Ann, Gwil’s mam, has been having problems with OpenReach, the hilariously named
phone company much used by BT, another hilarious company.
Years ago, when I was a customer, I thought I’d write a letter to them (To Warren Buckley specifically, who was the man at the top at the time) explaining a particular problem I had.
Anyway, it’s long but has moments of funny. But I was mightily pissed off at the time. Life has been richer since I jettisoned them both into the ether.
BTW, I did not share this with social media. I wanted shut of it. So I archived the letter.
Dear Mr Buckley,
First of all I feel it fair in an unfair world to tell you that this e mail is going to just about every single consumer watchdog I can get my hands on.
It’s going to my MP with the express wish he passes it on.
It’s going to every contact in my mail account and every contact in their mail account.
I tell you this in fairness. I know this shouldn’t worry you in the least as, as I have recently discovered, BT seem to have been let down by the company they employ to do the work.
I hope your day is going well. If it’s anything like mine, I empathise.
I want to terminate my BT contract.
This is because, after a century of cold calls, an engineer that you employ (is it called out-source now?) came to fit the fine internet package that is ‘Infinity’ after I finally agreed to have it installed.
When he came he called me ‘mate’ and ‘pal’ etc and I instantly felt warm and fuzzy.
When he left, I found my Internet connection was faster than ever and I courted happiness for a delicious, if brief, moment.
It was new year, and I stayed with my Sister and Brother in Law.
I got back to my house on the 2nd and checked for messages on my phone. I was especially keen to finish any details of outstanding business because I was on my way to do some work in Lanzarote for a Month that very day.
But the phone was dead.
So I went to the BT website, initially for a phone number, to register my concerns.
Now, I tried to phone the number, but the outcome, (after the friendly warning it would cost me 14p a minute), was not satisfactory.
I was told, automatedly, that I was not a BT customer and would I take it up with my particular phone company.
I tried this a few times, thinking somehow, I had dialled in the wrong number. I hadn’t. But it was all to no avail.
Then, I tried to e mail. I filled in a form. At the end of the form, having filled it in with surgeon precision,
I tried to submit it, and was tepidly surprised that it would not allow me to submit it.
This is because the place it wanted me to put the correct format for the date of submission, was either hidden, or did not exist.
So it wanted me to write a Date, but it didn’t have a place to write that date.
I find this kind of strange, as I’m sure, many people do, after slavishly trying to input the right details.
Like rowing upstream for 2 days only to come to a dead end.
So then, I tried to test my own line with a service on the BT website that prompts me to do this.
But it then said it was sorry but it couldn’t give me any results.
So I went to Lanzarote, with the thought the good folk of BT will put things right when I get back.
So, a month later, I got back.
I went through the above process again.
This time I was able to ‘chat’ in textual form, with a guy who took forever to get back to me.
He eventually phoned.
We spoke, but between his accent and the operators next to him who were making so much noise,
It was extremely difficult to make sense of what was happening.
Upshot was, he sent an engineer, (the out-source kind).
When this guy came, I was amazed to learn that I was also his ‘mate’ and his ‘Pal’.
It was like being born again but clothed in a softly heated romper suit.
He was at my house for all of 1 minute. Maybe 2.
He informed me that the cord from the phone to the wall socket had been snapped.
‘You need a new phone’, was his considered opinion.
I informed him that this could only have happened when my first engineer friend moved the table
with the phone on.
The phone has not had one call in or out, nor any messages listened to, since the day my first pal, the Infinity fitter,
came to get me up to speed. Do we need a detective to work this one out?
After my initial shock and consideration of his considered opinion,
my thoughts turned to fairness, and the human instinct to do right.
So I tried to report it.
After another century of pointless efforts of contact with the usual BT channels of muted conversation,
I went to the big guns.
This, to my surprise, got a stirring in the loins of the Behemoth that is BT(moth).
‘We’ll get a guy out to you asap’, said the very nice Emma.
I was ill in bed. So I waited. And ya know what happened?
Nothing. For a further 4 days, I waited.
Emma tried to get the out -sourced wittily named ‘Openreach’ to come and see what the fuss was going on.
He finally came, and ya know what? We were instant, lifelong, pals. I couldn’t believe my luck.
I didn’t feel a hint of cynicism. I hope you get my drift, but make sure to keep your eyes closed.
So, guess what he did.
He pulled the table out from the corner.
‘I see what he’s done’ said my pal the out-sourced BT/Openreach engineer,
‘he’s pulled this, and that has pulled that out of there’.
At last, I thought, we have arrived.
‘I’ll put it all in my notes’.
‘Can you also put in your notes, that you also moved the table’, very naturally, ‘out of the way’?
‘No problem, my pal’. The glowing flow of……
I’ll stop there, but I would have said it was warm,
if I wasn’t blessed with the decorum I have,
but whatever it was that flowed, and glowed, it made my heart soar.
What made my heart sorer was the phone call I got from Emma F, who said she hadn’t seen anything in his notes about the table or indeed anything else that would have suggested an accident on their behalf, and that she was under the impression, in the first place, that it was my BT incoming line that was faulty when I had already said in my first e mail that “….. the line from the phone to the wall socket had been snapped” and that this,
“could only have happened when your engineer moved the table back that the phone sits on’ and what is more..
‘I have not been near it’.
And finally, Emma informed me that I would be charged the normal (extortionate) £130 call out charge that makes folk resist the temptation to call out BT.
I was told BT was moving back into the slumbering shadows.
It was now the out-sourced wittily named, closed and uncontactable ‘Openreach’
that my beef was with and I should make a claim against them.
Thing is, I was under the impression I was letting BT into my house, and had no idea that the wittily un-ironically named ‘Openreach’
was something different.
Had I known this, I would not have let them in.
So Emma gave me a number.
It was the number of doom, the one that has an auto’mate’ warning of our possible 14p a minute demise.
Realising, possibly, that this would not bring me joy, she gave me another number.
This put me straight through, almost, to an actual person.
I’m guessing it’s more cost effective to have the system you have.
I’m guessing actual persons dealing with our queries is a fools journey?
Well, I put in a claim.
Now, I know this claim will yield absolutely nothing. Ya know, when ya get a feeling? It’s like an acerbic feeling.
I reckon you can calculate it by looking at the fall-out rate against what it would cost to provide a real customer service. One that you have faith in. One that you admire. One that exudes integrity. Ok, I’m indulging fantasy and I apologise. It’s more cost effective to go with the fall-out.
I also know that if they make good the claim, then they can’t charge me the bloated, extortionate, unjustifiable, ludicrous, call out charge.
Bottom line, I want out of BT. In all it’s guises.
I told this to Emma. She gave me a number. Guess what? I can’t even terminate this so called contract.
Well not through the number of doom anyway. It rings on and on, into the night, at 14p an automated minute.
So I want you to cancel it. I want to be free and breathe the air again. I don’t want to feel sullied, or stressed, or sad, or depressed,
or mute, or battle worn, or let down, or tasered, or frustrated, or like I’m pawing at the window saying ‘please release me, let me go.’
I don’t want to pay for any call out charge, to a company that wrecked my Bang&Olufson expensive tear soaked phone.
And don’t tell me it’ll be the salt that did the damage.
I’m all out of Cynicism.