My broadband connection failed in the small hours of Sat 2nd Dec. I did all the checks I could and later that morning I spent 45 minutes on the phone to BT’s call centre in India which resulted in an appointment for an engineer to check my line.
The engineer came 24 hours early, no complaints there. While checking, he kindly replaced the front of my BT wall socket because the lip that slides up when you plug a phone in was broken. He concluded by process of elimination that my broadband modem had failed. I checked the phones with my mobile as he left, and one wasn’t ringing so I called the guy back. He fiddled about with the socket some more, after which all phones rang OK.
I then phoned BT to order a new modem. This took 3 calls, one to someone in India who couldn’t help me, one to a woman in England who skillfully fobbed me off, and one to a guy I must praise, Chris in Sales, one of BT’s few stars, who effortlessly ordered a Home Hub which I received the following morning.
Later that afternoon, I found out the hard way that my fax machine was not receiving anything. I phoned to report this, which is when I discovered that BT has separate departments dealing with broadband and telephones. Neither of them, however, was interested in doing anything about it. On my 3rd call to BT I got so sick of being told, “We can’t help you” in spite of my explanation that everything was working OK before the engineer’s visit, that I ended up losing my rag and screaming at the guy, who cut me off. (I might add that when I used to work as a field service engineer, until 2003, if we had a recall we had to go back that day, as an extra call.)
Trying again in the evening when my blood pressure had gone down a bit, I demanded to speak to a manager and, after about 30 minutes wait, I ended up with the broadband special help team who seem to be the only caring and helpful people in BT. An appointment was made for an engineer to call the following morning, Tues 2 Dec.
This eng thought he had come to install the new home hub, and explained that he could not touch phone wiring. I persuaded him to have a look at the sockets, which he did, give him his due, but he still refused to do anything to help me. I felt it was being insinuated that I was trying to pull a fast one by claiming that I’d only had the problem since the previous eng’s visit.
My son and I installed the home hub that afternoon, it couldn’t have been easier. The speed however was appallingly slow, we had 2.5 meg before but now only half a meg. I called the help team and something was done at the exchange, our profile was changed I was told. To date, this has resulted in terrible interference on the phones and no increase in broadband speed.
Meantime, there was the fax machine to sort out. I know nothing about phone wiring but I have 28 years of experience as a domestic appliance service engineer. My setup is I have a double socket coming in, which supplies the computer and the fax machine, and another one next to it which connects 3 phones to the output from the fax machine. What I found the 1st engineer had done was to run 3 link wires between the 2 sockets!!! My set-up should have been obvious, from the main socket to the fax, and from the fax to the phones, and this guy had linked the 2 sockets together! I removed the unnecessary wires, sat and worked out how the wires to the furthest phone should be connected, after which fax and phones all worked perfectly, just the way they used to.
In summary, I am just amazed that the dearest and best-known company can give such uncaring and unhelpful customer care (with the exception of the ones I mentioned above) with telephone staff extremely adept at getting rid of you, coupled with engineers who are either incompetent or very ready to tell me it’s my problem, not theirs. (Again, this goes against the grain of my work experience, when the unwritten first instinct of all of my colleagues and me was to help people).