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1 post from June 2008

Stay away from BT

If you have any choice about it, stay FAR away from BT, the UK's premier phone company or whatever they call themselves these days. They provide something like 95% of the UK's phone network though, so it's not exactly easy to go elsewhere, but if you can - do.

3 years ago, I moved into my current house. Because of an existing contract or whatever, I had to go with them for both phone and internet, so I called up and got it installed. They wanted £125 for a reconnection fee, refused to let me put my name on the account (I had to have my landlord as the account name because I don't own the property. Er, yeah. Never heard of that before but I was in a rush at the time and just agreed to it). I had all sorts of problems trying to sort out the phone and internet and once I got it, I've been bombarded with calls from them ever since.

So now I'm moving out of this house and into a new one. Because most of the broadband services here in the UK seem to rely on a BT landline, I needed to get one activated in the new place. I called them and told them to switch the account I have to the new address but nooo, they won't let me do that. Firstly because my name's not on the account and secondly because they won't cancel the account with an internet package attached to it before the 12 month cycle of the broadband (it's not 12 month minimum contract, it's 12 months for each billing cycle. Though they bill me quarterly. But no, that's different apparently. Argh) and they wanted £180 for that, plus continuation of the phone line and internet until November plus line rental fines plus this plus that and plus the other. Pffft, not likely.

I agreed a deal with my landlord that I could move the account to the new address but keep his name on it (oh yeah, that was another thing - they "never, ever" change names on accounts. Wtf) until the billing cycle has completed and I could then cancel the account and start a new one. I phone BT and tell them this, fully aware that the new house has a BT line in it, and the previous people living there used their services. I am firmly told that not only is there no BT line in the property, but there has never been and they want £125 to connect one and a further £75 call out charge to get an engineer to come and fit a box. They then start asking for bank details and tell me they will take the payment tomorrow or some crap. Thinking the previous people had probably cancelled the line, I agreed and asked them what my cancellation rights were in case, you know, I should find out they were fobbing me off like they tried with Jem and several other people I have spoken to as well. I was told I'd get charged a cancellation fee and the money would be taken anyway. Yeah, not having that, thank you very much.

I went to the new house (needs decorating before I move in properly - I have the old/current place for another month yet, so there's no hurry) and plugged a phone into the supposedly non-existent BT line. Ooh look, dial tone. Ooh look, I can ring numbers. I can even ring my mobile and find out what the line's number is. Unfortunately, when I tried that, it came up "anonymous number" which means the previous inhabitants had had the line withheld or whatever. I rang the operator ("Welcome to BT" - hmmm, that seems to tell me I have a BT line here) and asked them to tell me my number. "Sorry, can't do that." What a surprise. But I did work out how to remove the caller ID blocker thingy so I rang my mobile again and got hold of the number.

BT's customer services are closed until 8am tomorrow morning, but at 8.01 they're getting a very angry call from me. Apparently they pull this a lot, I only had to Google "BT connection fee" to get a whole load of results from people who had this happen to them. I mean, it happened to a family member of mine who have been using their phone line for 20 years before having their house flooded last summer and having to move elsewhere for a couple of months. BT were trying to get them to pay for a line which they claimed was neither connected nor existent in the first place.

If BT have the cheek to take the £125 and further call-out charge from me despite the fact that I have an ACTIVE LINE, they can go to hell. It's only because they're almost a monopoly that they can do this, people have relatively no choice but to go with them. I know I don't, or I'll be paying them whatever amount of money they choose to fine me for cancelling before November or whatever. They are a seriously bad company, who can't seem to do anything fairly.

(Note: For prices in US dollars, just double the prices marked in pounds (£))

Update: They got an angry call from me, told me the line had nothing to do with them and hung up on me. Twice. The third time, I kept getting busy tones and then "sorry, our offices are currently closed". Do NOT go near BT. They do this because they can and because people are duped by it so easily. Don't fall for it and don't keep letting them do this to people. I am not paying them to reconnect a line I know belongs to them and if they take me to court over it then so be it. I refuse to let them win.