I am posting this here as really a final attempt to see if anything helpful will actually be done by BT, but I think also as more of a warning to others, as I truly have ben a “victim” of their so called customer service.
To make clear, I don’t really use my landline, the only reason that I even have a landline is for my broadband which I get from another supplier, as I need this for work, it is rather essential, so when there is a problem with the line it causes me great stress as it threatens my ability to work and make money and pay bills etc. Generally the only time I use the phone is if I have to call a free phone number or a number which is chargeable from a mobile.
Over a year ago now, back in July 2011, I had just finished dealing with someone from BT’s head office as I had been forced to go there due to surprise surprise BT not adequately dealing with a complaint, that time due to charges on my bill for calls I hadn’t made. The man I was speaking to, fixed all the problem, re-set up my quarterly direct debits and said if there were ever any issues again to come straight back to him.
Cut to the end of August this year. I happened to pick up the phone to try and call a free phone number when I discovered that the phone could not make outgoing calls. At this point I have had NO communication with BT of ANY kind, calls, emails, texts or letters. Since dealing with their head office the previous year. When I eventually get through to someone, Im informed that the line has been restricted due to non payment of the bill. I asked if there has been a problem with the most recent payment or has a payment bounced and I am informed that in fact BT haven’t taken a payment in a year!!!!! I ask how this is possible, and also how has no one from BT got in contact with me about it, I mean they are supposed to be a Communications company, yet they seem to be severely lacking in communication, as the only reason I knew there was a problem was that I happened to pick up my phone. After speaking to around 3 different people in one of BT’s non English as a first language speaking call centres, various promises of a callback which funnily enough never happened, and god knows how much cost on my mobile phone bill, I finally managed to speak to a manager to try and figure out what had happened and how we could get this fixed.
I was told by the Manager that they honestly had no idea how firstly they weren’t taking direct debit payments, and secondly how this could have been allowed to run for a year without BT really contacting me about it or even taking any action like restricting the line after the first time they didn’t take a direct debit. I was informed that the balance of the account was over £400. I made the point and the manager agreed that asking a customer to make that kind of payment in one go with no warning, particularly in these circumstances was unacceptable and a solution had to be reached. I said I was happy to pay it off in installments or work something out that way, and the manager also said they would need to check as perhaps some of the bill may have even been supposed to be covered as compensation for part of the previous complaint and due to an oversight may have caused the rest of the year to go untouched, as otherwise she wasn’t really sure how this could have occurred. The Manger then told me that she was going to go away and thoroughly investigate this and speak to the person who had originally set up my direct debit to see if there was any issue there. She told me that she would be looking into this and would then come back to me with the answers to how this happened and also a solution to paying it off. Also while she was looking into this she would restore my line fully, as this was obviously a larger problem at BT’s end. This seemed to be a fair agreement and I told her I looked forward to hearing back from them when they had it sorted out and we could get this cleared up. How foolish I was.
Cut to the end of last month, I had family members in New York and New Jersey on holiday at the time of the hurricane hitting there. One night I picked up the phone to try and get in touch with them to make sure they were okay and I discovered that once again my line had been restricted for outgoing calls. To be clear here, the last time I had any contact with BT was when speaking to the manager at the end of August as described above. As you can imagine, having my line suddenly restricted and considering the circumstances I was particularly angry. I called in the next day, and despite asking what was going on and what had happened to the investigation into my account, instead all I got was a wall of “The account has been restricted due to non payment”. I would respond, yes I get that, but BT were supposed to be resolving the matter and coming back to me with a way to pay off the balance. Again the only response I would be given was “The account has been restricted due to non payment”. No other information, just that statement. I asked to speak to a manager and was promised a callback from one. It never materialized. I called back in gain, asking for someone to call me about this as I wanted to get it resolved, was promised one but again never received one.
Then last Monday, the 12th of November, I finally called in AGAIN at my expense, and spoke to someone who actually seemed to understand the term “Customer Service”. She took the time to look at the notes, saw that I was supposed to have been called about this but that no one had, and that in fact no one had even bothered to look into my account or even do anything with it. In fact I believe I was told that no one had even accessed my account since the last time I spoke with BT, back in August. I asked her if it should really be this hard for me to set up some sort of payment plan, I mean Im asking a company to let me give them money but they don’t seem to be interested. She apologized and said that she was going to personally pass this to her manager, that she would fully investigate the matter, sort it out and come back to me with the solution so we could resolve the matter and put it to bed. She gave me her word that her manager would be calling me within 48 hours. And guess what? That’s right, I never received any call whatsoever.
So Wednesday this week, 2 days ago, I call back into BT, to ask why this manager hasn’t called me back as promised and what exactly is going on. At this point I get more of the stonewall “The account has been restricted due to non payment”. However also at this point get told that my line is going to be terminated fully this coming Saturday. Again I will point out that no one from BT had communicated this to me in any way, no warning, no letter, text, email or call, from this global telecommunications company. However I am then informed that someone had called and spoke to me the previous Saturday, had given me this information and I had “agreed” with it. I informed the agent that this hadn’t happened, no one from BT had spoke to me on Saturday, and certainly not at the time of 11:30am as it was noted on my account, as I had been out the previous night and had only got in at 8am Saturday morning and went straight to sleep. This didn’t seem to bother them or they just didn’t care as now all that I could get from anyone was “The account has been restricted due to non payment and we are cancelling it on Saturday”. No offer of sorting out to get it paid, no explanation as to what had gone on or why no one had done anything, just a set response that felt like I was talking to a computer with only one programmed response. I was also informed that my account had now been ring-fenced by a particular department and only they would deal with it and they had no interest in my complaints or issues, they only cared about the bill in full and if not paid then it would be cut of Friday. I pointed out that I had not been given any notification of their action of any kind. The response verbatim I was given was,
“We don’t have to inform you if we are going to restrict or cancel your account, we can just do it”
Also they didn’t seem to care about the fact that someone in their company had blatantly lied and put information on my account saying they had spoke to me about this to inform me of it and I had agreed with it!!!!!! So fraudulent activity by BT and they don’t even seem to care. I asked for the details of the person who had left this note as I wished to complain, but was simply brushed a way with
“Oh we wont give that to you, we will just take care of it internally, you don’t need to worry about it”
I don’t need to worry about false information being put on my account???? I think BT doesn’t really have an understanding of what concerns the average customer, as someone falsifying information on their account is kind of a HUGE deal. At this point I had tried several times by phone and email to contact the person who had dealt with my account last year and had set up the supposed direct debit but surprise surprise, they never responded to one of my attempts, not even a polite message to say they had received it or that someone else might be dealing with it, nothing, not a peep.
At the end of the day with my head ready to explode I finally managed to get a number for a manager in BT’s head office. I called their office line and got to speak to them. I explained the above and they were very sympathetic and apologized, and agreed that the way it had been handled was wrong, and asking someone to pay £400+ without any notification and also when they had previously told me they would be sorting out a payment plan was unacceptable. He then told me he would be passing my information to an executive level complaints operative and that they would call me back the very next day to discuss the problem and get it resolved. Again I pointed out that I didn’t think it would be this much hassle for a person who is trying to set up payments to get it sorted. I then left this call, feeling a lot better as it seemed I was finally going to get this sorted.
However, the next day not only did I not receive a call, but instead I got an email from the person who the matter had been passed to, which simply said, ‘We haven’t had a payment in a year, the direct debits haven’t been taken, we have now sent you duplicate bills so you have a copy of them and you have been informed that the account will cease on Saturday (conveniently leaving out the fact that I was only informed of this the day previously). That was it. I called and left 2 voicemails and responded by email saying that could she please call me as her email has not in any way dealt with any of my issues or even tried to resolve this, and being as one of my biggest issues was that for 3 months I have been constantly calling BT and not one person has been bothered to call me, and the response to my speaking tp a manager at BT’s head office was for her to send me an email that as far as she was concerned I might not even get due to current restrictions on the line. I never received any call from her that day.
That evening I managed to get back in touch with the person from the head office I had spoken to the previous day. I expressed my exasperation that with a major issue where one of the main problems is BT’s seeming inability to call me back when promised, the person who as supposed to be looking into this hadn’t even bothered to call me to find out the issues and what the complaint details were!!!!! I was again promised that he would get her to call me first thing Friday. She did, I spoke with her about an hour ago, and from the fact that I have felt compelled to write this should tell you exactly how helpful she was.
When I answered the phone, the first thing she said to me was, “The only reason for this call is merely a courtesy, it doesn’t matter what you say or what has happened it will not effect the decision to terminate your line tomorrow” If that doesn’t just sum up the entire BT experience for the average customer Im not sure what could. Not only that but she claimed that BT had tried to contact me numerous times in regards to this yet mysteriously could not provide me with a single precise date of any of these supposed communications. I was called a “liar” as she said that I must have noticed that the quarterly direct debits hadn’t come out. This is despite the fact that the entire point of a direct debit is that you don’t have to check it, it just pays it, its how I pay my rent, gas, electricity, broadband, mobile phone and I assumed my phone line. Also if there has ever been an issue, the company involved is usually very quick and good about getting in touch, as its money you owe them/ Not BT though it seems. I said that all I’ve been wanting to do for the last 3 months is get something set up to pay this off. However I’m told that they wont do that that they NEVER allow payment plans (a blatant lie)and that even though I’ve only had 2 days notice and even then nothing in writing, they don’t have to inform me anyway, they can just do what they want.
I tried to point out the effect this would have, I even made it clear that I was perfectly happy that while I was making payments to clear the debt that they could keep the line restricted, but at least still active as otherwise I cant work, I cant make money, I cant pay my rent, I lose my flat, I cant afford to buy food and in essence it royally messes up my life. The response was that they didn’t care and unless the full amount is paid then tough.
However the most disgusting, Blatant and downright underhanded moment (and bear in mind at this point Ive been openly called a liar) came, when I brought up the fact that there is false information on my account, that someone had lied and put fraudulent information on my account. Her response, and I still have trouble accepting this was
“Well I don’t think one of our agents would do that, so Im not even going to look into it”.
Despite the fact that she could confirm that there was no call in under 5 minutes she refused to check it. I asked her to go get the call recording as there wouldn’t be one, and if she wasn’t going to help with my account at least please fix this, someone in BT has put false info on my account and you can check this yourself, it will take you no time, just confirm it. She however again refused to even look into it as she didn’t “THINK” that someone would do that. She also refused to go and listen to or check the calls I had back in August with the manager who had promised to sort out a payment plan and investigate, she refused to check or listen to the call from last Monday where an agent had confirmed that the previous manager was supposed to have done this but hadn’t done anything with it. She refused to do anything in any way that might mean she would have to change the position she had come on the phone to me with and had made clear she didn’t want to change. So in essence this person who is supposed to be trained in customer service and conplaint resolution, didn’t even bother her backside to speak to the customer making a complaint to find out the issues, just decided to check a few notes, not pay any real attention and sho a complete lack of respect to me. I mean she openly accused me of being a liar on the call and in the same breath refused to go and check if one of BT’s agents had lied themselves about calling me and me “agreeing” to all this. Funny, I was sure one of BT’s slogans was “Its good to talk”
So here I am, Im told my account will be terminated tomorrow and it seems that no one at BT cares, or even wants to solve the problem. Also they don’t care that this is going to have a massive effect on me and my life, without my internet access I cant work, and if I cant do that then I lose my livelihood, my home, the food on my plate and everything I have. Oh and look, just in time for Christmas. I have been asking for 3 months to get this paid off in a sensible way and for 3 months I have been assured they would take care of it, then fobbed off nad forgotten about. And now BT have made it abundantly clear that they really have no interest or concern for their customers in any way.
I write this in the vain hope that someone might be able to help me here, however being as there is less than 12 hours till Saturday I doubt it. I think to be honest its more so that other people are aware of just how shockingly bad BT’s service really is, and that watch yourselves and not only will they lie, abuse, insult and cause you great trauma, but that they will also refuse to accept any responsibility for their words, their action, their promises, and especially their mistakes and faults, as as far as they are concerned they don’t make any, and wont even look into seeing if they have. Truly a company that doesn’t care
Thanks for posting. I'm really sorry you've had such a hard time with BT recently. I can look into this for you if you wish. Drop me an email with the details. You'll find the "contact us" form in the about me section of my profile. Once I have the details we'll take it from there.
Hi David, Ive put in the contact information but as of yet have not recieved a cal from you, could you please contact me ASAP.
Sorry to be the one to do this, BUT how on earth did you not notice that you weren't paying anything to BT for such a long time?
Its quarterly billing, and on direct debit, so the whole point there is it takes care of itself.
It aso didnt hurt that as I said, I had no communication from BT in that year, no calls, emails, texts, letters nothing. They sent me no letter to say that there had been a missed payment, they took no action due to this, still something at this point that no one has been able to explain how that happened. Also the direct debit was set up by someon from their executive level complaints deaprtment, so you would think it would work ok. But apparantly 3 months later they didnt take a payment, and kept not taking payments or getting in touch with me about it, they just did notning. Then after a year, again without any warning or notification restricted my line, which as it turnds out was an automatic process, no one had any clue about what had been going on. Hence why the first manager I spoke to about it said she was going to have to investigate how this happened and obviously work out a repaymnt package. Though as par for the course from that point on I never received a callback from BT at any point, I called them often enough, but they never could be bothered it seemed to get back in touch.
Also my bills arent exaclty large, as I say the only reason I even have a landline is for my internet access for work so its not as if its a huge amount and its every 3 months so not something really on your radar. Again thats the point of DD and what you assume is a professional and capapble company.
Sorry to be the one to do this, BUT how on earth did you not notice that you weren't paying anything to BT for such a long time?
I'm another who doesn't trust systems enough to allow my regular payments to go unchecked; problems rarely occur but I think it's good practice to be ready to nip any in the bud. Having said that, the way in which BT have responded to this matter is scandalous. I too have experience of Executive Level Complaints being misled from elsewhere in BT; fortunately my contact chose to believe me, meaning that it only took 6 months for my account get corrected and only one spurious bill for £500+ on the way!