Tuesday, 12 February 2013

What cost your BT phone line?

No broadband since 29th November – 75 days and counting
No landline since 12th December – 62 days and counting

The BT Saga continues.
Last Thursday, following considerable intervention from the MP and MP’s office, including a letter to Ian Livingstone, CEO of BT, it seemed a solution might finally be within sight. This is after innumerable conversations over too many weeks with agents, customer services, engineers, admin bods, complaints officers at every level, even my very helpful MPs team and the BT Parliamentary team and all their conversations with surveyors, engineers, planners, lord only knows who or what….. The pleasant chap in Northern Ireland who is my high level complaints officer and who must surely be extremely fed up with trying to sort things out and my endless requests for information, assured me that, finally, finally, things were happening as everything had been escalated to the very top priority to get me a line and broadband (after BT’s initial assurance all would be sorted on 12th December.) THE COMPLAINTS OFFICER AND HIS STAFF, PLANNERS, ENGINEERS ETC NECESSARILY GET PAID.

New cables have to be laid, and apparently some box or channel somewhere needs to be desilted before that work can happen. The desilter had been booked, after earlier confusion that suggested this wasn’t going to be possible without possible road closure (and another delay of up to 12 weeks) and was due to appear on Friday to do the necessary work so cables could be laid on Monday and Tuesday.

Friends along the road called in and said they hoped the layby full of Open reach vans yesterday morning meant action. In fact, I discovered it just meant a ateam of BT Open Reach cable layers and engineers had appeared, and gone away again. To be recalled at a later date. AT WHAT COST?

An engineer appeared. And informed me that the work could not be done because the desilter had not done their job. He said he could do some preliminary work but no more. He was from the local engineer team, not the cabling team or the desilting team or the administrators or organisers who must also have been involved. ALL OF THEM MUST BE PAID

Apparently the desilting machine and team had appeared. HOW MUCH DID THIS COST? MACHINE, MANPOWER, TIME? And had gone away again because they would not do the work without at the very least traffic lights – which require council permission. Apparently this was because of a standard calculation involving the width of the road etd etc.  So, had the width of the road changed between the time it was all promised on Thursday and a day later?

No one had informed the cable team. They came out from Poole, an hour away. And went away again as they couldn’t do their job without the required desilting. HOW MUCH DID THIS COST?

Apparently another decision will be made on Thursday. MORE MEETINGS, MORE PEOPLE BEING PAID.

Perhaps work will continue then, perhaps it won’t.

IF BT had done what they said they would do in the first place, i.e. install a line when they said they would, the costs would presumably have been low. IF they had discovered there were difficulties with the line as capacity was an issue, at the appropriate time, costs presumably still would have been reasonably low as a fairly straightfortward process could have ben followed.

As it is, different engineers have been out, and been unable to do their jobs, from the chap who came to fit the socket, to the guys who have been looking at silted up boxes and sucking their lips, to the people in the offices who have been fielding calls, to the  desilting team, the road traffic team, the planning team, the complaints team and god knows who else.

There has also been the cost of getting the CEO’s office to respond.

And those are just BT costs. Which are passed on to customers.


There has also been the cost to the MPs office who have been hassled by me and who have been hassling BT.

And what cost to me? Well, I have probably made 100 calls to BT, on 0800 numbers or direct to the Northern Ireland complaints team, all via a mobile phone as I have no landline, so all at considerable cost.

Everyone else gets paid. I wpork for myself. I do not get paid unless I can work. Without a phone or internet it is well nigh impossible as I run an online business or write/research.

The cost to my business. Freelance writing is difficult without going on line. Research is impossible with neither internet nor telephone. 
Flowers - Usually I take many of the business’ wedding orders in December and January, I was unable to get back to people in reasonable time on line and have no phone signal. I have been unable to get on line to sort out my website, to send marketing mails, to tell anyone of new phone number and new arrangements, to organize publicity of any sort, or get printing underway, or order stocks and supplies, or or or.  I have missed Valentine’s Day, an excellent start to the year providing interesting English flowers rather than flown in roses.

Will I get compensation? Apparently Not. Because I chose not to have a more expensive business line but a residential line. I used to have two residential lines, one of which I used for business. I chose to go for the residential option because I have been told repeatedly there is absolutely no point in having a business line in rural areas as the service is just what it is and can’t be made any better and won’t ever get priority. And even though the complaints officer said that it would have made absolutely no difference to the ficcitulty of getting a l;ine here if I had been asking or a business line.

I have just moved. It is hard to sort out all the things one needs to sort out when moving without a telephone. Hard to arrange building and organize supplies without a phone or internet.  Etcetera.

I eventually decided I needed to sort out a satellite system to get internet, even though I still wouldn’t have a landline. BT assured me two weeks ago that I would have a line then so I cancelled it. BT failed again so I reordered the satellite system. Then BT reassured me last week that I really genuinely would have a line this week. So I cancelled it again. Do I have any sight of a line? No. I can’t reorder the satellite again, I just feel totally stupid and irritating. And the MP and the Complaints Officer said BT would be under no obligation to pay for the installation of the satellite system even though the only reason I was having to go down that route was because BT had persistently fouled up.

And yes, it is all incredibly time wasting, I must have wasted hours and hurs aborticely trying to get things sorted out.  And it becomes rather stressful. I shouldn’t even have to be aware of how a line needs to be laid to my property, BT should just have got on and sorted it.

BT Open Reach have a monopoly on installing telephone lines.

BT Open Reach are absolutely not reachable by customers.

BT make out that this isn’t really anything to do with BT although I thought the name was a bit of a give away.

Can anything be done to make BT accountable to their customers?

Can BT be made more efficient?

Is joined up thinking possible?

1 comment:

  1. I sympathize with you! Altho my problem was not as long winded as yours! I moved house on the 5th January and told them that I would be on the 19th December, thinking it would be done and dusted by the time I moved in, only to find they delayed connecting me until the 17th and then the 8th Feb for no reason, on the 8th I had phone but no broadband, I phoned them for 5 days in a row, only to be told each time that it would be on that night, by the 5th night they said there were problems and I would be on on the 20th Feb, but still no, there were still problems and I would be on on the 27th Feb, by this time I had a sympathetic advisor who took my case on, she was disgusted that I had had to phone them every time, no one ever told me what was happening! and "escalated" it. It eventually came on on the 28th, when I told them I wanted to complain they offered to refund my broadband for February (what about January!) I told them it had financial implications for us as my husband planned to work from home, but instead he had to travel to work and stay with his parents for 3 nights a week (as he was still finishing off a contract at our old address for 3 months) and myself and my children had to use the internet in our neighbours house for 2 months, they told me that if he was working from home then we should have a business line, this is out of order, its not his business, he gets no money from his work to install a business line and how many millions of people work from home on a residential line, he doesnt use the phone only the broadband, so why should we. I told her I would be writing to complain and she told me I would only get 35quid compensation!!
    I wouldnt mind, but when we had the phone line connected at our old address we went thru a similar palava!
    I'm still going to write tho, I think people need to stand up for the little people, it is time these big companies stopped taking the mickey out of us, if they cant cope with their work load then they should stop advertising for new customers and look after the ones they have got!