BT complaint fail

recorder and phone

Recording calls to BT complaints

If it were not so painful it would be funny: BT’s “High Level Complaints’’ just tried to insist that complaining about follow-up emails after they belatedly fitted a phone and broadband would have to be a separate complaint.

They did this to try to ensure I could not take my original complaints to the ombudsman. They have retracted. But you can see what they were up to and it is despicable. BT’s CEO Ian Livingston, who was at the heart of this complaint, is to quit and become UK trade and industry minister. Uh oh!

The original complaint was detailed earlier. After blogging this, I sent the link to Ian Livingston. This was Sunday at 14.53. He replied at 16.33 saying: “I am sorry that you have had a problem. I received your note yesterday and our service team will try to resolve the matter.”

As if by magic

And sure enough on the Monday I had broadband fitted and at 16.50 I received a phone call telling me the static IP had been allocated and was up and running. I sped down there in the morning on Tuesday and it all worked. My back-up was up and running and tested by 10.30.

BT High Level Complaints rang – was it all working? Yes. Could they close the complaint? Yes. I thought it was all sorted. But BT had other plans.

On Tuesday I received an automated call telling me my order for a new telephone line for 21 June was going ahead.

Immediately after that I received a text request to complete customer service feedback questionnaire about the man who had clearly not resolved the issue. A few hours later I received an email asking for feedback.


At this point I emailed Ian Livingston again. This was at 13.50. I said:

Thank you for intervening and ensuring the move that should have happened last Friday happened Monday.

I was informed that the Static IP was installed at 4.50pm on Monday. I travelled down Tuesday morning and had the back-up system installed tested and running by about 10am. It is clear this could have happened on Friday had BT had the willpower, the systems in place and the staff empowered to deliver solutions not present obstacles.

Today I received first an automated call telling me I have an engineer appointment on 21 June, so it appears this has not yet been cancelled. I have had to make all the calls and do all the chasing to get my phone and broadband working, so I no longer feel I obliged to call to tell BT that it needs to cancel the 21 June appointment. No doubt BT Openreach will be knocking on the door on Friday.

I immediately after that call, I received a text survey and this afternoon I received an email satisfaction survey.

At no point have I been given the impression that there will be any change to the service BT provides. I absolutely dread the idea of having to move an office again.

It appears that the system operated is that a certain number of things must be done in a strict order and that will take whatever timescale it will take. The service required is to look at the date of the move and work back from that to calculate what needs to be done when to ensure it is all ready.

The business movers team may as well de disbanded if it cannot ensure that businesses move without hitch. BT Business needs to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They particularly need to be available at weekends.

I spent three full working days dealing with BT trying to get one phone line and broadband moved. I have been charged for most of those calls to BT because they were from my mobile. I will not be surprised to receive a bill to the wrong address and then find it has not been added to my existing direct debit mandate.

I don’t think that service was acceptable.

That afternoon both the High Level Complaints man and the Business Movers team called but I was interviewing and could not take the calls.


On Wednesday, at 7.07 I received an email demanding access to the property on Friday to fit a line that had already been fitted. It threatened:

If we cannot gain access, or your premises are not ready, we will make an aborted visit charge of £110.00 (plus VAT).

It tried to phone BT high Level Complaints, but, like BT Business, they are not open until 8am. I called again at 8am. You just have to listen to this call. But here’s a few snippets. He says:

As far as I am concerned I have done my job exceptionally well.

And here’s his take on my clearly ridiculous idea that BT would move a business’s phone and broadband on the same day that the business moved offices:

When somebody comes to move it’s the engineers that give the appointment date not the customer. You can request a timescale but it’s the engineers that tell when the line is going to go live and when the broadband will be there. It’s not the customer who can dictate that timescale.

I then said: “If BT moved offices, BT could not guarantee that its phones would move on the day it moved?” He replied:

We wouldn’t guarantee it, no. We never guarantee anything until it goes live.

Asked if BT was going to apologise and offer any compensation and he said:

We don’t pay compensation for time spent trying to resolve a problem – we consider that to be part of normal business practice.

As I replied: “It certainly is with BT.”

There is then the attempt to say the at original complaint was closed and, therefore could not be included in a complaints to the ombudsman. He tried to argue that I’d have to start a new one.

Thankfully afterwards, he phoned back and agreed it would all be one complaint.

I’d write to the Trade and Industry minister but……he’s been given £16m over two years for improving efficiency at BT.

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16 Responses to BT complaint fail

  1. Toni Easter says:

    BT managed to cut off our phone including broadband on 30th March without warning. We waited 2 months for reconnection and are still; waiting to be changed back to our old number.   Our provider Timetalk hasn’t exactly helped the situation and has been referred to  CISAS but BT won’t do anything because ” we are not their  customers” We are all their customers as we need them to provide our telephone lines and infrastructure. By the way they supposedly changed our number back last week but managed to connect it to a near neighbor so she is now getting our calls! You couldn’t make it up 

  2. I represent a rugby club with over 500 members, we moved into a new clubhouse in November it should have been September but you guessed it BT failed us. Well we are in now, but guess what they have let us down again. Last week they cut off our broadband for no reason and cancelled all our phone numbers. We now have some phone lines but cannot provide infinity broadband because they have run out of capacity. we have spent days on the phone to no avail, we are all volunteers and don’t really have the time to hold for hours. what a joke they areThey are without doubt the most arrogant business in the Telco industry who have a virtual monopoly and know it!!I despair for what to do next, no one can hear you scream in space, that is what it feels like

  3. James says:

    If you are not happy with your Broadband Provider and feeling lots of Issues.Then it’s time to Switch Your Broadband Services.Compare deals from all Broadband, Digital TV & Home Phone providers and also save upto £100. Including: SKY, Virgin Media, Talk Talk, Plusnet, Fuel Broadband, BT and many more…Call at : +44-020-3478-7150 and Press 2 for directly connect to Executive

  4. david ellis says:

    hi ian livingston im fed up with the internet not working i keep getting a yellow triangle cum up on my computer fed up from david ellis grimoldby louth linconshire thankyou

  5. andrew Langley says:

    A member of my family is now having the almost identical problem I had some months back with BT about broadband connection . She is now so frustRated of course she is venting on he Facebook page (I might ad BT stop allowing people to comment on there Facebook page Mmmm I wonder why) I replied giving her the details she had problems finding, I.e. CEO e-mail and phone number. It’s the only way I am sad to say to get anything done, it’s the only way to get anything done as no one else listens or wants to help it’s the craziest system they have have of customer service. Any way I noticed many comments on he Facebook page from friends all having had similar issues with BT, now here’s the rub, that family member of mine has 293 friends all of which now have that on there pages, I did a quick check on some of those fronds to see how many friends they have, well I soon stopped as this is infinite but at the point at which I stopped checking , there are 2673 people all seeing and talking about this problem wow now that’s people power and as I said I stopped counting at hat point. When is BT going to sit up and finally realise how bad they truly are and stop kidding themselves they are getting better, they are note I think this proves it . Same issues recurring time after time month after month even within the same families . Wake up BT change your attitude and staff and training ok

  6. 0800 098 8906 BT mail phone number? Need help with my email account.

  7. Fortunately my own complaint to BT was ‘resolved’. But the concept of compensation for hours spent proving their incompetence is beyond BT. I’m gradually building <a href=”this’>“>this</a> site up to help others who may be being accused of being in contract when BT have so woefully failed in their obligations of supplying details of the contract on a ‘durable medium’, as per Consumer Contracts 2013.

  8. david porter says:

    Spoke too soon- thought all my issues with BT had been resolved!after complaining to BT and thinking its all sorted got my bill this morning. £129.99 service charge for their engineer to repair a fault with their line. no apology 3 hrs after complaining about wrongful charge, just we will credit my account but if they do take the charge out get back in touch and they will credit my account!- affraid not if they do debit my account I will be going elseware.It’s their attitude thats the problem- a mixture of very polite and helpful people and those who’s attitude is that you are an irritation and inconvience. My big concern is those victims who find it difficult to relate their grievence or problems. BT is just a large organisation with little value for its domestic customers.

  9. david porter says:

    Hard as it may seem, Sometimes BT do listen. After miserable attempts to resolve issues with BT customer services, M Hornblower & G Weaver prove if BT choose they can be professional, concidered and good at what they do.Some people at Bt do impress! don’t give up too soon

  10. david porter says:

    Update on bt customer service,It appears Margret Hornblower has passed my complaint on to Gernelle Weaver, Was left message on home number, works number and email, which suggest that somebody has been addressing my complaint, but to be asked what i want them to do about it is unbelievalbe? G Weaver originally said she would get in touch in 2 days, which i suggested was not good enough she will now be in touch tomorrow morning. G Weaver is now the 5 person from bt i have told i wish to cancel my services, and 5 time no promise of resolving my grievance. Tomorrow I’m fairly confident will finally finish this tedious saga! Both talktalk and virgin are offering cheaper packages than Bt, sky offered a cheaper package but have heard issues with poor customer services with them. I will relate the final insult after tomorrow morning, either way it will cost me-my misses is to at all happy because I’ve been in a mood all bank holiday week-end. Virgin will be £10/month cheaper (better TV package), Talk talk £30/month cheaper. No brainer .

  11. David porter says:

    HAving issues with BT customer service decided to cancel my contracts £850/ year for 7years, promised return call weds, on Thursday did not happen- phoned 24hrs/day 365day phone number office closed . Wrote Email complaint via bt site now 72 hrs no response. Phoned Saturday to relate failings in customer service and progress my cancelation, no interest about my treatment by customer service just related email in 5days to activate cancellation.. Wrote personal email to board of directors Saturday afternoon, Saturday night received phone call from Margret Hornblower, with ref email to directors, she has promised to review my issues and contact me early next week. To be honest I don’t expect anything much to happen, so I’ve sent copies of my communications  to a friend who works on the locally advertiser who will post them when our dispute is finally resolved. I did not put my phone number on the email to directors yet they traced my home number, pity there customer services who have my number can’t be bothered. Any way I cannot see Bt offering any compensation for the treatment I received, although all I was looking for originally was for somebody to deal with a fault, and literally who have only required someone to say sorry we will get it sorted- but the treatment bt customer services give is unforgivable. Thank fully my position at work will allow me over the course of the next year to sever our companies contracts with bt, starting on Tuesday after b hol if I do not hear from ms hornblower

  12. helen says:

    We are a small company who agreed to transfer office lines and internet to BT at £69 per month total….we have yet to be charged that latest bills are for £200+ per month! Despite writing to BY Durham, emailing every BT sales and customer service email address I could find we are no further forward 12 months down the line.  Now in process of passing to OFCOM. Latest advice from BT is I need to speak to the original sales team as they have quoted wrong!  It’s a joke. Passed from pillar to post – soon as possible we are leaving them!

  13. gary barrell says:

    Ive been trying to resolve a matter for a couple of weeks now and talking through the bt  atrocious automated system, then to the great staff(sarcasm)who dont help or cut me off ive got havnt a clue

  14. Elizabeth Daily says:

    I am trying to leave bt. It is the end of my contract but they are still charging £30 for cancelling even tho my contract is ending next week. I asked just to cancel broadband as a pensioner I find it now too expensive but again was told a£30 charge would apply. I thought a charge only applied if  you left before your contract was up. Please help?

  15. philip owens says:

    I have been trying to rectify a problem with my phone line since I went over to BT from Virgin on 18/02/2014 they failed to import my number from Virgin and have given me numerous dates when the switch over would happen and despite 4 engineers calling and heaven knows how many phone calls still no one call call me on my phone line

  16. BT’s incompetence has no boundaries. Yet again yesterday they were top of an Ofcom complaints chart. In 2007 I setup a BT complaint forum after receiving truly awful customer service from BT.  Today the forum receives many complaints from customers wanting to vent their anger and frustration and share it with others. 7 years on and BT still have not got their act together.Any BT customers who want to find out tips on complaining to BT and read other customer complaints, please visit the BT complaint forum which is: http://www.btcomplaint.comHopefully one day BT can finally deliver what i’m sure they can and not appear on these top complaints charts!

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