Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In which our bearded protagonist gets REALLY ANGRY!!!!!!

I was in a training course all day yesterday. My contract with my current employer runs out at the end of February, and it can’t be extended. Neither do I particularly want it to be, but they insisted I go on this useless training course nonetheless. That makes me perhaps exasperated, certainly bored sideways and backtofront, but not angry.

I wasn’t in the office, though, and neither did I have my mobile phone switched on. So it wasn’t until the end of the course, around half three in the afternoon, that I received a cryptic text from the Horse Doctor. It read ‘Get a lift home with Shiv. Gone to let BT engineer in.’

Fortunately Shiv was on the same course as me, and was happy to give me a lift home. The BT engineer bit was somewhat more confusing. I could have sworn that there had been no new cables strung between the new poles when I drove to town in the morning, and there’s no way the bunch of cowboys doing the work could possibly have done the work in just one day.

And yet when I finally made it home, there was the Horse Doctor beaming a bright smile and waving a phone handset. ‘We’ve got a phone!’ she shouted with obviously glee. ‘And we could have broadband soon!’

The BT engineer, call him Dave Jones, since that’s his name and I’ve nothing but admiration for him, rather than leaving a note to say he’d tried to get in and would come back next year, had gone around to our neighbours to enquire as to our whereabouts. The neighbour pointed him in the direction of the research farm a mile up the road where we used to live and work. So Dave jumped in his van and drove up there, where they gave him the Horse Doctor’s new work phone number. He then waited the half hour it took her to jump in the car and drive home so that she could let him in.

That’s customer service, and deserves the letter of thanks I will be penning soon. Sadly, Dave will get it in the neck from his manager for being late for his next appointment, and that makes me angry. But not REALLY ANGRY.

Waiting in the mailbox for my return from work was a letter from BT. This was a bill, amounting in total to not far shy of £200. Around £150 of this was for line connection work – that’s the same line connection work that should have happened back in February, remember. This bill also dated my line activation back to last Thursday. Apparently, Dave said, a different engineer had called then and been unable to get in. Unlike Dave, however, he neither left a note nor tried to contact a neighbour. I have no intention of paying any of that bill, and certainly not anything back-dated to a time when we had no phone at all. Imagine if Dave had not been as conscientious as he was, and we’d missed him like we missed the last engineer. Then I’d have had a bill out of the blue, and still no phone.

Because BT have at no time made any attempt to contact me – by letter, email or mobile, all of which details they have on file – to tell me that my phone line was to be connected, either last Thursday or yesterday afternoon. The only communication I’ve had from them in the last two months was a standard call from the Indian call centre telling me I’d be updated on November 28. This is an incompetence so large you really need to paint it pink and pretend it’s not there, and it makes me pretty damned angry, but still not REALLY ANGRY!

Phone installed and Dave departed with much thanks, the Horse Doctor and I donned walking boots and coats to take Haggis the Lucky Labrador and the SausageDog for their stroll. Up the hill from us, standing in a slightly squint line where the cowboy contractors have left them, the new poles still stood naked of their cables. Apparently the new line work had nothing whatsoever to do with my inability to be connected. As far as I can tell there's no reason whatsoever I couldn't have been connected back in February, except that they sent an engineer whose normal patch was Neath, because there wasn't enough work for him down there. So everything they've told me since then was bollocks. It was all A BIG FUCKING LIE!!!

And that’s what gets me REALLY ANGRY!!!

I’ve been getting the run-around from BT for eleven months. I’ve had different stories from every different person I’ve spoken to. I’ve been ignored as an annoying little nothing until my MP has personally intervened on my behalf. I’ve been promised and promised and promised, and each time let down by an organisation that treats its customers like shit, that simply doesn’t give a fuck. If there was any alternative, even costing twice as much, to using BT, I would happily pay the extra. I finally have a phone; I should be happy and full of joy. But they've even managed to screw that up. Now every time I look at the phone I feel nothing but slow-burning rage.

Months ago, I promised my mum that she would be the first person I’d phone, as soon as I got a new line installed. She hated not being able to get in touch, hated calling me at work which she felt was inappropriate use of my employer's time. For the last six months of her life I was only able to speak to her sporadically and for short conversations.

Yesterday evening I sat down at my desk and dialled the number for the farm.

Nobody answered.

* apparently the contractors who are putting in the new poles and cables are seven shades of useless, and we're not the only ones who've had to complain about them. The problem with BT is, as Dave put it, that you have to go through the Indians to complain about the Cowboys.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


"I'm feelin' ya," to use an Americanism.

I've recently had problems with my local council regarding noisy neighbours. They really couldn't find their arse with both hands, that lot.

It's enough to make you go postal. In fact, I think you should. They deserve it!


Papercuts (pacifist).

November 21, 2008 6:45 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I don't know what to say.

Except, maybe, have you thought about offing some BT people in a book or short story?

November 23, 2008 1:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The useless jerks.

This caused me to shed a tear or too. but, I think that Sandra has the right idea...


November 24, 2008 4:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


lol. can't spell today. :-)

November 24, 2008 4:11 pm  
Anonymous norby said...


I'm glad your phones are sorted out, I'm just sorry it came to late for you to call your mom.

November 25, 2008 6:22 pm  

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