BT Broadband Complaint

When BT “upgraded” their Broadband service in my area (Sheffield) I was without service for 2 days. Numerous phone calls later service was restored. One delay was that after the upgrade their mail server apparently believed every email stored there (135,000) had never been delivered and kept trying to download them. I was told I would have to delete them on the server! Insistence resulted in my getting them to delete them, but that took them 5 hours further delay. I find it hard to believe that there is not a technician somewhere in the organisation who could reset something on the server, but I was not prepared to sit here for hours deleting a page at a time. After 3 hours I came back to my computer to find a message saying the technician had finished his shift, but had left me “just 37,000” to delete myself. I phoned again, waited in the queue, and insisted BT deleted the remaining 37,000 emails. That took a further 2 hours.

Last week my service became so slow I could not load web pages or download mail. There were no reported faults, but every call I made resulted in my being told it would all be resolved, until finally they admitted there was a problem requiring an engineer to come out. This was Saturday and they said I would have to wait until the following Friday. At one point, despite having explained I was 69 and had arthritis, I was asked to remove the plate on the phone connection with a screwdriver! I asked that a technician from a UK call centre call me back. They said they would do this. I received a message on my land line confirming the Friday appointment on that Saturday. That night my service ceased completely. I had no connection to my main computer with a hard connection, nor my laptop with a wireless connection.

During the ensuing week I phoned many times. I repeatedly asked for a call-back from the UK. I have not received one. On the Monday I got a message that my appointment had been cancelled. When I phoned I was told it had not been. By Wednesday they were saying the Friday appointment had been booked on the Monday, not the previous Saturday. I was talked over repeatedly. Always politely, but politeness is no substitute for competency!! I was also promised call-bacs from managers at the call centre in India, none of which happened, even though they insisted they had. I sat by the phone for 35 minutes waiting for a promised call back from a manager in 5 minutes. When I finally called back myself, she insisted she had called and my line was engaged. Not true.

On the Friday the engineer arrived. Said the problem was the filter I had installed as instructed by the call centre. No filter was required. He fitted a new modem, and said my service would be a little slower for a couple of days, as they made some adjustment when a line was out of service completely. NOW he had certified the fault corrected they would switch me back to full service within 2 days.

That night the server started rejecting my password. I waited an hour in a queue to get them to reset my password on their server.

Then I started getting timed out by the server because the speed was so slow. The next day, 22 October, it was just as bad. I phoned again. Again requested a UK call-back and was told because I had registered a complaint it had been “escalated to Level 2” and I could not even request a UK call-back now! I finally got through to a manager who said my speed was OK. I said it was not. (I had managed to get onto the Sky Broadband site for a few minutes that day and had a speed test via their site .. 2-5meg.) He then said he would take over my computer (I suspect to demonstrate how wrong I was). The connection was so slow we could not download the software. He then directed me to a speed test page. That wouldn’t load either of course. He then changed tack and said I could expect slow speeds until October 30th, as .. I forget the technical terms used, but it seemed to me to be about bedding in and adjusting.

I cannot believe having a fault fixed and a new router fitted requires a process of 8 days bedding in. Today it has been better for much of the time, but rely that’s beside the point.

I had no service at all for 8 days. I have been delayed, spoken over constantly, lied to even, and they seem determined that this is kept safely their side of the world. I can find no way to direct my complaints to a senior manager in the UK. I have been a BT customer for 50 years. They have been my ISP for over 12. This is not a way to treat loyal customers. If it takes 7 days t get an engineer out they have too many faults, too few engineers, or both. At one point I was told engineers were expensive and they couldn’t respond more quickly. I haven’t noticed any reduction in my charges. They say I will get a refund, but they said that when I lost 2 days during the line updating, and my latest bill shows no such refund.

I have set this out in the hope that it gets to someone who cares enough to

  1. Give me a response to this series of conflicting messages, the errors, the insistence that all would be fine (which resulted in 2 days loss of time in booking an engineer).
  2. Explain why it is impossible to get a call-back from a technician in the UK, something which BT Broadband’s UK staff assure me I can request. One adviser said I could ask to be transferred.
  3. Why I am left blocked from taking my complaint to a more senior manager in the UK. The website simply gives the telephone number which will I now take me straight back to the call centre I do not wish to speak to again.

If I have a problem that can be resolved by a technician taking over my computer, then I accept the call centre in India being my first point of call. If not, I am sorry but not speaking geek myself, I cannot follow someone who does, and does this at high speed in heavily accented English. I find it incredibly frustrating to be spoken over (however often they say they “understand” how I feel .. they do NOT), to not be allowed to explain what has happened.

A simple refund, if indeed it is forthcoming, will not recompense me for the time I have spent waiting in queues, getting nowhere. I use the Internet to order my groceries, to run a charity fundraising site. I am not a business customer, but I am a CUSTOMER who had been a loyal one. Being without Internet connection for over a week was a hardship for me, and impacted on MY customer relations with visitors to my website. No-one “understood” how I felt or they would have found some way to give me a better result.

Politeness is NO substitute for competency, for action, for resolving problems.

I do however feel sorry for BT Broadband customers in Popular, as they seem to have poor service continually. Every day when I have checked the service status update line, they are listed.

Caryl Burton

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  • I too live in Sheffield, and am with BT. I have been with them continuously since 2003 and, to be fair, up until February of last year I had had few problems with my broadband service. All that changed in February 2011, when I signed up for BT Infinity fibre optic broadband.

    I live fairly close to the exchange and so my speed should be something close to 30Mb, and on a few occasions I admit it has been close, but for the majority of the time it is more like 4-6Mb. In fact I would say that on average it is slower than it was before I "upgraded". It is frequently extremely slow.

    For the past few days it has been very sluggish for hours at a time. When I tested my speed earlier this evening I discovered that it was 0.8Mb. At present fairly small web pages are taking 5-10 minutes to load. I pay close to £45 per month for this service and, when my contract ends in October 2012, I shall cancel my contract with BT and find another supplier.

    I know that it is BT as I use the wi-fi on my Android phone, and it always mirrors the performance of the laptop. Today it is unusable with the wi-fi. If I switch the phone to Three's network, then the Internet loads as quickly as it normally does while out and about. My slow speeds are definitely down to BT!

    The last time I complained about it they promised to contact me within a few days. About 2 weeks later I received a fairly impolite call from the call centre in India and the gentleman said that he would transfer me to the correct department for dealing with my complaint. I was then kept on hold for a total of 20 minutes, at which point I put the phone down, so I have no idea how long it would have been before they answered. I wasn't too bothered about not speaking to them as I had, some months earlier, already made up my mind that I would sever all ties with BT as soon as my 18 month contract was served.

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