The Worst I Have Dealt With

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Guest's review of The People's Operator -


“The Worst I Have Dealt With”

Written on: 19/02/2017

I had a PAYM contract with TPO for 16 monthes. During this time I did not incur any charges not covered by the contract.On completing the on-line application form I paid, via my credit card, for a monthes service in advance.

During that time the only time I established contact with a customer services rep was the day I decided to get my PAC code to terminate the contract. I waited for over an hour for someone to answer my call. All other attempts at contacting customer services by telephone were unsuccessful - some I abandoned after 30/40 minutes and some others were answered by someone (not a customer services rep) who informed me that customer services was unavailble and they would phone me back. The best phone back response I received was recieved 3 days later. The worst was no phone back at all. The telephone support service was all but non existant. ON average they take 3 days (when they do reply) to respond to communications via their web portal or e-mail.

They also appear to have some very unusal accounting practices (based on research into my account with them) as follows:

1/ The up front payment (paid by credit card when I placed the on-line order) has never apeared on my account/statement and, as far as they are concerned, does not have an affect on what I owe them. In short it has vanished into thin air.

2/ The final invoice (for services rendered during July 2016) had been increased by 25% from the previous month (the reason I terminated the contract). This increase was for a change of service contract that came in affect on the 1st August 2016. In short they had invoiced the increase a month early. I also received no prior notice of this increase.

I have sought answers to the above anomalies but to date TPO has failed/refused to offer any explanation of them. Based on my expeience with customer services it is obvious they have no idea how to run a viable business but the inability/refusal to answer these simple financial anomalies (incorrect invoice and missing payment) is bordering suspicious.

It is interesting to ponder that if this financial anomally (£14.99) has affected all of TPO's PAYM customers (22,595 at 31st March 2016) how much it is worth in total and what percentage of each years turnover it makes up?

I strongly urge any TPO customers who have or had a PAYM account (some 22,595 at the 31st March 2016) to check their accounts carefully for the above anomalies.

The following is extracted from their Annual Statment for the year ending December 2015:

1/ They lost £10,454,176 (*) on a turnover of £2,108,629.

2/ The executive directors paid themselves £670,832 renumeration (31.81% of the turnover - approx. ONE THIRD).

3/ The amount paid to charities (10% of bill ex VAT donated to a good cause) was £78,679 (3.73% of turnover). Unless they have some other form of income that makes up the majority of their revenue the Turnover should have been £78,679 * 10 = £786,790. Assuming that their sole source of income is selling mobile telephony to the public (i.e. people paying to use a mobile phone network) and they give 10% of that income to charity I would have expected the charity donation to either be 10% of £2,108,629 = £210,863 or the Turnover to be approx. £786,790.

4/ They state that their revenue is £2,108,629. They also state that at the end of year 2015 they had 69,000(*) subscribers (PAYG and PAYM) and that the monthly revenue per PAYM subsriber was £13(*) and the monthly revenue per PAYG subscriber was £9(*). Assuming that of the 69,000(*) subscribers 19,000 (an estimate based on the 22,595 on PAYM to 57,894 on PAYG ratio as at 31st march 2016) were PAYM I calculate the revenue for 2015 should be:

19,000 (approx.) subscribers * 12 monthes * £13 per month = £2,964,000
50,000 (approx.) subscribers * 12 monthes * £9 per month = £5,400,000

equating to an annual revenue of £8,364,000 of which 10% would have gone to charity. If this figute is approximately correct why is it so far from the stated turnover of £2,108,629?

As you can see there 3 very different turnover values - that stated in accounts, that calculated from charity donations and that calculated from monthly revenue per PAYM/PAYG subscriber (Stated in Accounts = £2,108,629, Based on Donations = £786,790 and based on Subscriber data = £8,364,000). Unfortunately the accounts do not breakdown the stated turnover figure.

(*) See Pages 2 and 32 of the 2015 Annual statement as source of this data and extracts from 2015 Annual report below.

Their annual statement can be accessedI do not know if TPO will survive (their share price today is 8.44 pence whislt the AIM lauch price was £1.30. Much as I admire the principal of supporting charites (the reason I signed up) one has to consider the practical aspects and whether TPO are delivering what they claim - their own figures quoted in the 2015 Annual Statement do not add up with regards to their chariy donation?. What happens if they do not survive the current financial situation? What happens to your telephone number? Would you not be wiser using a stable service provider and donating £1 a month to your charity (at the 31st December 2015 this would have equated to a £828,000 (69,000 subscribers * £12 per year) donation to charity compared with the £78,679 donation stated in their accounts?

If you are considering using TPO to provide your mobile telephony services I stongly recommend that you do not.

Finally I apologize for any undetected typos.

Extracts From 2015 Annual report

TPO ended 2015 with over 69,000 subscribers in the UK, well ahead of the Group's initial expectations, and a substantial increase on the 14,000 subscribers at the end of 2014, and the 35,122 subscribers at 30 June 2015. We maintain confidence in our forecast subscriber numbers over the coming years.

We are pleased to report that solid trading has continued into the current financial year and as at 31 March 2016, subscriber numbers in the UK were 80,489, an increase of 16.6% on the total at 31 December 2015. These subscriber numbers consist of 22,595 on PAYM and 57,894 on PAYG. We are encouraged by our continued ability to transition customers from PAYG to PAYM.

Revenues from PAYM customers have increased by 370% since 31 December 2014, translating to a monthly run rate of approximately £301,000*. We currently have an average revenue per subscriber run-rate of £12 for PAYG and £14 for PAYM customers, excluding offer period customers, compared with £9 and £13 respectively as at 31 December 2015.

Loss for the year was £10,454,176 (2014 - £2,328,399) and loss per share was £0.11 (2014 - £0.02 per share).

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