Transfer BT from Talk Talk

This complaint is from a daughter of an elderly BT customer who decided to move calls from Talk Talk to BT. Here is the saga in full featuring some all to common terrible BT customer service…..

Dear Sir

My mother is 81 years old, independent and in full possession of her ‘marbles’ but does have some health issues including 2 strokes and dodgy blood pressure, which means it is important that she has a phone at home.

In Sept 09 BT offered her a service that would take her away from her provider ‘talk talk’. Using her marbles she agreed but said she wanted the phone offer in writing. When it arrived she realised that it bore no resembelance to the offer she had been presented with by the cold caller, so on 1st Oct she rang BT and canceled. Bearing in mind that the letter said it was due to go live on 9th October and she could cancel up to 4pm the previous day, she had given BT plenty of notice.

It transpires that BT took over her service on 9th regardless and took over the line on the 12th. The first she knew of this was when she got a bill for £60+ so she rang BT again on 14th Oct to query this, reiterated that she did not want them as her service provider and was assured that they would revert her back to talk talk and cancel the charges.

On the 14th they cut her phone off completely! This meant she had to move out of the house and stay with my sister. So the first issue is that, although BT may complain about it, they are also guilty of ‘slamming’.
The complaint re Slamming has been registered with Ofcom.

Next comes customer services or lack of. This took 6 hours of phone calls to resolve and this is what I have learnt about dealing with BT.

  • It doesn’t matter which route you take through the call system you will always end up at the wrong place. Resign yourself to this, choose a route at random and, whoever answers, ask for customer services or which ever department you require.
  • Call during the day if possible. The indian call centre staff tend to answer in the evening and have very little authorisation, they stick to a set script and will not read the notes of previous calls, or record conversations accurately.
  • Never ring after 8pm. It is likely to take at least 30 minutes to get through, then you will probably be transferred. As it gets close to 9pm they will try and fob you off or transfer you again. Either way they WILL terminate the call, even though you are in mid discussion when it gets to 9. (On the second occasion I was promised thast this would not happen again, but of course it did)
  • When someone says,they are recording a complaint, ask for the reference number and for them to read back what they have recorded, otherwise, when you ring next time and ask what was written, it is likely to be at odds with your conversation, if they have recorded it at all.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive, there is a difference. The staff are trained to be asertive in a way which means repeating the same thing over and over again. (by the way BT that is not assertive it is just irritating.) If you dont agree, ask to speak to a supervisor.
  • Make sure you know what you are asking for is possible, as you will be told it is not. The best way is to speak to Ofcom advice centre, that way you will be prepared.

Some examples:

  1. We cannot deal with you as it is against the law if you do not have the account number.
    WRONG – the data protection act does not specify the questions that have to be answered in order that you prove you should have access to the information, it is BT policy. You may have to respect that, but please BT, don’t misquote the law. By the way very few actually comply with it anyway.
  2. We can only reconnect your mothers phone if she takes out a twelve month contract with us and agrees to the line rental.
    WRONG – She now has a line and there is no fee pending her return to talk talk.
  3. It will take two days to reconnect her phone.
    WRONG –  it was finally connected and working within 1hr of getting through to someone who actually listened.
  4. We can not reassign her old number to her phone because it has been returned to Talk talk
    WRONG The only people who could reassign the telephone number was BT and this was accomplished after another 45 minute phone call and should happen on 22nd.
  • If you know the advisors can not do what is required due to previous calls, ask to be put through to a supervisor straight away. They do not like doing this, so again, be assertive but pleasant, with the reason why they can not deal and only give them the basic details they need to refer the call. Otherwise you will be repeating yourself continually which will make you angrier and the calls less productive.

I guess I am lucky it only took 6 hours but there is no way I would expect my mother to have to go through the numerous calls, hang ups, dead ends that I went through. Just to give a flavour of the problem it was 3 – 4hrs before anyone actually admitted that it was BTs fault, that it was a justified complaint and therefore their responsibility to rectify the problem. However please see note above about getting them to read back their notes, as the supervisor I spoke to failed to cancel the £60 bill as promised and I have since been told that the complaint is not listed.

All I have to do now is get her back with Talk Talk, who have been helpful throughout. BT promised to do this however Talk talk representatives are unsure how they think they will achieve that and I do not trust BT to do it anyway.

In relation to the complaints procedure I have been told by different telephone advisors. They did not know who the independent complaints body was when they did know they said there was no telephone number but gave me an address. If you want to complain about customer services, then you have to ring customer services.

Hey ho.

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  • Just an update. I submitted a formal complaint and within 24hrs got a call from the priority team who gave me an individuals contact name/ email and telephone no which was great.They got my mums original phone number back within another 24hrs instead of the 3 -4 days that are usual. Unfortunately she has now recieved a bill for £42 from BT including a processing fee and talk talk want her to go on a contract as a new customer. I will deal with Talk talk but I have emailed my contact on the priority team to see what they are going to do about the bill. Good luck with your mum's problems and get you complaint in early.

  • Dear whoever,
    I am having very similar problems with BT. My mother is also in her 80's with health issues and high blood pressure which I am sure has been made worse by these problems. Her partner is terminally ill. She too was offered a service that would take her away from Talk Talk and likewise realised that her offer was different in reality. She too cancelled within her 7 days and has a reference no. This was in November. In December her line was taken over by BT without warning or agreement. Since that time she has been unable to receive any calls or messages from myself or my sister – we are both talk talk customers. Repeated calls by myself and my mother have not resolved anything yet. Her line is still with BT despite her cancellation and her contract with Talk Talk – I have spoken to numerous people in India and an engineer in England – all friendly, telling us not to worry and that it is 'in hand'. I have spent all today either on the phone or waiting for calls back to say the matter is resolved. It is apparently a 'data' error. My mother is distraught and has 'given up'. Her partner is very distressed, so am I and I am concerned about how this is affecting their health and now mine. She has received a bill from BT, but they are not providing a service enabling her to receive all her calls or messages and they have ignored her request to cancel. This is a breach of her human rights – she should be able to choose who is her provider and not have to fight BT who have taken away these rights. When she rings me and I can not get to the phone I am unable to call her back or leave a message. This is appalling behaviour from BT and the amount of time spent, phone calls made and stress caused disgusting. I hope the managing director of BT whoever they are sleeps easily because I don't and I hope their Xmas is full of peace and they will have many more happy Xmases because my mother and her partner wont. Can anyone help sort this out?

  • I am sorry you are having the same problem, it is a long road,but , as per my previous message go for the supervisors, stress you mother's condition and the fact they have left her vulnerable. Friendly is good but it doesnt mean they are doing anything, make sure that they record your comments and also submit a formal compalaint to both BT VIA THEIR WEBSITE and to OFCOM re the 'slamming', you can then quote that reference to BT. Good luck and dont give up, they CAN get her back on the phone quickly if you persist so do not take 'we can not' as an answer. I always replied with 'you cant so put me through to someone who can' Good luck.

  • I am (or was) a Tiscali customer with BT phone line. I was phoned by BT to see if I wanted to move my broadband to BT. I said I would consider it and applied for the code. However after looking into it I decided against moving. The gentleman phoneed again and I said I was not interested. I received a letter saying my order for the package was going through. I phoned BT to make sure it had been cancelled and was told that it was. I have the reference numbers to confirm. I also phoned again to doubnle check. Yesterday, I received a a letter from Talk Talk (Tiscali) to say that my agreement with them had discontinued. After talking to them it appears BT have taken over the Broadband. I phoned BT to state that I had never ordered the Broadband. To add insult to injuryI cannot resume my package with Tiscali and now have to move to Talk Talk on a more expensive package. What can I do?

  • My mum never did get back on to the package she originally had so I do not hold out much hope, she did however eventually get £50 from BT and her line rental free of charge for a few weeks whilst we swapped her away from BT. Make sure you register your complaint about the 'Slamming' with OFCOM and BT formally,not just with the BT help desk.

  • I moved into my new home last week and this morning I was due to have a BT engineer come to the house to reconnect to BT. The previous owner had been with Talk Talk. When I spoke to BT initially I was told that taking over the line wasn't a simple matter as Talk Talk place a block on the line that can only be taken back by an engineer physically attending the property to deal with it. This would incur a reconnection fee of £127.99. I was also interested in taking out broadband so this reduced the cost by £77.99. If I'd gone for BT Vision as well the reconnection would be free. As a person was required to physically attend the property I thought £50 was not totally unreasonable. I was told the engineer would be at the house between 8am and 1pm on Tuesday 28 September 2010. I even received confirmation by text and in writing, along with repeated warnings that failure to be there when the engineer came would result in a further charge. The engineer didn't come. It turned out that it was possible to recover the line remotely and from what I can tell from the emails I've received at work that all happened at 0400 on 28 September 2010. So what did I actually pay for? In fact, what did I PRE-PAY for?! And why is it a communications company can't then phone me to say that all the warnings in writing about being present at the property for the pre-arranged time is no longer required?! The thing I am most annoyed about is that I cannot get that time back. I've had to take a half-day off work for no constructive reason. In all honesty it has made me so angry that this time has been stolen from me that I've actually used a half-day to become excessively stressed. I'm still furious.

    I think I'll use the 10 day window to cancel the whole deal. Is that the right thing to do? Or do I accept it as done now and just get on with it, possibly saving myself further stress in the future?

  • I have been trying to get our phone reconnected since the beginning of June. So far I have been given three dates but all have been changed I am now told that they have to "do a survey and this could take quite some time ,

  • Since January of this year I have had nothing but frustration from how can I find the number to ring where I can talk to someone who could help me with my phone reconnection problem

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