2 May 2016

BT Phone Home

Here is a letter that I'm sending to Libby Barr, Managing Director, Sales and Services at BT.

Dear Libby,

I received your letter of the 25th April with a great deal of hilarity followed by deep concern for the state of your business. They probably aren't telling you just how bad your customer service is, so I'll do it for them. I'm sure that it's something you'll want to get a grip of before you get the blame.

By way of background, I used to be a BT customer. You supplied my telephone and broadband until I managed to extricate myself from your clutches and the circular nature of your customer services. You'd keep me on hold for half an hour then tell me I had to talk to someone else. I'd wait on hold then be passed on yet again. Always, though, you ended up by telling me that the first person I spoke to was the appropriate one. Then I'd go round and round the merry-go-round until I curled up into a fetal ball and wept in desperation. I was glad to get out and join Sky who have the most wonderful customer service. I ring a number in Dunfermline and a pleasant Scot deals with whatever query I might have. Wonderful.

You might be wondering how I ever even considered trying BT again. So am I, if I'm honest. However, your gaudy adverts for superfast broadband at very reasonable prices turned my head. I went on to your website and started to choose a package that suited me. An online chat box opened and a very helpful man called Ajay talked me through the process. I asked  questions and he gave all the information I needed. Among the things he confirmed was the retention of my present phone number. You might want to make a note of this as it crops up later on.

Ajay even sent me a link to the customised package that suited me best. Broadband, phone and TV. I accessed the link and started to put in the details required. I got onto page two before I was denied any further progress. Your website crashed at the address stage. By this time Ajay was gone and I was tired.

The following day, I tried again. This time the website threw a wobbler as soon as I put in my phone number. I tried once more but it was obvious that it was impossible to order anything from BT on line so I used the telephone. I ordered the package I wanted but was denied the £100 voucher promised on line. Still, I breathed a sigh of relief and felt a small glow of triumph.

The next day I received my confirmatory email. It contained a new telephone number, not the one I had been told I could keep. I rang customer services and (eventually) a man said I couldn't have my old number. He did helpfully suggest that I cancel the phone element of the package and just keep the broadband and free TV. I agreed to this and he promised to send an email confirming the changes to my order.

No email arrived and so I rang again the following day. After holding for several minutes and being passed from one department to another a lady said that I had no order at all. The whole thing had been cancelled. I breathed a sigh of relief as by now the last organisation I wanted to entrust my broadband service with was BT.

I tried Virgin and it took less than five minutes to get the package I wanted. However, when I told Sky I was changing they offered me a free service for a year so I took that instead.

So all's well that ends well, or so I thought. The letter received today, signed by you, provides further proof if needed that BT Customer Service is sadly deficient. I quote:

One of our customers has told us they're moving to your address and want to take over the phone service on 10 May 2016.

No, Libby, they're not. Let me assure you of that.

Good luck sorting out the mess.

D J Harrison

I'll let you know if I get a reply. Don't hold your breath.