Sunday, 4 October 2009
How to take on BT - and WIN!
Back after a holiday break… I was in a coffee shop recently, advising a friend who was having serious problems with BT (British Telecom), his online suppliers. I explained the whole process I went through over a year ago - and I won [see end of this blog]… and a lady sitting at a nearby table started asking questions…she was also taking notes! I realised this was advice others might benefit from too, so here we go.
Unfortunately, you Have to go through these Steps, one by one, you cannot leap to the final step (and get it resolved).
Keep a DIARY (of dates, letters, telephone calls, conversations, promises and broken promises, threats, etc). This applies to any complaint you may have against a company. ALWAYS keep a contemporaneous Diary.
Step 1: Write a letter to Ofcom [Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London
SE1 9HA. Telephone: 020 7981 3040 or 0300 123 3333 - I would advise you call them, they are very helpful). http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain
In your letter, outline your complaint fully. They will then issue you with a Complaints Number (This is Important). [Note: On All future correspondence, quote this Complaints Number]. They will also send you a letter outlining what you do next. Which is:
Step 2: You write to BT (to their general address in Durham is OK, they won’t bother to reply). In your letter you outline your complaint, also write down what you feel is a reasonable compensation and give them a deadline to respond (eg. 10-14 days). Like I said, BT won’t respond anyway.
Step 3: Then you contact OTELO (the Telecommunications Ombudsman). PO Box 730, Warrington, WA4 6WU. Phone: 0330 440 1614 or 01925 430 049
[Note: These telephone numbers may be cheaper to use if you use a mobile phone or phone provider other than BT, and will be “free” if you pay a monthly charge for calls to numbers starting 01 or 02]]. You can also call them on: 0845 050 1614
Again, in your letter you tell them you wish to pursue BT through the ADR process (Alternative Disputes Resolution). [These words strike fear in the heart of BT!].
Otelo will give you the direct line and address info for BT’s complaints Department and tell you to send the outline letter also stating what you regard as reasonable compensation, and (finally) BT should get back to you - and things will actually start happening.
[Trouble is, you can’t jump straight to this point, you have to jump through all these above hoops first].
Step 4: FINALLY, you get to the BT Complaints Number, which is...
Switchboard: 013244 52933
One of their officers is Tony Crawley. His direct line number is 013244 57956 (although he might have moved on, or been made redundant - BT tend to make redundant their best staff].
Don’t expect to get through immediately - they are very overworked!
And send your complaints letter off to them, with what you regard as adequate compensation. They Will get back to you.
…and do get back to me if you have any success with this method.
In my own case, I spent almost eighteen months being buggered-about by BT. Once I started the OfCom process it was resolved in about eight weeks. Indeed, once I’d finally reached the right person at BT Complaints, he phoned me up with the words: “It’s taken me about four days going through your case to find out what it’s all about, and I have to say: we really have F***ed this one up, haven’t we?”.
Eventually I got:
- a wiping the slate clean of any claimed outstanding monies
- free line reconnection
- free line rental for one year and
- free BT Broadband for one year.