/ Money, Technology

Update: TalkTalk offers compensation for data breach – but is it enough?

TalkTalk logo

After being hit by a cyber-attack that saw hackers access the details of thousands of its customers, TalkTalk has come out with an offer of compensation. But is it enough?

TalkTalk has today said it will take a hit of up to £35m after last month’s data breach. The attack saw the details of 156,959 customers (including names, emails and phone numbers) and 15,656 bank account numbers accessed by hackers.

Compensation for TalkTalk customers

The telecoms company previously offered 12 months of free credit monitoring alerts. But for customers who wanted leave, TalkTalk said it would only waive termination fees for customers who had had money stolen directly from their account.

Quite frankly, that was the bare minimum. We’ve previously said that all affected customers should be able to leave their contract without penalty, and that TalkTalk should consider offering appropriate compensation.

And on that final point, TalkTalk has today announced an offer of free upgrades for its customers (without any additional commitments).

TalkTalk’s chief exec Dido Harding said:

‘In recognition of the unavoidable uncertainty, and because we know that doing what is right for our customers will ensure the best possible outcome for the company over the longer term, we are today announcing the offer of a choice of free upgraded services to all our customers.’

Free upgrades for TalkTalk customers

So what’s on offer? You’ll be able to add one of the following to your existing service: TV content including movies and sports; a mobile SIM with free texts, data and calls; unlimited UK landline and mobile calls; or a broadband health check.

The upgrades are open to all of TalkTalk’s customers, not just those affected by the hack, from 1 December.

The question is – do you think this is enough? Is a TV, mobile or landline package upgrade enough to appease you after TalkTalk’s data breach? Are you a customer that’s seriously considering leaving, or are you happy with how TalkTalk has dealt with the cyber-attack?

Do you think that TalkTalk's compensation offer is enough for its customers?

No (83%, 4,254 Votes)

Yes (10%, 529 Votes)

Don't know (7%, 345 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,128

Loading ... Loading ...

Update: 6 October 2016

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a record £400,000 fine to TalkTalk for its failure to protect customer data, after its data breach last October.

According to the ICO, security failings by TalkTalk allowed a hacker to access customer data ‘with ease’. The investigation by the ICO found that customer data was taken from a database that was inherited when TalkTalk acquired Tiscali in 2009. The attacker targeted three vulnerable webpages allowing customers names, address, dates of birth, phone numbers, email address, as well as some 15,000 bank account details and sort codes.

Our Managing Director of Home & Legal Services, Alex Neill, said:

‘It is right that the ICO has slapped this record fine on TalkTalk for failing to protect their customers’ data. However, this will be cold comfort for TalkTalk customers who suffered at the hands of this breach and feel they haven’t been treated fairly. Businesses must do more to help individuals affected by data breaches.’

Do you think that TalkTalk’s £400,000 fine accurately reflects the loss of over 150,000 people’s data including over 15,000 bank account details?


Recently I’ve had two domestic issues where because I was in a panic I called an 09 number because that came up at the top of the page on a google search. You get charged the extortionate amount just for getting through so there’s no opportunity to disconnect without paying that amount. Its a total scam and should be banned. And google are also scamming people for allowing these numbers at the top of their searches.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I looked online for THREE number and the first number that appeared was 09036941508. I did not know about premium numbers and called them twice in November. Made a contract with Three and never called them again. Now that number is charging me every month since November. Is there a way to stop it and refund the money that I lost? I talked with my provider (EE) and they are saying that I’m calling them and that they will not refund me. I called EE and told them to block that number and block the ability to call premium numbers.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Hi Zamira (and Duncan), sorry to hear of these problems.

Searching from Chrome for “three” and “3” the top hits gave 0808 167 7208 and 0800 640 6812, so if a search gave you the premium rate number 09036941508 that suggests that your search was “hijacked”.

I’ve seen this happen either because a search term has been mis-typed ( e.g. gmial not gmail) or where unwanted search tools are present, e.g. as adware or as rogue web browser extensions.

These hijacks typically involve rogue search engines directing you towards places you didn’t ought to be going on the net.

It also seems odd that this case appears to involve your mobile incurring charges by making phantom premium rate call all by itself.

That is not something I’ve encountered before.

Just to be clear, are you sure that these unexpected charges are coming from calls as opposed to premium rate texts?

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of bother caused by the latter, most recently with things like the premium rate 08000 MUM DAD service for mobiles. That service allows out-of-credit PAYG mobile users to still make calls, but at the cost of extortionate IOUs.

For those, the payback mechanism kicks in when credit is next put on the phone, as a series of premium rate texts start appearing and using up all the credit.

Having failed to identify what the 09036941508 number is, did it serve as a gateway to THREE? And, on the way, did it sign you up to some premium rate service?

If you have signed onto any premium rate text (or other) service, EE may not be able to cancel your subscription – you may need to do that yourself.

As Duncan suggested, these problems may be associated with a “virus” on your phone. Hence, I’d recommend that you back up all your important data and then factory reset the phone. From my experience, that often helps to fix misbehaving Android phones.