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For years and years I was a very happy BT customer (and many of my family still are I might add). I found them to be a trustworthy company (I used to love Busby...am I that old?) who did what they said they would do and I had no complaints. Then we bought our first house and we wanted cable television - something which BT couldn't provide. So reluctantly I gave in to my husband's suggestion that we got Telewest (then Virgin Media) installed. I have to say that despite my initial apprehension we have had 6 and half years of trouble free service from our cable provider (and I know that this is not an experience shared by alot of people but we've had no complaints).
Now we have moved. Because we are renting our new place our landlord has asked us to (if we possibly can) avoid having cable or Sky installed. So the only option we had was to take over the existing BT line and explore the world of BT phones, broadband and their BT Vision.
Initially all seemed to be well. My husband called BT and they confirmed that we had a functioning line in the new house so we just needed to switch it over on the day we moved in and we had given them 2 working days to do this so all would be fine. We were then told that a week after the phone was switched on our broadband would be ready and then a week after that we would get our BT Vision.
All of this seemed very efficient but one thing that bothered us was the lack of combined phone/broadband and tv package. You go onto BT's website and you have to order them separately - there is no package deal and you have to pay separately for each service. So this is why my husband called BT to discuss our requirements and book everything that we needed in one go. And indeed this should have rung more alarm bells than it did at the time. As far as we were concerned my husband had ordered everything that we required just from this one phonecall and so we moved in thinking all was sorted out.
So the first thing that went wrong was that instead of our phone being switched on the day we moved in, we were without a landline over the weekend. In itself not a big problem but my business number was being redirected to my parents' number over the weekend which wasn't ideal. So my husband phoned BT on the Monday to see what had happened. He was then told that they need 3 working days to switch the phone and it would be done sometime on the Monday. So their operatives obviously don't know their standard procedures! And by the time my husband had finished this conversation with them (he texted me whilst he was talking to them from work) the phone line was switched on. Was this a coincidence or was it a "oops we messed that one up so we better sort it now"?
Whilst on the phone my husband asked them to check that the 1571 and caller recognition had been turned on as we had previously asked. He was told yes it was working. But it wasn't and when my husband called them again he was told there was no record of us requesting it. This to me is completely unacceptable but we need a phone and if we can't get sky or cable we are a bit limited! Whilst on the phone on this occasion my husband asked if the broadband was still on course and was told yes it was so we thought "oh well at least that is sorted".
Again our faith was ill founded. We had heard nothing about the broadband (for those who don't know they send you equipment via Royal Mail to enable you to set it up) so my husband called them again to enquire what was happening with this service only to be told there was no record of us ordering it. You see as it turns out you can't order your telephone and broadband/vision in one phonecall. They are different departments which need to be contacted separately. But each department seems quite happy to lead the customer on into thinking that they are able to order everything in one go. This time however, my husband was given the appropriate number to call and once booked we received a voice message within an hour telling us that our broadband had been ordered, when we should receive the necessary equipment to allow this and when the service would be switched on. Now this is more like the service I would expect and had enjoyed a few years ago when a BT customer. Luckily for us our broadband is now fully functioning as it was eventually promised which is a relief as I really couldn't carry on using my mobile broadband connection as it was so slow and was making working pretty unbearable. But this delay was totally unacceptable considering what we were initially promised.
What I would say though is that the standard of service we have received from BT so far has been at both extremes of the scale. It has gone from extremely bad to extremely efficient but only after we threatened to kick up a stink about the service (or maybe that is how it feels given the disappointing service we have received so far). We have found that their ordering system is overly complicated and find the lack of accountability from its staff and the fact that we were obviously misled is something totally unacceptable. So much so that we have asked our landlord if he would consider allowing us to have cable installed.
But in the meantime because I work from home we need a functioning phone and broadband service for a few months at least before we are hopefully allowed to switch. What I find so upsetting is that this company used to be so reputable and yet now having just gone back to them I can't wait to get away from them again because of their appauling service and lack of communication which considering that is the business they are in is somewhat ironic.
I'm sure there are some people out there who have nothing but praise for BT but if you are considering switching back to BT I would advise caution and don't assume that the person you are speaking to is actually ordering what you are after. Ask them for all the phone numbers of the departments you need to call to set up your services from the outset but still don't assume that your services have been set up - keep chasing them. Hopefully the service we receive will improve but given what we have encountered so far we're not holding our breath.