This is an original blog entry I wrote in June. I have been meaning for some time to act on that which is reported below but the pain BT has caused me at the most difficult time in my life has kept me from taking the action that needs to be put in place.
As well as costing me a large sum of money this company has brought great pain and emotional stress to my well being.
Something has to be done. This company can not be allowed to get away with things.
I am seeking advice.
I am considering the following action:
Sending a copy of this account to every member of the BT Board.
Sending a copy to the consumer affairs editor of every national newspaper, television and radio station asking them to name and shame the BT employees whose names appear below.
What do you think ?
THANK YOU for taking time to read this diary entry. It is
If I were to ask you which is the British company you have dealt with in the past twelve months that gave you the worst customer service experience I wonder who you would name. I wonder if it may perhaps be BT - British Telecom.
On the Trust Pilot review website there are 2,822 reviews posted for BT. 89.4% give the company the very lowest possible grading with more giving it two or three stars which still place it within the unacceptable level.
Let's pick another name we all know well and see how it compares with BT. How about McDonald's ?
There you go - an average of 5.6.
I scrolled though pages of BT reviews on Trust Pilot and could not find a single person who had given BT anything but the very lowest score.
Allow me to take a moment of your time and share some review with you. I have been fair and objective in my selection, these are the most recently posted reviews.
Do they match your experience of the company ?
I am going to share my experience with you in a moment but before I do that let us take a look at the people behind this failing and shameful company.
Meet Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of BT. It is reported he earns 5.3 million pounds a year, could be true or possibly an exaggeration. If it is true not a bad salary for being a failure. If it is an exaggeration how much would pay to a man who has 89.4% bad reviews for the company he runs ?
And this on the right is Libby Barr, BT's director in charge of customer services. Of all the directors
Her is Libby Barr again, this time receiving This Is Money's wooden spoon award for the company offering the worst customer service. Apparently BT is the regular winner of this award.
You would think, would you not, that any company winning this award just once would get its act together and change things but not BT. I wonder if it takes pride in its failure. Certainly Gavin Patterson does not look too distressed about heading the country's worst customer service performing company. But hey if you were paid 5.3 million pounds a year would you care ? Libby Barr may not be smiling but do you think behind that face there is a person who cares about the customers she is supposed to champion ?
In awarding BT the wooden spoon yet again This is Money said: ......what stood out this year was that, as well as poor everyday service, vast numbers of complaints could be traced back to the firm's Openreach arm that's responsible for sending engineers to fix faults with phone lines..........
Did you know that BT has a dedicated department within Gavin Patterson's office to deal with complaints that are sent to him personally ? I wonder how many other company chief executives have to have a team of managers paid to fend off complaints and protect their boss from the realities of life.
Here is my case against BT, failing directors Gavin Patterson and Libby Barr are fully aware of the case, at least they should be unless they have chosen to forget all about it. It would be a safe bet they have but it would be an even safer bet I will be reminding them very loudly until they start doing their jobs properly. Look out Gavin Patterson and look out Libby Barr, your day of reckoning is coming.
A year ago I was having building work undertaken at my home. The incoming BT telephone and broadband line entered the property in a position where a new door needed to be located.
I asked BT to send an engineer to move the junction box. Initially I was told by a call centre operative this could not be done as the junction box was not faulty. An engineer could only call if the box was faulty. Being unable to make the BT call centre employee comprehend and use common sense I hung up the phone.
Calling again I did speak to a BT employee with more than a single brain cell who was able to comprehend the situation and arrangements were made for an engineer to visit. The length of time before a visit could be made was unacceptable. BT agree this was unacceptable and offered a small financial gesture by way of an apology. This has never been paid. The charge to be applied by BT for the engineer to undertake the work was £120. The original request for the box to be moved was filed with BT on 7th September 2016.
Ahead of the engineer's visit I received an e-mail and a text message from BT reminding me of the visit and warning that if I was not at home I could be charged for a missed appointment. Presumably £120. A time slot of 8am to 12noon was arranged.
I was told the engineer would contact me ahead of the visit. This did not happen. Not hearing from the engineer I called BT and was put through to one of its call centres half way up a mountain in the Himalayas. That call centre operative confirmed the details and said the engineer would be there as planned.
8am came and went - no engineer. 9am came and went - no engineer. 10am came and went - no engineer. 11am came and went - no engineer. 12 noon came and went - no engineer.
Eventually the engineer arrived at 4.10pm !
When the engineer FINALLY arrived he was highly distressed and agitated. He said he had been trying to call me to explain the delay. It transpired he had been unableto speak to me as BT had given him the WRONG TELEPHONE NUMBER. Hey Libby Barr I bet you are proud of that within the catalogue of your customer service operation !
BT had the correct number, it is my phone service provider for goodness sake !
BT had the correct number - OF COURSE IT DID, it is my phone service provider for goodness sake ! WAKE UP LIBBY BARR ! BT had used the correct number to send me the text message, the number was confirmed when I called BT in India. There can be absolutely no excuse for BT giving the engineer the wrong number.
THAT IS INCOMPETENCE ON THE HIGHEST LEVEL. If a phone service provider can not give its engineer a correct phone number then who can ?
This engineer was employed by an independent company contracted by BT, M J Quinn, but finally arrived in a BT and Openreach van. Part of the engineer's distress, he explained, was the fact that BT ALWAYS tried to blame the engineer if something went wrong and never, ever accepted corporate failure. Libby Barr is that correct ?
The engineer looked at the box which now stood in a hole in the wall where the door needed to be fitted by the builder. The box and wires were protected by plastic tubing the builder had fitted. The engineer said he was not qualified to do this work. Why had BT sent out an unqualified engineer ? BT knew EXACTLY what had to be done.
The engineer tried to call his manager who he said would be able to come out and effect the move. Unfortunately, he could not contact his manager. Perhaps he had the wrong number or perhaps the manager had left for the day. Is it acceptable for an engineer to be sent out to do a job without the security of back up and support if such were needed ? The engineer took several photographs of the junction box now sitting on top of the plastic sleeving the builder had used to protect the wires. HE DID NOT PHYSICALLY TOUCH THE BOX. Surely that would have been the most basic thing to have done.
Complaining to BT that I had a wasted day, building work had been delayed and expressing my frustration at having had to be home from 8am to 4.10pm waiting on a fools errand I was grossly insulted by BT employee Ross Valentine who offered me £10 compensation. Do the maths - this person valued my time at £1.20 per hour. I can not stress too strongly how deeply offensive I found this to be. Ross Valentine is part of BT's executive complaints team, those surrounding CEO Gavin Patterson and protecting his 5.3 million pound salary from customer anger. Ross Valentine thought I was worth just £1.20 an hour, may I suggest that £1.20 an hour would be an over payment for both himself and Gavin Patterson !
The next day another engineer was sent by BT to "finish" the work from the previous day. He arrived without BT advising he was coming and without an appointment. PERHAPS BT HAD GIVEN ITSELF THE WRONG PHONE NUMBER ! This engineer had no knowledge of the circumstances of the previous engineer's visit. He simply looked at the situation and said I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO MOVE IT. A second UNQUALIFIED engineer sent out by BT. I wonder, does BT employ any qualified engineers ? Again it is IMPORTANT to note the engineer did not touch the junction box, he only looked at it.
Now here is something so funny it is ridiculous but demonstrates clearly the defective mindset of BT and shows the lack of loyalty its filed engineers have towards its management systems. This engineer laughed and joked as he told myself and my builder how his previous job before attending my home was to move a telephone line at a local cement depot. That telephone line crossed a railway track. One engineer, one BT van, a phone line and a railway track where high-speed trains are racing up and down ever few seconds ! It make you wonder, does it not, what calibre of administration BT operates which would send one man to move a telephone line running overhead of a train line !
Speaking with this engineer he said that the problem with BT's management is nobody wants to take ownership of a problem and see it properly through to a resolution. How right he has shown to be. TWO BT engineers who spoke ill of the company's ability to look after customers. Not a lot of loyalty within BT ! Gavin Patterson, Libby Barr, WAKE UP and look about the failing customer service system you operate !
The next contact from BT was a telephone call saying arrangements needed to be a call, BT had the correct phone number on this occasion, saying arrangements needed to be made for a surveyor to call. I was very angry and frustrated, as I am sure you will comprehend, with BT so explained I was not prepared to accept any further delay and insisted a surveyor visit that day or at the latest the following day. I was told this was impossible, that's a word high up in BT's customer service vocabulary and its first line of defence when a customer complains or when a problem arises.
About one hour later a third BT engineer arrived. No appointment had been made, no telephone call to say he was coming - BT probably gave him the wrong number ! I asked this man if he was a surveyor. he said he was not but had been sent to look at the situation. he did not, as neither of the two previous engineers did, actually touch the junction box. Indeed he did not even get close to it but stood away from it as he spoke. In front of witnesses, my builders working on the property, he spoke the most ridiculous nonsense imaginable. he talked about digging up the driveway and putting in a brand new phone line. The man did not have the first idea what he was talking about, he would have been better employed as a clown in a circus. He obviously relayed this back to BT where failing executive complaints team member Ross valentine failed to undertake the most basic and proper checks which would have revealed the gibberish this engineer had been speaking.
Without properly checking the situation Ross Valentine then told me that I had to contact Openreach myself to have a survey undertaken. let me repeat this, I know it is ridiculous so perhaps I need to make sure my readers understand - Ross Valentine then told me that I had to contact Openreach myself to have a survey undertaken. Is not Openreach part of BT ? Did not all three failed engineers attend in a van clearly marked BT and Openreach ? is not Gavin Patterson the failed CEO of both BT and Openreach ? Does not Libby Barr ensure the poorest customer service levels within both BT and Openreach ?
Ross Valentine had difficulty with common sense, I do not. I refused to contact Openreach, that was Ross Valentine's responsibility and not mine. I made my original request to BT on 7th September 2016. the situation explained by myself at that time was perfectly clear and not open to misinterpretation. I do not see how it could possibly be my responsibility to have contacted Openreach after BT had failed on three separate occasions. Contacting Openreach was the responsibility of those managing my request, those who had sent out THREE failed Openreach engineers, the same incompetent people who had sent a single engineer to move a telephone line across an active train track ! Why the sudden abdication of responsibility ? Why change position and say it was my responsibility ? True I probably had more common sense and knowledge of how phone lines work than the average BT employ but it was not my responsibility. I am the customer and BT the service provider. Oh I forgot, Libby Barr does not understand what a customer is !
For me to have contacted Openreach after the extended saga of BT's failures would have been like an airline pilot entering the passenger cabin and asking for someone to contact air traffic control and obtain clearance for him to land the plane.
Ross Valentine was not able to comprehend the situation. Not only this but it became clear he lacked even the most basic ability to offer even the minimum levels of customer service. But is this not standard within BT ? This is the person who insulted me by valuing my time at £1.20 an hour. Shows the calibre of BT's executive complaints team doe it not ? Or am I being unfair ? What do you think ?
Failing in his abilities to offer even the most basic customer service, to apply common sense and do anything outside insulting me Ross Valentine said we had reached deadlock and I would need to take my case to the ombudsman. What a cop out and complete abdication of responsibility ! Next time Libby Barr receives the wooden spoon for customer service she may like to take Ross Valentine with her to the presentation ceremony.
While I was waiting for the ombudsman to review my case, that is another story in itself, I took a close look at the junction box myself, something NOT ONE of BT's failed engineers had done. I found there was more than enough slack wire to move the box to the position it needed to be. I discussed this with my builder who very easily moved the box. FIFTY-FOUR days after my original request to BT. FIFTY-FOUR days during which BT failed to send competent engineers to look at the requirements for the box to be moved. FIFTY-FOUR days during which I suffered the most appalling levels of customer service from BT. No, that needs to be put another way - FIFTY-FOUR days during which I endured BT's standard level of customer service. Libby Barr you must be proud. Are you looking forward to another wooden spoon for operating the worst customer service of any company in the country ? Do you have a trophy cabinet in your office to hold all your awards for being a failure ? I guess it must be a BIG cabinet.
BT thinks it is going to get away with applying its usual poor levels of customer service to my case but I would assure Gavin Patterson and Libby Bar they are not ! It is not just that BT offered the most appalling levels of customer service but what angers me so deeply is the thoroughly dishonourable way the company has behaved. I strongly suspect that BT's executive complaint team is closing ranks around Ross Valentine and preventing his failings being known.
I took legal advice which said if I issued a writ against BT in the county court I would be certain to win, it would then be up to the judge to decide the level of compensation I was to be awarded. Winning my case would be a formality but BT would use every trick it could to suggest I would not win. The delays I experiences in having the building work completed at my property cost me money and caused me considerable distress. I suggested a figure to BT for compensation but would have been prepared to negotiate to £1,000. BT continued to conduct itself in a thoroughly dishonourable way and refused to respect myself as a customer and apologise for its abysmal failings.
While I was dealing with the matter my daughter was taken ill with real failure. The transplanted kidney she had received as a child was failing and she would face a life on dialysis. Every day for four weeks in had either to visit my daughter in hospital or take her to a clinic appointment. The demand on my time and the stress of having to look after her did not need me to be concerned with BT and its failing levels of customer service. I advised BT that the problem had not gone away but I would make contact at a later stage to resolve the complaint.
When I was ready to pick up matters I wrote to Gavin Patterson. He did not even give me the basic common courtesy of answering my letter. What kind of a man is heading BT ? Or could it be that he was denied access to the letter ?
At that point I decided to prepare a file to send to the consumer affairs editor of every national newspaper, radio and television station in the country objectively stating the facts and inviting them to name and shame those with BT who were behind the failings in my specific case.
My daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday 19th May 2017. BT's despicable conduct hangs over me at a time when I am trying to come to terms with my loss. I can not allow BT to get away with what it is trying to. I am publishing this blog ahead of naming and shaming those involved in the media and asking the media's help to take BT to court. Any compensation a court awards to me and any fee a media company elects to pay to me for the story will not now go into my pocket. My daughter's friends have set up a Just Giving website in her memory to support Ronald McDonald House Charities: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OurRebekah I am sure I will have no difficulty in getting consumer affairs editors to take up the case.
I wonder if BT will ever become a company offering acceptable levels of customer service or if Gavin Patterson, Libby Barr and its executive complaints team are happy to draw their salaries as failures. I wonder if BT is big enough to apologise for its failures, admit its dishonour and make a payment of £1,000 to that Just Giving page ? I would even let the company have the concession of allowing the payment to be made ex gratia.
I wonder what the outcome will be but Gavin Patterson. Libby Barr and others you need to understand I will do everything in my power to call them to account. I WILL NOT STOP COMPLAINING UNTIL YOU DO THE RIGHT THING. I do not remember the last time I lost an argument, it was not in this millennium !