BT - the worst supplier in the World?

  dms05 14:27 16 Feb 2008

After a few years abroad I returned to the UK mid 2007. I tried to get BT to provide a line. They provided me with a number and told me it was connected and started to bill me. As their weren't any BT wires entering the property this was obviously untrue. Then started the problem of contacting BT. I tried and tried and tied and tried. I phoned, I emailed, I wrote. Never received an answer.

One day I saw an Engineer up a pole from where my service should probably be provided. Luckily he was an approachable sole and agreed to test for the number I was paying for, and he found it live and unused. On his own initiative he ran a wire the 20 metres to our building and connected us to the local loop.

Some months later I did receive a call from BT, but only after I wrote to the Office of the Chairman. Without the Enginners help I could have been without a service for 4 months.

Shortly after my line was connected I decided to switch my custom to Sky who supply me a complete package of TV, Broadband and Telephone. That all works well but as I was only a short time into my BT minimum 12 month contract I continued to pay BT for the Line Rental.

I must emphasise Sky seem to have everything well organised and that part of my life works by a simple monthly direect debit.

However I made several mistakes with BT. The most serious was continuing to be a customer. Because I was a Line Rental Only user I elected for paperless billing and obviously didn't need itemised billing. Both serious mistakes because BT are now billing me for the calls I make and it's impossible to tell if they are simple duplicates of the legitimate Sky calls or phantoms.

In addition I have no way to pay BT. When I try to pay by their automated phone service the system always crashes 'due to a technical error' even when I enter the correct Maestro or Mastercard details. The same happens online with BT refusing to accept the Maestro Issue Number as used by HSBC and in the case of the Mastercard refusing the address used by BT and my Credit Card provider (even though both are identical).

I have spoken at length to BT staff without success. It's always 'I'll just transfer you' followed by the dialling tone. I find this the most offensive of all the many tricks BT staff use.

I would like to pay by cheque but don't have a BACS counterfoil to use at a bank as I'm on paperless billing. I'd pay by cash if I had the information needed to pay over the counter.

Put simply I'd like to be a model customer even though BT are the worst company I have ever dealt with. The fact that they are shabby and unreliable doesn't mean I should lower my standards. But that seems an impossible objective.

I've again written to the Chairmans Office and expect an answer in June. However I'm sure BT will discontinue my service before then.

Sky would now take over the Local Loop supply and become my sole provider. If I could pay BT I'd be tempted to pay them up until September and switch to Sky today. Sky can't possibly ever be worse than this. I can't identify a single area where BT have got anything right.

Any suggestions would be welcome!

  tullie 16:02 16 Feb 2008

Ive got my phone with Skytalk,you still need to pay BT line rental.

  tullie 16:19 16 Feb 2008

And surely if you were setting up paperless billing,you would have set up a direct debit also,thats what i did.

  dms05 16:39 16 Feb 2008

tullie - from 1/11/07 you can pay your line rental via Sky. It's a little cheaper than BT line rental.

For reasons best known only to BT I am not eligible for Direct Debit payment, their system simply won't allow me to instigate one. Which is rather odd as I pay almost every other reoccuring bill that way.

  tillybaby 19:08 16 Feb 2008

What a pity dms05 that you've been treated so shoddily with B.T. I am going back to them on the 19th February because I've always found them to be fair and do try to help if at all possible, I also pay by direct debit and haven't found any problems there either. Goodness knows why all this terrible treatment has happened to you and if I had received the same then I too would be looking to change my provider,

All I can say is good luck for the future and I hope you get it sorted out soon.

The reason I'm going back to them was because of the treatment I received from my current provider which was quite similar to you.

  martd77 19:24 16 Feb 2008

you say bt tell you you are not elegible for direct debit payment,excuse me for putting this forward and please dont take it personal,my brother in law wasnt allowed to pay his phone bill with bt by direct debit because he had a poor credit history,he had,about 7 years ago!he swapped to ntl which enabled him to pay by direct debit.

  merciarich 22:31 16 Feb 2008

Personally, I would not contact BT anymore.

You have tried to pay your bill to no avail. They will write to you when they want their money.

  dms05 08:50 17 Feb 2008

martd77 - I have an absolutely perfect credit history and don't want BT to spoil this because of their inability to conduct my account properly.

merciarich - good point. I'll let them write to me.

We've all suffered problems with Call Centres. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the central problem is Call Centres. They seem to randomly generate spurious problems and be unable to solve them themselves. Off course that's a failure of Senior Management who seem to have created monsters and are now unable to control them. Even worse Senior Management seem disinterested in the quality of the contact with their customers and concentrate on easily measurable stats like average waiting time.

A very senior and respected man in the Logistics industry said of Sainsburys 'they haven't any problems I've not seen before but this is the first time I've seen them all in the same place at the same time'. That absolutely sums up my experience with BT.

  merciarich 12:22 17 Feb 2008

"I have an absolutely perfect credit history and don't want BT to spoil this because of their inability to conduct my account properly."

dms05, wouldn't worry about this. You can appeal any entry put into your credit file if you believe it is untrue or inaccurate.
You can also add your own "notes" into your credit file, consisting of usually a short sentence, just to explain to other companies reading your file that the particular entry is false.

If you are worried about your credit file, speak to Experian for advise. I'm sure they will say similar to the above

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