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!

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