13 October, 2007

BT (British Telecom)

BT Correspondence Centre
DH98 1BT

Dear Sir or Madam,

I moved into the above address (I sent this on headed notepaper) on 1st July. As there is already a BT line installed, but not activated, I attempted to contact BT with regards to activation. Thus began a sorry week of spending all my free time in phone boxes, calling BT customer disservice. Most calls involved listening to music which I did not fancy until I ran out of time, occasionally speaking to an agent who would offer to put me through to the relevant department, only to resume the onslaught of unending hold music. On one occasion, even your busker gave up, and my call was abruptly disconnected. On another occasion, the agent asked what is was that I wanted, and when I requested line activation, he hung up. Perhaps he wished to spare me the futile agony of BT's hold service.

On 5th July, your system was considerate enough to offer a call back. The agent who called took my details, requested permission for a credit check, and promised a call back within five working days from the relevant department. I have not heard from you since, despite the agreed period having elapsed three days ago. I cannot say that I am surprised.

On 15th July, I resumed my regular pilgrimage to the phone box. Following a mostly irrelevant dialogue in some vaguely incomprehensible blend of English, and a language native to the Indian subcontinent, he routed my call through to the relevant department. After a few minutes on hold, your busker tired of tormenting me and dropped the line.

I immediately called back and asked for the complaints department. Your operator routed me through to the faults department; perhaps BT's policy is that anyone complaining about their service must be faulty. The fault operator, like his colleague earlier, was not familiar with the English language (what does the B in BT stand for?), and I had immense difficulties explaining to him that I do not have a phone line to report as faulty. Having surmounted the formidable language barrier, he explained to me that BT's complaints department cannot be contacted by telephone (perhaps they couldn't get a line installed), and that I must write to your correspondence address. Thus, I obediently made a written complaint to this address.

Not having received any acknowledgement of my complaint (or a phone line), I again trespassed upon the inner sanctum of a phone box on 31st July. I explained my predicament to the operator; after several minutes on hold, he put me through to the broadband department. After several further minutes on hold, the broadband department put me through to the foreign languages department; not sharing a common dialect, and communicating through a medium which does not support gesticulation, he was able to convey nothing more informative than that I was through to the wrong department. After several more minutes on hold, the music stopped with the out-of hours department, who told me to call back during normal business hours (which it was when the game started). He also told me that there is no direct number for the in-hours department; pass-the-customer-parcel is BT's favourite game, and I have no right to deprive them of their only joy in life. It may be noted that callers are greeted with a recorded message advising them to call between 8pm and 10pm, when lines are less busy.

On 1st August, I dutifully called back during business hours. Again, after requesting that the line in my new address be activated, I was inexplicably routed to the broadband department. The agent who (eventually) answered the call offered to put me through to the sales department; after a minute's subsequent silence, I got the wrong number tone.

I immediately called back, went through the same automated menu choices as before, and amazingly, was answered by the sales department. Your agent took the same details as the agent who called me on 5th July, and made the same promise about a call back within five working days.

Despite changes in Government regulation, BT still has a monopoly over the provision of new domestic telephone lines, except in a small minority of areas served by cable. Knowing this, you tie new customers into a full year's contract. In common with other abusive monopolies, you also treat (prospective) customers like dirt, knowing that despite your appalling service, they have no one else to go. What do you further require before condescending to grant me a phone line, which I cannot obtain elsewhere? A sacrifice of lambs? My blood on the cross?
I look forward to a prompt resolution.

Yours Sincerely,


Blogger Mark Shaw said...

I have set up a blog where you can submit your BT Complaints online. Join me and many others you are sick to death of BT and now want some action.

2:28 pm  

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