No Broadband for 22 days

Dear BT Complaints

At least your website has given me some “mental therapy” in knowing I am not alone; when trying to contact BT and explain issues, you can end up feeling totally alone and not knowing where to turn or how to deal with the stress invoked by hours of trying to communicate with multiple, faceless call centre operatives based in India.

You can’t even shout at the individual people as they know nothing of your problem and are not personally responsible. The following is the text of my e-mail communication to BT. Pending the scheduled engineer visit on 15th February, I still have no broadband service in my new home and, hence, cannot live there.

“My complaint is to do with the level of customer service received from BT and the fact I have had no broadband now for 22 days and counting, due to a BT employee error.

Timeline of events:

1. My new Total Broadband service was activated on 6th January & I was very happy with it.

2. On or around 18th January, someone called Hussain ‘from BT’ telephoned to advise me I was being given free evening & weekend calls. I said I already had this as part of my BT package, but he said I definitely did not & he would sign me up for it.

3. On 23rd January, I noticed the broadband light on the hub had turned amber & initially thought this was a technical ‘blip’. I left it overnight.

4. 24th January when I was due to work from home, I got up early to check the internet connection & found it still not working. I then spent the whole morning on the phone to various BT employees who initially told me I had cancelled my own contract & they would charge me over £200 for doing this.

After being passed around several departments, the Order Management team confirmed a BT employee had cancelled the contract in error, putting through the package for free weekend/evening calls which I indeed already had. They said despite it taking 5 seconds to push the cancel button, it would take 5 working days to reactivate the account. When I explained none of this was my fault and I relied on my connection for work, I received a call back to say the activation would be fast-tracked and reactivated within 48 hours.

Meanwhile, I lost an entire day at work and had to subsequently work on my day off to make up for it. I also had to relocate from my home to an alternative location, at my own expense, in order to continue working from the next day onwards. Despite the assurance my order would be fast-tracked, my connection was not reactivated until the full 5 days at midnight on 31st January.

5. 1st February I received an email informing me the broadband was reactivated but I could not risk being unable to work, so did not travel back home until 7th February. On return, I found no change to my hub status & it was not possible to connect to the internet. I spent a further 2 hours on the phone to different BT call centre operatives, who told me they had no reference to my previous issues because their notes were archived after 5 days.

I therefore had to go through the whole sorry story again, before being told I would need to be sent a new hub, which would take 2-3 days to arrive. I explained it would have to be sent to an alternative address as I would have to travel away from home again in order to continue working. I spent at least 15 minutes going through the alternative delivery details with the operative who repeated everything back to me twice, having obtained permission to do this from his supervisor.

6. On the same day, I also spoke to the billing services department to ensure I would not be charged the cancellation fee and that I would receive a rebate for the period of service unavailable. I also stated I wished to make a complaint as I did not consider a simple rebate for days when broadband was unavailable was acceptable. I was given a reference number VOL01141504721 & told someone would contact me within 7 working days regarding the complaint. To date, I have heard nothing.

7. For the next few days, I worked from the alternative location and awaited delivery of the replacement hub. This did not arrive, but I did receive an email confirming the order was completed. However, the mail quoted the original home address. Thus, my instructions were ignored and the package delivered to an address where I knew I would not be present due to lack of internet. By pure good chance, gardeners were present at the time of delivery and put the packages somewhere safe.

8. To try and resolve the BT problems, I cancelled a flight that was non-refundable in order to return home and arrived on Sunday 15th February. I installed the new hub, but the result was no different to all the above trials. I spent a further hour on the phone to various BT employees, being escalated to ‘Priority Care’.

After a repeat of diagnostic tests, most of which I had already done with the first person & one of which involved unscrewing the phone socket box from the wall (!!), it was decided an engineer would need to be called. An appointment was booked for Wednesday, 18th Feb and I will have to take a second day off work to travel back and be there for the appointment, which should take place between 1pm and 6pm.

9. To date, I have had to make four separate round trips of 136 miles (544 miles) with the associated petrol costs and four toll charges (£24). My cancelled flights totalled £60. I’ve taken two days off work, been forced to continue paying £23 per month to O2 for a broadband connection that does work, despite having moved in December; have endured countless hours of telephone calls to BT, all thanks to the mistake of one BT employee.

I am now at the end of my tether, still do not have broadband working and am fast losing patience with BT as a service provider. Very soon I will be reliant on BT 100% and this experience does not leave me with any confidence I should continue to receive services from them.

10. As stated in my telephone complaint which has been 100% ignored, in addition to a fully working telephone and broadband service, I expect BT to make suitable reparation and compensation to me for the appalling and unacceptable service I have been subjected to, causing considerable inconvenience and stress to me personally, all based on factors totally outside my control.

11. I look forward to hearing your response.”

Best regards,

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  • I wonder if there is a common problem here. On 21 Jan BT also unilaterally 'ceased' my broadband service in error. From what I detected from conversations with UK based staff – see below – who finally resolved the 'problem' this was done by an Indian based staff member which they acknowledged was a mistake. I went through a similar set of unbelievably frustrating phone calls with promises to call back, promises to fix in 24 hours etc etc. Was only fixed when I called sales told them of my desperation and they connected be to a call or ‘high profile’ resolution centre in Newcastle.

    I wrote a letter of complaint demanding 12 months free Broadband as compensation for the 5 hours phone time & 20 days of no service. They did respond I was offered 4 quid! – at least by someone located in the North Hemisphere. I said it was an insult was put through to a manager who did not even have the courtesy to read my – actually quite balanced – letter. A bit like yours giving blow by blow which at least gives them the opportunity to coach and train the people making failed promises to return calls and resolution times. I know – how naive I was – its their standard service I have now found out.. I wasted another hour writing this I would have been better off writing a single sentence letter 'Your service is absolutely shockingly shit so give me some money' . They made me a final offer of 20 pounds which I was supposed to be delighted with. I said this is unacceptable & an insult and refused. Next step writing to the customer services director / BT retail MD and copying the CEO then the small claims court as others have suggested if I get ignored.

  • Feb 2012
    Join the club and experience BT's abysmal customer service. Due to a series of similar experiences to Alison I left BT last September. A neighbour, who is currently with BT, has been without broadband for over a week and is being shoved from one department to the other in BT's feeble attempts to sort out the problem. The fault is that the Hub is not synchronising with the DSLAM and on day 1 we proved, by substitution and connecting to the master socket,that the Hub and local installation were OK. It does look as if BT will be sending an Engineer but the email stating this omitted to say when!! Needless to say My neighbour is looking to move from BT as soon as his current contract with BT finishes. Eighteen months ago when I looked at the available wireless networks close to me most devices were BT Hubs however when I looked this morning there were mainly TalkTalk but no BT devices. Of course under normal circumstances I would have seen my neighbours BT Hub but of course it's switched off as it's not much use at the moment!! I'm now with TalkTalk and have no complaints. They are cheaper and I get 12MB download as opposed to BT's 6MB. Can't escape BT altogether as they are still responsible for the line so fingers crossed I don't get a line fault.

  • I have had no broadband for several weeks now, i think about 9 weeks now.
    I do work abroad, and i come to my UK home every 23 days for 3 or 4 days before i join my wife out in Thailand but most of my 3 or 4 days here are spent on the phone to bt broadband trying to get an engineer out to repair my broadband.

    all i ever get is remove the cover from your socket drill, but lots of promises that the guy on the phone will personally deal with this issue and ive even had an sms from them saying that if its not repaired in the next few days to sms that number and they will get it sorted.
    9 weeks later, i am still calling them daily whilst i am in the uk but nothing.
    i was just of the plane from Thailand after 23 hours of travel and then 1 hour on the phone to bt. Then i was asked to be byt the phone the next day as i was going to get a call from some service department so my 1st valuable day back home was sat by the phone. Did they call??? NO WAY. As usual. Then, I called again and they promised an engineer to come round on Monday, HOWEVER, on Sunday i got a call from bt to say the engineer can not come.
    Now, it is effecting my health. BT is making me physically ill with its lack of customer service, and i am months down the road with no broadband but still being billed by bt and meanwhile i am having to pay for my ever faithful and reliable 3 mobile broadband.


  • I have just moved house and what was a perfectly fine working broadband connection and phoneline is now a complete nightmare having transfered everything over from my old address to my new one in plenty of time i now find i have no broadband and my phoneline sounds like im making calls under water and thats when i can make calls at all.

    Having spoken (or tried to speak) to various charming Indian people I am still left without a working phoneline or a broadband connection and requesting an engineer visit is like asking one of them to stop breathing its like asking for the world.

    Long gone are the days when you called BT and they sent a bloke up a pole the next day it makes me wonder just what them guys are doing driving round in their BT vans

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