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Sunday, May 12th, 2013, 2:10 am

BT Support: Too Hard to Return a Call

Hours on the line and several days just waiting at home for promised calls, all in vain


MY 2013 BT saga continues. At this stage, it’s not a technical fault, now it’s a support services failure. There is no excuse for being unable to call at a specified time several times in a row, especially when an automated caller dispatches formal reminders that those calls should be expected. It shows either arrogance or negligence.

For the uninitiated, my BT connection has been rocky since January of this year, leading not only to chaos with my professional and personal life (I am connection-dependent) but also to approximately a dozen hours on the phone (net total) with BT representatives overseas.

Diagnosis involved physical work from me too, all up to the point where actual engineers were sent to my house to address the issue by bypassing what might have been a faulty socket. It wasn’t conclusive. Why did it take BT so many months to send out engineers to the troubled site?

After the issue had been resolved I was promised that the supervisor (whose name I will omit) would discuss compensation with me. So I called up and spent a long time on the phone arranging for him to phone back (he was not working that day). I actually had to stay at home all morning and afternoon that day in expectation of that call. But he didn’t call. He must have ‘forgotten’. So then I had to call again — a call lasting about a quarter of an hour, with me addressing a person who never heard of my case at any time before and therefore had to spend time catching up. He said the supervisor would return a call but never said when. Apparently he phoned back when I was out (one cannot expect a person to be at home 24/7 by specifying no time, home is not a prison cell). Why did he not call at the specified time in the first place? This is becoming nonsensical, wasteful, and difficult for everyone.

So yesterday I had to spend another half an hour or so on the phone (a little less) only trying to get hold of the supervisor to get my compensation. So far I have spent nearly an hour just trying to get hold of the person who can issue the compensation. This is in addition to a dozen or so hours on the phone this year — hours spent in vain as they probably needed to send out an engineer to the house all along. Well, this is what it’s like being a BT customer. If your time has no value and your connections stability has no high priority, then BT might be fine. You will end up speaking to many different representatives, explaining your problem over and over again; solution can take weeks or months to be found, so satisfaction from the customer is clearly hard to attained.

The only reason I have not quit BT is that they kept making false promises that they would resolve the issue and changing ownership/management of the line to another company can take weeks in the UK (with wired connection being down). That’s the lock-in they have through landline. All I can do now is warn others that BT has very dysfunctional support services which fail to call back when they promise to call (this is not the first time they fail to phone back) and can’t send out engineers with equipment that can fix the problem because that may be ‘too expensive’ for BT (over the long run, not resolving the issue would prove even more expensive for both sides).

Update: the supervisor ‘forgot’ to phone again. This is at least the third time. It’s inexcusable. I called up with no anger but with a more assertive tone and got compensation, or so they claim (we shall see billing next month). I actually had to say that I would escalate this to their management in order to make real progress. It’s sad that being gentle and polite just doesn’t get things done. The supervisor, whose name I prefer not to share (for his own protection, which he may not deserve after repeated failure to call), tried to use the “I have been unwell” excuse for sympathy and mercy (fearing escalation to his superior), but why is he working then? Excuses for failures don’t make things any better, they make things worse. BT has a systemic issue in its hands and unless something is done about it, many other people will suffer the same way I suffered.

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