BT: A Really Rubbish Company

We have no Internet at the moment, which is why I haven’t been blogging as much, or commenting, or sharing posts around. This makes me sad, but it has meant I’ve caught up on a lot of sleep.

The reason for lack of Internet? We were unceremoniously cut off by BT.  Not because we didn’t pay our bill, but because of a series of monumental screw ups and miscommunication by BT.  I don’t like my blog to be a place to moan and whinge, but I’m so hacked off about it all, and blogging is cathartic.

Some backstory: Last Spring, Ross and I took a lease out on some office space to run our video production company from.  We had a phoneline and broadband installed by BT and it worked well.  Aside from the engineer not bothering to turn up on the first installation day, we were pretty satisfied customers.  Then, last Autumn, we closed our company, and tried to cancel the contract.  No dice without paying for the entire length of the contract.  Fair enough, it was in the Ts&Cs – though the customer service wasn’t great – we explained the situation, and there was no flexibility at all.  We were told that if we didn’t pay, our account would be passed to debt collectors.  Since we were out of contract with our residential broadband/phone supplier, we figured the easiest thing to do was to transfer our business broadband to our home address, and cancel our existing home package.

On talking with BT, we were told we had to take out a particular package to move a business account to a residential address, as that was how the process worked, so we did that, on the understanding that the original business account for our business premises would be closed, and that we’d get the same service at home:  BT Business Total Broadband – Advance Support ADSL2 Next Gen (up to 20Mb) and a landline.  It later transpired that this never happened.

The BT broadband at home was really substandard.  Despite having the best router they provide, our wifi hardly stretched out of our living room.  We used to be able to stream TV from all over the house with o2 broadband, but this was impossible with our broadband from BT.  Additionally, our router needed resetting and the wifi would simply cut out.  We were less than satisfied. Once again, we tried to cancel and were told we couldn’t, unless we paid the rest of the 24 month bill – something we couldn’t afford.

Then we received our bill. There was a bill for broadband but no mention of a phoneline. What? We specifically asked for a phoneline.  We have small children in the house.  What if something happened and I needed to call the emergency services? Yes, we both have mobiles, but the reception in our area can often be a bit ropey.  Our daughter’s school have our home number, and I’m quite partial to a chat with my sister in the evenings. Not having a landline is just really irksome. Not to mention NOT WHAT WE ORDERED.  At this point, we could still use our home phone as it hadn’t been disconnected by our previous provider, but was due to be cut off within a couple of days.  My husband quickly ordered a landline package for us to have at home.

Are you still with me?

Cue another phonecall. My husband was passed from pillar to post, he spent hours last week talking to different people in different departments at BT, and it was then, whilst checking what services we were paying for, that he found out our initial contract at our business premises was never cancelled – but because business accounts are billed quarterly, we didn’t know.  Thanks BT.

At that point, I am sure you can imagine we were pretty confused and annoyed.  This time, we managed to cancel the contract at the business premises at a cost of £50.  Why they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do that in the first instance I don’t know.  And then we got this email:

BT email

The number (which I’ve removed for obvious reasons) is our home phone number.

Another phone call to BT, who confirmed the business broadband package we had at home had been cancelled, but the business broadband at the office hadn’t.

Massive sigh.  Why couldn’t they get this right?  We asked how long the office contract had to run, and were told it expired in March this year: 12 months after we first took it out, and somehow, magically NOT the 24 month contract we were initially told it was.

And because of their monumental screw up and ridiculous misinformation we managed to cancel the home phone contract (which happily hadn’t been processed) – an arduous task as they couldn’t even find us on their system.

Yesterday, we called our old supplier back (o2, for those interested) who welcomed us back with open arms, and great, informative customer service. Everything was dealt with by ONE person, and since we reconnected with them, we’ve received text updates stating when we can expect things to kick in.

So finally, this weekend, we should be back online. If you’ve managed to read to the end of this then I applaud you – it’s given me a headache just typing it out (or maybe thats from the near constant teeth grinding I’ve been doing out of sheer anger and frustration).  BT, you really should take a leaf out of o2’s book. You might not have so many unhappy, confused customers if you did.  And those are my last words to That Company.

While this is probably a lesson in understanding what you’re getting into before you sign, it still doesn’t excuse the fact that we were treated like crap, told different things by different people, and generally mucked around.

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  1. O2 must have improved since they were themselves part of the BT empire until a few years ago.

    At least you weren’t dealing with TalkTalk who win the worst customer service award every year. From experience they deserve it.

  2. This is a very similar experience we had when I moved in with my Ross last year. I was still under contract with BT whilst Ross’ had expired. BT were a nightmare and it’s too longwinded and painful to go into. Needless to say we moved to Virgin on 4th Jan when the BT contract expired! Why can’t they just sort it out?!!

  3. It doesn’t surprise me. We’ve come to realise that BT stands for “braindead tossers” in our house. I swear my cat could do a better job of customer care, and all she can say is miow.

  4. I think, in general, most of these companies are as bad as each other. Fine when you join them, difficult when you leave, and distinctly problematic if you want to do anything non-standard. We went back to BT for our Broadband connection about 2 years ago, and the only thing that persuaded me to do it was the @BTCare twitter account – these guys really help out. You don’t mention if you involved them or not at the time, but they are definitely the people to speak to if you’re having any trouble with BT at all.

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