Bt Saga

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

BT Saga

Date: 13th October 2011

BT Saga

Or in the words of Victor Meldrew - ‘I don’t believe it’.

I phoned India (of course) on Wednesday to try and get an update on my defunct phone and received the information that nothing was being done as the phone connection on Monday had gone down. I was phoning on my PAYG mobile and the minutes were ticking away. However this time I got a very helpful young man whose English was almost totally comprehensible and he promised to do his best but still said I’d have to wait 5 Working days for an Engineer. However he did promise he would get my phone calls re-routed to my mobile which he duly did - Bless him. The cost on my Mobile was £10. I know because I got an update shortly before and after the call. It really is appalling that we have to pay for calls to get put right a service for which we are already paying - and I had to use the Mobile for Calls during the week - calls I would normally have made on my Landline.

You know how from time to time - usually about once a fortnight you are asked to verify the Password for your Internet Connection - well, on Thursday, it kept telling me the password was invalid. There was no way I could get past this even though I’ve used the Password for more than 8 years. So I went down the path of resetting it - Nope - I got the message that this was an invalid Internet Address - again I’ve been using it forever.

So I went through all the pages available trying to help myself but there was no help in the FAQ’S as to what one does when the Internet tells you your address is not recognised. Did I want to talk to an Assistant? Yes please - so I signed in with all the attendant question answering and up came a little screen telling me that their operatives were busy (aren’t they always) and I was 17th in the queue with an average wait of 10 minutes. Having gone into High Blood Pressure mode earlier in the week at the seeming incompetence of BT, I decided to make a cup of tea, read the newspaper and wait.
I watched the little dial going round - 14th, 12th and down it come until Joy of Joy - No. 2 and as I held my breath and became No 1 - GUESS WHAT - a message came on screen to say that there was no Assistant available to help me and to call back later. I’d waited 20 minutes. So I filled in the form again and sat to wait. After a while, I thought - Hang on, I could sit here for another 20 minutes and then be kicked out with no help. So I left myself with a place in the queue (probably still there for all I know) and rang the BT faults number. Of course after pressing 1, then 2, then 1, then 2, then 1 (Have you seen the Ad. for Wonga. com - if so you’ll know what I mean) and after a shortish wait, relatively, my call was answered by a charming Indian woman who proceeded to do what they have to do when faced with a problem such as mine. It is slightly unnerving that there in India, they can take control of your computer screen and see everything that is on it. They do, of course, ask permission and whether there is any sensitive information. Anyway, even she had difficulty and couldn’t call up my screen but she did manage to help me and I had to change my Password. She could not tell me why this had happened. That is why we end up with so many darned Passwords - I’ve often been rejected on an Internet site and told my password is incorrect when I know that it is correct but the only way you can resolve the problem is to reset it. How long is your list of Passwords? Mine runs into several pages and I can’t remember many of them which I don’t use on a regular basis.

Anyway, I came off the phone and thought - I’ve had enough of all this I’m going to the top. Earlier in the week, by sheer chance I came across a Complaints Forum dealing exclusively with BT and the Forum creator had listed all the emails and phone numbers of the top people at BT and encouraged anyone with a problem to email the lot - So I did starting with the Man at the Top.

I have to say that I was impressed to receive within a short space of time a reply - not from Mr. Warren Buckley himself but his PA. I also received an email from Ian Livingstone who apologised but wrote that, on average, they only get one voice line fault per customer in 14 years!!!! You what ....... I’ve had 3 this year, several over the 8 years I’ve lived here and a couple in the 5 years I lived at my previous address in Kent. However, I must admit that by the next morning I had a charming man - Chris Wright - Head of Complaints on the phone to me. He acknowledged the problem and that I’d had my landline go down 3 times this year and promised to get it dealt with straight away. He was as good as his word and by Friday Lunchtime a BT Engineer had found and repaired the fault. What was it - another BT Engineer had gone into the Box and in doing so had severed mine and one other line. Apparently our equipment is old down in deepest darkest Kent - and we are probably at the very end of the line for any upgrading. East Kent is not a rich area - we have little Industry and we aren’t Stockbroker belt so I doubt we’ll get upgraded for many a year.

Not for the first time I discovered that BT are short of Engineers - is that Cost Cutting in order to put more money in the hands of the Share Holders? Doesn’t it seem crazy to you that there are 2.5 million unemployed and yet Big Businesses are allowed to have Call Centres abroad - so the employees aren’t paying British Tax and I daresay there are all sorts of Tax Concessions for the Companies because they aren’t based in the UK.

Mind you, it’s only fair to say, that many of our youngsters are being failed by their education and are leaving school illiterate and not capable of doing the kind of jobs which are vacant. It’s a shame that millionaire Tony Blair put so much emphasis on a University Education (very often with useless degree courses) and not more on Apprenticeships. We aren’t all academic and many of the University courses on offer are equipping the student for very little. And if you have a small job, can you ever get a plumber or electrician - they are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.

I have a young friend who decided not to go to University but to work in the Beauty Field. She told me several of her friends who did go to University can’t get jobs and others who opted to start work are now several rungs of the ladder ahead of the Graduates. One did a Business Degree and now works as a teller in a Bank -nothing wrong with that but she could have got that job straight from school without encumbering herself (or parents) with a large debt.

You know the phrase - Be Careful What You Wish For!
Well back in the old days I was one of those who thought that Privatisation would be a good thing for many industries although I always felt that Utilities should remain under Government Control. Well it’s all come back to bite me in the posterior - our National Industries may have been a bit archaic and lumbered a bit but, at the end of the day, we owned them and they were there to give us, the Taxpaying Customer, the best service they could. Now what do we get, the interests of the Shareholder over everything else.

Look at the Railways - an absolute mess and whoever thought of handing out different contracts for the Trains and the Track must have been on something rather strong at the time.

Bye for now - Grumpy Old Woman.   Promise I'll write something more upbeat next time.

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