Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)
369 reviews from the community
Review of "Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)"
Has it really been ten years? That's frightening.
LOBOTOMYLet’s run the clock back to August last year. Our (small) company was moving office, and we needed to transfer our existing feature line system across to said new premises, which were shiny new, and without any existing phone points. For those who don’t know, a feature line system is essentially one main number, which then feeds an internal network of lines, all of which are connected to the exchange under their own individual numbers. You can then implant a national rate/free phone number over the top of the main number and presto, your own phone network, which can be manipulated accordingly.
BT had invoiced us for this on a quarterly basis, and their billing period overlapped our move. I wrote to them advising of the change, asking if they would mind part crediting the original invoice and re-issuing the rest of the period under the new number and address. Simple. Only, I hadn’t allowed for the BT lobotomy that obviously forms part of their employee initiation.A month into the move and we were gracelessly and abruptly cut off. No warning, no letter, no phone call. Naively, I called to report a fault on 150. We were brusquely informed that we had defaulted on our payment, and that the lifeblood of our business would be in a state of paralysis for 24 hours, this being subject to the caveat of immediate payment. I politely informed them that we were awaiting a new (correct) invoice, referring them to my letter. The response I received was something along the lines of:-
“No record of that Sir, and I’m afraid my corporate lobotomy prevents me from assisting you any further” [dribbles inanely onto keyboard]We had to tear a strip off of the billing department in order to speak to a supervisor, who somehow managed to whittle the 24 hour minimum reconnection time - which was impossible to deviate from - down to thirty minutes. Amazing! They also agreed to reissue the invoice to reflect the changes.
Until we were cut off again; same problem, same unannounced method. Only this time, the invoicing saga had reached new levels of stupidity. Cue lobotomised call centre operative No.2, who obviously still possessed enough functioning grey matter to lace her reaction with a distinctly patronising tone:-“Actually, you should have paid the original invoice in full; there was no need to split this in the first place. Your line can’t be reconnected for 24 hours, subject to…….”
……….at this stage I stated in the clearest possible terms that our phones would be online again in thirty minutes, subject to nothing. They hung up on me. I called back, and demanded to speak to a supervisor. Thirty minutes later… (you know the story).STUPID, STUPID MOTH
Like a moth dive-bombing a light bulb, we decided to give BT another chance, and contacted BT Openworld (BT’s sister company) to have broadband fitted on our premises. We work in a barn conversion in the country, so were slightly concerned that the distance to the exchange would prevent us installing it. BT told us this:-“We think you’re close enough to the exchange, however we can’t be certain it will work until we install the line; you’re in a ‘grey area’. You’ll probably be OK though.” – Ten out of ten for clarity, BT. After pressing them for an answer, they eventually ran a decibel check (not sure what this involves) and gave us the go-ahead.
We arranged a BT engineer to install a new dedicated line for broadband (we had no spare lines), and Openworld sent us the equipment. We waited patiently. On connection day, we called our IT consultant in to configure our new server in conjunction with broadband. We waited for the green light on the modem…… and waited, and waited. Concerned, we called Openworld to establish the situation:-“I’m afraid you’re too far from the exchange, you require a satellite broadband connection”
SWINES. We took a deep, resigning breath (and some Kalms) and began arranging the vastly expensive satellite system. Just prior to this taking place, we received a surprise email from Openworld: - “Great news! You are in a broadband enabled area!” They had discovered a different exchange from which we could receive broadband. Our card processing machine was our solitary line on this exchange, so we reorganised our office to free it (which involved moving desks etc). Connection day arrived. Can you guess what’s coming?“I’m afraid you’re too far from the exchange,…[phone clunks]
Note to reader:- I apologise if this is becoming tedious but alas, there’s more.TELEPHONIC HADES
Naturally, BT disconnected and credited the line originally installed, and gave us £40 compensation (steady!). They sent this via a credit note, which we deducted from our next quarterly payment. Unbeknownst to us, they had also sent us (separately) a cheque for the same amount, which our receptionist banked. Consequently, their bountiful and extravagant £40 offer had been ‘surreptitiously’ taken twice. We now arrive at this morning, and Disconnection Three: Return of the ****wits.Again unannounced, our phones have ceased to operate. After being informed it was not a fault (I’m an innocent sucker aren’t I?) I have been told off for “underpaying the account by £40.” Thanks for letting us know. Five hours on, a BT supervisor has become entangled again, and I am awaiting reconnection.
One aspect of BT’s service I have grown to ‘appreciate’ is their infuriating habit of neglecting to communicate their actions, either planned or completed, to you, the customer. Should you feel that an injustice has occurred, you have no way of relaying this to the relevant people, as you are shunted from department to department without any sense of progress. Any guarantees of a resolution to your problems leave you feeling uneasy; their staff instill no confidence that your grievances have been understood.To be fair, most people I’ve spoken to at BT are initially polite, yet when confronted with a dilemma that isn’t explained by the on-screen notes, they rapidly become aggressive/patronising/unsympathetic, and revert to parrot fashion responses quoting BT’s standard practice, lifted straight from the work avoidance manual. It’s nonsense. Only demanding to speak with a supervisor yields any rewards.
Whatever crime against humanity they’ve committed, never take no for an answer. Only accept speaking to a supervisor. Once you reach this stage you MUST obtain their full name, position and location, otherwise when you call back you have no comeback, and are forced to restart you journey through telephonic Hades. In addition, obtain their direct telephone number if they’ll part with it. Hassle, be firm but polite, and eventually you will succeed in overthrowing the ridiculous BT protocol and solving your problem promptly. Also, when you do receive a positive response, call back in half an hour to check the notes on your file reflect what you’ve been told.The contempt with which BT treats its customers is typical of the ugly, wasteful corporate. You need them more than they need you (that’s not always been true in BT’s case!), hence they can lay back and enjoy watching you wrestle with their disjointed and roundly useless infrastructure, in all probability solely geared to cut overheads. Exhausted? Reached breaking point? Fine, there’s plenty more ‘working their way back to us’ (literally) so take your pittance somewhere else. Have a nice day.
It’s outrageous when companies weigh the cost of providing a decent service against how many customers they’ll lose by not providing it. I’m going to drink some bleach.Note Re: - Compensation – BT will offer you three months line rental as maximum compensation. Never accept this. Persist, and they will send you a pack to substantiate financial loss, should you believe it to exceed their offer. After falling for their ruse the first time, I’m going to have fun with mine.
**UPDATE** We were reconnected five minutes post-rant, at 1.00pm. Guess what? It’s now 5.00pm, and we’ve been disconnected again, and told it’ll take 24 hours to recover. Why? £40 give you any clues? PRICELESS.
Product Information : Buyer Beware! (urgent warnings about products/services to avoid at all costs)
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Listed on Ciao since: 27/09/2000