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BT helpline left me on hold again

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Since signing onto Sky TV last year, I also became aware that I'd have to sign up with BT as well, which took me by surprise, as I was very disappointed that I couldn't stay with NTL (who I'd been with since 1996).

I phoned BT Customer Services and after being held in a queue for the best part of an hour.  I spoke to one of these advisors who spoke very poor English and I had to keep repeating after every word I said - the main thing he said was that it would cost £125.00 to have a line installed!!!

This took me aback, meaning I'd have to cancel NTL and get the line disconnected and to spend a small fortune to have a new one put in.  So I paid this over the phone, and after a lot of being put on hold I was informed that I'd need to arrange a date for installation, which I did.  I was then told that this would come through the post in the next 5-10 working days.  Within the course of that fortnight the letter arrived giving me date and time, which I got all prepared for and took the day off work so I could be at home and see this taking place.

On the day of the appointment I got up early ready for their anticipated arrival - time passed on, the morning had moved into the afternoon, and I was now getting so annoyed and stressed about this.  So I phoned them up, being put on hold for 45 minutes (!!) and eventually spoke to someone...  By this point I couldn't control my anger.  I didn't use swear words or anything, I was just very firm and demanded to know why they hadn't turned up.  I was put on hold again whilst they investigated - this was for another half hour!!

On hold again I got through to a friendly woman who spoke to me and looked into why they hadn't arrived; all she told me was that my job had been cancelled.  By whom??  It wasn't me!!  So I had to arrange another appointment for 2 more weeks!!

Within the next week, another appointment letter came through my door informing me of the new date...  I then took another day off work so this could be done, and on the day of this appointment... GUESS WHAT!!  They didn't arrive!!

I phoned up the BT helpline again and was put on hold for 30 minutes.  I eventually got through to a Sales Rep who had very bad English.  I was very angry and wanted to know why the same thing has happened again...  The rep obviously took my anger personally and then put me on hold again.  After waiting for 20 minutes, just when I thought I'd got through I discovered that he'd hung up on me!!!

I was absolutely furious by this point!!  I spent more time being left on hold, and probably spending an absolute fortune on phone calls!!

I had to book two further appointments for separate engineers to come out.  Both jobs were cancelled as well!!  Why?!  It wasn't me!!

I then decided to write an official letter of complaint - things started moving to my satisfaction!!  An engineer came out and checked my line and noticed there wasn't one, so he sorted it out and at last it was all up and running!  If only that'd happened at the beginning??

I was refunded the full cost of the line connection and I got an official letter of apology and the necessary amounts that I had paid out were all waived.

The initials BT sound for something very different - I think you get my drift!!

By: Paul

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Sam, the tiger

Sam, the tiger

Your point is well taken. Sure, not all Indians or immigrants are deficient in the English language, just as not all native speakers of English are proficient.

When we hear daily on the news such fractured structures as "is refusing to," "media or criteria is," 'for you and I," "is comprised of," ad nauseum, one wonders.

A few days ago, I spoke to a new Brit who emigraged to the Toronto area from the UK to book a rental vehicle for a two-week holiday abroad. Her distinctive accent was a dead giveway. She emailed with detailed information: UNLIMITED KLS (if you get the drift); that if I didn't book and pay for it now, "the car could sell out at any time," inter alia.

Perhaps some of you can explain to me if her expressions are idiomatically native to British English. I knew what she meant, but that's not how I would express myself. So how bad is she or how good am I? I am sure not all British immigrants reside in her category.

My wife watches Coronation Street. I don't, as I have a hard time deciphering what the characters are driving at. Not all those who are indigenous to UK and whose mother tongue is English speak the way they do. Right?
09/03/09 Sam, the tiger


The statement made that BT call centre staff have deficient oral skills is NOT unfair. Because that is the predominant experience of many. Ironically the phone line is either frequently poor or their headset equipment is not working properly because all too often they are difficult to hear or there is interference.

The plain fact is I just want to be able to use my phone, and that's it! I don't want techincal problems or bill queries. I'm realistic enough to know this is bound to happen at some point. When it does I want an intelligible conversation with someone on the other end of the line. I do NOT want BT's cost cutting programme to be made at my expense! What is wrong with employing people who's FIRST language is English? What, anyone who speaks English well, costs too much???!! In that case BT you and your miserable Directors, (greedy bosses a la your average BANKER,) lets hope your company goes tits up, your share price collapses, you lose your pension and someone from the Indian sub-continent gets your wildly OVERpaid job! Believe me you deserve to lose it! Their names are: Ian Livingston, Chief Exec and Gavin Patterson, Chief exec BT retail.
08/03/09 Chris
Sam, the tiger

Sam, the tiger

An Englishman

It is too much to be disquisitve at this point to recognize the absolute versus comparative economic advantage that necessitates outsourcing, a reality of life in this day and age. We won't go there.

But the statement you made with regard to the technical support system manned by Indians whose oral English skills are deficient is unfair.

Major firms on this side of the Atlantic have outsourced no less; and from what I have seen and understood, the employees in India have been given crash courses in American English, not that it is more prestigious for them as claimed to be by their own nationals, but to make them intelligible to us valued customers.

I myself have on occasion engaged in extended conversations with them and find there is nothing unclear about the way they speak. Granted, some have a tendency to speak at break-neck speed. All I need remind them is, "Excuse me, sir, mind if you slowed down a little." They very politely oblige and appreciate the way we treat them, with respect.

Pardon me if what I suggested in part derogates or detracts from the effectiveness of British English (I hope my terminology here is correct). I'm not. I think they deserve a fair shake - that's all.
08/03/09 Sam, the tiger
Put me on hold at your peril!

Put me on hold at your peril!

Englishman, no you're not. You're just a customer who expects a reasonable level of service and since you are paying for that service you have every right to expect it. People are afraid of this and seem to beat about the bush. Well the fact is BT have outsourced their helpline to foreign workers to save them money. They fully expect some customers to have poor service but are gambling on the fact that most people will put up and shut up. Vote with your wallet I say!
08/03/09 Put me on hold at your peril!
An Englishman

An Englishman

Some may think this is racist, but I am disgusted that BRITISH Telecom (BT) have outsourced all their customer support to India, where the staff can barely speak a word of English. I am a British customer, living in Britain, and when I pay money to a British company, I expect a British person on the end of the phone when I need help. Is that too much to ask? Or am I just racist?
08/03/09 An Englishman
Gainsborough lad.

Gainsborough lad.

I was with bt for 25 years and got fed up with paying £65.00 a month direct debit, moved to ntl, (now virgin) and my monthly bill even three years later rarely goes above £55.00, having a long drive put me off moving over to them for a few years, but the day previous to instalation, I dug a small trench for the cable, and even drilled the holes in the walls to make the instalation easier for them, they were at my house for less than an hour, turning up at the time specified, and even gave me a bag of diy tarmac to fill in a small trench at the end of my drive, they are also a lot better on the phone if you need to discuss anything, when putting up my new upvc fascia boarding a couple of years ago I finally cut bt off for good, and wrapped the cable around the telegraph pole.
06/03/09 Gainsborough lad.


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