been excellent and we are already seeing increased numbers on the site. We are hoping that all of this will lead to us grabbing a greater market share of the home phone and broadband market.
We also have planned a big social media push in the coming months, with several special deals being offered exclusively to its followers on Twitter and Facebook. So we urge you all to "Follow" us on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook to make sure that you do not miss out!
Increasing dependence on a digital lifestyle
HOW DATA DEPENDENT ARE YOU? - 22 MAY 2015
What would happen if your broadband connection went down, or your 3G stopped working when you are out and about? For the majority of us this is almost unthinkable as our insatiable thirst for data just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
We depend on the internet for virtually everything we do, whether it’s working, banking, shopping or keeping in touch with friends and family. We all have friends who are more interested in checking-in and tagging themselves in photos on a night out than actually enjoying themselves. While this is often very annoying, it is a symptom of the world we live in where our whole lives are now played out online.
The widening availability and lowering of costs of connectivity means everyone can now afford it, with some of our customers saying they would rather do without food than a wi-fi connection. Prices of devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets keep coming down, and the cost of wi-fi is now cheaper than a bag of chips if you shop around for the best deal.
So everyone has it, everyone demands – we do very much depend on it.
All this is backed up by the latest data from the Office for National Statistics which shows that in the first quarter of this year 86% of adults (44.7 million) in the UK used the internet, an increase of 1% compared to the same period in 2014.
This may not sound like a big increase, but when you consider the UK has a population of just over 64 million a 1% upturn in usage represents around 640,000 adults – so that’s 640,000 more people who are now using the internet that were not before.
Freeview's popularity continues to rise as viewers choose savings over hundreds of pointless TV channels
THE SAVINGS REALLY DO STACK UP! - 18 May 2015
Freeview has just announced its biggest ever increase in viewer numbers with 12,000 new customers added over the first quarter of 2015 – more than double the number added during the same period in 2014.
There could be many reasons for this, including a growing free channel list, the advent of pay-as-you-go for movies and sports and the introduction of Smart TVs and Freeview boxes where you can record, pause, rewind and stream – but the overwhelming reason has to be in the name… its FREE.
The biggest complaint with expensive TV packages from the likes of Sky and Virgin is why can’t we just pay for the channels we watch instead of hundreds of channels we don’t want?
The way it works, unfortunately, is you are forced to pay for hundreds of pointless channels you do not need so you can enjoy the seven of so you do watch. Ofcom has revealed around half of UK households pay for TV, even though most of them watch very few of the channels they subscribe to.
There are great similarities with the broadband market, where, according to Cable.co.uk, 50% of the UK market have never changed provider even though they know there are far more cost-effective deals out there.
With Freeview, who say that “over 95% of the most watched programmes in the UK are available subscription free,” you simply fork out for the cost of the box or Smart TV, and then pay for your TV licence fee. You also have the option of adding an a la carte style of TV subscription with Netflix or Amazon Video or stream via a Google Chromecast. Now TV also gives you the option of getting movies or sports on a 24 hour basis for £10.
So instead of paying through the nose for channels you don’t watch, you get your TV subscription for free and can add on a few extras to beef up your viewing pleasure. Just like with broadband, people are slowly waking up to the different – and cheaper – options that are out there and more and more people are choosing to switch from the likes of BT and Sky.
The savings really do stack up!