Friday 9 November 2012


And I thought the saga was over!

Those who have followed my battle with BT will kknow that I have two BT phone lines. One is for home use and has Sky on it, the other is a home business line and also has the famous high-speed Infity broadband facility. As the advert says... Simples!
Unfortunately, not only do I have two phone lines, but I also have two accounts with BT and therefore two bills, and that's where things got complicated.

I made a payment to one account instead of the other, with the result that the payment to the account it should have gone to was overdue. BT in its infinite wisdom chose to suspend my outgoing service to encourage payment. The whole thing was resolved in a matter of a couple of hours and normal service was resumed. Or so we thought.

I received the next bill a few days ago for both lines and even before it was due received a recorded message from BT telling me that on one of the bills I owed an amount almost twice what the bill said and had to pay it now. In  fact I'd paid slightly more than the bill's amount a couple of days earlier. I phoned BT, prepared for another hour long argument and after ten minutes had apparently got it sorted. I still owed around £20. I paid that today and thought we were now ahead of the game. I don't think we are.

The money that was originally allocated to the wrong account is still allocated to the wrong account according to the new bill, even though it was transferred some time ago. However in reality it has gone to the other account so the bill for that one is significantly overpriced. So both account are now right, but both bills are wrong.... or maybe it's the other way round. Who knows?

I'll pay and BT will keep phoning, but one thing does still amuse me. BT keep sending me letters asking me why I don't use their broadband facility as a valued BT user of many years standing. I keep telling them I have broadband on the other line and they say OH YES. Then I ask them for one account and we go round in circles.

The saga maybe over, but the Empire Is About To Strike Back!

Blog on, Dudes!

Saturday 3 November 2012


Yesterday, I posted on my blog the saga of my battle with BT in Manila about a sum of money I deposited in the Post Office in payment of a BT bill. Today I had a phone call (what else!) from a lady called Judith who is part of the famous "offline" BT team in the UK. She works on a Saturday and had good news!

After only 5 minutes of investigations she had isolated the missing sum of money and confirmed it was actually with BT. However I have two BT phone lines and for some reason I have two accounts and the missing sum had been allocated to the wrong account. She spotted it straight away, and yet the Manila lady took up an hour of my life without resolving anything.

The money has now been allocated to the correct account and the "offline" lady has put measures in place to ensure it doesn't happen again. In total I talked to her for 10 minutes, some of which was to chat about the view over Winchester I was enjoying at the time.

It just goes to show that UK companies like BT are so keen to put their call centers anywhere in the Asia Pacific region for reasons of low cost, and certainly not for the benefit of their customers. Whether it's language, dialect, culture, or just time zone difference, talking to call centers in India, or Manila is far from a joy and definitely not a good experience for the vast majority of people. And yet a ten minute call with a lady in the UK resolved everything and still left time for us to chat happily.

UK call centers may be a thing of the past, but if UK companies (Telcos, banks and financial services operations) don't rethink their tactic of moving overseas they're is severe danger of losing customers and money.

How nice it will be to hear a Liverpool, a Manchester, a Birmingham, or Scottish accent.
Dream on!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday 2 November 2012


About a month ago British Telecom wanted some money from me. They do this periodically and always have the opportunity of cutting off my phone which I avoid at all costs. I went round to the Post Office and paid  BT a large sum in cash and received a receipt from BT in return. So far so good.

That evening I cleared the account again by debit card. Everyone was happy and I was a couple of months ahead of the game. Again.... so far so good.

Then the next bill arrived.

The amount was correct for the quarterly payment, but nowhere was there any mention of the amount I'd paid in cash at the Post Office that would have taken care of around half of the bill. In my innocence I phoned BT and after going through multiple options and sub-options where BT were trying sell me products, get me to move from Sky and use their direct debit facility, I eventually got through to a human being in a call center. Guess where....the Philippines!

After managing to convince the woman in Manila I didn't want to pay my bill immediately over the phone two weeks before it was due, she eventually understood that I wanted to know why my cash payment to BT via the Post Office hadn't been recorded and allowed for in the bill. This was the start of an hour-long conversation which resulted in the following:-
 - The woman told me I had to go to the Post Office and chase the payment and meanwhile pay my BT bill in full (my reply is censored)
 - The woman eventually agreed that BT had to chase the cash payment as I had proof the Post Office had legally taken the money on BT's behalf. (Progress). She went away for 5 minutes.
 - She came back and told me the system said she had to raise a report which would go to the BT offline group. I asked if I could talk to the offline group and she told me (yes you've guessed it!" No, because they're offline! (my reply is censored again)
 - She then told me I had to fax the receipt to the offline group. The following ensued:
                           - I told her the receipt was 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" and too small for a fax
                           - I told her I had a fax (she'd just presumed I had one) but hadn't used it for years
                           - I told her I would read out the details. I did. She still wanted a fax.
                           - I told her I could scan the receipt and email it to her, or anyone else in BT.
                           - She told me that neither she, nor anyone in the offline team has email (my reply is again censored, because BT is the company that supplies my telephone line, my Broadband and who desperately wants to supply my TV and my email account. BUT THEY DON'T HAVE EMAIL THEMSELVES.
                           - In the end I agreed to scan the receipt, print it out and try to fax it on my rather old fax machine. This, I did.
                           - I asked the woman to contact the offline team and get them to confirm they had received my fax. I suggested she send them a fax (I wasn't joking), but she said she didn't have a fax.... let alone email. It's a wonder she was allowed to have a phone!

We ended up with me trying to get her to agree that we had a plan of action, to which she reluctantly agreed. I also pointed out I wouldn't be paying the bill until BT acknowledge the fact they had my not insignificant sum of money already, but had somehow managed to lose it. After a lot of Umming and Arring she agreed.

I'm now waiting therefore to here from BT:
 - Did they receive my fax?
 - Have they found my missing payment?
 - Are they going to cut me off?

Watch this space!!!!

This is yet another of our major corporate institutions making the only point of contact for its UK customers in some far flung country like the Philippines. The result is it has divorced itself from its users in an industry which is far from a monopoly. Very silly!

Blog on, Dudes!