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.