Firstly I'll preface this by saying that until March of this year, my Dad worked for BT. He was with them for just short of 39 years and has now retired. We got a lot of services discounted and/or free so we never had cause to complain, and if we did he generally pulled the 'senior manager' card, which genuinely seems to be the only way to get things sorted sometimes (he's so not an EB, honest!).
So my partner and I got ourselves a flat. It came with a Virgin Media socket, but when we phoned them their CS reps sounded so strung out and like they really didn't care about taking our money that we decided to fork out and get a BT connection (hey, it would only enhance the rental value for the landlord!). We go for the "Total Broadband Option 3" package, with the option to get TV services later too. BT were very good and we were given a date and time slot for an engineer to come around and set us up.
We didn't have a doorbell at this point, so my partner literally sits on the stairs all morning with his macbook, waiting. The engineer doesn't show up. My partner calls again and is told they 'couldn't find [your] house'. He informs them again that we're in a flat and the entrance is at the side of the property. A second appointment is scheduled.
The second engineer comes around. He takes one look and says he can't install the line in a flat as there's a 'different procedure'. My partner is getting annoyed as he will use the broadband connection for work, and I'm getting annoyed because my uni course is mostly online, so I (and our son) continue to stay with my folks. I query the engineer's statement with my Dad, a former engineer himself and who is well versed on all the technology and procedures used to roll out services because generally he oversaw the development and delivery of the technology used. He says it sounds like a load of crap to him. The engineer called at the end of the designated time slot, so maybe he wanted his lunch or something?
Anyway, my partner calls again. As we're dealing with foreign call centres there is no opportunity to explain (or rather be understood) that 2 appointments have been previously made and cancelled. My partner is guided through the new connection spiel again before an appointment can be made for an engineer.
Finally we get connected. Everything works well and we go on to order television services in addition to phone and broadband. That arrives promptly and I was pleased to get it all set up by myself (my Dad always took over with technology before).
All is well until the time arrives for our first bill. We get 2, each with different account numbers, both being paid by direct debit. We spend a long time on the phone sorting it out - one is fine because the television service is linked to that account. We keep that one and ask for the other to be shut down and explain the situation. The CS rep assures us it is cancelled and we will have the money we've already paid on it refunded to us.
So some 2 months later we get a bill that says we must immediately pay the charges for the second account that we had supposedly cancelled or they're going to cut us off. I search out all the bills and my partner checks our direct debits to make sure they've gone through on the other account (they have). The account number on this "Termination of Service" notification is the same as the account that was supposedly cancelled 2 months ago.
My partner is self employed and was away that weekend, working. We only have until Monday to pay the bill and got the letter on Friday (despite it being dated over a week ago - probably bad_service on the part of Royal Mail). So I call up the customer service line. I'm on hold for ages, and begin getting jumpy because we've got a very noisy toddler and it's difficult to make calls with him in the room, so I'm on hold and trying to listen to the messages about when my call will be taken, whilst trying to stop kidlet from destroying everything (not part of the suck, but it's difficult to be on hold for so long when you have no speakerphone and kidlet thinks that all phones are OMG!COOL! and wants to play 'telephone' with you). Finally my call is answered, I dash out of the room and begin giving our details. Unfortunately the account is only in my partner's name and I have to start jumping through hoops to establish I am his partner (apparently all would be well if we were married and I had the same name as him - but even if we ever do get married I'll be keeping my name for professional reasons), there's no direct debit associated with this account, no we won't be paying by any other means, etc. Finally the CSR says "Ok, I'll just put you on hold again while I establish why you're getting billed twice." After I just told her that there was an extraneous account!!! So it's back to listening to Vivaldi. At the end of the music the line goes quiet and I think it's been picked up again, but no. As I say, "Hello?" I hear the *click, beeeeep* of the line disconnecting.
Kidlet by this time is wailing because he thinks he is being neglected, and I don't feel I can waste any more time on hold until maybe he has gone to bed. They're only open until 8pm though, and of course kidlet chooses this night to whinge and be clingy between bathtime and finally falling asleep at 9pm. So I call my Dad for some advice. He says get my partner to try one more time, and if that doesn't work then just bypass CS and go straight for the chairman's office to lodge a complaint, as well as complaining to OfCom.
My partner returns home, and I explain that I tried to sort it but my name's not on the bill and they cut me off, so he calls first thing on Monday morning. The CSR this time is much more helpful and finally, after 50 minutes of being passed from one department to another to cancel various bits and pieces (and to be told "Oh, that's not done in department X, you need department Y", only for department Y to say, "You need department Z first, then go back to department X" repeatedly) our extraneous account is finally cancelled and it is explained to us that 2 months ago they only did step 1 of the cancellation process (hence still getting billed for outstanding monies). The money we paid to set up that account and line charges are all being refunded to us, about £160.
We shall see when the next quarterly bill arrives whether all this has been successful. We certainly haven't had any more red print from them, so it's looking good at the moment!
Teal Deer: BT fails to install our telephone/broadband line twice, manages to set up a new account each time, tries to bill us for an account we're not using, threatens to terminate service, cuts me off when I try to call and sort it out and finally sort it out after an hour of to-ing and fro-ing between departments.