Worst Company in Britain Round 7: Setanta vs. NPower and Sky vs. City Link

21 December 2008

Winners of Round 6 go out to Tiscali and CPW, who both beat Play.Com and Orange into the next round. Play's nomination by readers into the final 32 shocked a few of you, but here are some of your mixed comments about the them:

Zain: Orange by a mile - they really do suck.

Aidan: Don’t know why Orange is on here. I think they’re great. Good coverage, prices, customer service and features.

Will: I voted Play. Absolutely horrendous company that I will NEVER do business with again. The amount of times I’ve ordered stuff from them only to be told that its no longer in stock, no longer available or will be sent out to me when it next becomes available!

Steven: I bought dozens of things of Play over past year and have always found their service to be first class. By contrast my experiences of Tiscli were a nightmare. Poor speeds, massive online gaming lag and a complete run around from their foreign call centres. I still shudder when I think of all those lost hours of my life on the phone to Tiscali trying to sort things out- mostly on hold in a queue!

Kat: Why are Play on here?! I have used them at least 100 times over the past 18 months or so and they have never let me down. Fast, free delivery, great prices - fantastic!

rr: play have spoilt my christmas bought 3 games for my son two weeks ago and they still havent arrived despite their claims that they are shipped to make matters worse, they won’t talk to me about it until 31st december.

Hugh G Rection: Orange by a country mile; they’re complicit in these reverse-charged SMS scams where you get hammered £1.50 a throw for unsolicited texts. I’ve had three different accounts with them over the years and each one was affected.

Hassan: Orange is one of the worst comapnies i have dealt with. I was having internet problems. So i had to phone up customer services.I was waiting around 45 minutes, on my mobile. Then when they finally got to my call. I was told the only way they could help is if i bought a new ADSL filter from them. I was disgusted and cancelled my conract striaght away. Also switched mobile phone provider from them. They are never getting any business again from me. Ever.

JimBob: I have used Play for many years with only 2 small problems - I ordered a camera a month ago and after reporting I hadn’t received it after 2 weeks. The girl apologised and said she would send out a new one. She did send out a new one BUT it was another 42? Samsung Plasma TV which I had ordered as the same time as the camera. So no real complaints from me! Play’s prices have always been competitive with no delivery costs to think about no matter where you live in the UK.

skdotcom: Play are pants. They cancelled one of my orders 2 days ago, with no email to let me know they had done it. Why wait 2 weeks to cancel an order and then not tell you? I was expecting this to be delivered before xmas. Total tw4ts, as I now have to go into town and face the xmas shopping madness to get a present I thought I’d already sorted out.

Today's 2 rounds are with Setanta vs. NPower and Sky vs. City Link.

You know the drill by now my friends.  Have fun!

[poll id="14"] [poll id="15"]


  • Steff
    sky for the win!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Wopster
    Sky. Service is generally Ok, but I don't like the way they have recently blackmailed me into their "SkyTalk" phone rubbish (which BT provide already), to keep the broadband free.
  • Dave
    "Hi, I'm calling from Setanta Sports". These words, or a rough variation thereof, be prepared to let this be the new standard call opening spoken by your caller whenever your phone rings, if you are unfortunate enough to subscribe to, and then unsubscribe from, Setanta's service. Indeed, you may hear those words so frequently that you might find yourself feeling confused when your phone rings and you hear alternative call openings. Things like, "Hi, Dave. What you up to tonight?", for instance. "No, no thanks, I don't want to subscribe to your service again, the image quality was rubbish anyway" you might find yourself replying. And your caller might say "Uh, Dave, it's John, I was just wondering what you fancied going out tonight". And then you might apologise, explaining that you've had a lot of calls from Setanta recently, and just got a bit mixed up. And then John would reply, "Actually, this is Setanta calling. I was wondering, if you're not going out, we've got some cracking returning customer deals on". And that's pretty much how life after a Setanta subscription goes. With Citylink, the same automatic response occurs, just with roles reversed: *ring ring* "H..." "Sir, you must've just lost the little card thing our driver dropped through your letterbox. Maybe you tidied it away by accident. There's absolutely no way our driver would've just lied about attempting to deliver your item, and was never even within five miles of your house. Would you like to arrange a re-delivery, or do you just want to come and pick it up? You're probably best coming to pick it up by the way, you know what'll happen if you're silly enough to fall for the ol' "Citylink actually coming round and then bothering to wait for you to get to the door" howler again." "...ello. Actually, I was calling to ask about prices" On the other hand, nPower I've never dealt with, but Sky aren't all bad. Yes, they lie about the Refer A Friend scheme to pocket comission for themselves, but it only takes a couple of days for them to send engineers out to repair a broken dish, and htat's not bad going.
  • Mark J.
    Setanta are easily the worst. Tried to cancel my subscription, was told they could not give me anything in writing to tell me this was done. The picture remained and they carried on taking money out of my account. When I phoned up to find out what was going on was told that they had no record of my call and this happened to almost everyone who signed up for the 3 months for £3 deal earlier this year. When trying to get a refund was told to put it in writing and then when they said it was a mistake I was then told that I would have to wait 30 days for a refund which is how long it took. I would never ever deal with them again, I then got phone calls twice a week till I told them to not ring me again and also they sold my details to Scottish Power and I was getting phone calls from them aswell! And Sky .... I get two bits of mail from them a week and a phone call every month to try and get me to come back.... get the message I dont want it!!!!!!
  • Meat B.
    City Link................our company have renamed them Shitty Link and never use now, they 'lost' my £600 digital camera whilst barcoded and supposedly accounted for in transit by them!!! Utter Wankers :(
  • Zain
    Oh - this is a tough one... Sky or Citylink. Both are ranked equally in my book for their level of shiiteness. Nevertheless, Citylink has the upper hand in this and thus have been voted.
  • Pab
    Npower. Crooked door to door tactics, dodgy call centre operatives. Conned my Mrs whilst I was at work, called around one day left details with her as she said she would need to discuss with me in the evening. I said not on your life after looking at their prices. The guy called around the next day and when told no said "oh fair enough, can you sign this form to just confirm that I called around anyway".. Yes, she signed the form trusting him without checking! And lo and behold I get a welcome to Npower letter through the door a few days later. Luckily there's a 14 day cooling period from sign up, so I called them up and told them to stop and told them exactly what had gone on, I wanted the name of the guy I was speaking to for my records, and he point blank refused to give me any details! I would never touch them with a bargepole now.
  • Matt S.
    Oh please, please, please don't let sky win this I know they're over priced but City Link are the bane of my life, drivers don't bother to knock half the time they just card you, sometimes I don't even get the cards. I've been told lies by "customer service" or promised things that then never happen. And I managed to find out, that even if you leave special delivery instructions, they go onto the computer system, but aren't passed on to the driver!!!! how crazy is that, I mean what is the point? I tried to have a laptop delivered recently, but unfortunately I live in a block of flats, and there is a problem with the intercom system meaning some, including mine doesn't work (it's been like this forever but of course the damn council won't fix it) Knowing this was the case, I left explicit instructions explaining the problem and telling the driver to buzz another flat to let him into the building then come knock on my door. The result? a failed delivery card, jammed into the front door of the flats, the driver didn't even attempt to enter the building to stick it through my letter box. I phone them up, complain, arrange for redelivery, it can't be the next day because I have to go out, I ask if they can change the delivery address, but no that has to come from the depot it originated from. So delivery the day after then, another day of waiting in, I had re-given the delivery instructions over the phone to make sure they were followed I was promised they would be. Again, failed delivery (I just happened to refresh the website at the right time and realised that it had only been failed about 20 minutes earlier) again the card was in the front door, still the driver hadn't come into the building, I phoned up, mad, demanded that they radio the driver and tell him to turn around since he was obviously still in the area, they refused to do that, but told me they might be able to get a driver to drop it off in the evening on their way home from work, and that a manager would call me back. The manager didn't call me back, so I phone them again, because I knew their lines were just about to close. Was told that the manager was still in a meeting 90 minutes later, and that the other rep had lied to me, they would never send the package back to me that way and that none of the drivers lived near me anyway (the depot is 30 miles away in another town, and I don't drive so can't pick it up.) She was at least somewhat useful, she told me there was no way they could get it to me that night, but they'd arrange for delivery saturday (today was friday), she explained that the instructions aren't given to the drivers, I asked if I could put up a notice on the front door, but she told me that drivers aren't allowed to follow instructions like that unless previously authorised to do so (which they can't be because they aren't given instructions) so in the end, she wrote it out in black marker on the box itself. and lo and behold it was actually delivered. That however is just one incident, when I lived in another house a couple of years ago we had the letter box and door bell on the back door not the front. Every other company ever, managed to figure this out, but not City Link, on several occasions, we found cards just wedged into the front door, because the driver hadn't bothered to go round the back of the house. City Link are awful, just bloody awful, and the worst thing about courier companies, is that there is very little you can do about it, you can't demand your money back, because you didn't pay, they don't care about your complaints because you're not their customer. It's reached the point now where I have just stopped shopping with companies who use them, which includes aria, ebuyer, big pockets and boffer. City Link deserve to win the who event, they deserve to be burned. Death to City Link!!
  • jc
    I know Setanta will be a hot favourite but anyone who has unwittingly signed up to NPower to supply a newish property and gets the letter through the door after the cooling off period that basically says "By the way, the prices we quoted you were absolute tosh and you have to pay extra to have gas supplied to properties in this area because of some mains charge thing (that no other company charges you for) and you'll have to wait at least a month before you can cancel this service now" will know my feelings on them. I switched to another company almost immediately after I got this news from NPower (well waited my month anyway) but got a letter six months later saying they need to set up a direct debit to pay my gas bill as they're still supplying me!! After several phone calls it would appear that the dimwits had never switched my gas over in the first place and instead had managed to take over a neighbour's gas supply - lucky neighbours eh. You'd think this sort of thing would be rare but the exact same thing happened to my friend at work who lives in a new house so I reckon it must be rife. NPower suck. City Link are nearly as bad - a contest between those two would be a very close call.
  • Craig
    Gosh! - Having read all that I feel like the luckiest man in the world, cancelled Sky, never had Setanta, never used NPower, never had any experience of City Link. Orange, now there's another thing......
  • cally
    always had top class service with the business side of npower. very helpful. have my gas and electricity at home with them too and never had a problem. setanta suck for me. their sports news channel is eclipsed by skys-do setanta do or plan to do hd coverage?
  • Dave
    Setanta are the worst I have ever come across, poor signal made the channels unwatchable, which was fine. I understood that, but I cant accept their customer services. 5 months to cancel, mumerous calls and around 50 emails and they still carried on. In the end I got onto my CC company and stopped the payments. 1 week later they called and asked if I wanted to rejoin for half price !
  • Matt S.
    I can't imagine Setanta will ever offer HD, the DBV-T system used by freeview and sentanta uses MPEG2 enconding at 2mbit/s whereas Sky SD uses the same MPEG2 encoding but with a bitrate of 8mbit/s Which is why freeview and sentanta look so crap in comparison to sky, Sky HD uses MPEG4 encoding which is much more data efficient but still requires a considerably higher bitrate. UHF simply doesn't have the bandwidth needed to broadcast HD, doing so would mean there would only be room for at most half a dozen stations. Of course switching freeview to MPEG4 would mean much better quality SD channels, but everyone would have to buy new set top boxes, since nobody was smart enough to design the system with updatable codecs
  • Martin
    I cannot recall ever receiving poorer customer service than that provided by Setanta. Letters, e-mails, telephone calls etc. have regularly gone unanswered/unprocessed, they've demanded/taken money they weren't due, and "chased" me incessantly when I've blocked them by cancelling the direct debit, or recovered money from my bank via the direct debit guarantee. They failed to cancel my subscription when I wanted to cancel, and cancelled my subscription twice whilst I wanted the service and had paid for it; and warned me of debt recovery action whilst having helped themselves by direct debit to more than was due!
  • Will
    City Link Vs Sky? Ouch. Another hard decision. City Link for being so retarded that they don't know how to use a doorbell - and those fucking little card things. I have a collection of them on the end of the breakfast bar. Then you phone them up and they don't have a clue what has happened or when your parcel will be back at the depot. I can absolutely promise one thing - I've gone to the depot to collect more parcels from City Link than they have successfully delivered to me. Sky - fuck me their customer service is bad. Their prices are extortionate and their engineers are usually Eastern European who barely speak any English. If we were voting on company with the worst image - Sky would win the worst company in Britain 2008 easily. I've cancelled my subscription with them now and never looked back. All the stuff I recorded which I had for as far as I'm concerned fucking paid for I can no longer watch on the shitty sky+ box. The sooner freeview HD comes along and destroys Sky the better - they got my vote for being such a bunch of cowboys.
  • Funny a.
    City link are useless knob jockeys. Every missed delivery i had from them ended up left in my front garden! They even made up that 'Mr Smith' had signed for them... Dickheads, my name isnt Mr Smith, if you are going to lie, at least look at the box! 2@'s
  • Craig
    The sooner freeview HD comes along and destroys Sky the better Will - Freeview HD is here - called Freesat HD, Humax box is around £299 at the moment; Unplug your Sky+ box, plug in your Humax & off you go.
  • wissle
    Well NPower just been fined 1.8 million so guess Setanta (who are in the lead) should be worried based on this poll ;) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7795684.stm
  • Andy
    City Link are the biggest shite bags in the history of man (except for Carphone Warehouse, who are all cnuts, but that's another story.....). City Link never attempt to deliver stuff properly, even if they do ring the doorbell (very rarely), they're back in their van before I can even get my ass off the sofa. They hardly ever leave cards and I've started to wonder if they even bother to load anything into their bloody vans in the 1st place. When i've had to pick up parcels (pretty much every time) from their depot, the parcels look like they've been used as a football. When I complained to them the 'manager' that I saw just shrugged their shoulders and stood there, looked like a retarded monkey and had the cheek to look at me as if i was being unreasonable. I've just stopped shopping with anyone who deals with them, it's all you can do, which is a shame cos i really liked ebuyer........
  • Alan
    NPower has my vote as the worst company I have ever had to deal with my whole entire life. I was stupid enough to accept the utter crap the door to door salesman driveled on about that npower was cheaper than my current supplier. So we signed up. We have a prepayment meter and some meter woman came out to take down the final meter reading and reset the meter to npowers rates. The imbecile then set the economy 7 rate to £1482 per K/W hours and thus caused us to be in major arrears and without heating for several days. It also took 12 phone calls, 24 emails, half a dozen letters to finally be sent the right prepayment card after 12 months. They also owe us £26 which I have been told is being sent out as a cheque and is in the post. Heard this about 6 times and then told by several other 'customer service' reps that they don't send out cheques. When I finally managed to get out of my contract and went back to british gas I was sent a bill for £800 odd for money owed. After phoning up to explain I was on a prepayment meter and could not possibly owe any money and that I had requested a new card for the last 12 months several times a month that it was not my problem and they could go jump for the money. Then recieved a court date for money owed so finally contacted OfGen and the energy watchdog explained everything to them. Was told that they recieve loads of complaints from them everyday and they would sort it out. Then recieved a phonecall from npower to say that because I didn't have the right card they never recieved any money. So told them everything once again and wanted to speak to a manager which they finally managed to do. Told the manager everything and he told me to find a couple of reciepts from the card we had used and to tell him the card number on the reciepts, then finally my nightmare with npower was over. What annoyed me more was that I never recieved the £26 still owed to me or an apology for all the hassle.

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