Sunday, 22 August 2010

BT - Part 4: Yet ANOTHER Broadband Rant!

Here we go again! It all started on Wednesday night (18th) when my local area experienced a power surge. While some parts of the district lost their entire power for an hour we only noticed a momentary flicker of lights for seconds.

19th August: Next day (Thursday) I was out most of the day at a Wardrobe Fitting (for a film part - I shall write about this in due course). When I returned home about 4pm my broadband was dead.

I tried all the diagnostics suggested by BT on-screen, none of which worked, and ended up on the notice that read “Phone BT engineer on these numbers:
0800 800151
0800 1114567
0800 1690199 "

…and so I did…and waited…and waited…only to reach the recorded message “things are rather busy at the moment, please try later”.

Two hours later, after repeated attempts, I finally got through to speak to someone…at a BT Call Centre…in India (as usual!)….here we go again.

After thirty minutes of fruitless chat and suggestions, I realised I was getting nowhere and asked to speak to the chap’s Supervisor. And I got through to him. Surprisingly, he actually gave me his Full name [they rarely do at BT]: one Mr. Rocky Chaman.

Rocky babbled on incomprehensibly for a while, until I said - as I have had cause to when dealing with BT’s Indian Call Centres - “Could. You. Please. Speak. Slowly. And. Clearly. So. That. I. May. Understand. You?”.

And so he did - or, at least, he tried.

It ended up with me giving him a five-minute lesson in English pronunciation:-

Him: blah blah…prowider…..
Me: I beg your pardon?
Him: prowider….
Me: Eh?
Him: prowider….
Me: Do you mean Provider, with a Vee?
Him: Yes.Prowider.
Me: No, repeat after me: pro-vider
Him: Prowider
Me: No, again: provider
Him: prowider
Me: again...

…and so we went on until it became clear that young Rocky Chaman was not going to speak clearly or properly.

Ah, yes, dear dear Rocky (remember, he is a Superwiser!) he did try to suggest a number of solutions to my broadband problems, while still firmly refusing my repeated requests for a visit from a BT engineer. And then he said…

“what I want you to do is go to the junction box on the wall and, with a screwdriver, unscrew the protective covering off…”

“NO!”, I yelled, “No, no!. What you are telling me is Illegal - in the UK anyway - and if a BT engineer saw that, they would say ‘someone’s been tampering with that connection, I’m not touching that’”.

So now, we have BT employees telling their customers to perform an illegal act.

It was at this point that I informed Supervisor Rocky that I wished to speak to His boss. Eventually, after much pressure and a lot of waiting, he finally put me through to Mr. Samir Das (of the BT Complaints Department). By now I had been on the phone for about an hour.

I explained the situation to Mr. Das and he sounded a little slow on the uptake until I mentioned two things:



(a) I pointed him in the direction of this blog, and to my previous rants about BT, particularly:


and (b) I mentioned to him “funnily enough, this week, I received a bill from BT for over £100. I was going to pay that off, in cash, tomorrow at my bank. You are not seeing a penny of that until this entire matter is cleared up and resolved“. [I also mentioned the word “compensation” and he did not shy away from it].

That seemed to gee-up Mr. Das a little. Finally, he said he would mark-up this case as “High Priority” and book me a visit from a BT engineer (from their Diagnostics Team, whatever that means). We both agreed that this visit take place tomorrow (Friday) between the times of 1.pm. and 6.pm - he even sent me a text confirming this information [just remember that]. This took, in all, one hour and twenty minutes to resolve. And so on to…
Friday 20th August: Morning, 10.am., there’s a knock on the door. It’s the BT engineer. I mentioned that we had arranged a visit “between 1pm and 6pm” and he replied “you were definitely booked-in on my schedule for between 9am and 12 noon.

My heart sank, but I decided not to argue. I explained the problem and he ran various tests on my BT hub, which was still blank on the Broadband light. I also explained to him about the “now go to the junction box with a screwdriver…” nonsense and he threw his hands in the air and agreed with my assertion that a BT engineer would Never touch a junction box that had been tampered with.

It took him almost two hours of comings and goings and visits to the local “Green Box” (the junction box) at the end of the street. He’d worked out that the fault did not lay between my computer and the Green Box, but between the Green Box and the local Exchange.

By 11.55.am. He said to me “I may have to time this job out and return it to the depot”. What he meant was: each engineer is given a two-hour space in which to sort out a problem. If it can’t be fixed after two hours, the job goes back to the depot and put in a pool for another engineer to pick it up at another date.

So much for blinding efficiency, BT! (no wonder this country is f***ed). What management consultant thought that one up!?

At twelve noon he left, the broadband seemed to be working somehow (whatever he did I don’t know)….

…and then 45 minutes later, the Broadband stopped again. I pressed the Restart button on the BT Hub (my third in as many years!) and it seemed to work again. So, later that night, as arranged, Samir Das of BT Priority Care (he called it) [number 0800 3289393] phoned me back…at 7.50.pm, even though he’d promised to call me between 6pm and 7pm.

I told him that my broadband seemed to be working, albeit unreliably. He agree to phone me back tomorrow (Saturday).
Saturday, 21st August: I was filming in Brighton that day [another project]. No call from Mr. Das at the agreed time (between 11am and 12 noon), but he finally got to me at 1.50pm. I explained that things seemed to be going OK but we both agreed that he keep track of this and phone me again tomorrow.

Sunday 22nd August: Again, the agreed time (between 1-2pm) was irrelevant: Mr. Das of BT Priority Care phoned me at…11.15.am - I was in bed and barely awake (well it was a hard day’s filming yesterday). I told him to phone me later, which he did…at 2.30pm.

I explained to him that things Seemed to be working OK and he agreed to keep monitoring this on a daily basis for at least another 48 hours; he also mentioned the concept of “compensation”, which I seemed to be bringing him around to.

Ironically, barely three minutes after the end of our chat, at 2.36.pm., my broadband stopped again. So I went to the hub and pressed the Restart button and things appeared to work again……..

At 4pm, having come back from a coffee, I went online again…until 4.40.pm. When (you’ve guessed it) the broadband stopped again. And Again I pressed the Restart button on the BT hub, to get the thing working again.

Oh, Mr. Samir Das of BT Priority Care, I hope you are reading this. We have MUCH to discuss tomorrow (and that‘s even before we reach the moment of “compensation“)
Wednesday 25th August (late evening): Over 48 hours have passed and no communication whatsoever from Mr. Das since we last spoke on Sunday afternoon, and the broadband went down - twice. Oh, and the bill remains unpaid. Congratulations BT, you really sorted that one out, didn’t you?

4 comments:

Ray Frensham said...

From Brian Crotaz (via my FaceBook page):
Move to Plusnet. I've been with them 14 years and never had problems like this. Support is really good too. Let me know if you move and I get a referral refund if you do it through me

Ray Frensham said...

FROM: Theodore B. Korn [Ohio, USA] -- via Facebook link:-

Ray, we still get a service man for such problems or issues in Whitehouse Ohio (outside of Toledo) and after reading your blog, indeed its a blessing we still have.

Jesse Boucher said...

Ray I am with Plus Net, unfortunately they use BT open reach to sort out broadband problems locally, all told it has taken 1 month to get back online and largely down to BT being utterly useless at diagnosing the problem!

NJS said...

Yes, Ray, it is Time To Leave. Blighty Has Had Its Chips (that's the polite version). You get better internet service in Brazil!