About Us

Contact Us


Archive 2

Archive 1





by David Rutherford

Much has been made in the press over recent months about the benefits that can be accrued or not (as the case may be), from having a 'good' postcode. Better healthcare; better schools; in fact better
everything it would seem.
Well I can confirm that this is entirely true. I would like to recount to you the fun and games I've had with British Telecom this Christmas.
It all begins on December 18th and my telephone line in London dying on me. I was just getting packed for the Christmas break, ready to head off for some festive fare, having at last in the depths of
mid-winter found a buyer for my flat - truly a Christmas miracle, when I dawned on me that the phone had been unusually quite.
I picked up the receiver only to be deafened by the phones death throws before it fell permanently silent.
Bugger it, I'll deal with it in the New Year, I thought. Cut to 12 hours later having safety arrived back in Cornwall, I discover that the phone has gone on the blink there too!
So what can you do but dial 151 and report the fault, which I dutifully did, carefully following instructions as per the automated response (do humans still work in call centres?), almost as an after
thought I decided I might as well report the problems I'd had in London at the same time.
18 hours later I get a phone call from a BT engineer outside my flat in London.
"Hello is that Mr. Rutherford"
"Yes", I reply
"I'm the BT engineer, there doesn't appear to be anyone at home"
"I know, I'm in Cornwall, that's where you're calling me "
"Oh, right sorry, I've tested the line into the house and there doesn't seem to be a problem
it must be an internal earthing problem, just give us a call when you get back and we'll send an engineer around straight away ".
"Okay great, thanks for your prompt response. Do you know when an engineer is likely to come out to our fault down here, that was reported at the same time".
"No, sorry mate, try chasing it with the fault tracking department."
So 15 minutes later, having phoned the tracking number I was no further ahead, BT's version of Big brother spitting out -
"Due to severe atmospheric conditions we have had a large number of faults to deal with, your call has been logged and a engineer will be assigned as soon as one becomes available".
Another 48 hours later on, I get a further call from another BT Engineer outside my London Flat.

"Hello is that Mr. Rutherford"
"Yes", I reply
"I'm the BT engineer, there doesn't appear to be anyone at home"
"I'm sorry didn't we do this 2 days ago".
"I spoke to an engineer two days ago, who told me that I probably had an earthing problem"
"Oh, sorry about that mate"
"By the way any idea when I'll get an engineer down here in Cornwall".
"No idea mate, have you tried tracking"
Later that evening.
The one working line in the cottage rings.
"Hi, I'm calling from BT about a reported fault on a London number"
"Not again, I've already had two engineers turn up there, but I'm in Cornwall, I need an engineer here - when is an engineer going to come here".
"If you hang on a moment I'll run a check on the Cornwall number sir, really I was just phoning to see if I could divert the faulty London number to a mobile number sir, so you aren't inconvenienced
by any missed calls".
"Oh, that's very kind of you, I didn't even know you could do that type of thing", I said whilst fumbling for my mobile number and then reading it out to him.

I could go on with my tale, but really the point of this story is merely to highlight the inconsistency of service. On my London number I had two engineers out to the property within 48 hours, I
received three unsolicited calls from BT about my fault report and had the faulty number diverted to my mobile number.

However it is now Jan 4th at the time of writing and some three weeks have passed since I reported both faults. As of today I have seen not a sight of an engineer in Cornwall, not received one courtesy
call and received no offer of having my number diverted to another number. Why is this? I pay my bills just the same on both lines, my standing charge cost is the same on both lines, so why the
incredible difference in service - The service in litigious London was outstanding, I truly couldn't have expected a better service.

The service in casual Cornwall on the other hand from the same company to the same client was and remains abysmal. In fact I'm quite tempted to take the whole story to Ann Robinson and Watchdog
or perhaps the 'Weakest Link', which is decidedly crueler on it's victims. I'm sorry BT you are the weakest link, frankly if I had another choice you'd be out.

© David Rutherford 2001

(I think it may have been an earthling link...) Ed.

< Back to Index
< Reply to this Article