BT Customer Service… My Appalling Experience!

BT Customer Service… My Appalling Experience!

Having just hit another stumbling block at the hands of the BT Customer Service team in my quest to obtain internet access (something that is essential for me to do my job), I have now decided to write a blog post documenting my frankly horrendous and overwhelmingly frustrating experience trying to deal with the inept and completely unsympathetic BT Customer Service team.

 

It All Started…

 

… on the 14th September, when my wife and I moved into our new home – a new build and our first non-rented house. We had been with BT for telephone and internet since November 2010 in our rented flat, and having had no problems whatsoever (and therefore no need to speak with the BT Customer Service team), we decided to stay with BT as our phone and internet provider in the new house. On the 17th Sep at 11:53am I called to arrange the move – 16:32 mins later I had finished my order and was told that it would not be until Monday the 22nd October that a BT engineer would be round to set up the internet in our new home. At this point I was pretty annoyed at the prospect of having to wait over 1 month to have internet access… If I’d known how much worse my BT Customer Service experience would get, I’d have held fire on getting annoyed!

 

4 and a Half Weeks Later

 

Having booked off my last full day’s holiday to ensure I would be home for the BT engineer, I was close to being re-connected. I went out for lunch on Friday the 19th October, and to my horror received the following text message and email: 

 

 

So, around 4 working hours before they were due to arrive at my house, BT Customer Service decided to let me know that it would be another 3 weeks before they would be facilitating me with an internet and phone connection… surely they would have known before then if it was going to take an additional 3 weeks?! To make matters worse, my boss had taken the afternoon as holiday, meaning that I was unable to cancel my final remaining day’s holiday myself! Needless to say I called immediately to complain and to find out why it was only now that they were letting me know about this issue that they surely would have known about for some time before sending these messages. The BT Customer Service advisor was particularly unhelpful and gave no further insight other than “I can see that your order has been delayed” – not very useful! I asked to speak with someone that may be able to make up for the huge inconvenience, but was told there was no one there with that authority, but that she would make sure that somebody from BT called me over the weekend to discuss ways they could facilitate me in some way with internet access. 

The weekend came – no call from BT Customer Service!
 

8am on Friday the 9th November

 

Having spent another frustrating 3 weeks driving to wifi hotspots to carry out my freelance work and having persuaded my boss to allow me an additional day of holiday, the morning of the 9th November finally came and I got up nice and early so as to ensure I would be there for the BT Engineer visit I’d been promised (see email above). I sat myself down on the sofa with a cup of tea and waited for the BT engineer to arrive… Then, at 9:24am I received the following text message: 


 

Interesting… I called BT to confirm (as far as I was aware, I was due a visit and therefore had to be present) – I spent a good 15 minutes on hold and then managed to speak to someone in order management who told me that indeed my phone line had been connected and I should have full internet connectivity. The BT Customer Service team explained that the engineer was able to activate my phone line without needing to gain access to the property (and that in fact, an engineer was never due to come to my house as they knew it could be done externally from the exchange), which didn’t sit particularly well with me having taken an additional day off work. I let it go for the time being and finished the call so that I could set up my BT Home Hub, with the intention of calling back later to discuss how they would be dealing with the inconvenience caused. 

Surprise surprise, upon connecting my BT Home Hub, I found that in fact I had no access to the internet still! Incredibly frustrated, I called BT back again. This time, I was told that in fact, a BT engineer would be coming to my house by 1pm to set everything up. Again, I decided to sit on my frustration and wait to get the internet connected before I officially lodged my complaint.
 

1pm on Friday the 9th November

 

After just over an hour of waiting for the BT engineer, 1pm came and I still hadn’t been visited. I rang back again, this time to be told that “No, a BT engineer was never due to come to your property as it can be done from the exchange”… you what?! Make your minds up for God’s sake! And putting all that to one side, where the HELL is my internet?! This time I was told that there had been a problem at the exchange and that it would take up to 48 hours for it to be fixed – “it probably won’t take 48 hours, and it is a weekend, but we like to make sure we don’t get your hopes up”. Apparently I would be given a “courtesy call” on Tuesday 13th November to ensure that everything had been connected. 

Absolutely fuming by this point, I demanded to speak with the most senior person in the BT Customer Service team – I was put on hold again and then after another 10 minutes or so of holding, I was told I would be called back within 30 minutes. I grudgingly accepted their offer as I’d spent over 2 hours on my mobile talking to them already that morning alone, and I was concerned about my phone bill. Needless to say, I was not called back. I rang again, spoke to a lady called Pavya who was very understanding and put me through supervisor, Ismail, who was the most arrogant person I had spoken to in my entire time dealing with BT Customer Service (at that point, read on!). He told me that no one at BT would credit my account with more than £10 for the inconvenience… I couldn’t believe that so re-stressed the financial implications of being told that a BT engineer would require access to my property, and eventually he went to £20 and offered me a username and password for BT Openzone (which I can’t get in my area). Still not good enough, but by this point I had pretty much lost the will to live. Once it had been confirmed that I would definitely be credited with £20 on my next bill (in addition to the gap in service) I decided I would leave it – the problem of not being able to connect to the internet would be resolved by Tuesday anyway… surely…!
 

Tuesday the 13th November

 

You may already be able to guess what’s coming… 

 

You cannot be serious! I immediately called the BT Customer Service team and spoke to a guy named Keith in Milton Keynes – he said he could see that there had been a problem, he knew exactly who sent it and he would get them to call me immediately. Guess what – no call from BT! 

As soon as I got home from work at 5:45, I called BT again – this time I was angry… Very composed, but very angry. I spoke with various BT Customer Service operators including Rathish who assured me I would receive a call back within 30 minutes from 1 of his 2 managers, Visshnu or Sanjeeb! Funnily enough, they never called back so I had to ring again, and I eventually ended up speaking with my old mate Keith again.

 

I have to say, Keith was exceptional – understood and empathised with my problem, explained that it was BT Wholesale that were having the problems rather than BT the broadband provider, and that I would have the same problem with Sky, Talk Talk etc as they all use BT Wholesale to carry out the physical work. He ran me through my options, and even told me that I was able to cancel (despite being told my a previous BT Customer Service operator that I couldn’t cancel until the order was complete), explained that Virgin had their own cables and that I could use them instead, and he eventually promised me a call today (14th Nov) at 2pm to check that someone from order management had called to apologise and explain themselves. Satisfied, I gave up on finding a resolution that night and thought I would give Virgin a call (who incidentally didn’t ring me back either despite saying they would after carrying out a speed test).
 

Wednesday the 14th November

 

This morning I received the following text message: 

 

Woah, hold up… I was told it would be the 22nd November at the earliest – now you say I’m fully connected? Happy days if that is the case (although it still doesn’t make up for the financial implications of my experience so far). I then received a call from Keith at 2:15pm. He was calling to tell me that he had noticed that all of a sudden the matter is marked as resolved, and that he would call me this evening to make sure that everything is working as it should. Good man Keith.

 

Of course, when I arrived home, the internet was not working.

 

Keith called as promised, and was as sympathetic as before – I love that guy. He again told me he would help as best as he could, talked me through the possible problems and eventually passed me through to someone in the technical department. Now this guy… this guy managed to spend about 20 minutes telling me to “turn it off and on again”, and then when that didn’t work (shock horror) he said he would send a BT engineer out. No no no mate, that’s not what I’m after! At this point, my patience had reached breaking point and I asked to be put through to someone that could get me out of my BT contract. I didn’t want an engineer, nor did I want to have to explain the experience again to anyone, so they put me through to Roy at BT Customer Options.

 

Roy at BT Customer Options

 
Roy… Roy is the most arrogant, inept, argumentative and cocky member of the BT Customer Service team that I ever had the displeasure of speaking with. He was rude, he sounded bored when I told him what had happened, he told me I hadn’t explored all options (even though I had), he told me no one would be able to cancel my contract, and he essentially made me out to be stupid. When I insisted that given my experience an exception should be made, he told me he’d put me through to order management who would be able to help with my problem, but they wouldn’t be able to cancel my contract. Incidentally, I was later called back my Keith who let me know that Roy never left any notes on the system following my call, which is against BT rules.

 

Jafia at BT Order Management (Hero)

 
So I finally ended up back in order management, speaking to the lovely Jafia – she was the first person that didn’t need me to explain the whole experience from the beginning! She looked through all the notes, essentially described the whole saga back to me, and (similarly to Keith) sympathised with me. She then told me that whilst she technically couldn’t cancel my order, she would… and she did! She said she wouldn’t put me on hold, but that she would write on the notes that she was cancelling my “Moving Request” order and that she was opting me out of my contract, and that I would get a confirmation email in 5-6 working days.

 

So, thanks to my horrendous experiences dealing with the BT Customer Service team (with the exception of Pavya, Keith and Jafia), I have now left BT. I will now be contacting Virgin… let’s hope it’s a more favorable experience – it can’t be much worse at least!

 

Your Comments

 
I will be contacting BT via their social media channels, as well as by email (to any BT email addresses I can find), and in writing, referencing this blog post. Please feel free to use the comments section below to share any negative experiences you have had with BT – I assure you BT will read them!

 

UPDATE – 17th November

 
Okay, so it’s been 3 days since I first published this post, and since it’s proven pretty popular I thought I’d update you with what’s happened since.

 

Once the post went live, I shared it on Facebook and had a huge number of friends share their own bad experiences at the hands of BT Customer Service – it was shared by a good number of people and people started to use the comments section below. I then decided to tweet both @BTCare and @wazzer_bt (Managing Director of BT Customer Services) to see what their thoughts were. The next morning I had received a comment (below) from Warren Buckley asking me to remove any surnames of BT staff since they’re protected by Data Protection Laws – I said fair enough and removed the surnames. I then received a call just before 9am from Paul at BT Care saying he would tweet me a link to a contact form where I could officially report my problem, and he also advised me to remove any reference numbers from the images in the blog post. Again, fair enough – and I did appreciate his concern that someone could use the reference numbers to make fraudulent calls. I filled in the contact form at the link he sent me and waited.

That evening, I received a call from Kevin who is a manager at BT (not sure what department). He ran through the problem, asked me how much money I’d lost as a result of their poor service, and asked me to reply to his email with my BT reference numbers, saying he would follow up and get it all sorted. I sent them across on Friday morning and that was the last I heard. At this point, I still have no internet, no phone line!

 

This afternoon I gave Virgin a call to see if they could hook me up… turns out that because my house is a new build, and because BT OpenReach never got round to activating/installing my phone line (I don’t fully understand), I am actually forced to go back to BT to get them to send an engineer out and activate my phone sockets… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! After all this hassle getting BT to cancel my contract, I’m now forced to open a new order with them to get someone out to sort my phone line. This is absolutely ridiculous!

 

So, I’ve just dropped Kevin another email asking him how we can sort all this out so that I’m still recompensed for the money I’ve spent trying to obtain internet access, and I’m currently awaiting a response (whilst using more data on my phone to use the internet).

 

This just gets worse and worse!

 

UPDATE – 23rd November

 
Before anyone gets excited, no internet still!

 

Having dropped Kevin a message on Saturday and then not hearing anything, I thought I would drop Warren another tweet just so he knew that my problem still wasn’t sorted:

 

BT Twitter Thread

 

I then had a tweet from @BTCare a bit later, and then late afternoon I received a call from Kevin. He let me know that he read read my email, understood my problem, and he would see if he could get an OpenReach engineer out on Saturday. Once the line was installed and fully up and running, he would then credit my account for anything I’d had to spend on sorting this all out. He said he would call the following day and I was satisfied, so I left it with him.

 

To Kevin’s credit (he’s been pretty good), he did try to call me on Tuesday, but I was at a conference all day and wasn’t able to pick up. I tried calling him back late afternoon but no answer. I then rang on Wednesday and he told me BT OpenReach don’t do Saturdays but he could have had a BT engineer out with me that day if I’d picked up – I had told him that whilst I’ve used all my remaining annual leave on this, I could probably duck out for an hour if the engineer could let me know when he was close. He then said he would call me back once he’d arranged an appointment for me (later that day he said).

 

It’s now been 2 days since I spoke to Kevin and I haven’t heard from him – I’ve left him 2 voicemails, but no calls back. The only call I did get was earlier today when another guy (who’s name I have shamefully forgotten) rang me to ask if everything was sorted. I told him it wasn’t so he asked for Kevin’s surname. I said I could get it for him when I was back at my PC (Kevin has sent me an email with his surname on) so this other chap was supposed to email me (so that I had his address/number) and then I was going to send the surname.

 

No email, no phone call, no news! 

24 Comments

  1. Wow, I thought Sky has messed me around. Turns out that’s nothing compared to what BT have put you though!!

    • I’m not even sure it’s over! I’ll update as and when. Thanks for your comment.

  2. And I thought our experience was bad, that’s horrendous! My story is simpler, we moved house and took Sky with us, who insisted the new house didn’t have a BT line so we had to wait three weeks for an Openreach engineer as they handled line connections.

    The day before the engineer was due to visit we received a text saying there was no need for an engineer to visit as the line could be enabled remotely. So three weeks for a non-visit which just needed someone to press a button remotely. Fortunately taking time off is no problem for me but it would’ve been pretty inconvenient if I’d had to book holiday.

    After complaining, Sky told us that you get put in a queue by Openreach regardless of what needs doing then they look at it nearer the time, rather than checking to see if it’s going to be a quick and remote job. Brill!

    • I was livid when I found out they were never even going to send an engineer out – and I didn’t even get a text to correct themselves. Glad you got your problem sorted eventually, seems the problem (or at least one of the problems) lies with Openreach or BT Wholesale. Pains!

  3. I am sorry about this and would like to investigate further. I will respond to your tweet. I would be grateful if you would remove the surname you have included. Our staffs details are protected by Data Protection Laws. Warren MD Customer Servuce BT

    • That’s fine Warren, as long as you have taken note of his surname (which is the reason I included it).

    • Warren this is far from a one off story. I too have had months of poor and disconnected service; lack of continuity; terrible communication and general lack of care from BT. I too am out of pocket several hundred pounds through lack of work and having to use mobile internet and my mobile phone. Personally I think you should spend less time worry about performance measuring (as I saw you being interviewed about) and more about delivering what we pay for. I also notice you are the Vice Chair for the BQF, which makes me smile as you clearly know nothing about delivering quality in a commercial environment. Huge fail all round and you should resign from both positions.

    • Dear Warren,

      please please cancel my order HMNMHZZ05000719888

      your customer service team have won, I am broken and humbly apologise for having the temerity to move house.

      I promise never to order anything from BT ever again.

      your obedient former customer,

      Mike

      0776 428 0250

  4. Hi Mike,

    Sorry to hear this bud, had similar problems with BT when I moved, they promised me 17meg but when the engineer turned up he said I would be lucky to get 1.

    It gets better after over a year my mum (I’ve moved out now) is still without a stable internet connection, we have had an engineer out on average once a month.

    Wouldn’t recommend BT to anyone!!!

    Hope Virgin works out for you :)

    • That sounds absolutely ridiculous! In my previous flat, I have to say that I never actually had any problems once it was set up – sound like you’ve been very unfortunate.

  5. Haven’t used BT for years. Had horrendous problems with them so vowed I wouldn’t use them.
    Ironically I’ve been waiting for BT Infinity in my house – been told by one engineer we can get it yet the website says we can’t – go figure!! After your experience it looks like I should stick with PlusNet.
    Hope you finally get this sorted.
    PS My elderly aunt has also had BT nightmares!

    • Have you explored the Virgin option? They don’t do fibre optic in my area but I can get calls and broadband apparently.

      • Thanks Mike – I hadn’t explored the Virgin option since I assumed that might only be cable and we don’t have that where I live. Fairly happy with PlusNet other than the speed but I may well look into Virgin now.

  6. We are having similar problems right now; luckily we still have broadband but we are trying to upgrade to BT Infinity (Fibre optic broadband). So far they have made 3 appointments, which I have taken time off work for each, and have missed all 3! Now we’re waiting a few weeks until our next appointment, what do you bet they’ll miss that too?

    They tell us BT Openreach are too stretched in the Ipswich area, but you’d think if they made an appointment with you they would turn up. I’m absolutely disgusted by their service, and they only offered £10 compensation for each missed appointment.

    • Sorry (but unsurprised) to hear about that Shaun. Missing 3 appointments even beats my experience!

  7. Hi Mike,
    Found your blog from your tweet to Warren Buckley.

    BT have been driving me nuts since Feb of this year (won’t bore you with the details; can’t find the will to repeat them again as I have done numerous time to BT Care (What a lovely Name!)), but basically they have set up FOUR phone lines in my name by mistake and are trying to charge me for all of them!! I keep phoning and they say not to worry about it and they will sort it out, but today I got a letter from a Debt Collection Agency saying BT have passed on the dept and I have to pay or go to court. Perhaps Warren Buckley would like to go to court on my behalf as I am a busy lady.
    Anyway, this will be my weekend, trying to sort this sodding thing out after nearly a year.
    Really BT, how hard can it be?
    Wendy

  8. I had the same horrendous experience just after joining BT. We had been with them just 3 weeks, on their premier tier so thought they might want to keep us sweet as it were.

    I could have kicked myself as I had promised never to return to BT after the last time I was with them and experienced a shocking level of disregard for customer satisfaction.

    Had many promises via twitter that they would call, that our case had been escalated etc… all lies.

    BT really should use some of its advertising budget on engineers – it is pointless advertising a service they can’t deliver.

    I lost out on a fair bit of work due to lack of connection, and plan to bill them for it. We did get our connection restored after 2 weeks, so better than most I guess!

  9. Found your blog via twitter. BT were supposed to come and set up my broadband on Tuesday morning. Then afternoon. Then nobody showed up. Apparently they had the wrong keys for the junction box. Sheesh. Nice of them to call me and tell me tho…oh.

    After a couple of phone calls, new appointment was made for December 12th. I work from home – called them and said, you’re kidding, partner contacted them via Twitter saying same. Person called me, said she was taking personal charge, would mark it as urgent and call me today with the new date which would definitely be before December 12th.

    She didn’t call. Just had email with new date. December 14th.

    I wish I’d hired Laurel and Hardy instead of BT. The outcome would be the same, but at least it would be entertaining.

  10. Hi Mike

    Saw your cheery mugshot on the gazette website and thus your blog. Have you spoken with Pete P as he’s a manager with BT! errr… and away for 5 weeks sunning himself in India watching the Tests and maybe popping into a call centre or two ;-) I’ll forward your blog to the Oddies 2nd team, funnily enough St Martin’s House (BT!) – could be that you did something to upset them when we played one of friendly evening games last summer.

    Anyway good luck in your new home, and hopefully Virgin (that’s who I’m with) will come up trumps and get you up and running

    Cheers

    John

  11. i have just ordered my phoneline and internet via bt and yes 3 weeks waiting time ths friday is de day for me dont know why engneer has to come round thought u just plug it in hope this does not happen to me as i will pukk out of cntract book off day off no hoilday inlou so no pay for day virgin media say they will call back but dont r b dont care villians are bt.virgin media.talk talk.

  12. Mike I wish I had read this before my parents put themselves through dealing with BT. Can porting your old number to a new address be that difficult for a global telco to do?

    It is a mixture of anger of the feeling of futility trying to resolve things and outrage that no-one really cares.

    Having clocked up the hours on hold, been cut off, promised resolution on numerous times we will move providers the end of next week. Being a glutton for punishment I will give it one last go next week!

  13. So I am not alone! I placed an order for a new phone line/ broadband service on 2/8/13 into a suburban house, and after hours and hours of waiting for non-showing BT engineers and hours and hours of frustrating phone calls to order tracking, I have been given yet another appointment for tomorrow. I have emailed Mr Buckley but as yet have not had the courtesy of an acknowledgement of a reply. I am speechless that in these days of high competition for phone/internet services that BT can show such incompetence towards their customers. Lynda

  14. Hey! I’ve just finally reached the end (I hope) of yet another long-running BT saga. This time it was BT Vision causing the problems. In July I just phoned to increase my download limit and was persuaded that BT Vision would be both a better and a cheaper option. I did ask repeatedly if it would work in our rural area and was assured it would. I was also persuaded to take a Hub 4 to replace our Hub 2. The kit took over a week to arrive, we went away for 2 days and it was a busy time for our internet-based business, so it was over 2 weeks after placing the order before we had a chance to set up. Of course, it didn’t work. Endless phone calls, many of which took over 2 hours of sitting in queues, resulted in being told that it should work, it must be our fault and it would cost us about £200 to get out of the contract. It took us a month to get them to send an engineer. He did his bit and pronounced the kit useless to us since the line wouldn’t support it. When asked when we would be upgraded, he replied that the clue was in the fact that we couldn’t get BT Infinity – that was how long it would be before we were recabled! He went away and we were happy – unfortunately, he never filed his report properly on our file, so we were back where we started. Eventually, some weeks later, a helpful person managed to find the report but, since the engineer hadn’t put it in the right place, it took another week for BT to admit he had been there and that they would accept it and we could go back onto our old contract without paying cancellation. Then there was the kit I had paid for and needed to return. They sent bags that it wouldn’t fit into. Another couple of weeks for replacement bags, and off it all went to Darlington. But where was my refund? More hours on the phone following my next bill on which they were also charging me for the BT Vision I had never had. Finally I was told that the £87 would be credited to my bank account within 30 days. Those days came and went. But today I received my next bill and there, hidden away at the end, was £87 credit. Champagne flowed!

    Apologies at any stage? You must be joking. And for a business whose business is communication well, this lot are the pits. No matter what day or time you phone, they are always experiencing unusually heavy demand. Their menu system never includes anything appropriate. Their lines keep breaking down. Whichever option you choose, you always get someone who knows nothing about anything and has to transfer you to another number … and despite their protestations that it will not happen, that number rings a few times and then you find yourselves back in the first queue you started in.

    Rogues and scoundrels.

  15. Hi all,

    Has anyone ever had problems with BT taking out Direct Debit payments before the actual set date? If so, what can be done about it? Interms of claiming costs & charges back from British Trouble?

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