Complaint letter to BT – A communications provider who can’t communicate!

This complaint letter was sent to BT’s Customer Service Director today (22.06.09) and copied to BT’s CEO, to Ofcom and also to BBC Watchdog detailing BT’s utter incompetence. This is one of many letters of complaint that this website receives and shares with its readers. Most of the following comes direct from a letter that this customer sent this morning. It goes like this…

The mistakes have been so numerous it’s really quite hard to know where to begin recounting them all, but I’ll have a go…

In the first instance I requested a simple line transfer, along with broadband, to the new home I would be moving to within weeks. I also ordered as an additional service BT Vision. The person I spoke to seemed very helpful and accommodating, though the call lasted well over an hour and a half, by the time every last detail had been worked through and confirmed, down to which BT Vision channels I would receive and which additional phone services I would take.

It was arranged that my old phone number and line would be terminated on 28th May, the date of my home move. The operator had noted that a line disconnection for my new address had been arranged for 26th May by the previous tenants, and asked would it be OK if my new line was reconnected on 26th with the slight overlap? I said this was fine. She also made a point of mentioning that there was both a business and residential line to the new property, and explicitly stated that my new line would be connected to the existing residential line.

All of this, I was assured, would happen, along with connection of BT Broadband and BT Vision.
On 26th, at our old address, I discovered that our phone line had been cut off two days prematurely. This left us with quite a few serious problems, considering that we were coming up to our completion of sale of our property and were expecting phone calls on that line from solicitors, estate agents dealing with our house sale, estate agents dealing with our new property, our bank, etc. etc.

A frantic call to BT had me speaking to an unsympathetic call centre operator who could barely speak my language who insisted I was wrong about the dates and that in any case it would take two days to reconnect the line.

At considerable inconvenience we took several hours out of our precious time to make explanatory phone calls to all parties concerned to give them alternate contact details.
on 28th, when we arrived at our new property, I plugged in a phone to be met with silence. I tried every socket I could find in the house, but there was no dial tone.

On calling BT, I was informed that I was wrong, and that there was an active phone line at the property. After being condescended to for some time and being told to check the phone on another line, and to check all the sockets again because I was mistaken, it was ascertained by the operator that my new residential line had been connected to the old business line at the property, and not the residential line it had previously been arranged to be installed on.

So a disconnection and reconnection was arranged to put our new phone number on the correct line, and this was indeed done by the following day. However, it was then – and every day since – that I started receiving numerous calls for ‘Lake Electrical’. It turns out that the phone number BT had issued me as my private, ex directory, residential line was an extremely recently decommissioned business line for a local retailer listed across the internet and telephone directories everywhere.

It also transpired, several more calls and a complaint via on 4th June to BT later, that in disconnecting and reconnecting the line, BT had issued me a completely new account number and cancelled all of my existing orders; thus, there was nothing in the system to say that I was expecting broadband internet services or BT Vision. Added to this, additional phone line services, the most important of which was Caller ID, were not transferred from the original order (and have never been rectified).

I had to go through the whole order process again, again taking well over an hour, to reorder the services I had already ordered some weeks before. Again, the whole thing was read back to me in quite some detail.

At this point, over the next few days, I started receiving conflicting phone calls from BT about various things; “since you have opted to keep your BT Talk number…”, “since you have opted to have a new BT Talk number…”, and most telling of all, “now you have a phone line, would you be interested in BT Broadband?”. None of these people, however, could actually help me with my order.

It turned out that despite my previous lengthy phone call only days before to order the services, there were no orders listed for me against either the old or new account numbers previously issued.

I ordered the services yet again. This having been the third time of ordering and well over six hours on the phone to BT just trying to get the whole mess sorted out.

Once more, we went through the order in painful detail, and I was given a date of 11th June for activation, and asked if it would be ok to accept delivery of the home hub and vision hardware on this date. On 8th June, I received a letter thanking me for ordering BT Broadband, and confirming my activation date of 11th June. Finally I felt I was getting somewhere.
…Until the 11th June came and went and I still had no broadband.

I called BT technical support on 12th who nonchalantly told me that connection had been rearranged for 17th. Not that anyone had had the courtesy to tell me this. He could not tell me why, nor guarantee it would actually be activated on 17th. He advised me to call BT on another number.

I decided at this point that I’d had quite enough of BT, of talking to operators who could barely speak English, let alone cared about my problems, and decided to cancel the order altogether and go with an alternate supplier.

Cancelling the order proved just as difficult as trying to order them in the first place. Firstly, the first operator I spoke to told me that there were absolutely no pending orders for broadband in the first place. It took about half an hour of alternating between on hold music and apologies for keeping me waiting before she tracked down the order, briefly explaining that it was on a different computer system (what?!).

In any case, she confirmed that she had arranged the cancellation, but couldn’t do the same for BT Vision and put me through to another department. Again, after some confusion over where exactly the order was, I managed to cancel the BT Vision order. I then asked to be put through to someone to deal with the fact that the phone number I had been allocated really needed changing since I was getting numerous calls for someone else’s company.

This new person insisted that I still had an order for BT Broadband on that line, and with some exasperation I explained that I had just spent quite some time on the phone cancelling that very order. Another half hour on hold and eventually he told me that it had not been cancelled, but he had done it himself just now.

We then got onto the business of the phone number, and given his attitude and my whole experience with BT, in the end I told him to just cancel the phone line too. He explained that I had a minimum term on my line rental, but I persisted, given the list of problems I had encountered up until now. Reluctant to even action a disconnection, he asked me what kind of problems I had encountered, so I began to recount some of them… and evidently in the middle of this he got bored, because he hung up on me.

I decided at this point that it would be far easier to arrange the transfer of the line via a new supplier who would deal with BT on my behalf, and duly did this… and as far as I was concerned, I would finally be rid of BT, their ridiculous ineptitude and would finally get my broadband connection. Except, on 22nd June, I turned my hub on just so I could use wireless locally, and found that I had a broadband connection!

Logging into my email, I find that BT has activated broadband on 17th June… despite several confirmations from several people in the course of a series of very lengthy calls that it was successfully canceled on 13th June before the service even went live. Also, an email to advise someone they have internet now? Really?

It really is incredible just how inept BT are at doing what is, after all, their core business as a communications provider. Now, I can’t even seem to be rid of BT even after canceling all services and trying to move to an alternate provider, as I suspect my transfer will be delayed or halted because I have ‘additional services’ on the line in the form of a BT Broadband package I canceled before the service ever began.

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  • I'm also going through something similar. I'm waiting for Simon from some team (i forget the name – but they also happen to deal with complaints) to call me back!

    The BT advisors have made a catalogue of errors and it basically means that a number I have had for 17 years is now likely to be lost to me! Some crap about it not being on the same exchange as the new house that I am moving to!!

  • yes, i'm now for the second hour (!!!) on the phone with BT trying to cancel an old broadband at old address. of course that supposed to be a home move but clever BT set up a new account and did not cancel the old one so they continue to charge us for both.. and for some reason no one is able to 'completely' cancel the old account.. whatever that means..

  • You don't need to move to be screwed up by BT. My broadband connection was installed by an employer but all bills paid by me. On going self employed (same number, address etc.) careful arrangements were made to ensure continuity. assuyred all was in oredr. But,hey presto! cut off despite payment in advance to Dec 31st. Promised reconnection in 2 days . Then nothing happened. Now a further 3 days. No apology, no refund, new business activity imperilled by no connectivity.

  • After complaining to BT about their broadband 'service' I arrived home one day to find no less than sixteen messages on my answerphone.

    Each said the same thing advising me on a number to ring where I could get my problem sorted. Seven of the messages were from the same person.

    After ringing the number, I found myself back in the awful merry-go-round of BT 'customer service' and no wiser as to the cause of the fault as I was batted around from department to department and seemingly from the different accents, from continent to continent.

    I've only another three months to go on my BT contract after which I intend to change. It may not be any better, but it sure as hell cannot possibly be any worse.

  • the top 300 employees of bt should be sacked.
    bt itself should be broken up and sold off regionally, and made to run like tele-communication network in the usa.
    or re-nationalised. its a disgracefull company with a monopoly.
    unbridled extortion of its customers.. who btw paid to build it in the first place.
    i'm told i have to pay £1,400.00 to get a line. yes you read it right. extra cabling and upgrading of the line i'm told.
    funny because the last person near me to have a line put in was told the existing cabling could take another 4 connections.. so, who is extracting the urine i ask myself.
    something needs to be done to kick the arse of this money grabbing incompetent monster.
    plz…. for gods sake get someone who can speak bloody english to deal with us.

  • Back toward the end of April, I called BT to inquiry about service. At first I asked for the telephone line only. I changed my mind later, and called back to add internet option. BT old me I needed to cancel the order and open a new one. So I did, and called BT again to open a new order ( this was around Oct 26). But this time the representative told me that I had to wait until December to get a technician in the house. So I decided not to proceed, and specifically DID NOT give the representative any permission to proceed. On Oct 29 I left on a trip and when I came back (November &) I found out that the service was active (without my permission). Nevertheless I decided to take it anyway, and in good faith I paid my first bill in full (£49) to later realize that I would be charged £19.99 for the 10 G internet option (I was told it was £13.99/month). I called back to change the service, and I was told I have to pay a £39 fee to change it?

    I have been tricked by BT in more than one occasion, and I am now stuck in a 18 month contract. I think that isn't good and fair business practice, and I hope the issue can be easily solved. I want the broadband at £13.99 for 12 months, otherwise I want to cancel the contract.

    I called again to complaint and the representative told me the calls are registered, so it should not be an issue. I was supposed to receive a call back from a BT representative but it never happened.

    Simply, I request the following:

    We would like the BT called package at £13.99 / month + 9.99 line rental (as I was promised):

    Terminate the contract immediately without any penalties

  • I was deceived by BT. Their online complaint form is not working, and neither it does give me the address where to send a complain to.
    Can anybody help?

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