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BT…. And other telecoms “service” providers


Nick Jones

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“I’ve arranged a new deal with BT, it’s cheaper than the last one” my father told me proudly.  Then he showed me the pile of boxes that BT had insisted on sending with new routers and goodness knows what else. “But it’s ok because they are sending a man to set it all up for us”. 
 

So last Thursday afternoon was the appointed time for this technician to arrive. I was there most of the afternoon for various reasons. Our man didn’t show, in spite of a couple of phone calls earlier in the week confirming that he was coming.  Oh, well, never mind, the old stuff still works fine.

Then, Friday evening a slightly panicked WhatsApp call to say their landline stopped working Friday morning, just in time to derail the important phone calls they were supposed to getting from the hospital.  These were eventually recovered via mobile, but the signal is very poor so can only really be used in a specific part of one upstairs room. Apparently they’d called BT who said, “oh yes, you’ve been upgraded to digital, plug your phone into the green socket on the new router”.
Oh. But the new router is still in its box because your man didn’t come yesterday.

What man? Nothing booked here!

So Saturday I went over and plugged in the new router (one of three boxes supplied), paired their various devices and plugged the phone into the green socket. Internet and Wi-Fi work ok, but no quicker than before (so much for the digital upgrade!). Initially the phone remained obstinately silent, but after a few minutes a dial tone appeared and it became possible to call out. Testing from mobile suggested calling in wasn’t possible though. Couldn’t be sure that wasn’t a mobile signal problem, so WhatsApp’d SM at home and got her to try from home. Call failed on mobile (as I was getting) and permanent engaged tone when calling from landline.

Grrrr…. So I took a deep breath and called BT on the landline (works outgoing remember). Somewhat against expectations I got through fairly quickly and spoke to a very helpful young lady. 
 

- Cockup 1: Analog wasn’t scheduled to be switched off until 9th Feb, so had been done a week early.

- Cock-up 2: The wrong ticket was raised internally so the man who was supposed to installing the router turned into the man going to the box in the village to make the physical swap in the cabinet. Why they had calls reminding them of this appointment when he was never (allegedly) going to the house is unsolved.

- Cock-up 3: From above, analog signal turned off before the digital transfer has been done - so main surprise is that the phone worked at all. It will be three working days before this can be resolved. That two elderly folks, with serious ongoing medical issues have had their critical landline service interrupted without warning and it still takes 3 days to fix is “very regrettable” but not possible to improve on.

Also…. There were three boxes. So far I’ve used one. One of the others is a network extender, not needed in this house, and the final one is a mobile router for hybrid service to provide backup in the event of the hard wired network failing. Only it won’t because there’s no mobile signal worth the name. These useless boxes cost an extra £17 per month between them and have been blatantly mis-sold. And they’ve been charged £30 for the tech who didn’t show up.

I was advised not to challenge these things in case it (further) deranges the switch over, until after the switch over has completed.

BTW, the only reason this deal was cheaper than before is that they were being absolutely robbed before!

To be continued I fear….

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Nick,

Your  confidence with BT must be at an all-time low, so see: BT Vulnerability policy - Policies & reports - Responsible business | BT Plc    

This is BT's "Vulnerability Policy Statement" and provides a contact phone number (Irony! Irony!).   Might offer tools to extract better service for your parents. 

BT's less publicised policy is to switch all telephony to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology.  AgeUK have a page about it: Are landlines being phased out? Changes to landline telephones | Age UK  (Irony again!)

I'm already registered with  my energy supplier as 'vulnerable' - may be unfair as I'm hale and hearty, but at my age, who knows what tomorrow may bring?  I'll investigate what BT can offer.

John

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Yeah…. I’ve seen elsewhere about registering as vulnerable to get a battery backup for the router so it keeps working when power goes off - which I was going to explore further. 
 

Subject also came up with a neighbour  recently after our extended power cut. They are registered as vulnerable with the power company and got a call during the power cut, on their analogue phone line(!) checking they were ok. They don’t have any mobile signal either, so there’s a challenge coming up.

Dad reckons there was no discussion in the original call he made regarding either the switch to digital or the “extra features”.  His is old and hasn’t been keeping up with communication technology, but he’s not daft or deaf….

Methinks they take advantage :mad:

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6 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

Yeah…. I’ve seen elsewhere about registering as vulnerable to get a battery backup for the router so it keeps working when power goes off - which I was going to explore further. 
 

Subject also came up with a neighbour  recently after our extended power cut. They are registered as vulnerable with the power company and got a call during the power cut, on their analogue phone line(!) checking they were ok. They don’t have any mobile signal either, so there’s a challenge coming up.

Dad reckons there was no discussion in the original call he made regarding either the switch to digital or the “extra features”.  His is old and hasn’t been keeping up with communication technology, but he’s not daft or deaf….

Methinks they take advantage :mad:

Pretty shoddy but sadly only to be expected.

VOIP is now pretty much the only option though. When my contract came up for renewal there was no option. Speaking to the gent who installed it (he did an excellent job in sorting a cable issue at the same time) that is basically it for the old system.

Doesn't excuse the sh1te handhove experienced by your dad though.

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We’ve recently had some discussions with BT project engineers in my village. An advance party scouting out how they are going to hang fibre optic cables from the existing poles - with the caveat that they have to meeting current regs for cable separation where the poles are shared with the power network.  Ours don’t meet current regs of course, with one pole being particularly “naughty”. It’s really Western Powers problem, their installation is really old and ugly, but they want a lot of money to fix it properly. So BT propose to add an extra pole on the opposite side of the road to dogleg around the problem in the cheapest possible way. In a conservation area, among listed buildings. If anyone objects, which they certainly will, BT’ll just move on and those beyond the problem pole will only ever be able to get service from Gigaclear. I’ve just gone over to them, for now, but I’d like to retain choice!  Privatisation was such a great idea….,

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Firstly Nick, elevate the complaint. The guys on the standard call centres have little power to do much.

My usual approach is a nice polite email stating the facts to the CEO of BT. This normally results in a department called the "Executive Complaints Team" taking on the case, in my experience these guys are capable of getting things done. The last email address (from May last year) 8 had for them was this one:

consumer-resolutions@bt.com

I ended up cancelling my BT contract due to this VOIP malarkey, after the supposed switch never happened, I lost the house number I have had for over 10 years (and told I couldn't get it back), and to top it all despite their claims to contrary the VOIP never worked for me, possible due to Openreach but never confirmed.

Get in touch with them, you have a limited time in which to port over the original landline phone number, after this is up you will lose it! But definitely chase them, their incompetence levels are huge!

Phil

 

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No experience with Sky. Been many years with PlusNet. They have pissed me off quite seriously in the past, but have been doing better recently. That said, I’m overdue a call back/email regarding transfer out of my domain name which it seems I’m going to have to chase.

Current supplier is Gigaclear. Apart from being very slow to connect me and their “advance connection assessment team” being unable to find the connection point in the road (Specsavers chaps?!), they are doing ok….. It’s only been a couple of weeks since connection though.

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BT - you can't say they're not trying, but maybe in more ways than one.

Yesterday, I had two emails, both "from BT".  They said that they were making changes and that I must click on the link provided to ensure that I could continue to use btinternet.com.   That was suspicious, but even more was that both emails were from a "tiscali.com" address.   But to be sure, I contacted BT.    After 'speaking' to a robot, I finally got to talk to a human, but they seemed to think that I had a Broadband problem.    And arranged to send me  a MiniHub.   By 'Special Delivery'.

I did manage to extract confirmation that the emails were scams/phishing, but sure enough the MiniHub arrived arrived this morning, by DPD 'Next Day' Service.       Complete waste of money, as my Broadband is fine!!   And they expect me to send it back (FoC) when the "problem" is over!

John 

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Up until last April I was a BT customer....

That is until they sent me an offer for Broadband only with a significant cost saving.
Alas Openreach disconnected me and didn't do the Broadband thingie.
Obviously I complained, BT responded by closing my account, giving me a refund and compensation.

Tried Sky but they couldn't get Openreach to connect me because, wait for this, Openreach don't have anybody
qualified to complete said work.
Cancelled Sky and, the promised refund of the connection fee didn't happen, because Openreach refused to cancel the order.
Some 10 months on there is still no broadband internet.

Sometimes, just sometimes there is a silver lining....
Instead of Broadband I am using mobile data via a router (bought in Argos) and
you know what, the mobile data is £18/month, works just as well as Broadband and best of all
there is no contract!!!

 

Ian

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On 2/7/2024 at 1:25 PM, Sprint95m said:

Tried Sky but they couldn't get Openreach to connect me because, wait for this, Openreach don't have anybody
qualified to complete said work.
Cancelled Sky and, the promised refund of the connection fee didn't happen, because Openreach refused to cancel the order.
Some 10 months on there is still no broadband internet.

Have you escalated this to OFCOM? If only to create a record of Openreach's practices?

Something I have noticed since BT and Openreach split and became separate entities, there seems to be very little regulation for Openreach? By all accounts a terrible company to work for as well......

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Number was finally reassigned yesterday afternoon, so the phone is working again. I suspect that this was when it was planned for all along and our various complaints have had zero effect.

Now to deal with the miss-selling of the hybrid router and range extender.

Last “agent” I tackled on this simply said it’s part of the package and not costing any extra - which is simply untrue!

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On 2/9/2024 at 4:02 AM, thebrookster said:

Have you escalated this to OFCOM? If only to create a record of Openreach's practices?

Something I have noticed since BT and Openreach split and became separate entities, there seems to be very little regulation for Openreach? By all accounts a terrible company to work for as well......

Well I did speak to someone from the regulator
but she warned me it would take several months to resolve…..


In first instance I would have to complain to BT
which would not be easy since they had closed my account.
It would from then move on to BT opening a new account which I
would have to close in the cooling off period in order to move to another provider….

 

a friend had a similar but worse problem because she stays in a mobile blackspot.
BT took six months to resolve it and were ordered to pay £1500 compensation
(they actually gave a credit note rather than a cheque)
During this time access to the house was difficult because to lay a cable
a huge trench was dug and left.
Despite not actually offering mobile coverage BT sent a SIM card and router
(so clearly folk who listen to customers) and for all that time there was no landline phone either

 

Ian

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