Why is the Customer Services function at BT so incapable of responding to basic customer complaints? I guess it is because they really aren’t interested and they will always retain the upper hand and will cut you off if you refuse to pay charges that you do not accept as genuine.
These days I seldom visit my office as I have no need unless I am meeting with a client. But as these are so rare since the recession I opted a long time ago to use BT’s Call Diversion feature that re-directs incoming calls to my answer service. Six months ago I decided to review the number of calls I was being charged for by BT against those my answer service was actually receiving. Should I have been surprised that the totals were wildly different? My ‘service’ had logged 68 incoming calls; BT was charging me for 304. Naturally this is in BT’s favor and although the cost isn’t that much it is the principle that matters. I have probably been over-paying for years.
I also realised that I was being charged £4.50 for each of my two lines for something they call ‘Payment Processing Charge.’ This in fact is a charge added for the privilege of paying by cheque!
I wrote to the Customer Services Dept (sic) at Durham on 2 December 2009 requesting an explanation but I must have been naive to have expected a reply. Instead my answer service received several messages asking me to call different people at the call centre based in India. I did; this was a mistake because I was unable to understand a word the operative was saying. I requested – no, I demanded, that he put whatever it was he was trying to tell me in writing.
On 11 December a letter arrived from a Mr Vijay Kumar, a Credit Management Advisor at the BT Business Billing section of no fixed abode. At least there was no contact address printed on the letter. Mr Kumar took almost two pages to explain that the £4.50 charge was to ‘encourage customers to adopt paperless billing.’ Why could he not have simply said that it was basically a fine that customers are enforced to pay for being sent a paper bill rather than allowing BT the option of helping themselves to our money by opting to use their preferred method of direct debits.
My complaint about the overcharging for calls was dismissed by a single sentence that informed me that I would be contacted by Billing Department. I am still waiting.
In the interim I had sent a 50% payment to BT with my letter but after I had the usual standard letters threatening to cut off my service I paid the balance. However, when I received my latest bills in February I was still being charged for far more call re-directs than my answer service had logged. I wrote again on 17 March requesting a response to my previous letter and questioning why I was being charged ‘Late Payment Charges’ when my bill was being disputed? I also sent them a part payment of my latest bill hoping that this would prompt some sort of response.
Typically my last letter has also remained unanswered but I have received ‘Dear Customer’ standard letters telling me that my accounts have not been paid, without any deduction being made for the cheque that I had sent them as part-payment.
I am really rather stupid; despite this and a whole catalogue of previous complaints over a variety of issues during many years, I have continued to use BT but I am now tiring of their total failure to deliver even a basic level of customer service and intend moving my custom elsewhere.