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Is this how BT demonstrate loyalty to long-standing customer's

Our correspondent writes ...

1 November 2013

BT & Openreach are utterly dreadful.

To avoid this being too long to read I will summarise this as a diary. I live in Gravesend, Kent. I have moved house to one even nearer the exchange – less than half a mile even by the route BT's cable takes.

11 Sept: I fill in BT's online forms for moving home and tick the boxes for their flagship Infinity broadband service. At that same time I pay by card the full £141 for the coming year's line rental. BT's immediate online response is that an engineer will visit on Oct 1st to activate the line because a new line must be established. I am sent emails reminding me not to miss the appointment.
1st Oct:
(20th day)
I wait in for the Openreach engineer who does not arrive. Nor am I contacted to explain why.
2nd Oct:
(21st day)
I call BT's Indian call centre and am told the engineer was not able to access my premises. I reply that this is a lie, that I had waited at the door to be certain. They tell me someone will call with a new appointment within 48 hours.
14th Oct:
(33rd day)
I waited longer than the allotted 48 hours but still no call from BT so I call India again and this time I wait while they talk with Openreach. I am given a new engineer visit for 21st Oct. I am sent an SMS reminder to wait in.
21st Oct:
(40th day)
You can guess can't you. No engineer arrives. After the scheduled appointment I telephone India once more. I'm told Openreach have realised a new line needs fitting. I ask why they only know now when they admitted this on 11th Sept? They can't explain, of course. I am told Openreach will contact me on Oct 31st – not an engineer visit, just a call to say when an engineer might visit.
22nd Oct:
(41st day)
I skip a day because I am so livid I might be too abusive talking to BT.
23rd Oct:
(42nd day)
I write a traditional letter to Gavin Patterson the CEO of BT outlining the situation.
25th Oct (44th day): Pip Nicholls of BT's Executive Level Complaints department telephones and emails me saying that he has asked Openreach for an explanation and that one of his staff will contact me on Monday.
28th Oct (47th day): Liz from BT's Executive Level Complaints department telephones to tell me an Openreach engineer will visit in two days time on 30th Oct.
30th Oct:
(49th day)
An Openreach engineer arrives early in the morning to trace and connect my line to the exchange. After two hours outside in pavement holes etc. he tells me that the line now goes to the exchange and that he will visit the exchange that afternoon to connect the other end. Remember, the exchange is only yards away, not miles. It isn't done.
31st Oct (50th day): I telephone BT's Executive Level Complaints department who, by the way, do not answer the phone. You have to leave a message and await a callback. Chris calls me back. “Openreach will do the exchange end of the line today,” he says.
1st Nov
(51st day):
Progress of a sort. When people call my number they hear a ring tone instead of the previous tone. Sadly my phone doesn't sound so callers assume I am ignoring them. Indeed my line has no dial tone even. As I write this I have again left a message with BT's Executive Level Complaints department and am awaiting their explanations.
BT's fault reporting website says “Sorry, we are unable accept fault reports online for this type of line.” What type do they mean? Faulty lines? Calling the number to report faults, BT's automaton says it's a 30 minute wait. I don't bother because I know they won't be able to resolve the issue.
(afternoon) I now have a telephone line but no broadband. I dread to think how long that might take!

So here we are. BT has taken my money and not provided the service they've been paid for. Furthermore I am repeatedly fobbed off with excuses, half-truths and failure to return calls or keep appointments. BT are utterly disinterested in resolving service problems – even their Chief Executive Gavin Patterson cannot get Openreach staff to provide a competent level of service. It is now nearing two months since BT became aware that a line needed to be installed and they still haven't done it.

I want BT to know who is filing this name-n-shame report. My BT Executive Level Complaints case number is: 59359.

Chris Dean of Selsey writes:

Moved from a rented house on the 19th of April due to BT/Openreach not being able to connect the phone for 5 weeks! left the line connected so at least had some access to Broadband but requested they sever line on the 5th of May even though we were living elsewhere. BT gave us the 16th of May for connection - waited in, no Openreach engineer called.
Angry phone call results in another appt on SUNDAY the 18th. You guessed it, no-one turned up. Another angry phone call results in another appointment for the 21st. Guess what happened - no-one turned up.
Have now been without phone & broadband for over 4 weeks incl 3 missed appts by Openreach. My son wanted a cowboy outfit for Christmas so I bought him Openreach!!
Who holds this lot to account? What penalties are imposed? The top dogs must be raking it in and laughing at us all while the Openreach engineers sit with their feet up playing cards - no really! I was told this by one of them!! THEY COULDN'T RUN A BATH

Editorial Comment:

Although Openreach is supposedly part of the BT organisation they are completely unaccountable to BT or anyone else. They seem to do as they like. Cowboy outfit may indeed be the right term for them.

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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