In March 2017 we moved business premises and naturally a part of this process was to have our telephone and broadband internet services with BT moved to the new site. A quick phonecall to BT assured me that this was a simple process: they would simply move the services to the new site. It sounded so simple.
I’ve moved premises with BT before and expected a few minor problems. What I didn’t expect was the fiasco that would shortly unfold and leave my business without the correct services to almost two months.
Phone-line suddenly disconnected
Initially the BT Openreach engineer visited to install our voice, fax and broadband services and everything seemed to be working. That lasted for 3 days before our main business line would suddenly stop working for no known reason. It would be eight days and 3 separate visits from engineers before the phone-line was working. We never got an answer as to why
No PBX line for 7 weeks
Our phone system relied on a private branch exchange (PBX) line which BT sometimes call an “aux line”. Without getting technical, this is a that switches calls between internal lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. The idea being that if someone was already on the phone it would still ring rather than giving the potential customer an engaged tone.
We had 5 visits from Openreach for this. They installed a second physical line, removed lines, changed cables, changed RJ11 ports – the list was endless. We later discovered that this was simply an error on the part of BT for not activating the service.
Poor broadband speeds
When moved to our new premises we were told that we would be supply with a guaranteed download speed of 8.8Mbps. What we actually received was 3.9Mbps. At the time of writing that was still the case.
Poor quality voice line
From the moment we started using the new phone line the sound quality was very quiet and customers often complained that they couldn’t hear our staff very well. We were told by Openreach engineers that this was because of an old telephone line going through the bridge of a major A road next to our property. This was scheduled to be replaced but, again, it was still faulty at the time of writing. As a temporary solution I bought a 4G router and set up my business to use 4G as a Business Internet Solution (not cheap but more reliable/faster).
A Moving Manager without the power or knowledge to do his job
Having moved businesses with BT previously (and experience a poor service) I was quite pleased to see that the organisation had now appointed a ‘Moving Manager’ to oversea our move. I’d hoped that this would result in someone being able to take ownership of problems should they occur. It didn’t.
Although we had a point of contact, the Moving Manager was unable to deal with faults very well at all and it never felt like he was able to take real ownership of the issues. Quite often I would be told that the system didn’t allow him to do something or was out of is control.
In addition, the Moving Manager seemed to have less of an idea of the products available from BT than I did. For example, we wanted a recorded message placed on the old telephone number telling callers we had a new number. Out Moving Manager said this wasn’t a service BT offered – which most of us know is wrong as we’ve all heard those messages at some time or another.
Incorrectly billed multiple times
As the problems continued, so did the shock. I opened a bill from BT to see we had been charged over £1600 for “early termination” of our services. Of course, we hadn’t terminated our services we had simply moved them. This was later credited but it was another problem I had to spend over an hour sorting.
Failure to deal with complaints properly
After 7 weeks of nothing but banging my head against a wall, I decided to place a complaint with BT. Following the procedure on the BT Business complaints website I outlined the details of my complaint.
Two hours later I received a call from BT telling me that I had to call them to report the faults before I could lodge a complaint; something I had already done numerous times already. At this point I lost the plot and hung up. It’s actually pretty impossible to complain to BT.
Call centre staff who could often be impossible to understand
I don’t have a particular problem with companies outsourcing their customer service to other countries. I do have a problem if the staff who are employed are difficult (or impossible) to understand. When you are stressed and feel like you’re fighting to get your services working it’s highly annoying to be faced with someone who you can’t understand or whom can’t understand you.
BT business movers need to make some serious improvements
In my opinion, BT suffers because it is too big so the fact that Openreach and BT are being forced to seperate can only be a good thing for customers. I hope that it will make BT and Openreach more accountable, rather than passing blame. I also hope that it will allow me to move all of my businesses services to a new provider when my contract expires so that I can get away for the monotonous BT customer ‘service’.