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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

233. BT ignoring your customer complaints? Just do a doodle.

Demoralised and dehumanised by your monster corporate utility monolith? Try posting a cartoon and they will be right on to you.

A cartoon, even an amateur doodle will – it seems – get you attention from a megalodon company that otherwise treats its customers like a necessary irritation.

A few weeks ago – I posted an old cartoon about crap BT customer care. It was in response to news earlier this year that British Telecom – provider (or NOT) of public broadband for the government - were in more corporate mess because of being crap (I’m paraphrasing). Lo and behold my ex telephone suppliers wrote to me. And I’d not heard from them since I sued them for customer harassment; half a decade ago.

Following an initial problem caused by BT engineering in 2009, I entered into a formal customer dispute with BT in 2012. For 12 months, instead of responding fully to my concerns, BT sent multiple threatening letters and a conveyor belt of debt collectors. The debt collectors changed every time I wrote to the latest one explaining why I was ‘in dispute’ with BT! It was a horrible, stressful year. Eventually I’d feel slightly sick every time an envelope dropped through the letterbox.

They failed to engage, in particular, over a single engineering fee of £99 that we did not agree on. Fortunately I am now with another provider and though I’ve had to call them out twice in three years, I’ve never been charged.

I thought BT would run out of debt collecting firms but they did not. So, in the end I sued them for customer harassment. It didn’t go great. For example – the dweeb judge was bemused that I – a black single parent on a very low income living in a tiny ex-council house - did not experience the same sparkly, wonderful, marvellous service that he – a white male judge presumably living somewhere more up-market- always got from BT. Ya don’t say. 

NB If you wish to try this – do not do your online claim application while you are a. upset and b. on a time limit on a library computer. Despite my claim being accepted as viable – in court, the judge decided the whole application was invalid because, while I had cited the relevant legislation in my statement, it had not, as I thought, been included in the original online form.

There was, however, no further communication from BT following my issuing of the case in autumn 2012 so the delightfully vague terms in their letter “a while ago” and “in the past” actually mean half a decade.

But then I posted one of my old satirical doodles, featuring BT a few weeks ago in my cartoon collection and the BT monster stirred. I only hope their current crop of disgruntled customers with no broadband despite very expensive government contracts, are getting as much dedicated time and attention as I am.

Yes – after a gap of half a decade I received that letter last month from managing director of Customer Care, Libby Barr. For the record, the little shyster responsible for my year of hell was actually – Warren Buckley. By sheer coincidence, BT just happened, it seems, to have dug up that old file after 5 years and “sold” my debt to a shiny, fresh new debt firm. And I’ll tell Lowell debt collectors, if they do get in touch, the same as I told the others. If I ever get a response to my actual question this may get sorted. But well done BT for finding a debt collector they haven’t already worn out.

Ultimately you have to hand it to BT. Rather than discuss a disputed engineering bill with a very long standing customer (about 25 years); a reliable, regularly paying customer - they cut me off even though I was a single parent living alone with an asthmatic child. Then, they sent multiple threatening letters. Then they pursued me with debt company after debt company after debt company after debt company etc. Instead of taking a last chance to open dialogue, they responded to my online small claims case against them with a rainforest of legal paperwork – that you’d have been better weighing than reading. Then – half a decade later – after I put out an amateur cartoon on a modestly read blog – they stir into action like a fat, arthritic, drooling hyena.

 So if you can’t get their attention – do a doodle and may I suggest we heartily celebrate the BT company advertising slogan -


UPDATE Sept 26th 1017
I waited to see if the new debt collecting firm engaged by BT would get tired of sending monthly duplicate letters. They did not, so a couple of weeks ago I sent them a cease and desist or I’ll sue you letter and have received now a full written apology (19th Sept) and confirmation that I will not be hearing from them again. To be fair – they also say they bought the ‘debt’ in good faith from BT. Dealing with BT ‘in good faith’ seems to be not a great idea…

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