23 July 2005

Buggrin' BT

I am writing this on Wednesday, ahead of posting. Currently (at the time of writing, doh) I am unable to post at all, nor pick up my email, nor touch base with my Msn contacts, wave my flag in the Homeworking forum, answer business enquiries; nothing. I’ve already had one person ring to see if I was still alive.

The reason? Three days ago, at the end of business on Sunday, BT decided to upgrade its broadband to 2 meg, across the board. No advance notice, no warning, flip it seems they didn’t even tell the technical support right off.

I know its my fault, I know I could be with Telecom Plus for less money but I procrastinated – changed other services over, but not the broadband. Stupid, stupid woman.

So there I am with an error 721, hanging on the other phone line with a techie, unplugging things, rebooting things, trying this, trying that, because he was certain their service was working fine and it had to be something at my end.

We worked out that everything was fine at this end too, up to my modem, and he casually mentioned that BT filters fall down all the time, that I probably needed a new filter, or a new cable, or both.

The next morning then, I walked to town, went to Curry’s and bought a replacement filter and cable. The filter was a whopping £12.99 and with the cable it came to over £21. I walked home, and found out they had sold me the wrong cable. Phoning the blighters was no fun; they have an 0870 number and are not allowed to give out the landline number. Get this – they apologised but explained they were better that competitor X because with the other guys you got through to a call centre, but Curry’s have an 0870 national rate number for each and every one of their shops. In other words, you pay the same as calling Scotland to call the shop in your own town even if its just round the corner. Somehow that feels worse and I wont be dealing with them ever again, but I digress.

I found a little computer shop by phone, then went back to Curry’s, got a refund on both items, went to the computer shop and bought everything I needed for £6.50 in bubble pack and little grey boxes. So that’s what it was then, the display casing and stickers they use in the national chain must be worth £15; I am so glad that’s cleared up.

Poorer, knackered and back home past lunchtime, almost time to think about getting the kids from school, I loaded everything up again and – guess what – it didn’t work. Another call to the engineers and this is when they finally tell me about the upgrade, that it’s probably not the cable and not the filter, but that the modem they gave me X years back when they connected the broadband is too old to receive info that fast and is falling over in the attempt. Good news, say they (I didn’t think so) it only needs a CD to upgrade it, and they’ll put one in the post, which will take two days to get here.

The two days are up. It got here. It didn’t work. Another bloody phone call to the bloody helpdesk. At least I timed it right this time and wasn’t put on hold for half an hour listening to the repetitive, incessant droning of a recorded voice telling me how I could jump the queue by asking for help on line. Grrr. “Oh,” says the lady, “right,” says the lady. Did she say “I’ll send you one of our newer model free modems”? Did she hell.

“I’ll ask the engineers to downgrade you speed to 1 meg, that should do it, but it will take up to 24 hours to happen.”

So three to four days without broadband (providing this works and it doesn’t turn out that one of the neighbours has dug up the verge, or that a wire has fallen out in the nearest junction box), and what will I get? A half speed service for the same price, and a refund for the time I have no connection. As to the time, energy and money it has cost me to get to this point – doodly squat.

They KNOW how long they have been issuing modems; they KNOW there is BT equipment out here that can’t handle the upgrade. Have they even bothered to mention their plans to the customers? Like F***.

The funny part, if you are in to black humour, is that last week I wrote an idiots guide to blogging for a friend with a rather widely circulated e-zine. I am fine with that, I mean, if you want to know how an idiot could run a blog, what better to do than to ask one. I couldn’t go into the details of all the fancy add-ons etc because I don’t understand them – I still don’t know how to use trackback. If you want plain and simple, I’m ideal.

The e-zine went out on Sunday at about the time that I lost my connection. If there were three things I really wanted to do this week they were:

Get another post up and knock that ‘100 things’ monstrosity off my front page

Get my list of links back up! (What good is a solitary blog? I’m sure virgin visitors would have wanted an easy and immediately obvious way to visit you lot and see what’s out there)

Live up to the comment I made that it’s easy to post a little something every day and that I always do.

Ha, ha bloody ha-ha.

By the way, if you are in the UK and use BT for your phone calls or line rental or broadband – did you know they have decided to add ‘late charges’ now, if you are not exactly on time paying your bill, instead of sending red bills or disconnecting you? You are now expected to know exactly when a bill is due and to take responsibility for the worrying if you haven’t received it. Did you know they charge you FOUR QUID for the privilege of a duplicate bill irrespective of whether the original showed up or not?

No, me neither. Apparently it should have been in a little booklet with the bill – you know, the bill before last that I never got. To be fair the staff seem very nice but their corporate decisions are apparently being made by an ignorant arsehole, that or a mole for the opposition. Perhaps they are not allowed to force you to pay online or by direct debit, but are perfectly able to piss you about if you don’t.

Quite possibly my line rental and broadband are going to Telecom Plus the minute I have finished tearing these guys to shreds through the Ombudsman. Watch me.


Milt Bogs said...

Sort them out Cheryl! You have all my sympathies. They are all great at signing people up and taking the money but useless when it comes to fixing problems.

Badaunt said...

Ooh, you're making me glad to be in Japan, where, when we complained about the problems we were having with our modem, they provided us with another one of a different kind - and let us keep the old one as well. We now have two modems. The Man uses one, and I use the other. :-)

doris said...

I missed you!!!! So glad that was all it is was.... you know, after reading your 100 things I stupidly worried there was some connection - or else it was something completely OK like you were just busy! Anyway, welcome back. And kick BT's backsides and move yourself over to Telecom Plus.