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Like many other 'gripers' I am a BT customer. The problems began in ernest when I accepted an email offer for the total broadband package in September 2006. After numerous calls to BT customer service, where people could find no record of my order, eventually the package 'arrived' at Christmas.
For a year, after initial teething problems, the service was good; then from Christmas 2007 the Internet connection drop off became a daily occurrence. The engineers visited my property on three occasions and they did everything they could. (If only the rest of BT personnel were as thorough and helpful.) The engineers identified the problem as a 'long line issue'. Essentially this means BT have to replace / upgrade 800 yards of distribution cable to provide a continuous signal. Up to 8MB they offered when I signed up, however, the actual speed I received was 0.42MB at best.
Eventually, after hours of fraught discussions with BT, the technical department agreed to refund my line rental. Also agreeing that I would not be required to pay broadband line rental until the cable was replaced.
...long-winded calls with BT customer service
I thought this was very fair of BT. However, the next quarterly bill arrived with no credit against it for the line rental. More fraught long-winded calls with BT customer service. As others have described: transferred from to department to department. In the end the matter was sorted out. Regrettably I have to grapple with the same procedure every quarter to obtain the credit. I am now on the fifth quarterly session.
On one occasion a lady in customer service actually told me they are essentially paid to listen and can do precious little. The BT customer service advisers can remove certain items wrongly charged to a bill, but have little if any powers to authorise any compensation.
I have been a BT customer for many years. The service has deteriorated since call centres moved out of the UK and in essence the impression gained is this: BT unofficially or otherwise seem to operate a policy of making life extremely difficult for UK domestic users. I'm sure their customer complaints statistics look quite good. Probably because there is no clear route to a reasonable conclusion.
If I had 5 for every failed promise and meaningless apology received from BT I could retire very comfortably for the rest of my life.