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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BTinternet Customer Service

I think people should know about the dreadful plight of BTinternet customer service which I got a taster of throughout last week and a good portion of this week.

For four days last week I found that I was suddenly unable to receive email. I could send email, but could not receive.

I contacted the BTinternet Customer Service helpline, which directed me to their call centre in India, and went through the usual tedious process of identifying who I was, which involved spelling out my name several times.

We went through the process of checking the setting of my Outlook Express, and the setting were correct. Then we checked my webmail, and found that I was able to send as well as receive email on my webmail account. Ah, so it must be a fault with Outlook Express. Except no, it wasn't, because we'd just checked the settings.

But BT said it was not their fault and I contacted Microsft, who ran a series of checks which determined that Outlook Express worked perfectly well. Then we set up my BTinternet account on my other computer and found that it, too, could suddenly not receive email. Therefore the problem was with the bTinternet account itself.

That took up most of Tuesday, and so I woke up on Wednesday knowing that I could safely explain the whole thing to BTinternet customer service and they would put the matter right.

But they didn't. Instead we went through exactly the same procedure of checking the settings that I knew were correct. I tried to explain that I knew that it was a fault in the account itself, but I could not get my message across.

Repeat same actions on Wednesday afternoon. Then again in the evening.

On Thursday the same thing happened again, this time with a three-way phone call with the man from Microsoft. Again this resulted in nothing being done. Later I was given the direct line to their technical research team, or so I thought. I was connected to a place in England and a helpful sounding womain offered to explain the situation to her colleage, who was apparently in the department I needed to speak to (it turned out she wasn't). I thought that this person might get it wrong, so said I'd try later. But she insisted on being helpful so I let her explain it to her colleague while I was put on hold for three minutes.

The phone crackled into life. Someone from the BTInternet customer service call centre in India started telling me that she had been told that I could not send or receive email from my webmail, which was completely wrong. I explained the true situation, and we went though the settings again and I was told the fault was with Microsoft's product.

I again explained ....

Repeat more or less all of Friday. We had another three-way conference call again, where the man from Microsoft got the womain from BTinternet customer service to basically indemnify his products. So it seemed to end in a stalemate. I was told ny the BTinternet customer service agent that I would be getting a phone call from the technical research department next morning (Saturday) at between 10 and 11.

They did not contact me. I phoned BTinternet customer service at around half past twelve and explained the situation. I was told that perhaps they were too busy to call me. Then the agent offered to go through the settings with me again at which I demurred.

In the meantime I could receive email again. I immediately got over 3,000 spam emails, and found that I had to reset all my spam email messages again because they had been deleted. This took me over an hour.

It is now Yuesday and still nobody from BTinternet customer service has made the promised Saturday morning call. Instead I have been offered a refund of £3.14 for the inconvenience of not having the service for four days.

I still don't know what caused the fault. The same thing could happen this week, and then next. And I wouldn't be any the wiser. Ah, but I might be £3.14 the richer every time, eh?

BTinternet customer service are a waste of space. So much so that they should have a health warning permanently attached to them.

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