A lengthy BT Broadband complaint

A BT Broadband complaint sent in today which highlights customer service failings and service let down on a grand scale….

Dear Sir

I am writing to complain about the service received from BT. From day one, the service received has been awful. We waited 2 weeks longer than expected for our broadband service to be switched on, we were told there were faults on the line, we were promised times and dates that the service would be switched on, none of which were kept to.

In February of this year, we moved address. Initially we stopped the service as we were moving to a temporary address. We then called you at the beginning of April to get the phone line and broadband set up. We were told that you had never stopped the service at the previous address and that we had a large bill outstanding. Finally you admitted that you had made a mistake and that the bill was incorrect. At the end of April / beginning of May, we finally had the problem with our bill sorted out (or so we thought).

We still had the problem of having no broadband service, our phone line was connected as promised (congratulations, this is the only thing your useless organisation has managed to get right so far, you must be so proud). So we contacted your help(less) desk, who could not really understand English, let alone speak it. They explained that there was a problem with the line, then that there wasn’t a problem on the line, then that we were too far from the exchange (we live less than 50 metres from the exchange), then again that there was a problem on the line, then, finally, that BT hadn’t bothered to actually request the set up of the broadband! We eventually agreed that the broadband would be connected within a week.

Guess what, it wasn’t (I’m sure you are as surprised as me!). So I called again around the 23rd April, went through the same ‘reasons’ (or lies, as I like to call them) for not being connected and was told that it would finally be connected on the 30th April. I was understandably not happy with this (approx 3 weeks after you originally ‘lied’) and complained that this was simply not good enough. I was assured that it was an error from BT that meant my broadband order hadn’t been set up correctly and that due to some tests you had to carry out on the line there was no physical way it could be connected before the 30th. I was unhappy, but so fed up of arguing with someone who couldn’t understand me or speak English properly that I resigned myself to defeat.

Now, imagine my surprise when I returned home on the 28th of April and my broadband was magically working. I checked everywhere for sprites, leprechauns, unicorns, wizards and witches, but in the absence of any magical beings I came to the conclusion that your ‘no physical way it could be connected before the 30th’ was in fact another reason (lie).

I didn’t phone up to complain about this, it seemed a waste of my life and at the end of the day I was finally a happy (in comparison with someone who has a life threatening disease AND problems with BT) customer.

Sadly, you were back to your old tricks soon enough. Despite my giving you DD details on at least 2 previous occasions, you persisted on sending me quarterly bills, again backdating them and trying to charge me for the period in which you were not actually providing me with any kind of service whatsoever (other than a very poor one!). I was quite rude to one of your staff and demanded to speak to someone in Britain.

I was told this wasn’t possible, but finally I passed to someone called Vince, from Glasgow (although I did notice his accent was more Punjab than Paisley), he was very helpful, and in fairness had a grasp of English about as comprehensive as the average Scot, so I wasn’t overly upset that BT had reasoned (lied) to me once again. ‘Vince’ eventually gave up arguing, once he realised he was wrong and agreed to wipe around £60 off the bill to make up for the period you were charging me when I received no service anyway – how kind! I gladly paid the money I owed and again gave my DD details.

This time, it appeared that BT weren’t reasoning (lying) to me, I did indeed receive a new bill – paid as agreed and a letter stating that a DD had been set up. On later investigation, my bank corroborated the story, so definitely no reasoning (lying).

I was happy, again!

Until the evening of 5th July, when my broadband service vanished. I couldn’t summon the energy to teach someone English that evening so I hoped the magical creatures might return overnight and fix any problem that had occurred. Sadly, it didn’t happen this time.

So on the evening of the 7th July I called BT, using the number that was displayed on my forlorn looking laptop when I tried to access the internet. First reason (lie) from BT… the bloody number is wrong! The auto woman (who sounded refreshingly English) informed me that I could now call BT freephone, wonderful I thought! On reflection, this amounts to nothing but fraud, indeed I am now seeking legal advice to see if I can sue BT.

How many people call the technical helpdesk from the incorrect number displayed on your ‘sorry our service is shit’ message? I bet a fair few, (in fact, could you provide me with the numbers please?) every one of those people is charged for listening to a message which gives you a freephone number… why not just change the number I thought… of course, BT wouldn’t make any money out of their service being down! So, please forward myself (and every other BT customer who has ever called this number) a cheque to repay the money charged due to your not being bothered to update a number. I am not joking. This is fraud.

Anyway, I digress. I called the aforementioned freephone number and after eternity someone answered and promptly asked for my telephone number (i had already confirmed on the IVR system that I wanted to talk about the number from which I was calling). I explained what the problem with and the lady on the ‘phone kindly read through all her pre-prepared scripts in pigeon English.

Unsurprisingly after an hour of this, my connection was still not working. I had tried everything from turning it on and off (I knew at this point I was talking to a professionally trained and highly skilled technical operative) to unscrewing the socket from the wall and discovering much to the surprise of Miss Helpful, that I definitely don’t have a test socket. (I knew this, but she insisted that I move my sofa, TV unit and entire bookcase half way across my living room to I could check anyway).

She then proudly declared that there must be a problem with my broadband connection (no shit, really?), not since Newton was struck by an apple has anyone had such an epiphany. She then asked me to replace my ADSL filter as these often break. Sadly on this occasion I didn’t have one lying around (so annoying, they’re normally everywhere, I must have thrown at least 20 away just yesterday). She did point out that I may have one in the original packaging, as BT realise their products are crap so send a spare for when the first invariably ceases to work. I pointed out that I had moved home twice since then (which BT know, see above) and had about as much chance of finding it as BT will have finding a reason (lie) to explain my problems so far.

I then enquired whether BT would kindly send me another ADSL filter. Miss Helpful placed me on hold and then confirmed that no, my ADSL filter which was expected to break, was out of it’s warranty. She suggested I buy another one to see if this was the problem.

At this point I lost it, I went mad. I ranted for about ten minutes about how crap BT are and then demanded that my broadband was canceled. She seemed taken aback, and persisted on trying to fix the problem. I kindly explained that it didn’t matter if she did fix the problem, I still wanted my broadband canceled. This culminated in verbal tennis to rival the 5th set of Federer Vs Roddick at Wimbledon 2009. I would say I didn’t want it fixed, just canceled and she would reply with, ‘I appreciate you frustration, I will try to find the fault’.

To add to this, I note that at the end of June 2009, BT were voted as having the ‘worst customer service in Britain’ (the telegraph). I also note that there is a website dedicated to BT complaints

So, to the crux of my letter, I would like the following:

  • A full and detailed explanation of your recruitment policy for your call centres, I assume all your reasoners (liars) are highly trained professionals with recognised industry qualifications?
  • A cheque to me and to every other BT customer who has called the fraudulent telephone number (see above).
  • An explanation as to why your company purposely reasons (lies to), deceives and defrauds it’s customers.
  • A letter from ‘Vince’ giving me detailed directions to a shop of his choice within Glasgow city centre (just to prove he was really from Glasgow)
  • A letter confirming the number of customers who have called the fraudulent telephone number.
  • A letter detailing why BT is such a useless company, who are unable to keep simple promises and who let their customers down with a consistency that could rival the laws of physics.
  • A copy of all information that BT hold on me, as I am allowed to request under the data protection act. If there is a charge for this, I suggest given the circumstances, you waive that charge.

If you are unable to provide a satisfactory answer to the above questions, please cancel my broadband service, keep my landline service and delete me from any mailing lists you may have.

In either case I also seek some financial recompense for the time, effort, stress and inconvenience your hopeless company has caused to myself and my 8 month pregnant wife. I would suggest something in the region of free broadband for a year, free phonecalls for a year and £1000 of vouchers for a popular high street department store (ask ‘Vince’ I am sure he could suggest a few in Glasgow). I also enclose the receipt for my ADSL filter, which I want refunded in full.

With kind regards,

Guy Lawrence

Please feel free to comment below with your BT Broadband experiences.

No Comments

  • I have read with great interest about your problems with BT, I have yet to be able to sit long enough to write about the catalogue of complaints I have with BT, I have forgotten the amount of times Ive complained to them about different things and I have yet to receive an apology for anything. My last complaint was on the 7th July about not receiving incoming calls and just days before I was nearly in tears trying to explain to someone at BT that I have not got a contract for BT Vision and they have sent me a bill and argued that I have been watching the Vision box when I havn't and that I have a contract for another 6 months which I don't, they are insisting that I pay this bill, I was on the phone for an hour trying to make sense of it all, I was hysterical by the time I had to ring off and decided enough was enough and I must complain to someone some where about BT and ALL the problems Ive had with them over the past 2 years. So I was glad to find your complaint which has given me the push I needed to go ahead. I was going to try Watchdog to help me get over my point better and word the complaint properly, I may still do that as Ive had enough now. Thanks again. C. Stewart.

  • I too have had problems with BT. After moving house last week we thought if was brilliant that our Broadband had been put on almost straight away! After 2 days of it working perfectly it suddenly went off and we were presented with the same call BT screen you mention in your letter. After being passed to 5 different departments and being on the phone for a total of 1 hour and 45 mins they told us that our broadband line had been ceased. When we asked why we were met with the responce 'I can't tell you why that is because that department arn't open until the morning' they suggested maybe we had not paid a bill, but this is certanly not the case. My partner works from home and needs broadband to work, I can't see BT paying for his wages and explaining to this to his clients. We rang back this morning as requested and were told they had never switched on the broadband in the first place because we did not inform them we were moving house (which we did inform them 2 weeks prior to moving house)They then informed us it would take 7 days for the broadband connection to come on and when I asked how they had managed to change the phone line if we hadn't said we were moving house I was put on hold for 35mins until I gave up and put the phone down. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

  • We used to live in London where we had Virgin Media broadband fibre-optic this was super fast with the occasional problem due to work being carried out on the network. However we then moved to East Anglia in june of this year when we decided to go for BT Broadband as other providers were not available in our area, Since then the Broadband Service has been APPALLING v.slow speed and BT's website telling us that we don't have an account. I wish we didn't!! This is officially the WORST broadband or in BTs case Narrowband. You could probably have a quicker service using pigeons flying back and forth. Absolutely disgraceful.

  • Hi all, in the last month bt have been very slow, my download speed has been 552kbps yes under the old dial up service 56k i was getting in 1998 it should be about 3500 4000kbps for 4 mbps connection speed.

    I phoned bt up done all the checks normal phone stuff, no caps or throttle on my line, there so called unlimited connection 100gb job.

    They said give it a couple of days see how it goes, days later line went back up to normal speed, by the time i ordered new master socket and cable and replace it all. Anyway my the old bt telecom one worked just fine, now a week later it went right back down to 56k again are fxck!

    By this time getting little bit tired, come on bt sort it out!
    Phoned them back up, then arranged bt engineer to come out the following day, Yes you guessed it no sod turned up!

    Rang them that evening and ask where's the bt engineer fxck!
    They said no engineer was booked for you! This was thursday now.

    I took operators name and id, and she arranged it for engineer to come monday, Yes You guessed it! 4 days later, will keep you posted!

  • All i can say is my experience with BT is garbage. Their call centre staff are poorly educated school leavers or foreigners. Nothing I requested ever happened. Sixteen weeks to have a complaint sorted. Hours on the phone, numerous letters and today to top it all off i have received a bill today in which they have charged me twice for home hub equipment to the sum of £45. I call the billing department only to be transferred to India where neither me or the representative could understand each other. It;s like something out a Benny Hill sketch. I did not trust the representative and the information he was giving me so i asked for a call reference number. After getting the number (which am sure he made up) i asked him to repeat it back to me and guess what? The line went dead! I hate the company now and am going to go to SKY! STAY AWAY FROM BT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

  • Bt are useless dont listen to single word i say just say yes to get you off the phone then do nothing happens everytime i expect them to be back on watchdog!!!

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