At TalkTalk we believe in affordable, fair connectivity for everyone. We recognise that individuals with accessibility requirements or people who, as a result of circumstances, may be vulnerable, may have particular service needs. This policy sets out the services and working practices that we offer to help meet these needs.
2.0 Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to;
(b) Prospective customers;
(c) Former customers and;
(d) Nominated users or individuals acting under a Power of Attorney
For the purpose of this policy Vulnerable Customers are Customers who, as a result of their personal circumstances may be particularly susceptible to harm or detriment. This includes circumstances which impact their ability to make an informed decision, access services or take appropriate action.
We won’t judge a person’s capacity simply on the basis of age, an aspect of behaviour or circumstance, but we recognise that the following circumstances can make a customer more vulnerable:
- Physical or learning disability
- Physical or mental illness
- Low Literacy Levels
- Communication Difficulties
- Significant changes in circumstances such as bereavement
This policy also considers specific needs of individuals with additional accessibility requirements. Whilst not all people with disabilities are vulnerable, we recognise that we may need to make adjustments to enable access to our services.
3.0 TalkTalk Accessibility and Vulnerable Customer Practices
3.1 Our commitment
We commit to ensuring the fair and appropriate treatment of our Vulnerable Customers.
As vulnerability does not impact everyone in the same way, we believe each vulnerable customer’s needs should be assessed on an individual basis. We use the following principles as a guide to help determine appropriate support measures:
- We make reasonable adjustments to our processes
- Customers should be supported in making informed decisions about TalkTalk’s products and services. We will never assume that a customer’s vulnerability means that they do not have the mental capacity to make a decision and we won’t discriminate against someone because of their vulnerability. We will treat vulnerable customers with respect and be understanding and be empathetic to their situation and provide practical support
- We may sometimes need to take steps to safeguard customers where their welfare is a concern, or in immediate or imminent danger.
There are many reasons which may cause a customer to be vulnerable and required support will vary based upon an individual’s circumstances. Where we are made aware a customer is vulnerable we will consider reasonable adjustments. Below are some examples of how we may adapt our service.
3.2.1 Low literacy (including dyslexia), numeracy skills:
- We will check understanding and the customer’s requirements
- We will be clear and concise with selling terms
- We will repeat information if needed
3.2.2 Severe or long term illness:
- We will consider if the customer needs to nominate someone to speak on their behalf or need us to consider their illness in our decisions
- Whether the customer needs additional time to understand or process information, or preferences for the way we communicate with them
- We may recommend a suitable channel of communication to support the customers preferred communication method
- Dependent upon the customer circumstances, we will also consider sign posting to external support
3.2.3 Mental health problems, we will consider adjustments such as:
3.2.4 Caring responsibilities (including having Power of Attorney)
- Caring for someone can be challenging and Carers may require signposting to additional support
- They might need to set an additional business contact on the customer’s accounts. We will explain our processes where they are needed
- A bereaved customer is likely to require an empathetic approach. They may also need guidance on processes or may require information to be repeated
Other ways we will support include:
3.2.6 Changing how we act:
- We will allow people to take their time and be patient
- Actively listen, play back your understanding, paraphrase, etc.
- Check understanding
- Avoid jargon and think about the language we use
- Be prepared to repeat information and explanations
3.2.7 Third Party Support
- We will support the customer to set up a Nominated User on their behalf and sign post how to do this
3.3 Services we offer
TalkTalk has a number of different services to support customers with accessibility requirements which may also be helpful for some vulnerable customers. These services include:
3.3.1. Alternative format
We can provide bills, contracts and letters in formats such as large print, Braille, coloured paper options and audio CD on request. Please contact us to request an alternative format. If you require presale contract information and contract summary documents in alternative formats, please ask a colleague.
3.3.2 Priority Fault Repair
We provide priority fault repair for customers who depend on the telephone service because of illness or disability (landline phones only). Priority fault repair is a free service for customers who rely on their TalkTalk services for health and mobility reasons. If you’re eligible, you’ll get priority when you report a fault to us. The service is only available to you if your household includes someone at risk, or you have accessibility requirements such as:
- Renal Dialysis Machine
- Artificial Ventilator
- Unable to access the house unaided due to chronic long-term illness or disability
What the priority fault repair service doesn’t cover:
- Your line is supplied by another service provider.
- You live in warden-controlled, residential nursing, care home or similar type of property.
- The service doesn't cover alarm monitoring stations, control rooms or other types of alarm lines or installations.
To apply for the service, please contact us at Contact us (talktalkbusiness.co.uk)
3.3.3 Free 195 Directory Enquiries
If you're not able to read or hold a printed directory, you can apply for free 195 Directory Enquiries. The 195 team is dedicated to supporting those with accessibility requirements get through to who they need to speak to on the phone. The service also offers a connect service, which will connect you to your required number. Just call 0800 587 0195 (09:00 - 16:00 Monday to Friday) and request an application form. Once you receive your form it will need to be countersigned by a medical professional i.e. by a doctor, nurse or other medical practitioner.
Once registered, you'll be given a PIN number and can start using the 195 service.
3.3.4. Next Generation Text Relay Service
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired, the Text Relay Service can help you make the most of your phone. It forms part of the UK network and allows you to connect to telephones or textphones using your own textphone.
Your calls will go through a relay assistant, who will translate it from text-to-voice and vice versa. All relayed calls are confidential and none of your personal information will be shared except in very specific circumstances.
3.3.5 Assigning a nominated contact
Appointing a Nominated contact enables someone you trust or one of your employees to discuss various aspects of your account including balance enquires and call charges. They can also make payments on your behalf. Your Nominated User is not directly liable for any charges on your account, as the Account Holder remains the same. Please contact us to request.
3.3.6 Mobile SMS access to emergency organisations
Customers with hearing or speech impairments can use Mobile SMS to access to emergency organisations by using the emergency call numbers “112” and “999”.
3.3.7 Emergency Video Relay Service
Available from 17th June 2022
Customers with hearing impairments can use the Emergency video relay service, which enables deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users to contact the emergency services in their first language. This is an addition to the existing means of contacting the emergency services (voice 999, text relay 999 and SMS 999).
To access the service you can download the 999 BSL app or go to the www.999bsl.co.uk. Website to make a call to 999. The call goes to a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter first, who will appear on the screen. The BSL interpreter will then call the 999 operator through landline and will relay the conversation. This service is provided free of charge.
Further details can be found via https://999bsl.co.uk/faqs/
How do I make an emergency call via BSL Video Relay Service?
Please see below videos:
Introduction to 999 BSL
How to make a 999 BSL call?
4.0 How to make us aware of your circumstances and accessibility requirements
To make us aware of your circumstances or accessibility needs you can get in touch via our main contact channels including live chat, by email, by phone or in writing.
We may need to ask for your permission to keep a record of any personal information about your disability, any alternative formats you require for your personal circumstances. Likewise we may need to keep a record of aspects of vulnerability where we need to provide you with additional support or adapt our services. This information will be recorded on our Customer Relationship Management systems and/ or recorded on system notes for internal use. This information will be stored and used to help ensure we provide you with the right services and support to meet your needs.
5.0 Policy Review
This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure that it effectively supports the fair and appropriate treatment meets the needs of Vulnerable Customers or End Users with Disabilities. The review will include an assessment of customer complaints and feedback received regarding this policy.