The Email I Just Sent to the Chief Executives of BT ( @btcare ) and TalkTalk ( @talktalkcare)

Ref: accounts for telephone number xxxx xxx xxxx
I have a complaint about the appalling behaviour of both your companies this week, which has led to me not only losing internet service but being placed in a position where it appears you have messed it up so badly that I will not be able to obtain internet access again without moving house.

I have tried and failed to get any help through normal channels, so I am writing to you, as Chief Executives of the relevant companies as a last resort before taking legal action.

On 16 April, we received a letter dated 7 April from BT, saying “Sorry you’re leaving us, please call if you change your mind”. We had not requested any line transfer.
My wife phoned up and informed BT there must have been a mistake, and was told that no transfer would take place.

On 22 April I returned home from work and found that I had no internet service. I phoned TalkTalk (who were my ISP) and was told that they had received notification from BT that the line should be transferred to them. I informed TalkTalk that I had made no such request, and was told that TalkTalk had sent a letter on the 7th April confirming this. We never received any such letter — and even if we had, to remove our service without any request from us would be utterly wrong.

I then phoned BT, and was told that they had transferred the line, even though we had been given assurances on the 16th that this would not happen. We were promised a call back from ‘the offline team’ within 48 hours. They never called back.

(In both cases, incidentally, the above is a summary of *three hours per company* of being redirected, speaking to people in call centres who have no information and can’t speak the language, and being flagrantly lied to).

On 23rd April I phoned BT again, to check on progress, speaking to one “Sophie”. She told me “I 100% promise” that we would be called back by BT’s offline team before the end of the 24th and that we would have the line reinstated, with our old number, within five working days,

I spoke to TalkTalk again, and they not only told me they could do nothing until BT reinstated the line, but they absolutely refused to provide me with the broadband service I was receiving until Monday. The only way I could receive any service from them is if I agreed to be upsold to take their phone package as well. Given that they had transferred services away from me without bothering to notify me, you can imagine that I am not inclined to reward them with the purchase of additional services from them. At this point I decided that we would have to obtain internet access from a third-party supplier.

On 24th April, we contacted another ISP, who informed us that the line would have to be reinstated before they could start making arrangements for provision. I telephoned BT — since the “100% promise” of contact had never materialised — and was told the following information:
That the line had been transferred to another company.
That BT had no information about which company had made the line transfer request.
That BT refused to pass any information it did have over to me.
That without such information it would be *a minimum of sixteen working days* before there would be any possibility of the phone line being sorted.
That according to BT there was no line at all at our address (despite me calling BT from the new phone number that had mysteriously appeared on the line)
That at this point any other provider would be able to get the connection sorted just as quickly.

Given these last two points, I decided at this point that we would switch to a third-party provider for both phone *and* internet.
Today, my wife phoned up such a provider, and was told that without the information as to which company had taken over the line — (according to TalkTalk this is BT, while according to BT it’s a mysterious other company that they refuse to tell me about) they couldn’t possibly provide us with a line, and nor could any other company — apparently BT have messed things up so badly that the two addresses 17 and 17A now show up as the three addresses 17, 17A and Flat 17, and there is no way to provide us with a line unless they know which is which — which they can only find out by contacting the nameless (and, I surmise, nonexistent) company that took the line from BT.

In the meantime, I *was* expecting calls from the hospital about a health problem I’m suffering from — which this stress is making worse — calls which I cannot receive thanks to this incompetence. I am having to take time off work in order to spend hours listening to hold music trying to resolve this problem.

I am therefore giving you notice that unless I am provided, within 36 hours of this email being sent, with *ALL* necessary information for me to obtain service with any company, I will be taking legal action against both your companies. We can be contacted on my wife’s mobile phone — xxxxx xxx xxx. You have my permission to speak to her on this matter.

And also, I would just like to say that this whole situation could have been avoided had either of your companies bothered to employ call-centre staff who had the faintest clue what they were doing, or who could speak English to an acceptable standard (this is not a complaint about employing foreign workers, but about employing foreign workers *who do not have the basic skills for the job*), or who, at the very least, didn’t just flat-out lie to customers in order to get them off the phone. I know I, and I suspect many others, would be willing to pay substantially more for phone and internet if there was any possibility of getting actual customer service.

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7 Responses to The Email I Just Sent to the Chief Executives of BT ( @btcare ) and TalkTalk ( @talktalkcare)

  1. Debi Linton says:

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  2. Wow, that really is astonishingly poor service from all concerned! I hope you notified them that you would be cross-posting the email to your blog as well. Depressingly, the fear of bad publicity often seems to prompt companies to sort like this problems out when they otherwise haven’t been bothering – which is of course shoddy and unfair in itself.

  3. Liz W says:

    Wow, that really is appalling. I look forward to finding out what response you get.

  4. dalglir says:

    I agree on every point.

    After a couple of unexplained DSL near-outages (our throughput had inexplicably been reduced from 8Mps to 128kps as a setting in their Retail servers (we could see it in the BT Speedtest diagnostics and spent _days_ talking various Indian call centre folk before someone understood and acted on it), the final straw came when the BT main socket stopped working.

    This was a socket cheerfully fitted by the BT engineer who came to troubleshoot the previous DSL problem and it had an integrated DSL filter. Within a year, the integrated DSL filter died. Following days of repeated scripted troubleshooting, giving the same details every single time, BT’s position was that, despite the component being supplied and fitted by them, they were only responsible for the connection up to the _internal test socket_. And despite it being an electrical component moulded into the faceplate of the socket, they were adamant it was not covered by the default UK one year warrantee for electrical goods. They couldn’t sell me a replacement faceplate and I wasn’t prepared to have the internals of the socket exposed so I could fit a DSL filter to the internal test socket because I have two, young, inquisitive children.

    We paid for premium ‘option one’ broadband from BT because, when we started, their customer service was excellent. We can pay for shit customer service with anyone.

    As it turns out, Virgin have 100Mps fibre in the street so we transferred _everything_ to them. They installed completely new cable, phone, TV (TiVo) and 30Mps broadband and we’re now paying less than we were for just phone and 8Mps with BT. If Virgin’s customer service sucks, it’ll be a challenge to be worse than BT’s and at least we’re getting more value for money.

  5. Oliver Townshend says:

    In Australia we have a Telecommunications Ombudsman. Do you have something like that in the UK? Or is time to go to your MP

  6. Tony Harms says:

    I have every sympathy with your predicament and would be equally angry but this is a common story. Try:

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