/ Dealing with BT

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Babika - on 29 Nov 2016
....would try the patience of a saint.

I have spent the last 2 weeks on phone calls of 45 and 50 minutes, online chat with advisers who simply don't know what they are doing and a BT website that doesn't seem to work when you try and order something.

I mistakenly let them have access to my PC and somehow 56,000 emails poured in multiple times going back over 2 years. They simply kept repeating "I am sorry, I assure you I will sort this out" and couldn't.

Today I tried to upgrade to Infinity (I have about 7mbs here at the mo - its rubbish) and the BT website kept offering different prices for the same product when I clicked backwards and forwards - none of which matched the offer which had just been posted through my front door. The online chat shut down and disappeared before we had even got going.

Is it just me?

Please don't tell me that Virgin is better - we can't get that here. I just would be interested in other people's experiences of BT with problems and whether there is a cunning way to get a normal helpful BT person who actually knows what they are talking about?
Dax H - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

I feel your pain.
Took me 4 months once to get a problem sorted.
They signed me up to broadband but it didn't work.
Turns out it was not active in my area yet so they apologised and canceled it.
For 6 months I kept getting billed and the call went like this every time (after hours on hold and being bounced around departments)
Bt, Sorry sir you are tied to a contract and can't cancel.
Me, you sold me a product that does not work and I can't connect to.
Bt, no we don't do that
Me, yes you did, check the call log.
Bt ahh yes sir, I do apologise it seems there was a mistake. Don't worry I will make sure you don't get billed again.
Me thank you, can I have your name for my records please.

Rinse and repeat for 6 months.

Last year the Bt rep offered us a change in broadband at my office so foolishly I went for it.
Que no Internet at work for 2 weeks whilest they sorted out whatever it was they broke followed by another 6 months of them trying to charge me for something they never provided, despite having all my evidence and submitting it on multiple occasions they still tried to use not 1 but 2 different debt collectors before it was finally sorted.
It was also real fun at work with no Internet when we work exclusively on remote servers.
Irk the Purist - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

My BT account didn't work and as the software they use to take over your machine wasn't compatible with my chromebook they said it was tough and there was nothing they could do.

I googled the CEO's email address and sent a polite email. The executive level complaints team sorted it in 24 hours.

They are 100 shades of shit.



wintertree - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

I can't wait until SpaceX have their high speed sattelite internet up and running. We can then cut all dependency on BT and their shambolic network with bandwidth to us worse than some Mars rovers have to Earth.

At the moment we are with them because we have a dodgy area for connections and in theory it eliminates the situation where a different ISP and BT blame each other for months instead of fixing things...
Badgers - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

We found it totally depends on the call center you get connected too. We had months of them failing to deliver broad band upgrades, booking engineers, them not arriving, bt cancelling the order, restarting, resurveying etc... in circles. The only progress came when we could get hold of a Scot. Always incredibly competent, genuinely apalled by the crap service, always promised to speak to the relevent people and call back and always did. All the other call centres would read from a script and not listen when you were telling them a particular step was done already etc....
Dax H - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

PS I forgot to say.
My experience with Virgin(and ntl before Virgin bought them) was just as bad.
Quite literally over 1 hour on hold to their support on enough occasions that I bought a headset phone rather than sit holding the phone all that time.
davegs - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

Had my third problem of the year recently. Emailed gavin.e.patterson@bt.com, executive level complaints. Also email your MP (even if you dislike them) puts pressure on BT and gets a response.
Ridge - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to wintertree:

> At the moment we are with them because we have a dodgy area for connections and in theory it eliminates the situation where a different ISP and BT blame each other for months instead of fixing things...

Yep. Changing to BT magically turned our 0.4 Mbps download speed to 4Mbps. Not that BT, sorry Openreach, deliberately throttle non BT internet speeds, no siree....
Dave Ferguson - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to davegs:

I live out in the sticks so really have very limited choice but you just have to play the game, it depends on who you get, threaten to leave and they'll put you through to someone capable of making decisions about the price. If you don't like the price they offer, sign up for plusnet (owned by BT anyway so same speeds etc in my experience) and play one off against the other on short term contracts. Get everything in writing, an email is good enough, and don't rely on what they tell you over the phone. Its tedious but it saves you paying through the nose and actually the product (broadband) isn't that bad here in east cumbria.
Rob Parsons on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Ridge:

> Yep. Changing to BT magically turned our 0.4 Mbps download speed to 4Mbps. Not that BT, sorry Openreach, deliberately throttle non BT internet speeds, no siree....

It might just be that the old provider's equipment was physically further away that is BT's - that of course makes a difference for ADSL speed.

I haven't previously heard the suggestion that Openreach interferes in the way you're suggesting. They'd be in big trouble if that could ever be proved to be the case.
Post edited at 22:10
Rob Parsons on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

> I have spent the last 2 weeks on phone calls of 45 and 50 minutes, online chat with advisers who simply don't know what they are doing and a BT website that doesn't seem to work when you try and order something.

It isn't clear to me what you're having problems with.

> I mistakenly let them have access to my PC ...

I would *never* *ever* allow any outside agency access like that. Can you revert whatever access rights you gave them?

> Please don't tell me that Virgin is better ...

For what it's worth I currently get my access via BT and it's been fine. I've previously used Virgin - also fine.

It probably depends on what kinds of problems you strike.

Babika - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Some of the problems are too tedious to explain so I didn't go into the detail,but basically problem 1: I could no longer send emails anymore. They sat in my Outbox and didn't move. I hadn't changed anything in the emai account but the problem persisted.

After trying lots of research and self help I finally bit the bullet and phoned the call centre After being given the runaround by lots of departments I was finally told it was a server problem and they would definitely sort it.

I watched them move the mouse around for about 40 minutes during which they obviously didn't know what they were doing and that's when the inbox started filling up.

Last week I was trying to buy BT landline phone units for my Mum. Almost an hour on the site trying to buy the blinkin things, won't take 3 different cards - I ring the bank who say it's BT not my card. So I ring the Sales team instead and ask if I can buy the phones. Yes, they say, but it has to be online. So a Sales Team and a Customer Service line which can't actually take payment over the phone..

I could go on, there are more in the last 4 weeks alone but it's just too depressing.

I'm slightly encouraged that others find BT abysmal as well

winhill - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> I haven't previously heard the suggestion that Openreach interferes in the way you're suggesting. They'd be in big trouble if that could ever be proved to be the case.

Not seen this today?

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has ordered BT to legally separate from its Openreach division, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure.

Openreach should become a distinct company within the BT group, the regulator said.

BT had not voluntarily addressed competition concerns Ofcom laid out in July, it said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38141510
Ridge - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> It might just be that the old provider's equipment was physically further away that is BT's - that of course makes a difference for ADSL speed.

I thought ADSL speed was purely down to distance to exchange? The infrastructure is all BT copper. I can't see that the actual servers being in different parts of the UK, for example, would cause a 10x difference.

> I haven't previously heard the suggestion that Openreach interferes in the way you're suggesting. They'd be in big trouble if that could ever be proved to be the case.

I've certainly heard of non BT traffic being throttled to preserve BT speeds, but nothing proven.
Party Boy on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:
Was with them years ago when I lived in Sheffield...never again! First problem was with our supposed 'free' calls to landlines that we kept getting billed for; turned out we had two lines in the house and upstairs phones were being charged. Then we lost internet access - the Indian call centre couldn't fix this so I asked to be transferred to the the UK. They told me they couldn't do that; I asked why a multinational telecoms company couldn't transfer a call...transferred to Scotland who then sorted it! Oh, and there was the fact that if someone walked past the router we lost Internet.....useless...
gavmac on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

Utter shite bags in every conceivable way. Ghandi himself would have lost the rag if faced with the utter f*ckwittery that is BT. Nothing positive to add about them, I feel your pain.

Scarab9 - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

Appalling company and if you ever put a complaint and refuse to pay they put you through to a team that pretty much says "we will crush you with our legal resources if you complain". Will never give them money again
wintertree - on 29 Nov 2016
In reply to Scarab9:

> Appalling company and if you ever put a complaint and refuse to pay they put you through to a team that pretty much says "we will crush you with our legal resources if you complain". Will never give them money again

That's just every utility company isn't it? The whole f----ng lot of them have a monopoly - not on price but on sheer shitness of customer service. Doesn't matter where you go, if anything goes wrong it's pain pain pain and it's easier to pay up than to fight a goliath with bankrolled solicitors and debt collectors on speed dial.

The only people I can think of who are worse than everyone else are TV Licensing.
wintertree - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> I haven't previously heard the suggestion that Openreach interferes in the way you're suggesting. They'd be in big trouble if that could ever be proved to be the case.

We had problems getting a relative's ADSL working reasonably well. The problem was eventually diagnosed and fixed (dodgy join in a copper cable.)

It's not so much that Openreach interfere in other ADSL providers links, but that with a non-BT provider there's a game of ping pong where you're the ball and the ADSL provider sends you to BT to get the phone line checked, and BT send you to the ADSL provider and nothing gets fixed. Switched to BT and the system comes together and it gets fixed. It's entirely possible that there's no anti-competitive malice and that the fault is with an ISP who can't be bothered to contact Openreach directly and appropriately.

I know, beware anecdotes and n=1 stuff and all that.
Ben Sharp - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

I feel your pain. Both at home and at work with varying different iterations of the BT behemoth. We regularly have our phones down for weeks at a time and the internet is just as bad. We've got satalite too which is also usually down.

The only advice I can offer is to keep a meticulous log of all contact and try not to get too stressed over the fact that anything will take a long time to solve. You just have to play their game and then move on to high level where it'll get sorted and if you're lucky they'll insult you with a 10 voucher to cover the inconvenience of 1000's worth of lost phone sales.

For what it's worth I've stuck with BT because I don't expect anyone else will be worst off.
Rob Parsons on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Ridge:

> I thought ADSL speed was purely down to distance to exchange?

It's down to the length of copper between your home router, and your provider's equipment. That might differ between providers.

> I can't see that the actual servers being in different parts of the UK, for example, would cause a 10x difference.

No, obviously not.

> I've certainly heard of non BT traffic being throttled to preserve BT speeds, but nothing proven.

As I said, if any such behaviour like that - outside of official service agreements - could be proven, it would be a major scandal. It sounds like 'hearsay' to me
Post edited at 07:57
Rob Parsons on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to wintertree:

> It's not so much that Openreach interfere in other ADSL providers links, but that with a non-BT provider there's a game of ping pong where you're the ball and the ADSL provider sends you to BT to get the phone line checked, and BT send you to the ADSL provider and nothing gets fixed.

Sure, I get that - and I know it's a pain in the arse. It's the suggestion of *malicious* behaviour, made above by Ridge, that I was (and am) questioning.


Rob Parsons on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

> Some of the problems are too tedious to explain so I didn't go into the detail,but basically problem 1: I could no longer send emails anymore. They sat in my Outbox and didn't move ...

On this: you might consider completely forgetting about using your ISP's email service, and using any of the well-known free webmail services instead.

I get the impression that, for ISPs nowadays, mail service is something they only continue to provide reluctantly: they are rather in the business of just providing you with IP connectivity - what you actually do with that connectivity is then entirely up to you.


jonfun21 on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Ridge:
"I thought ADSL speed was purely down to distance to exchange? The infrastructure is all BT copper. I can't see that the actual servers being in different parts of the UK, for example, would cause a 10x difference"

The distance to exchange (or cabinet under a FTTC (Infinity from BT) scenario) is a major determinant of performance. However you also need to consider:

- The capacity that the provider (e.g. TalkTalk) has provisioned from the exchange (where their D-SLAM is) to their core network and eventual peering to the internet....some providers provision very little hence you hit a bottle neck

- The number of customers using that provider (e.g. TalkTalk) and service (e.g ADSL/FTTC) across a given cabinet/exchange....due to the impact on the above and the equipment in the exchange

An example of this in practice is as customers migrate to FTTC service people on the ADSL service/architecture are seeing their speeds increase (despite their house not moving/line length not decreasing).
Post edited at 09:27
MonkeyPuzzle - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> - what you actually do with that connectivity is then entirely up to you.

And the Food Standards Authority, the DWP, the Home Office...
nniff - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:

I've had a few interesting run-ins with BT over the years.

First one was when we needed a second line. After 6 months of badgering, nothing had happened. Then someone in the BT call-centre said that they were obliged to pay compensation for late installations over a certain time. How much? said I. I don't recall exactly but it was about 3.80 a day. I suggested that they took their time. It was several years before we had to pay a phone bill again.

Then, in the days of dial up, some nasty little pop up changed the dialling number to a premium rate and disconnected. When one of the kids got back on the internet, they didn't notice the odd number. 24 hours later, BT phone up and say that they've interrupted the line because they've detected abnormal use. Then we get the bill - 400 to some outfit in Panama and 600 to one in Spain. On the phone to BT asking what we should do. Their response is pay it and get on to Ofcom and write to the companies concerned - they should give a refund if they want to retain their premium rate licence. What if I don't pay? BT will cut us off, send round the debt collectors and black list us. Nice.

So - here was the acid question - BT clearly recognised this as fraudulent as they detected the problem and stopped it. If they persisted in collecting the money, where they, BT, not a direct party to the fraud in collecting and passing the money on to the fraudsters? Was tempted to have a go, but decided it probably wasn't worth it. Got the 600 back from Spain after about a year. Nothing from Panama.
Climbing Pieman on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Babika:
Have had various problems with them over the years and in the process wasted far too many hours of my time. Currently still with them (just as still in contract!) and still problems eg I sign up in Jan and later they disputed the offer I actually signed up for initially refused to honour it. Also for some 10 mths I still can't access the free wifi when out and about through their app. I could in theory do so via their website, but it takes too long for short browsing that I never bother. They gave up after about six weeks saying there is no known reason why the app does not work but acknowledged that it also affected other customers!

Re CCards being declined. I discovered this when trying to buy a book online. Long story short, but the company I was trying to buy from said the only problems customers had buying from them were where they have BT as their ISP. Apparently it was something to do with BT using cached web pages of some websites to effectively speed up the loading so it seemed that their download speeds were better than they actually were. Problem was where there were some problems the stored pages just kept resending the problem pages rather than refreshing them with the proper web servers, so the credit card parts of the buying were repeatedly rejected. No idea if this is really true, other than I could not buy the book online, and had to pay by PayPal and email the company the details of what I was after.

Years ago when I was disparing with BT, I discovered if you email the CEO, you got a very quick reply from his executive dept with a named individual who took personally responsibility (assuming BT is in the wrong) and had the authority to get things sorted. May still work? Did for me then and I also got compensation. That said I've read online since that this should only be used once you have tried the "normal" contact centre route and saved until you can show you justified reason for a "high level complaint" so that BT don't just send folk back to the call centres.
tripehound - on 30 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob I haven't previously heard the suggestion that Openreach interferes in the way you're suggesting. They'd be in big trouble if that could ever be proved to be the case.

Oh yes they do! We spent months trying to get online with Talktalk but Openreach didn't react. In desperation we joined BT and after a lot of hassle got connected. its crap we get 900 kbs
Talktalk are a poor compant but its not their fault Openreach gives priority to their BT customers.
Talktalk and Bt were bottom of the list for Broadband suppliers in a recent which report.

Currently there is the chance ofcom will ask for Bt and Openreach to be made seperate companies. However Openreach will still be owned by BT so it remains to be seen how effective that turns out to be.
wercat on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to tripehound:

they certainly interfere! When Superfast Broadband arrived in the village (not that we can afford it - we usually get less than 1Mb/s, occasionally up to about 1.8, the pole and cabinets next to the house have destroyed radio reception, just loads of white noise
ads.ukclimbing.com
Toerag - on 15:35 Thu
In reply to Ridge:

> Yep. Changing to BT magically turned our 0.4 Mbps download speed to 4Mbps. Not that BT, sorry Openreach, deliberately throttle non BT internet speeds, no siree....

Was that a change in download speed as show by speedtest sites, or a change in router synch speed? If it's a change in speedtest speed that's because the original ISP was contending their customers more than BT were. If it's a change in synch speed it's because someone has physically done something to the wires between the DSLAM/MSAN and your house.

To the OP - I've been dealing with BT on a network-network level for 20 years and their performance has deteriorated significantly in the last 5 years. There appears to be a lot of cost-cutting going on, with associated service cutting.
Babika - on 21:27 Thu
In reply to Toerag:

> To the OP - I've been dealing with BT on a network-network level for 20 years and their performance has deteriorated significantly in the last 5 years. There appears to be a lot of cost-cutting going on, with associated service cutting.


I think you have hit the nail on the head. The cost cutting with Indian call centres that drive customers demented and don't actually know how to do anything is astonishing. And any concept of quality or customer care has gone right down the tubes.

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