Complete Lack of Customer Service!

A BT complaint featuring the all too common unacceptable delays and lack of customer service.

Dear Sir

I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms at the unacceptable delays and singular lack of “customer care” displayed by BT in rectifying the above fault and your cavalier approach in dealing with the number of calls I had to make in trying to get an engineer to actually turn up on the appointed day, yet alone appointed time.

Being unable to get a mobile signal in this area I am reliant upon my landline for everyday calls, and also broadband for carrying out all my financial banking arrangements and various financial transactions. I set out the timelines below:
Sunday 14 July
I discover I have no phone signal or broadband connection. I cannot get a signal on my Orange mobile in the house or garden. I walk 250 yards down the lane in the rain to call BT. I am told that someone will call me the next day.

Monday 15 July
Nobody calls – I am in work so can receive calls. Late that afternoon I call BT again, an apology is made and I am told I will be updated with text messages and an engineer will be out “later in the week”.

For the next few days I get a series of text messages effectively saying that BT are aware of the fault. On Thursday 19 July they stop. I call BT , only to be transferred after a total of 40 minutes wait and then cut off. I call again and after another interminable wait someone says they will find out what is going on. This they then fail to do as they find the department is closed.

Friday 16 July
I return home from work to find a card pushed through the door saying that the outside fault has been fixed but there seems to be an internal fault too as my phone / broadband is still not working and to call to make an appointment. This I do that evening, again taking nearly an hour to speak to the right person. All these calls are made on my mobile and are accruing costs for me. I am told that the first appointment available is Tuesday 21 July between 1 – 6pm. I have to take a days annual leave to wait in.

Tuesday 21 July
At 5pm nobody has called or turned up. I call BT and am somewhat rudely told to wait until 6 and that I should be patient as an engineer is on their way.
6pm – no one has turned up. I have taken a days holiday and am not happy. I call BT again – and again it takes me 40 minutes waiting in the rain before I actually speak to someone. This person apologises and says that there has been a “systems failure” and that no messages have got through to BT Openworld. When asked how long this has been known I am told “since Friday”.

When I ask why I was a) not informed before and b) not told by the person I spoke to only a few hours earlier I am told “I can’t answer that”. I am using my mobile for all calls, it is costing me significant expense and I am unable to pay any bills or carry out any online transactions.

Additionally, I am going through a difficult divorce and am reliant upon daily emails from my lawyer, which I am unable to access. I am told that someone will come out on Thursday . I say this is not acceptable. I am basically told I have no choice but a “customer care representative” will call me around 9am in the morning and a manual appointment may be possible.

Wednesday July 22
By midday – three hours after the promised “customer care call” has not been returned – I call to find out once again what is going on. Long wait, again. After requesting to speak to a supervisor I am told surprise , none available now, and am told once again an engineer will call between 1 – 6 pm on Thursday 23. I have to book another days annual leave.

Thursday 23 July
I wait in ALL DAY and have to rearrange my childcare for my young son, which given my circumstances is not desirable. Once again, No engineer arrives. I am extremely annoyed. I cannot even get a signal down the lane due to the inclement weather and my neighbour offers to let me use their phone.

My first call is made at 4.50 to check if anyone is coming, and after holding on until 5.25 a voice cuts in with the usual “due to a high volume of calls…” and then cuts me off.
I call again. I wait. I am told someone will call me back within 4-5 minutes after they have found out why nobody has turned up. 25 minutes later I am called. I ask to speak to a supervisor and am told I cannot be put through, they will have to call me back.

All this takes 2 HOURS of my and my neighbours time. I am told by the person who called back that the situation is unacceptable but the only thing that can be done is to make ANOTHER 3rd appointment for Monday 27 . I say this is not possible, I cannot be expected to take yet another day of work due to BT’s incompetence. Once again I am basically told I have no choice and therefore have to arrange for a friend to be in the house on Monday. I cannot tell you how difficult this is to arrange.

Monday 27 July
Two weeks and one day after the fault was reported – an engineer finally turned up. The phone was finally fixed, but the broadband remains broken. When I called to find out why I was told to contact Virgin who I have my broadband account with, and that I would receive a “courtesy call” the following day to explain the compensation procedure.

Once again, and with no great surprise, to this day I have received no such call.

I have been without a phone for 15 days, run up mobile phone bills, lost two days precious annual leave waiting for your engineers that failed to show or even give a courtesy call to say they would not be coming, lost sales transactions from eBay and been unable to pay any of my bills from my internet only bank account. I have spent countless hours on hold waiting to speak to yet another customer representative. This whole shabby affair has caused me expense, distress and great inconvenience, and the offer from one of your customer representatives of a risible £10 per missed appointment is utterly unacceptable. I am unable to access your complaints procedure as I still have no internet access.

You will no doubt agree that BT’s failings in this instance are worse than lamentable. I therefore write to request the next 12 months line rental are waived in addition to the standard compensation for missed appointments otherwise I will have no hesitation in removing my custom to another provider.

Yours sincerely
Paul Gray

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  • I placed an order for a new telephone line at my new address on the 20th July. Today, 2 months later, BT came to install the telephone line – at my old address!!! Because obviously, I wasn't at home, they have now cancelled the order and I have to start all over again – What a great service!

  • I too have had awful service from BT. I bought my flat a couple of months back, and called BT to take over the phone line. Of course, they were all smiles and cuteness back then.

    I didn't get Caller ID, and weirdly still had the previous owner's Call Minder on the line, so I called BT to get it sorted. They seemed pretty good, and said it would all be done in 24 hours.

    A few days later, still no Caller ID, so I called again. This time, we found out that they'd given me an account at my address, but with a different phone number. The old occupant was still listed as the owner of my phone number. Again, 30 minutes on the phone and it looked like it was getting fixed.

    I called again at just before 8pm. The person I spoke to checked a few details, and then said she couldn't do any more until I did a line test to confirm my phone number. Of course, by the time I'd done that, customer services had closed.

    Next day, and 30 minutes later, BT had ordered me a new line, but keeping the old number. This, I was told, would fix everything, and I'd be able to have Caller ID at last. The 'work' was scheduled for about two weeks later, on the 15th September.

    Now, on the 24th, I still have no Caller ID. So I call up again, and am told I now need to pay £2.50 per month for Caller ID (which apparently has been a requirement for two or three years, even though I've had Caller ID before and never paid for it). So I decide to decline it, and instead try to sort out my account, which it turns out is STILL NOT CORRECT. They still think the previous occupant of my flat should pay the bills.

    I spoke to a couple of people, but ended up speaking to a call centre agent who told me that she needed to reorder the line for me. She then told me that for a "few days" I might have a different number and that my (non BT) broadband might stop working. Since this is absolutely ridiculous, I asked (very politely) to speak to her supervisor.

    The supervisor went through a number of details, but also basically told me she needed to re-order the line, and that "there was no way" she could just change the name, or otherwise ensure that my phone/broadband were uninterrupted. When I pressed her on the subject, she passed me over to Andy in Customer Options.

    Andy checked a few things, and then also told me a re-order was the only way to resolve this. He said I'd have a maximum of about 10 minutes disruption to the line, which in most cases I wouldn't notice. He then told me he needed to get his manager to authorise this, so he put me on hold and then disconnected the call.

    So I've had a handful of calls, and have just wasted a total of 45 minutes just to be cut off!

    If this was a gas or electric supplier, I'd just change to someone else. I know other people can do phone lines, but what about phone lines that are broadband compatible, or lines that aren't just BT-by-another-name?

    Either way, one thing is clear: BT suck. A lot.

    More here:

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