Incompetence at BT

A week ago I wrote about how BT emailed me to say they were sorry to see me go and that because I had cancelled my contract early I would be charged. I was a bit confused at the time because I had never cancelled my account and nor did I wish to cancel my account. I rang then and spoke with several different people the last of whom assured me that my account would not be cancelled and that I would not be charged for this phantom cancellation.

Today I received my bill and it is over £200 because it includes a cancellation fee. So I rang them again to explain that this is a mistake that I haven’t cancelled my account, that I don’t wish to cancel my account and that both my landline and the broadband are still up and running. The person I spoke to didn’t seem to believe me and kept saying my account was closed. I asked her how I could be using my phone to ring her if the account was closed and she said I must be with another provider. So she asked me to hang up and she would ring me back on my mobile so I could ring 150 on my landline to find out who the service was with. I rang 150 and it said, “Welcome to BT”. So then she said I should ring faults because it was likely a fault with the line.

By this stage I was losing my patience and I said there’s no fault with the line; it’s working perfectly. This is a billing issue and can you please sort it out and ring me back when it has been fixed. Now it seems they’re going to create an entirely new account and send out another hub even though the one we have works perfectly well. We don’t want another hub. What a colossal waste!

Not once has a single person apologised and there’s been no guarantee that we won’t lose our internet connection during this ridiculous process. I know that people make mistakes and that large software billing systems have bugs which can create issues like these, but why can’t they say, “Sorry for the trouble, we’ll sort it out for you”. Instead it was suggested that it was my fault for signing up with someone else when I never did!

21 responses to “Incompetence at BT”

  1. Isn’t Vodafone serving your area?

    Looks like various departments within BT are working in silos and playing us vs them game, in the process frustrating customers.

    I wish you uninterrupted internet connection.

    • Yes, probably. I can’t remember why we chose BT but we’ll wait for our 12 months to be up before looking at the competition. This has definitely put a sour taste in my mouth.

  2. I have a friend, Rachel, who when ever this sort of ting happens, goes on social media – Facebook, Twitter etc, finds the offending businesses page and posts their annoyance. Seems to get a better response than interminable calls.

  3. Oh my god, you are having a bad time of it! I signed up with The 3 network on my arrival in U.K. After a few weeks it became apparent the reception was terrible so I changed to EE. This involved “porting” my number over, cut a long story short a process that was supposed to take 24 hours took nearly 2 weeks….during which time nobody could call me as they’d cocked up the potting of the number…and couldn’t work out how…took a call to their PR dept and a threat of bad publicity and finally they sorted it….unbelievable.

    • My mobile is with the 3 network and I haven’t had any problems with it. We might change to a different provider for our home and broadband at some point but I suspect now they’ve created a new account for us we’ll have to wait a whole year even though we’d had the previous account for almost a year before they canceled it without me requesting it. I should check but right now I don’t think I can face arguing with them about this. They seem to be all morons and I find myself wanting to bash my head against a wall each time I speak on the phone to them.

  4. Rachel,
    I have had a similar (but worse) problem with our local telecommunications company.We have a bundled home phone/ wifi service at our address. It is ADSL and our suburb does not have cable or broadband available. We signed up for the bundled home phone /wifi in October 2014. Since then, it has failed regularly at intervals of about every six weeks. I have had 6 registered Complaint cases with the provider ( two of which were ‘ elevated ‘ to priority) . A seventh is in prospect.
    The problem which the technicians who have attended our street acknowledge privately is that the copper wires in our street come from a distribution centre erected in 1926(!) and are essentially rotting in the ground. The whole street has complaints similar to ours and the copper wiring has been ‘ renovated ‘ in recent months. My Kafkaesque phone contacts with the provider include the usual –
    (1) talking to a computer while I verbalise or punch in a series of inappropriate options
    (2) listening to endless messages about how important I am to them as a customer
    (3) checking for faults on our premises ( there are none) , and plugging and unplugging modems and recalibrating them until I can do so in my sleep,
    (4) spending endless time on my complaint calls ( the record is nearly two hours- I diarise them)
    (5) being told after switches to “telecommunication faults” that I am in the wrong division, and of course
    (6) finally finding the real expert somewhere in Bangladesh or Mumbai, who tells me there appears to be no problem with the new modem I have been provided with by the company ( and installed myself) , and that the matter will be returned to the local Technical Support team.
    The reason these companies never acknowledge fault is they fear lawsuits.
    I expect to finish my therapy sessions shortly.

    • Oh dear. That sounds bad. They really need to upgrade the infrastructure by the sounds of it. A friend of mine who has been living in Australia recently moved to India and they tell me the internet is heaps better in India than Australia! That’s pretty shocking if that’s the case across the board given that Australia is a rich and developed country. Our internet is very fast. That’s partly why we chose BT in the first place; I wanted the fastest speeds we could get and it has been fine in that regard. It’s just for some reason they cancelled my account and once they set this ball rolling it’s unstoppable.

  5. That’s really annoying 😦 These companies really are a nightmare if they get things wrong, so impersonal. At least it sounds as if there is a fix on the way but it’s shocking that she tried to fob you off to another department!

    • I’m sure it’ll be fine. Although I suspect they’ll deduct the £200 from my card anyway and I’ll be forced to ring them again but hopefully that’ll be the end.

  6. We just got our phone and Internet service hooked back up after a week without. We decided we didn’t need cable TV, but when we cancel it they added $35 onto our phone bill which meant we were paying about the same with or without it. So we decide to switch to Cox, so we canceled AT&T and made an appointment for Cox of about our service today afterward. They didn’t show up and when we call they said that they had tried calling, on our cancel number of course, and when we didn’t answer they canceled our appointment. They said we could havw another in a week.

    My wife, who is usually a very calm person, spent a couple of hours on the phone and went up the hierarchy in the organization until she got an appointment made for the next day. They missed that one too, and then said the next available one would be in a week. Barb found that unacceptable, so she called three different managers until she found one who could actually help us. The technician arrived the next day and installed our service, but it did not work. He scheduled an expert to come out and straighten it out, and the experts found that the modem had been registered to someone else before and would not work on our service.

      • It’s not fun spending a couple of hours on hold with a phone company. I kept asking them to sort it out and ring me back but they said no and insisted I had to stay on the line. Why oh why? It’s also frustrating that unless you get cross with them they refuse to help and instead try to get you to ring another department. I don’t like getting cross with people but it was the only way to get them to sort it out.

        I’m glad you finally got your internet back. Hopefully that’s the end of the issues now. It does seem to be an international problem.

  7. Unfortunately cost cutting means employing people who are badly trained and/or can not be bothered and/or simply don’t have the means and/or find it easier to manage the complainant rather than the complaint.

    At the end of the call, I usually tell them that it has been recorded for future reference. It usually gets a result. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s all those things and I also think they don’t give the people on the front lines enough power to rectify the situation. These big organisations expect their support staff to solve people’s problems but then don’t give them the power to do so.

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