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Saturday, January 9th, 2021, 12:08 pm

British Telecom Cannot Blame Coronavirus For Its Awful Customer ‘Care’ and Various Face-Saving Lies Disguised as ‘Support’

BT has succumbed to lying and cheating, for it apparently refuses to publicly acknowledge that its network cannot meet the basic capacities required (as per laws and regulations, even contractually w.r.t. clients)

BT, or British Telecom, is probably the company I dislike the most. But at the same time they’re as a de facto monopoly here, merely disguised as having ‘opened up’ (a sort of openwashing, including ‘open’reach). I spent nearly a decade writing about BT, as they kept lying to me, they have lied to me a great deal this past week, and getting a connection from them was exceptionally painful to begin with. The worst experience I ever had with them was in 2015 [1, 2, 3, 4]. I must have lost like 50 working hours due to the issues back then. Even in prior years I had serious issues [1, 2] and the only thing I can say to their credit is that over the past half a decade it was rarely a bumpy ride… until 5 days ago.

So, why am I still with BT? I wrote about that 10 years ago [1, 2]. Basically, since they own and control the entire underlying network (utility providers don’t each have their own electric lines, gas pipes and water pipes either because it would be extremely inefficient a system) moving from one ISP to another is rarely guaranteed to yield good result, especially if one receives and sends signals over physical cable.

The latest rant summarises my latest frustrations with BT, whose managers are far too arrogant to take complaints seriously and work to actually resolve these. All the BT issues we’ve been having this past week are not resolved; in some ways, things have gotten yet worse.

“The manager is supposed to phone me tomorrow,” I wrote two days ago. Did she phone? No. Another one was supposed to phone today (after another escalation). Did she phone? Nope. No apology, no call, nothing…

That’s just corporate Hubris and the sort of arrogance BT became renowned or notorious for.

The issues we’re having aren’t technical, not at our end anyway. It’s the network. I suspect it’s exceedingly under-provisioned and they are afraid to admit this, for fear of class action or demand of compensation (or worse — cancellations). Well, the connection is extremely slow albeit it’s a lot faster in evenings, so it’s easy to say that it’s a congestion crisis and they have no resolution for it. Maybe a localised problem, but still

“At least they’ve subtly admitted they’ve breached Ofcom regulations,” someone has told me. “Most people don’t even get that far. You’ve got legalese knowledge and an I.T. background so they can’t make you go around in circles forever…”

A high-up manager sent me a link similar to the one I cited to them and that page reaffirmed their inability to meet standards, so they need to upgrade. But will they? No. They try to push me away. Again and again. It’s insulting. It’s outrageous. It’s like they play temper games and try to just exhaust the client. I decided I would chase BT over this and report to Ofcom, albeit this can take quite some time.

BT’s customer service [sic] is truly horrible; now our download speeds are seriously degraded as well, not just upload speeds. It’s hard to get work done and we both work from home (my wife and I), so it is a critical service. I think I have sufficient time to report BT for its abuses over the coming weeks (a formal complaint to Ofcom seem likely and it won’t be fast to handle because of the pandemic and other factors). When it comes to its reputation, BT has basically dug its own grave. It’s not so much the technical problems but the handling of those who report such problems.

I will give some examples, informally…

“Better off leaving BT,” one person has advised me, “once your contract expires.” But the problem is that the line is theirs (‘open’reach) and exchanges too are shared among ISPs. So the problem probably won’t go away. After a bad week (upload speeds still appalling, now download speeds too) a manager was supposed to phone me, but did not. Trying to make a call with them? 20-30 minutes waiting time just to speak to an “adviser”. They’re being snobbish and unhelpful.

The contingencies aren’t many. Short of 4G modem/router, which is expensive (the people in Newcastle’s chartered entity have told me), might be the last resort. But it seems like a lot of hassle to go through.

Their manager, Jan, who was supposed to phone me yesterday, did not phone. And this is not surprising given her temperament. Trying to phone for an advisor (to complain about the lack of phonecall/callback means staying on line 20-30 minutes). So I phoned again this morning, I was redirected to Dublin (yes, Dublin) and after spending loads of time on the line it got disconnected or he had accidentally hung up. Another 20 minutes down the drain. So I waited for 5 minutes, but he did not even call back. They don’t seem to care. So I called again, this got me assigned to a different person on the line (this time in Liverpool) and I managed to get him to tell a manager to phone me back. Did I receive a call? No way. That’s almost 4 hours on the phone all in all so far… and no progress at all.

So I phoned BT again, as their manager of course ‘forgot’ to call back. It’s really going nowhere. There’s nobody really to speak to. You speak to a person, asking why they didn’t ring back. No response, no reason, no help given… nothing. You ask to be transferred to cancellations (they call it “loyalty”), then it rings for a while, then the line drops and nobody phones back. That’s already the fourth time it happens; one cannot even reach cancellations and meanwhile the queue (length of time to wait on the line) grew to 20 minutes, so it’s like one has to spend an hour on the phone just to get through to anyone useful. Over 4 hours on the phone already and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s better to just file the formal complaint. BT, perhaps besieged by coronavirus loads, is totally and entirely defunct. Defunct. They’re like virtually dead as far as customer care is concerned; their support managers are lying and abusing customers now. They just don’t care. And even if you write down names and locations of BT reps you speak to, they will keep redirecting you (at random) to different respondents in different places, so you cannot be redirected back so as to hold responsible those who told lies or made false promises.

I’ve had bad experiences with BT over the years, both technical and personnel-related. This one probably isn’t the worst, but it certainly comes at a really terrible time because almost everyone (who can) works from home and it is not legal to work from anywhere else.

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