All Monica Prys-Davies required was a final telephone bill before she moved house. Instead, she claims, BT wrested the phone line in her new home from her chosen supplier and gave her a new, unwanted phone number for it. It also made off with the number that Janet Lee has had for 30 years and gave it to her neighbours who had requested a new line.
She was told she would have to borrow the new number originally destined for said neighbours until the two could be swapped, but she wasn’t allowed to know what that temporary number was because her neighbours had asked to be ex-directory.
Adam Kimmel rang BT to ask that his parents’ account be transferred to his mother’s name because his father had died. Instead, it cut off her telephone and broadband service and suggested when she complained that she too had died. Susan Coates wanted the 1571 answer service removed from her line but BT cancelled the entire phone line and told her she would have to accept a new phone number if she wanted it back.
All of the above had battled vainly to prise some sense out of BT’s customer service operators who declared themselves impotent in the face of The System.
Happily, BT’s press office has magical powers: it declares that Prys-Davies’s case is too complicated to apportion blame, but has released her and given her £25. Lee was given a year’s free line rental, but was accidentally deprived of her broadband. Kimmel’s mother, after being sent an illiterate internal memo instead of an apology, has been given compensation and condolences. Coates regained her old number and related expenses and, most precious of all, a direct line to someone who can help in future.