Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Monty Python would be proud

Following on from my last blog, I have just paid the bill as requested and then looked for the full BT Vision package. I will need to pay an extra £50 deposit for the equipment that is already in my possession. I will need to pay an activation fee of £40 and as far as I can see neither of these fees are on their website. I will need to pay £35 as an engineer's fee as my line speed is so slow. I can't see this on the website, so basically I am being asked for £125 as a hidden bonus for receiving BT Vision.

I have always asked for BT Vision and never received it so reluctantly I decided to cancel everything.  I was then told that I would be breaking my contract and there would be a charge of £197. I thought  was on strong grounds not to pay this as I have never received the service that I wanted and the service that BT chose to give me is still not present as I still don't have my old phone number. I have not been in court before and I don't want to start now so I decided to forget the Vision part of my requests and go for what BT have given me, the broadband and anytime calls.

I was then passed to someone else regarding possible compensation. I was looking at all the frustrations of not having a service. They were asking for my mobile phone bills. We were talking on different levels and I was not asking for the £5 or £10 it has cost me on this bill. If I wanted compensation of £197 because I believe that they have broken the contract then I would have to pay £197 to try to get it back. Any lawyers out there are welcome to comment.

I still want David to phone me tomorrow as I still want my old phone number, so I asked if he was going to phone at 5pm tomorrow. The time needs changing as I have to leave the house at 4pm. At this point I was passed to a manager and this is the Monty Python bit. I asked again if David would call and he told me that he saw that he would be phoning at 5pm. I asked the manager if he could put a note on my records that I need the call before 4pm. He said that's fine but I sensed that he didn't understand so I asked him to repeat what I had just said (something I don't remember asking anyone to do previously), and he said that David would phone me at 5pm!!! I repeated my request and this time he said that he would ask David to phone before 4pm. Unbelievable.

Needless to say I am looking forward to a new provider when my contract runs out. BT simply have no records of any of my many requests so they would have no counter-argument. How do you argue against that?

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BT Frustrations

On the 6th August I wrote about broadband provision when moving house as I did just that on the 27th July. I had decided that I wanted BT Vision with anytime calls and broadband. It looks a good option at only £17 per month. Unfortunately there have been problems and I wrote about some of them on the 6th August. I now have broadband. It took some time to get up to speed but it works now and this blog comes to you from my new address. Nobody knows my temporary phone number. I was given a temporary number but it doesn't work and neither does my old number. As for the BT Vision part, I have received all the equipment and then been told to send it back because subsequent orders had been placed and cancelled and placed and cancelled so that I could have broadband prioritised.

Last week I spoke with someone from BT as I was asking about my temporary number. He told me that it should be working within 24 hours. I then mentioned BT Vision. This was a big mistake by me because the television bit could not be implemented as I would have to wait the 24 hours. So I phoned back after 24 hours and spoke with someone called David who was most helpful. He thought he might be able to get the television bit working immediately - but he couldn't. I would have to wait until the 30th as he was on annual leave.

Today I received an automated threat from BT that I may have to pay a late payment charge and / or receive restricted use. So I phoned back. I asked for BT Vision (as I have always done) and said that I was more than happy to pay after I received the service. I also mentioned that one of the people that I had spoken to over these five weeks had mentioned compensation. I had found this strange at the time as most of the delay had been caused by my previous provider. Maybe I was wrong because I was told  by BT to get a MAC code. I was told by my previous provider that I didn't need one because the service had been cancelled. I phoned back to BT and hey presto I have broadband.

Now David told me that he was very sorry but he is on annual leave until tomorrow. The person I spoke with today told me that David was working on getting the Vision side of things to me. I told her that he wasn't. I am a patient man but I am frustrated. I want BT to recognise that I have been asking for BT Vision for over five weeks. They can't because all their cancelled records are not available to them. I would like BT to say that they cancelled the previous orders but they have repeatedly written that I had cancelled them. I have never cancelled my initial request. I would like BT to offer compensation. I was thinking about the amount of mobile use but now I am thinking frustration and lack of service. They won't consider compensation until I have paid but they are asking for a £50 deposit on the Vision equipment that is already in a box in my living room waiting to be opened. I don't see a figure of £50 anywhere on their website.

I have had BT employees say they will take personal care of my request and get back to me. They haven't. I have had compensation mentioned to me but received threats of extra charges for a service that I don't receive. Today the person on the end of the phone had no idea that I did not know my temporary number. She gave me another temporary number but I really don't want to let anyone know this as it will change back to my old number shortly - I hope. Today's spokesperson for BT could do nothing. She asked her supervisor for support three times, I told her of my frustrations and that I would get back to her after I have written this blog.

Now that I have had chance to think, I will phone BT back and pay them their full payment and hope I get BT Vision from them and hope that my old number works in the near future.

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Saturday, 18 August 2012

West Coast Train Line

It has only taken three weeks but I now have broadband at home since I moved house on Friday 27th July. There must be a better system for changing an internet provider as there were times when I felt that I had lost my right arm. However it is much more important for many other people. I do not have a business that is dependent on the internet and I do not need access for my work. If any politician wants a project then they can investigate how broadband is provided.

The subject for the first blog at my new home is the West Coast train line and how Virgin trains lost the franchise to FirstGroup. I have heard reports that the FirstGroup are going to pay the Government around a million pounds more for the privilege of running the line but that sounds like a reverse subsidy and I thought the Government wanted to promote train journeys.

There is still a possible case to say that train journeys may improve for the commuter. It may be that thousands more will now use the service. It may be that higher prices will still be attractive because of rising prices elsewhere. It may be that a change in the system will lead to a much more efficient and effective service.

The trouble is that I don't think Virgin were doing such a bad job. I have heard and read many reports telling me that we have a good service already. I can't see improvements on the horizon. I hope I am wrong.

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Blame the Organ Grinder

Although I don't have broadband at home, I was tempted to go to Morecambe Library to publish this blog. Do you remember the football match between Germany and Austria in 1982? They played out a less than convincing 1 - 0 win to Germany which happened to mean that both teams qualified from their group. Was it cheating or just tactics? Well the teams didn't mind and I suppose both nations supporting their team's qualification. However it was fairly obvious that this sort of thing shouldn't be allowed and the organisers realised their mistake and changed the rules so that it couldn't happen again. Final group matches are now played simultaneously.

There are times when teams field a weakened team. Sometimes they are penalised but there must be many occasions when a team does not commit itself completely because it has higher priorities (their 'gold' lies elsewhere) and there must be many occasions when they are not penalised. It may be hard for the supporters to know that their team is not doing their best but I suppose they appreciate that the team may do better elsewhere. I also suppose that there are many more occasions when the supporters believe that their team could do better even when they have tried their best. Sometimes it works in the team's favour if they don't do so well. A fine example is when a player is touched and they fall over. They are definitely not trying their best but the result may be that they win a penalty which wins the match.

This brings me to the Olympics. There were eight women badminton players who were disqualified from the games after being accused of "not using one's best efforts to win". The players reasoned that a loss would give them an easier path to a gold medal. This is a disgraceful situation, not because the players did not try their best, They were trying their best to win a gold medal. It is a disgrace because the International Olympic Committee has not taken the blame. Worse than that they disqualified the players because of the committee's failure to organise the games correctly.

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Why is it so difficult to change broadband provider?

The news from my latest broadband service provider is not good. I was told officially that I would be moving on Friday 27th July only one day prior to moving but  I took a risk and paid for a new provider for my new house on Tuesday 24th. The first bad news was that the provider couldn't provide the service until Tuesday 7th. Unfortunately I wanted to keep my old number and this meant a delay of two days. I would have to wait until the 9th.

A few days later there was more bad news. There had been a 'mistake' with the order and it would have to be processed again. Strangely none of the details that they gave to me were wrong and all I had to do was confirm that I wanted the order processed again.  I could not have a service until the 15th.

Then more bad news. On Saturday 4th August I was phoned again on my mobile and told that the previous service provider for my new house (it has been empty for a couple of years) wanted to delay my service. I was told that they may try to contact me even though they have no way of doing so. Perhaps the person who told me this on the phone had not thought that they could write to me but I had already paid for the service with my preferred provider and it is highly unlikely that I would want to change.  

I was asked for my phone number. I said they had just phoned me. They wanted the landline and I asked if they didn't already have this information. They had been given this information by me on more than one occasion and they had given the number back to me on a previous call. I asked if there was anyone to whom I could complain, after all this simple transaction was becoming a fiasco. I was told that they would phone me back when they had checked out the information. I am still waiting for them to return the call (only two days have passed) and I have no idea when I will have a broadband service.

This blog comes to you courtesy of Morecambe Library.

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