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Standard User craig1410
(member) Tue 04-Jul-17 15:20:18
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What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[link to this post]
 
Hi,

Apologies for ranting but I'm curious if anyone else has found any recent issues with customer service or if my expectations are unreasonable.

Long story short(ish) - I've been with Zen about 12 or 13 years and am currently on FTTC 76/20 service but in recent months it has suffered a number of short outages (15-20 mins) and more recently a longer outage which required me to switch back to my original OpenReach HG612 router. I had bought the recommended Zyxel VMG8924-B10 router from Zen about 15 months ago but it has apparently developed a fault and both firmware upgrade and factory reset have failed to resolve it. Zen support have been pretty good throughout. I work from home full time so I can't be without my broadband for very long, relying on mobile data for a backup connection.

So, the problems started when I asked politely if maybe I might be eligible to receive one of the Technicolor TG589vac routers which Zen now provide to new customers free of charge, given my 12-13 years of loyalty and the fact my £125 router I bought last year failed just outside the warranty period. The support guy said I would need to talk to customer services so I emailed them and explained the situation but they didn't even acknowledge the email and forwarded it back to support. I went back and forwards a few times with support who advised me that the only way I *might* get a free router is to threaten to leave and talk to the retentions department! They will most likely insist on a new 12 month contract in return for what is about £69 worth of router.

To complicate things - Virgin Media have just a few months ago cabled up our street and are bombarding us with offers just now which is very interesting because our Sky TV contract is up for renewal too and we could get 200M fibre plus a TV package for not much more than Zen broadband and line rental costs me today, never mind the Sky costs on top.

If I could be sure that the new router would return my VDSL connection to the reliability levels I enjoyed until the last 6 months then I might accept a 12 month tie-in but I can't be sure that it will. And I can't help think that 12+ years of continuous custom has to be worth more than £69.

The support agent spoke to his manager and even spoke to 'retentions' on my behalf but concluded there was nothing they can do and that I need to phone them up myself and go through the whole thing again and basically negotiate for a new router. To me this just isn't the sort of "joined up" service I would expect from Zen. Am I being unreasonable?

Basically I just don't want to invest any more money in DSL equipment, especially after losing the Zyxel after just 15 months. I honestly expected that Zen would just stick a router in the post and that would be the end of the issue. Perhaps that was naive in retrospect.

Anyway, apologies again for the rant. Thanks for listening. smile

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5

Edited by craig1410 (Tue 04-Jul-17 15:22:06)

ISP Representative ajays
(isp) Tue 04-Jul-17 17:21:11
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
Hi craig1410,

Sorry you've had a poor experience on this occasion. We do value your continued commitment over such a long period of time.

If you PM me your details I'm sure we'll be able to sort something out for you!

Best regards,

Andrew
Broadband Product Manager

-------------------------------------------------------
Andrew
ZeN Internet
The above post has been made by an ISP REPRESENTATIVE (although not necessarily the ISP being discussed in the post).
Standard User mbames
(member) Tue 04-Jul-17 19:07:24
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
Switch over to Sky Fibre, they offer some good deals for existing TV customers.

Sky Fibre (40/10), Draytek 130, DrayTek 2925, DrayTek AP-700
(Gone but not forgotten: 2820n x 2, 2800vg, 2800, HG612)

Speedtests:
ThinkBB - Mini | ThinkBB - Full | Speedtest.net


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Standard User craig1410
(member) Tue 04-Jul-17 19:22:24
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: ajays] [link to this post]
 
Thanks Andrew, PM sent.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5
Standard User craig1410
(member) Tue 04-Jul-17 21:04:51
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: mbames] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the suggestion @mbames but even a slightly misfiring Zen is a step above Sky in both performance and customer service in my experience. If Andrew can help steady the ship with my broadband then my next move will be to negotiate a new deal with Sky on my TV package. smile

Have a look at the relative median speeds on the same 76Mbps FTTC service between Zen (50.8Mbps) and Sky (39.9Mbps) in this review: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/7751-uk-broadban...

In a nutshell, itís either Zen or Virgin for me moving forward.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5

Edited by craig1410 (Tue 04-Jul-17 21:05:36)

Standard User toph3r
(experienced) Tue 04-Jul-17 23:20:19
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
I work from home full time so I can't be without my broadband for very long, relying on mobile data for a backup connection.


My advice?

Spend some money and buy yourself some PROPER EQUIPMENT, not rely on the junk your ISP 'recommends' or provides.

If you pay peanuts, expect monkeys.
Standard User toph3r
(experienced) Tue 04-Jul-17 23:20:38
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: mbames] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by mbames:
Switch over to Sky Fibre, they offer some good deals for existing TV customers.


God...possibly the worst advice ever.
Standard User craig1410
(member) Tue 04-Jul-17 23:27:53
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: toph3r] [link to this post]
 
Hi,

Thanks for your advice - any recommendations on OpenReach certified VDSL modems which you would consider "proper"? This is the one I bought from Zen for £125 last year and it seemed like a good bet since there were only two devices at that time which were certified by OpenReach.

https://www.zyxel.com/uk/en/products_services/vmg892...

The TG589vac seems to be of similar capability to the Zyxel and gets good reviews. I believe it is made by Thomson but is branded as Technicolor and, having used Thomson Speedtouch routers in the past I found them to be very good.

Anyway, if you can suggest a better option than the TG589vac then I'm willing to consider it provided it is certified by OpenReach for use on my line.

This was where I first came across the TG589vac by the way and then I discovered that it is the recommended Zen model which seemed to make it a no-brainer. Zen don't tend to recommend problematic routers, apart from my Zyxel lol!.

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/01/2016-up...

Regards,
Craig.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5

Edited by craig1410 (Tue 04-Jul-17 23:34:57)

Standard User toph3r
(experienced) Wed 05-Jul-17 00:18:38
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
You have a few choices. I'll outline what I would consider below.

1. Stick with the existing HG612 modem. It's long term stable, though I'm not sure if it supports vectoring (which you want for a stable line once your DSLAM supports it; though it probably does already).

1 a) Simply purchase a dedicated router to use with the VDSL modem. I like this bit of kit:
https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/products/18182-ubiqui...

2. Replace the HG612 modem with a dedicated VDSL modem, then use it with the router equipment (or equivalent) I recommended above. I would go for this: https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/products/21284-drayte... - it supports G.INP and Vectoring.

3. Go for an all-in-one device. Something like this: https://www.broadbandbuyer.com/products/15293-drayte...

Personally, I hate all in one units, especially where WiFi is concerned, but overall they work for most home business setups.

Any of the above 3 suggestions will put you in a FAR better place than the [censored] modem routers Zen provide you.

Edited by toph3r (Wed 05-Jul-17 00:45:31)

Standard User craig1410
(member) Wed 05-Jul-17 01:24:28
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: toph3r] [link to this post]
 
Oh the irony - I was just prevented from looking at the links in your post by a broadband outage. My temporary setup includes an Apple Time Capsule (latest gen) connected by ethernet to the HG612 and basically the TC was telling me that it could not find a PPPoE device and yet the HG612 LAN1, DSL and Power lights were all on. I tried removing the LAN1 ethernet cable and reinserting it and the light went off and back on indicating a loss and gain of link but the connection was still down. I then rebooted the TC but that too did not improve the situation. I then rebooted the HG612 and it all came back up again after DSL sync. So it looks like (not 100%) the HG612 was at fault.

So, I don't really want to retain the HG612, especially as the Zyxel was giving me almost 10% better line sync rate compared to the HG612 and I hope the TG589vac will do similar. Certainly most reviews I have read suggest the HG612 is easily beaten on sync speed.

Since my line enters our property in the living room and I have a wife, I am somewhat limited on the extent of hardware I can have there so an all in one is really what I would strongly prefer. I certainly wouldn't get away with a separate modem + edge router + access point with external antennae and I'm not entirely convinced that having three separate devices from two or three different vendors will lead to a more reliable solution overall. I don't really want the overhead of managing all this extra kit either.

I need WiFi coverage in the living room and I have an ethernet cable up the wall into my study above where the Time Capsule and an 8 port HP managed switch provides WiFi and Ethernet coverage to my other equipment. The TC works well and I get 1300Mbps between it and my MacBook Pro which isn't surprising as they are usually 3 feet apart!

So, while I understand your recommendations and could indeed spend a few hundred quid on separates and somehow hide them under the couch or something (not the first time actually...) I'm not convinced the cost/benefit would be favourable on a domestic 60Mbps VDSL line. Also, I'm not sure I agree that the TG589vac is a piece of junk as you seem to suggest. It appears to support both vectoring and G.INP for example and otherwise seems very fully featured. The DrayTek all in one you suggest isn't ideal for my needs as I only really need 2 ethernet ports in the living room, one to go to the upstairs study and the other for my TV setup. I don't need WAN ethernet or USB ports etc. What I do want is 802.11ac WiFi which the DrayTek doesn't appear to have and the Thomson does.

Anyway, please don't think I'm dismissing your advice, I just need to get things back to a basic level of functionality and confirm that I don't have line issues or something else going on before I decide whether to invest more cash in DSL technology.

Thanks,
Craig.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5
Standard User trolleybus
(experienced) Wed 05-Jul-17 07:23:30
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: toph3r] [link to this post]
 
Agree
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Wed 05-Jul-17 08:58:51
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: toph3r] [link to this post]
 
The HG612 does support vectoring.
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Wed 05-Jul-17 13:01:49
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
One of the best ways for you to determine if you have a line problem is to set up 24*7 line monitoring using dslstats. In addition you can then upload the stats to mydslwebstats and make them available for others to see and comment on.
Standard User craig1410
(member) Wed 05-Jul-17 13:20:35
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Hi,

Thanks for that suggestion - it reminds of the time maybe 10 years or so ago when I wrote a Ruby program to do exactly the same thing. It was when I was still on ADSL and I was having a terrible time with what turned out to be interference from a faulty street light outside my house. My program accessed my Speedtouch Router via Telnet and grabbed the stats and appended them to a CSV file for later analysis. It was only when I noticed the interference was happening at a slowly changing time each evening that I realised it was due to the light levels causing the street lights to come on at later/earlier times as the season changed. I then watched the lights coming on to see if one of them was flickering and sure enough there was one that flickered for a couple of minutes before firing up. I reported it to my council and they fixed it a few days later. Result!

I've got a number of Raspberry Pis lying around so I'll maybe get DSL Stats running and see what it yields.

Thanks,
Craig.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5
Standard User toph3r
(experienced) Wed 05-Jul-17 16:11:42
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
So looks like you're not prepared to invest in some decent equipment to ensure you have a stable connection.

Shame. I would.
Standard User craig1410
(member) Wed 05-Jul-17 16:28:17
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: toph3r] [link to this post]
 
I think you misunderstand me - once I confirm if my DSL line is stable with the new router then I'll consider the cost/benefit of any potential upgrades. But like any business owner, I need to be convinced of the benefits before I will incur the costs. Besides, I'm still not convinced that the TG589vac isn't "decent equipment" and will make that evaluation when I see and use it.

ZeN Zen Unlimited Fibre 2 up to 76Mbps (Typ. 56Mbps dn / 20 Mbps up)
Apple Airport Express + Time Capsule
Apple Macbook Pro Retina/ iPad Air / iPhone 5
Standard User toph3r
(experienced) Wed 05-Jul-17 16:46:56
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Re: What happened to Zen's famous customer service?


[re: craig1410] [link to this post]
 
I agree in so far as the TG589vac should result in a stable line for you. If that isn't holding a sync, then something is potentially wrong outside of your control and should be raised for investigation.
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