It is slightly interesting that with the rise of pervasive broadband allowing internet managed utility and bank accounts to rise dramatically, access to the internet is becoming a key service. We have just discovered, as we help someone manage a bereavement, how this can backfire. The telephone and internet account was in the name of the bereaved. So, along with other accounts, efforts were made to notify BT (British Telecom) that the account name needed to change.
It appears that despite the communication being very clear, BT got the wrong end of the stick and missed out that this was a bereavement – maybe they thought that the account holder was changing due to a house move or similar (from a Mr. unusual X to a Mrs. same unusual X – should have raised a doubt you’d have thought). So, without notice, they cut off the broadband access. Four hours have apparently been spent on the phone today trying to rectify this, in order to pick up e-mails from folks about the funeral. This has including the simply amazing admission at some point ‘Oh, is this a bereavement then’ … which kind of indicates that the process got fluffed somewhere. But, all the discussion doesn’t appear to have done anything so far, and they claim it will take 5 days to reconnect.
I work in Financial Services, and know from experience that with the best will in the world sometimes things go wrong and need to be fixed. But when that happens, especially in already stressed situations like a bereavement, you need to do everything in your power to sort the issue as fast as possible. Failing to do this, and requiring 4 hours of telephony and still not to get anywhere is shambolically incompetent.
Sadly, we don’t seem to be the first – for example, this guy had such a bad experience that he posted a video of his complaint on you-tube, and got a letter of apology from the BT chairman (or someone signing in his name anyway) and a return of the disputed money … but no consideration given for the inconvenience at all. Someone else seems to have had exactly the same ludicrous run around that we’ve had – see here.
The story isn’t ended yet of course, since the issue is not resolved. BT did talk about changing the telephone number as well, though since it has been the same number for decades, all address books of friends scattered through the world will then have the wrong number! We are going to follow up hard with them to discover how they can possibly regard any of this as acceptable, what is supposed to happen in these cases, why it didn’t happen on this occasion, and what they propose to do about it.
Broadband provision is of course famous for iffy customer service. But, thats exactly why BT was chosen (at £30/month!) in this case – for peace of mind from dealing with a reputable company. A thoroughly reasonable assumption, and it appears a completely misplaced one.