BT – this is my last complaint.

**Update**

Do not follow my advice below and take your business to John Lewis Broadband – they have become a victim of their own success.., they have not been able to scale their customer service teams so when you have issues (and I have had more than my fair share recently) – you have to hold on the phone for 30 minutes at least… and when you get through – they just want to fob you off – poorly trained service staff… I am not saying for one minute that you should stay with BT because they have not improved… I guess my recommendation would be Zen.

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Dear BT

I can’t say I’ve ever trusted your brand nor had any respect for it. Let’s face it, I had no choice but to use you a few years ago when you had the monopoly. Now you don’t. Let me explain why I’ve voted with my feet and how you have helped me leave you for ever.

Four years ago I applied for 4 telephone lines into our farmhouse. Why 4? Well, because your copper is so awful I can’t get more than 1mb/s broadband speed. So, I use a technology called sharedband.com to bond the output of each line into a single, usable service (it is indeed a fabulous thing). Sure, I hear you say, it’s expensive because I have to rent 4 lines and then pay for the broadband on top of it, but I have no choice. (well until 4G/LTE comes to our parts)

Because I live at home (like most people do!) the four lines are setup as residential lines. When applying for broadband, your residential service doesn’t offer fixed IP addresses (which I needed at the time given I am a little bit geeky) – so I had to opt for Business Broadband. At the time, the sales people say “No problem, you can run business broadband on residential lines, easy!” So I sign up to an expensive offering putting business broadband on three of the lines. The fourth one has such poor quality copper that broadband can’t run on it at all! Beggars belief given that the 4 cables come down the same pole, but that was a fight (hours and hours of trying to reason with your customer “service” people. I tried to win but lost.)

So let’s recap- I have 4 residential lines. 3 of those run Business Broadband. The fourth doesn’t have any broadband on it because it’s not possible (according to BT). I’ve been a client of yours for nearly 4 years (many years longer than that if you consider my patronage when I lived in London) – I have dutifully paid you by direct debit every quarter never giving you any billing grief.

So a month ago I see John Lewis advertising Broadband. I think, I wonder whether they can get me broadband on the fourth line? So I apply using the fourth line’s telephone number, and in 5 working days I have lovely John Lewis broadband running on it! Something BT never could do for me (they always blamed the quality of the line and I totally understand that John Lewis runs on BT’s infrastructure by the way). I then thought, maybe I should transfer the other three lines to John Lewis and thought ah, why change something that’s not broken- it was too much of bother and frankly I just can’t live without internet – both my wife and my jobs depend on it – so just left it.

In the process of John Lewis transferring the single (fourth) line to themselves from BT retail, BT managed to get their knickers into a huge knot – because their systems are all messed up! They didn’t transfer just the one line. They transferred the one line and ceased the other three lines. Maybe it was because it was on the same account number? Who knows? All I know, is that I didn’t ask John Lewis to take over the other three lines, how could John Lewis have even known about the other three lines, I certainly didn’t give them the other three lines telephone numbers. No, it was a BT cock-up, pure and simple.

This morning, I woke up to find that three lines have been ceased! I didn’t request these lines to be ceased, BT’s systems just screwed up big time.

So when I call BT this morning, I phone business support. They tell me they can’t help me as the three lines are residential lines. So I phoned residential support asking just one simple question “Why did you cease my 3 lines, who asked you to, it wasn’t me!?”

Guess what, when I got through to Residential they told me they couldn’t access my account as the lines were business lines.

So I spent over 90 minutes on a call with someone in India (actually a friendly person, for once) – who admitted after 90 minutes (and I have a recording of it) that he couldn’t help me – as, in his efforts, he was also being passed around from pillar to post. Actually he had to talk to the Business dept, the Residential dept, the residential-to-business dept, the business-to-residential dept and after all that he told me that the only thing I could do was to phone residential sales and apply for three new telephone lines which would take 3 days and then once I had the numbers back (and they couldn’t guarantee I get the same numbers back) I could then apply for Broadband which would take another 5 working days. He couldn’t explain, or get anyone in any of the 4 departments to tell me WHY the lines were ceased. All he said was sorry! 90 minutes I will never get back. After 90 minutes, I was no better off than when I started the call.

So, I called John Lewis Broadband. In 15 minutes they helped me restore all 3 lines (with the original numbers!) and have promised me broadband within 5 workings days. And get this…. it’s going to save me 30% on a quarterly basis. Exactly the same unlimited data, same speed, same copper. What’s the difference? John Lewis care about the customer, they are structured to look after the customer. That’s what it’s all about. (I have had issues with John Lewis too, but they are long since resolved by a team that ultimately cares about customer satisfaction).

So as painful as it is… it means my wife won’t be able to work from home for the next week, our children (and I) will miss her a lot – and she will be pretty upset by the whole thing too…She’ll have to stay in a hotel in London and pay obscene Greater Anglia train fares. Having said that, BT has done me a favour – made me leave them for good.

Farewell BT, I shall never pay you another dime.

Yours,
Adrian

PS My advice to everyone out there – vote with your feet and back away (quickly) from an organisation that just cannot look after its customers. Leave BT quickly.

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