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…..
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.