How Can One Organisation So Monumentally C**k Up a House Move?
I needed to share this journey.
October 2021, the original date we had planned to move house and when I started the negotiations with BT to move the business line and internet. I hadn’t worried too much about the residential line as that wasn’t a critical area, but the business line was. We ran two businesses and with the last 2 years of Covid, I was in need of IT – who knew I would expand my business to deliver talks and workshops all around the world via the method of zoom!
Where we moved to was not good for signal, in fact not good is an understatement, it was dire. I felt like we were moving off-grid! I had better phone signal sledging across the Norwegian Fjords on husky than I did at the new property. If we wanted to have good internet PLUS be able to take our business phone number with us (via the cloud) then the only solution I was told, was a dedicated BT leased line. This sounds great but also a little expensive, so we booked the survey to find out the extent of the work. The Openreach team came to measure and plan the route of the line, which I quickly learned, included temporary traffic lights and digging up the main road. Really?
Conversation between me and the Openreach engineer:
“Surely that is fibre coiled up on that telegraph pole between us and our neighbours?”
“Yes it is but we don’t know when it will be installed and live.”
“But if fibre is already up there, then you have surely already dug up the road to bring this in? “
“So wouldn’t it be more cost-effective, easier and better for the environment to install this?”
“Probably, but we don’t have a date so a dedicated lease line is the only option.”
Several days later, I get the quote. BT had offered to cover up to £3,000 of the installation costs. I was thinking was going to run into the 10s of thousands as we are the furthest point from the exchange. Pleasantly I was surprised, and the BT offer would cover the installation. The leased line itself, however, would cost just over £5,000 per annum with a MINIMUM 5-year contract. Total cost, north of £25,000 – this was not an expense I took lying down, PLUS a 90-day lead-time, as we had planned to move in October, time was not on our side. There was a short-term solution with a BT 4G broadband box, it would not give the strength to run the cloud system but a solution to tide us over. Okay, let us think about it. We were then pushed quite hard with making a decision, to which I pushed back and said until we have exchanged contracts on this house, we are not prepared to sign any service contracts.
One day on viewing this new house, there was a package on the doorstep with my name on it, it was the BT 4G wifi option to tide us over, strange as we hadn’t yet exchanged, but I picked it up took the box home and thought I would keep it safe till we moved. Several days passed with several pushy calls, and I sat with my husband and said let’s have a real think. My workshops are starting to go back face to face again now, and even if they are virtual or a hybrid mix, I can always go to my client’s offices or hire an office for the day rather than be at home. So it’s just down to the business number for the construction company – it is all over the website, branded vehicles etc, but is it really worth in excess of £25,000? We decided that the answer was no. I informed the contact at BT that we were not going to go ahead with the leased line option.
Moving the residential line, I thought was going to be easy however because the new property didn’t have the broadband speed we had in our package (we had fibre) then they would not be able to offer the service, together with the TV and sports package and because BT said they can not provide the service of the contract, we had the right to cancel the contract at no cost to us. Just move the phone contract over, which we did.
In January I noticed a new BT direct debit had been set up on our business account and a £36 payment had been taken, so I cancelled the DD and proceeded to make enquiries about what this was for, apparently it as the mobile service I set up in October.
Conversation between me and BT:
“I didn’t set it up, the salesperson did as a temporary measure till we moved and agreed on a leased line and it was a free service”
“Only free for the first 90 days, then £36 a month”
“No way, I didn’t agree with that”
“It’s in the small print”
“Well I’ve cancelled this”
“You need to serve the minimum 12 month contract and give 90 days notice”
In February (now please note we still haven’t exchanged on this house) I get an email from the current owners saying are you XYZ business? Because there is a letter here addressed to you. I confirmed it was our business and asked them to open, scan and email it to me. It was a demand letter from BT for the £36 cancelled DD. I was not impressed, so I went to try and get hold of the original salesperson to ask for their support. This individual I found out no longer worked at BT and was removed from the business. Read into that what you will. My new contact would help with having this demand removed. No more was heard.
On the day of exchange, we were allowed keys to the new property and we duly went over with a bottle of bubbles, a couple of glasses and cheers for the new house. Oh look a couple of letters for me already, open and oh this was now a collection agency and not after the £36 but the whole contract and their fees – a total of just over £1,000. Oh, and another letter dated a week later with a threat of bailiffs! WHAT? We have only just exchanged and there is now a potential black mark against the company name. I took the letters, scanned them and sent them to my new BT contact who was pretty horrified but promised they would be on the case to have removed. I also asked if they could handle the cancellation of the BT business package at the old property.
Another letter arrived from a debt collection agency, so I called them direct and they agreed to set up a complaint against BT which would force BT to either agree and resolve the issue, clearing the debt or disagree and force us to pay. They advised that if I had not heard from them within 30 days, the matter had been resolved. I am pleased to say I have heard no more and it’s not 60 days.
Next, came an invoice from BT Business with the “closing account” for the BT package held at the previous address, which was the remaining contract in one sum for the line and broadband, circa £600? I called and explained that as you (BT) are unable to prove the service we are within our rights to cancel the contract at no cost – as you BT had told me on the residential line?
“I wish to cancel at no cost, as per the residential line, you are unable to provide the service”
“But we can provide the service? “
“Sorry, but I was told you couldn’t which is why (if you look at our file) you will see we spent time and effort looking into a dedicated leased line.”
“But we can provide the service, albeit not fibre but the line would be strong enough to take the cloud system and run your business line on divert to your new office line”
“What? OMG, well let’s do this”
Openreach came out to check the installation, sadly the copper line into the house only allowed for one line so they would need to install a new copper line back to the exchange ( I dread to think of the cost but it was a cost BT would bear with Openreach as part of our contract) Install was booked for the 21st April.
21st April came:
2 people from Openreach, with 2 vans. Oh, we can’t install all of it as we need to get up that pole and it’s shared with the electrical company so we need the blue ladders and we don’t carry those. We will install as far as we can though.
Later that morning, another Openreach van with blue ladders arrived, drop them off, and then the original 2 people said they could finish the installation.
Nearly done, just needs a connection on that pole and that needs a hoist, we don’t have a hoist.
A couple of days later, 3 (yes THREE) Openreach vans, a blue ladder, a hoist and another engineer arrive to complete the connection on the pole.
“Nearly there we just need to connect back in the green exchange box, should be done by tomorrow.”
Tomorrow afternoon hurrah, I have a live phone line. Brilliant, now I can get on with business. Ooops, Vic didn’t get a head of yourself. The phone line is live but the broadband router box isn’t working.
“I have the phone line but not the broadband? I am using the little splitter device in the wall socket so not sure what’s happened?”
“I’ll look into it and get back to you, in the meantime I’ll set up a free divert to this new number”
“Sorry but there seems to be an issue we need to send Openreach to rectify a fault.”
Following week, Openreach is back out, checks line, says must be a fault at the exchange – will get sorted remotely, give us 24 hours. I mean I’ve been without the broadband this long, what’s another 24 hours? I’ve been tethering my computer to my phone hotspot, which seems to have worked well enough so far. I can’t run a virtual workshop but I can send and receive emails.
48 hours later still nothing, so email to previous BT contact, “Please can you jump in and help, I have the phone but no broadband” They are immediately on the case and another (yes another) engineer is sent out. So far I have met 7 different Openreach engineers, who all confirmed that there is a fibre cable coiled up on the pole in the lane, all ready for installation BUT not one of them can tell me when because they aren’t on the fibre team and do not have access to this data.
Monday 13th of June, the final Openreach engineer arrives and explains what has happened, having spoken to all the other visiting engineers. For whatever reason, the copper line to exchange on their system is not the true route to exchange, not just a slight miss-directional route NO, the actual exchange box, in a different village. So no wonder the line was never connected.
This Openreach engineer has it all sorted and up and running, a phone line AND now a BT broadband router box with a blue light. Amazing, it’s finally done, oooooh no Vic there you go again ahead of yourself.
With all this going on, as above the lovey BT business manager has had the old business number put onto divert at no cost, so I thought, oh, I should test that to make sure the answer machine service works. Ring, ring ring, ring, etc and the phone on my desk is not ringing but the mobile in my hand is ringing out? How strange, me thinks. I know, I’ll phone myself from the landline to check all is working. Ring, ring, oh what’s this number? It’s not the number I had before, nope, in the cross-over of exchange boxes I now have a different office number and it’s not where the old business line is diverted too. I have no idea where that number rings.
Back to the BT business manager who is straight on the case to have it rectified and re-diverted to the new number and the cloud account set up.
Did the residential line go smoothly? Of course not, that didn’t move over till 3rd May after I gave them notice on the exchange of contract that we moved on the 12th April. It didn’t make a huge difference to me as we had a new number and an EE 4G broadband box (which hardly ever has a signal btw) so we had an old-fashioned aerial installed in the loft to give us a TV signal. To be fair, I haven’t actually missed the TV. BUT what it did mean was the new homeowner couldn’t have their broadband installed until the 3rd of May – I lent them our old BT hub and said if it’s still there use this one.
So yes, I now have BT broadband and a BT business phone, but at what cost?
If I add up all the hours that Openreach have spent here it must be nearly 2 working weeks – so that’s 80 hours and at what cost, £150 an hour, is what I was given as a guide that Openreach charge BT so that’s the best part of £12,000, and all for a contract of £600 they wouldn’t cancel. AND knowing there is fibre in the lane already. Someone, somewhere needs to get a grip of this complete and utter waste of time, effort and money.
Signing off now as writing this blog has exhausted me from reliving it all.
Oh but before I do, I had one of those customer satisfaction surveys from BT this morning, I had great delight in filling that one out 🙂