Complaint about unilateral cessation of broadband contract for publication

Contacting BT to complain about problems is a problem in itself which many customers are experiencing. This broadband complaint just shows the full extent of the problems at BT and the customers it’s affecting.


Set out below is a complaint that I sent by email to on the instruction of one of your advisors who sent it to me by email. I received the following reply:

Dear Customer

Sorry, but we won’t receive your message as this email address is no longer in use.

Please send us your message through our website. Go to and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Kind Regards

BT eCustomer Services

I went to the website and attempted to send the email but was welcomed be a frozen screen.

I then rang the number given 0800 800 152 which did not direct me to the complaints office so I had to go through the interminable process of punching in numbers after only 5 minutes (a record) I spoke to an advisor who spent 5 minutes with me on hold looking for the appropriate address. She reported back that the only one she had was the one that had already responded to me. She suggested I wrote and faxed to this address and number :

BT Correspondence Centre


DH98 1BT

Fax: 020 88109192

Details of Full Complaint

This is a complaint about unilateral cessation of broadband contract and continuous failures in customer service on Telephone Number 020 72** *973

As a business broadband customer, I was approached in early February with the offer of BT Business One Plan Inclusive. When I rang to discuss the offer it was pointed out to me that, though I was a Business Broadband customer (and had been for more than ten years), my telephone lines 020 72** *973 and 0124* **4305 were residential.

It was explained to me that it would be necessary to change the two lines from residential to business, that there would be an adjustment to the rental but that I would not need to do anything else; the changes were a formality and I would not need to take any further action.

From that moment on things became confused.

With regard to the 0124* **4305 number I received a letter thanking me for my order No VRG160SD dated 10 February a further letter ref. WLRWPBv1.0 dated 28th of February addressed to me at the number’s location (** *** ***** *****) which thanked me for choosing BT Retail and advised me that the transfer would take place on the 25th of February. On that same date I received a letter from the BT Business Team welcoming me to the One Plan Inclusive. I continued to receive broadband on that number without interruption.

With regard to 020 725* **73 things were very different.

I received a welcome I received a welcome and thanks for the order letter dated 10 February giving an order number MXP80CL/VOL011-291*****642 with an account number 52***38 and a further similar letter dated 3 march with different order and account numbers : NCT698CL?VOL011-291*****642 a/c. No. 523***48.

These were followed by a letter dated 4th march explaining that the Business Broadband Team had received a request to end my Total Broadband Option 1 service and that it would cease on the 17th of March. It also advised me that if I wanted to keep the service I should telephone the BT team and they would deal with it.

I had made no request to discontinue the service and telephoned the team on the 5th. After I had explained the problem, your advisor stated that she was not competent to deal with the problem and referred me to her supervisor. I was assured by him that he would resolve the problem, he added that there had clearly been a mistake within the BT organisation and that I should not worry; the service would continue uninterrupted.

Reassured I went abroad on the 11th to find, to my surprise, that my email account was shut down on the 17th I also learned that the broad band service ceased on that date.

On my return on the 23rd of March I contacted the Business Broadband team and spoke to a Stephen Pritchard who agreed that something had gone wrong at the BT end and he promised to ‘fast track’ its restoration. He also gave me a telephone number 02890 344553 ext. 60553 which he said was a direct line to his supervisor and that I could use it to progress-chase the order.

When I tried to contact him 48 hours later I was informed that the number was not recognised. I subsequently spoke to another member of the team a David Berry who informed me that though an order had been placed there was no reference to fast track and that I would not be restored until 8.00pm on the 30th.

I subsequently received two letters confirming a date for the restoration of the service both dated 24th. March. Actually they did not confirm restoration they advised me I was to receive a different service with a different email address.

I finally got my old email account restored on the 26th March when one advisor and not the first that I had spoken with informed me that it was perfectly easy to re-open.

On the 31st March, still without broadband, I telephoned the team yet again. I was told that the engineers had not been able to make the connection as there was not a free port at the exchange.

On 1st April I rang again to be told that they regretted there would be no spare capacity before 22 April at the earliest and even then, that could not be guaranteed. I was on the phone for 4 hours, mainly listening to canned music, being transferred to the wrong person on 3 occasions whilst awaiting your understaffed department to put me through to someone with the wit or seniority to help resolve the problem.

I was told there was nothing that could be done or that I should try Open Zone; when I suggested mobile broadband they were keen to sell me a contract. It was only when I demanded to speak to the Departmental Manager for the second time (he had failed to ring me earlier in the day despite assurances that he would ring within 30 minutes) that I finally was offered two months rental credit to cover the cost of my procuring a pay as you go mobile dongle which would enable me to connect to the internet albeit at a derisory speed.

That the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in BT Retail was amply demonstrated by my receiving a bill for 6 month rental in advance dated the same day as the service was cut off. I hope when the right hand finds out it will be suitably ashamed.

Your staff have been unfailingly courteous. They apologise profusely. However they have not resolved the problems, they have made many promises and on virtually every occasion failed to deliver. I have lost count of the number of calls I made. You should know because you record and log all the calls; on average each exchange took around an hour; I was on sometimes twice a day for more than a week.

I recognise that the individuals I was speaking to had not caused the problem and refrained from losing my temper which required the patience of Job.

I have spent the past 40 years working in a customer service orientated industry and I recognise that cock-ups are sometimes unavoidable, when they do happen those that do care about the customer drop everything to put them right. Such a response has not been evident from BT from which I can only conclude that you do not give a fig for your customers; a conclusion reinforced by your failure to respond to my remarks in a satisfaction survey that I was asked to complete following one early telephone call.

You are understaffed with inadequate systems which seem to have been set up with the sole objective of maximising profit by cutting costs to the bone. I am not at all interested in apologies I have had a surfeit of them. I am seeking restoration of my service and will be seeking compensation for breach of contract, loss of service, possible damage to my business and for the time that I have wasted.

Should I not be in receipt of a prompt response leading to an amicable resolution I will not hesitate to share my story with the Ombudsman, Ofcom, the Consumers Association and the Press.

I am fed up with apologies and I require action. I am extremely angry.

Adam Hogg

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1 Comment

  • Sounds like a classic case where a change was made on the phone line which automatically puts through a cease on the broadband. This is totally automated, as is the switching back on of any ceased line (this would be reflected in the relatively low price of the line – £30 a month or so? A fully managed leased line could be thousands). The lovely people you spoke to went round in circles and you got nowhere becase there is nothing they can do, you have to wait or try openzone or dial-up etc in the meantime.

    This is of course pretty terrible, and this should be clearer. They also shouldn't have made any changes without advising of this cease!

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