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!
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:
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!