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Message 1 of 3

New line for elderly father - terrible customer service

On 28 July 2014 I ordered a new phone line for my elderly father, who duly paid 12 months’ line rental in advance with discounted engineer fee, a total of £238.83.   Subsequently he received his new telephone and number and monthly billing began on 18 August 2014.  


The sole purpose of requiring a dedicated land line for my father was in order that he might be equipped with an emergency alarm/alert system and be able to communicate with me/emergency services in the event he falls or is otherwise incapacitated while alone at home. Nearly two months later, he does not have a line installed, although BT is presumably charging him for a service he does not receive.


Following this order, we have had no less than five ‘site visits’ to our property (my father lives within our grounds) by Openreach engineers and ‘surveyors’. The first engineer claimed that he could not gain access and that he had ‘knocked repeatedly on the door’. This is evidently not true since both properties stand some way behind electric gates.  


A second visit was arranged.   Two Openreach engineers turned up at the end of their working window.   Having looked at current BT access to my property, and my father’s line requirement, they concluded that they could not do the work and that we would require a site survey.


After hearing nothing, I contacted Customer Services again, reiterating the urgency of the order (vis. the requirement to provide an emergency alert system for my unwell and elderly father). The very helpful person on the help desk managed to track down the surveyor who advised that my father’s new line could run from our existing line connection on our property and Openreach engineers were, again, despatched.   I was assured that he would despatch a multi-skilled engineer to perform the task and that he had ordered a hoist to be on site.


The next engineer arrived with no knowledge whatsoever of the apparent complexity of the installation requirement (or indeed, the need for a hoist).   He claimed that it is ‘company policy’ that Openreach engineers are not given access to job specs until they are on site and the customer has ‘signed to say they can access the data’.   Really? How on earth can an engineer arrive on site equipped to do a job if they don’t have advance access to the specific requirements report/requirements?


After conducting his own 'survey', this engineer concluded that there was no possibility that a line could be installed from one property to the other and that the only solution was a new external pole (connecting to the current one) which would provide a direct route to my father’s property.


After some days without word,  I contacted Customer Services again.   I was put through to your ‘Complaints Team’ who assured me that they would take a special interest in resolving the situation given my father’s ill health.   They despatched yet another surveyor to carry out a site visit.   After some time had passed, I was very surprised indeed to receive a voice message advising that ‘you need to pay (circa) £805 plus VAT to progress your order’.


Once again, I went through the lengthy and tedious process of contacting Customer Services and asked specifically to speak to one of the many named contacts who had previously been involved in this order. I was informed, emphatically, that it just wasn’t possible to be put through to any of the people I named and that it was just ‘pot luck’ who answered a Customer Services call (and whether it was picked up in the UK, Phillippines or India).  


Given our experience to date, we could not be expected to pay a further, random, sum of money without knowing absolutely what solution had been determined by the (second) surveyor.   I asked, repeatedly, to be given more information about the proposed solution.   I was told only that  “You need to pay us the additional money or we won’t progress your order”.  


I asked to be put through to the Complaints team.   I was eventually put through to a gentleman who claimed to be the ‘head of complaints for the order management team’.   His way of managing an understandably very angry customer was to smirk and patronise.   I requested an email providing a detailed breakdown of the additional costs and a description of the (last) surveyor’s proposed solution.   Needless to say, this has not been provided.  


To date and on five separate occasions I have had to stop work to make myself available to engineers (in each case for half a day minimum).   I have spent an enormous amount of time on the phone attempting to get my father’s order fulfilled.   Two months down the line, my father still doesn’t have a phone or emergency alarm in place because we won’t hand over a large sum of money without knowing exactly what it is we are being charged for.


While we decide whether and how to proceed with this simple request for a land line, perhaps you can provide an explanation of why it has taken so long, and required the contradictory input of so many of your contractors, to come up with the current ‘solution’.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
Message 2 of 3

Re: New line for elderly father - terrible customer service

This is a BT residential customer to customer forum. Your post does not go to BT. The only BT staff are the forum moderators who do not necessarily read all the posts


The moderators of the forum have been informed of your problem. Once they have read this they may be able to help. They are a BT UK based team and if they can help they will reply via this thread asking you to contact them via a link. Once you have replied to them by the link, it can at present take up to five working days for them to re-contact you.

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Message 3 of 3

Re: New line for elderly father - terrible customer service

Hi tk1666,


Welcome to the community and thanks for your post. 


It sounds like you have been having a nightmare trying to arrange service for your father.


Please send me in your details using the "Contact The Mods" link found in my profile and I will take it from there.




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