analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Contact Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

11 December 2000 Monday






BP renamed itself Beyond Petroleum, in this day and age of climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. BT should rename itself Bloody Terrible.

Ten phone calls in three months, merely to switch from Cable and Wireless which does not offer competitively priced unlimited Internet surfing packages to BT which has a variety of third party Internet Service Providers and promised that I could keep the same telephone number.

Back in September when I made my first phone call to 150 - residential sales, the lady who took my call kept asking me to hang on while she typed my request. She must have recorded everything in detail during the 45 minutes. Yet two weeks later, I discovered that a BT engineer had visited when I was not around. Contrary to what she said, I did not get advanced warning. I did not get any notice that the engineer was going to visit during the week.

So I had to make my second call to arrange for another visit. The engineer spent five hours tracking and tracing a line. Five hours? Given that I had a BT line when I first moved into this premise, what hole was he digging? After he left, I discovered that he had wired my telephone to a new number on a BT line. My Cable and Wireless number was still working, but I had no physical access to it. So I had to call another BT engineer to visit and resurrect the situation. On my fourth call, I found out that I could not simply switch to BT and keep the same number. They had to "request" it. This would take a month.

When December rolled around, I was still paying for two lines. At least, with BT, I could be online offpeak for a flat monthly fee. Still, it was not by choice that I needed two separate lines from two separate phone companies. So I made my fifth call. Customer services saw in their records that a request was made but they also noticed that it got cancelled. So another request was made to "number portability." By now, I just didn't know whom to trust. Each call was at least 45 minutes long. Each time I had to repeat my story from the very beginning.

When the long awaited switchover came, I got a letter from BT saying that they were told to cancel my line. I panicked. I called them a sixth time.

This long awaited weekend I discovered that I could not log onto the Internet as before. Shall I write a letter to BT senior management, Oftel, Which? consumer magazine, complaint sites, or a national newspaper?

Should I rejoice or cry now that BT announced plans to make 5,000 staff redundant? Would the service improve or would computers take over? Whatever happens, it's bloody terrible!

Related diary entries:
Phone Service
Unmetered ISP
BT Surf Together: £14.99 per month for off-peak
Freeserve Anytime £12.99 per month
NTL world £10 + £10 calls min per month
Netgames UK £25 per month
Claranet Freetime £9.99 per month
Freedom2 surf £9.40 per month
Liberty surf £10 one-off fee
ic24 Free (offpeak)
RedHotAnt £30 - £90 per year
Telewest SurfUnlimited £10 per month anytime
The Free Internet Group £50 per year anytime
AOL £14.99 per month any time
Metered ISP
Onetel no fee, but 1 pence per minute