/ 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

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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?


Should have been more money.

simon b says:
8 October 2016

400,000 is adequate for an initial fine. 4 million if it happens again, with the proceeds going to everyone affected.

Phred Crossby says:
8 October 2016

I think a percentage of a companies fine should automatically be on the chief executive to pay.

This dreadful company has such a long history of poor service. I was with Tiscali and then Talk Talk came along, so I decided to leave them. Simple enough you may think – OMG, over a year of trying in vein to get them to accept I’d left, they even kept re-starting my Direct Debits. Advice from Which? plus an email to the MD (not easy to get) finally got these cowboys off my back.
So no, I don’t think £400k is nearly enough and I also believe that individuals should be held to account. In fact, in these extreme cases of mismanagement, why not stop them trading? No doubt off shore offices etc. protects them in some way. They are disgrace.

I believe the fine should be bigger the MD should not receive and annual bonus and they should pay compensation to the people whose data was compromised

I absolutely agree with you Lesley. I also think that once they are fined that there should be a “price freeze” imposed so that they cannot jack up their charges to cover their fine at our expense, for a minimum 2 years. That should give time enough for all those who want to leave to get away from Talk Talk for good. They have cost me hundreds of pounds having to get a new computer & potentially thousands of pounds had my bank not refunded me. Yes I was a victim of a very clever scam. Because of that I have banned Talk Talk from ever calling me again & if they do they will get an earful of 4 letter expletives at max volume. They refused to cover my expense for new equipment, to replace my old equipment “locked” by the scammers. That’s how much they care about their customers.

Since those days I have a constant supply of (out of area ) phone calls, both wanting to get me to re-set my router, no doubt so they can get through and have a look at my setup. Also gain other information from me. They all get the same response, “send it in a letter to me with a stamped addressed envelope and I will think about getting back to you”. As you will expect they never send the letter or the stamped addressed envelope.
I also seem to be getting a lot of calls from Microsoft telling me my windows is corrupt and sending out lots of information. I play around with them and then tell them I don’t have a windows computer. You should here the things I get called.
I can’t wait until April when my contract is up and I can leave, but I don’t yet know who to go with.

Paul says:
9 October 2016

You’ve got to laugh! Get an email from Which? on the 6th saying TalkTalk had been fined £400,000, then the very next day get an email from TalkTalk saying they’re puting their prices up! I’m definitely changing providers this time, i’m absolutely sick of these scumbags and their crap service!

If they can afford to pay for this then they can reduce your bills

Talking of putting prices up what does everyone think of the 10% price rise for which? mag subscription ?

Inflation is very low, interest rates even lower plus it’s not that long ago that prices when up, so whats the justification? All the talk of new apps and extra testing does not wash with me I don’t need or want the apps on tablets or whatever and can’t see extra testing is needed, is it? Drop the endless repeated pointless batteries ones for a start bet most folk just pick up a pack at the supermarket or better poundland !

I must admit I was unaware of the price increase for Which? Magazine. I cannot recall seeing any notification but perhaps it depends on when the subscription expires. On the face of it, a 10% hike seems excessive in the current economic climate. With so many committed subscribers and institutional purchasers, however, perhaps they have found that demand is inelastic so it does not react very adversely to price increases and that the extent to which it does is factored into the price rise.

I have no use either for certain features that come with Which? and which must be costly to produce, but I support more [and better] testing. Personally I could live without some of the hype and novelties that come by e-mail as I find them too shallow to be of much use. I have noticed that the Magazine has been getting thicker lately but the amount of uninformative space has also increased; I have not calculated whether the percentage of useful content has risen.

I think this discussion will get buried under the weight of the TalkTalk Conversation.

I would like to see better product testing as too many things I look for have not been tested or are out of date and that was my main reason for buying the magazine.

I cannot see the point of testing Lidl own brand gadgets as they can be on sale for only a few days and never be seen again.

I was also unaware of the price increase, very sneaky.

I used to be a subscriber to TalkTalk, mainly because of the free personal calls nationwide and to 26 other
countries. However, when their broadband became so slow and was virtually unuseable, that I decided reluctantly, to move to BT which happened about 18 months before their disastrous discovery that many accounts were compromised by hackers. However, at the time of leaving them, I had such a job to make this possible. It was just like article 50 in the EU. They presented me with threats and sweetners, and it became a real effort to disengage myself from them. Moreover, they disconnected my broadband a day earlier than agreed, and also cut off a call to the Netherlands about a week earlier.

Andy says:
9 October 2016

Talk talk is one of many companies effectively getting away with murder when it comes to things like this. I work in an industry where consumer details are paramount, and important that they are protected. Now if a breach happened where I work, the fine wouldn’t be hundreds of thousands, it would be in the millions.

I don’t think it’s fair that under a half million is a fair enough punishment for talk talk. I don’t think they even went on record to say “sorry folks, we’ve had a problem” it was only the news that broke it. Cover-up? Maybe. Corporate brouhaha at the top? Possibly not. Was a single *(@+ given by top brass? Deffinately not!

OFCOM duh! Fining TalkTalk for breach of customers data will just get passed onto TalkTalk customers in higher charges or reduced service. As a TalkTalk customer, I lose out TWICE!

Please, Ofcom, get TalkTalk to pay compensation to customers who suffered, NOT impose a fine which customers will end up paying for. It just adds insult to injury!

My apols to Ofcom, I see it’s the ICO who have imposed the fine!
I just wanted to add that I find TalkTalk OK as a provider, I swapped from BT 2 years ago (cost & capping issues) with no regrets.

Penalising companies too strongly when they are hacked is a bad idea, it encourages them to keep hacks secret. TalkTalk have come clean, which is to be encouraged (compare this with Yahoo! who tried to hush it up).

Linda Brown says:
10 October 2016

l agree l think all this hacking of all companies is done within the company by someone who works there
l have just had my mobile phone hacked into never before as this happend since orange went with BT l have
had nothing but trouble because l have a contract only for my calls and not for a phone they seem to charge
what they like my calls should only be between 8-10 a month they have taken out £72 .

It’s no where near enough, my bank account was getting rinsed daily, had to change accounts, talk talk were no help & I lost thousands, never been reimbursed. Talk talk aren’t one bit interested, cannot answer my house phone at all now as it’s always some sort of scam, the fact that still to this day the situation isn’t rectified speaks volumes

Selwyn Lawrence says:
11 October 2016

While we scratch our heads and point the finger at Talk Talk, for not having enough in place to protect it’s customers data, We should be made aware that they in some way’s are very much victims of happy go lucky hackers, We should also focus on whether or not the data protection act as it stands serves as enough of deterring hackers. Furthermore if any computer geeks out there in the wide cyber world feel that they want to hack in to a corporate telecoms data banks, for whatever the reason may be, they will do so with the knowledge of causing widespread disruption & placing their targeted victims in including customers in an uncompromising situation, Until the law is reviewed I’m afraid there will be more such cases such as this where the punishment doesn’t fit the cyber crime of hacking.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Doubting Thomas,
Last year I was called from some one claiming to be from TalkTalk, out of those five calls that I got,four of them really got me worried as my curser started to move on its own, when I tried to control it thinking it was mine it carried on going from one part of the screen to another part I did not know that your computer can be oporated by onother computer until much later being a elderly person, with little knowledge of computers, so after awhile I shut the computer off, but whoever it was some how took control of my computer, so each time I just shut my computer down, as my power wall switch is right next to me, I just flip the switch off, but how can this happen, Talktalk have no idea, I do know now that your computer can be opirated by another computer, but that person gives you a code for that to happen!!,.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Duncan, the comment managed to clip through the spam filter, but was removed on Sunday morning. I’ll make sure the spam filter is tightened to avoid this form happening. Thanks

It is no good Fining Talktalk ,the company. It is the people that run the company should be fined. Fining the company will only mean the customers pay in the long run

This comment was removed at the request of the user