Monday, 22 September 2008

BT Customer Services...

Unless you REALLY need it....
Sometimes, things happen that make you realise just how totally out of touch are the great British companies.

Here's a lovely attempt by BT to take away my father's confidence for a while. Which at ninety three is a blow and a half.

I bought him a special phone from the BT Shop. He has poor eyesight and is hard of hearing - and BT supply a phone with large clear buttons and a special loudspeaker option.

Dad lives alone. His independence is very important to him, for as long as he can manage, and we are helping him as much as we can to stay independent.

Lovely phone. Arrived quickly. And developed a fault quickly within less than a year. It flashes to let him know there is a message, when there is none. A rather cruel fault; he answers the phone thinking there's one of us on the other end, and it is blank.

Just an imperious 'You have no messages'.

The loudspeaker doesnt work properly. Intermittently. So he doesn't know if it's his hearing aid at fault, or the phone. Another cruel fault.

I contacted BT to ask them if they can mend it. It is still under warranty.

'Yes, package it up and send it to us, and we will send it to the manufacturer, and they will mend it, and send it back to us, and we will send it back to your father."

"Oh. And how long will that take?"

"Oh about six to eight weeks."

"OK. Thanks. I will package it up... meanwhile, he is 93, hard of hearing...(etc etc) please may he borrow a spare while his is mended?"



(I rang customer services - was passed from pillar to post while they pretended to know what to do, or not - making money out of me holding the line for yonks.)

"No. Buy another one." (the gist of the final reply)

I have just had it in writing from the customer services people.

Makes you proud to be British, doesnt it??

Here's a suggested sales line for them: "Are you one of our customers? Are you elderly, need a specialised phone? ....Bugger off!"


here are the emails: the first one just received:

Dear Vanessa,

I regret we do not provide temporary replacements, sorry for the inconvenience this causes you and your father.



Customer Services
BT Shop

British Telecommunications plc (BT), Registered in England: 1800000. Registered Office: 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ. Contact the BT Shop at
-----Original Message-----
Sent: 17-Sep-2008 12:28:58
Subject: Re: Query (#8744-111231171-7099)

In a message dated 17/09/2008 12:24:14 GMT Standard Time, writes:

Dear Vanessa,

Your product return details i.e. your RMA 'returns number' will follow
shortly. If you've not received your RMA by the end of today, please let us know.
Please note the RMA is valid for 14 days only.

Note: If you purchased a bundle, then all items of this bundle would need
returning. (example of this would be if we advertised a router coming with a
network card).

Thank you and regards,

Dear Andy...

this will leave my elderly father (93) with no phone.. He lives alone.. do
you supply temporary replacements?


Nik's Blog said...

Bloody discraceful.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Isnt it stomach-churning? The phone costs twenty or so quid. Of COURSE we will buy him another, but it's the principle. Seems like their customers are as disposable to them as their products.

Do pass the story round. I dont think they should be able to get away with this without as many people as possible knowing.

Nik's Blog said...

Consider it done. (Actually it HAS been done!)

It beggars belief that these houshold companies aren't set up in a way that can help their customers. What's their Customer Service dept's brief, I wonder.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

To make a few quid more for the shareholders. Easy... screw another few quid out of the customer who has been with them for years and years and would never have dreamed of going to another company...

Nik's Blog said...

Certainly seems like it, dunnit? It is stomach-churning. It just doesn't surprise me. And that's a sad thing.

Tania Hershman said...

That's really shocking and disgusting. No-one cares anymore, do they? No-one gives a damn. More than their job's worth, eh. So sorry. Any other phone companies you could switch to?

pierre l said...

"we are sorry for any inconvenience". Is that the greatest lie in British industry?
Since the item was less than 1 year old, I would think that it was "not of mearchantable quality" (or whatever the words are) under the Sales of Good act, and that you should be entitled to an immediate refund, or replacement (not the offer of repairs). In any case, small electrical items, probably made in China, are not really repairable, so all they'll do if give you a new one in six weeks's time, or return the old one "no fault found". I hope I'm not making you even more angry... Sorry

OSLO said...

Agree with Pierre - as it is still under warranty, they should supply you with a replacement immediately and provide you with a pre-paid package to send back the faulty phone. Our keyboard died recently and this is what happened thanks to Logitech. In Norway, though. Sounds like BT could really learn a few lessons about customer service. How infuriating! Don't some of the British newspapers do consumer columns? Perhaps it's worth writing into them just to make you feel better.

Jo Horsman said...

Ggrrr. I had this kind of thing to deal with once. One of my patients had their phone cut-off whilst they were under section in hospital. BT refused to reconnect their line until the balance of SEVENTEEN POUNDS was paid. So, an extremely vulnerable member of society came out of hospital with no way of contacting their support team or anybody else they may have wanted to be in contact with.

I phoned them and said - 'when I end this phonecall, I am going to call the newspapers' at which point, the case was handed to a more senior individual who authorised the reconnection.