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8:00pm on Saturday, 10th March, 2007:



I spent 40 minutes talking to BT Customer Service yesterday.

What I wanted to do was to transfer the ownership of the telephone line coming into my house from MUSE Ltd (which I'm closing down) to me. This is a simple task that involves phoning the business line, giving my phone number, being passed to another person, giving my phone number, being passed to another person, giving my number, being passed to a fourth person but not getting there because they dropped the line on me, so redialling, going through a different set of "to change your BT services, press 4" to a different person, giving my number, being passed to a different person, giving my number, and his actually being able to do something.

What he could do was exactly what I wanted: change the line from business to residential. It took 5 minutes. What took the rest of the time was prompted by my innocent question, "And can you transfer my business broadband account, too?".

He could, yes, it's just he couldn't do it there and then. Apparently, it takes ten working days to disconnect a business broadband account, the first five of which you have broadband still and the remaining five of which you don't. Except, it may be fewer than ten days before they disconnect, and it may be more or fewer than five days that you get before they disconnect you.

OK, so that's mere incompetence, but the real kicker comes with the fact that during the period of ten days (except for exactly ten days), there is a flag raised on the account that means you can't order residential broadband on that line. That's not install, that's order. So although they can flick a switch to make my business line a residential line in a matter of moments, they can't transfer business broadband like that, they have to switch it off, and even though the line is a residential line I can't order residential broadband until the ten days are up and the marker is removed.

There was no explanation as to why this was the case, except something to do with "we have to tell BT Business".

It would be tiresome to have to ask for residential broadband to start up the moment that business broadband switches off, but no, tiresome isn't enough: I can't even ask for residential broadband until the ten days are up. Then, I have to wait another "five working days, plus or minus a random number of days" for them actually to install the residential broadband (ie. to flick a switch in a different database). What the blue cheese is going on?!

That's not merely incompetence: that's ineptness.

Referenced by Line Change.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).