Upgrading my BT Broadband to BT Infinity 2?
After having my letterbox regularly interfered with for over a year with sales information from BT attempting to persuade me to upgrade to BT Infinity (which I already have), several weeks ago, I received a telephone call from a jolly gentleman in BT’s sales team asking me if I wanted to upgrade to BT Infinity 2. Normally, when an unknown person introduces him/herself via a telephone call with: "hello, how are you today?", they don’t get to utter the next syllable, before being reverted back to the dial tone, but this time I listened and he told me triumphantly that the upgrade was “Free”. It was BT's precious gift to a loyal customer, similar to the technological equivalent of myrrh and frankincense.
As a result of signing up for Infinity 2, my broadband speed would go up to a dazzling 58.9 Mbps (not so dazzling considering that some countries around us have been rolling out standard 100Mbps networks for a while). Also, I would have absolute unlimited broadband......... yeah right!! The rule is: it is unlimited but, if you go beyond what BT deems to be fair, they come and squeeze your pipe (not your windpipe though). So Broadband is limited unlimited and telephone calls are unlimited limited (one hour) on evenings and weekends. Where is that telephone number for Trading Standards again?
After some hesitation, as I have over 30 years of experience with BT and their ability to display astounding levels of incompetence that makes George Osborne look like John Maynard Keynes (look him up), I decided to go ahead and ....................... absolutely nothing happened!.
Normally I would have left it there, but I have had problems with my BT router for some time and after various telephone calls with technical script readers in alien time zones, during which I was told to switch the bloody thing off and on (which it was already quite masterful at on its own) and remove and reconnect wires, resulting in as much improvement as I would have achieved by praying for the thing to work properly. In technical terms, the thing just proved to be beyond repair via telephone instruction.
I decided to call BT’s Sales Office to discuss getting a new Home Hub and when asking about my Infinity 2 upgrade from a few weeks ago, it was confirmed........ nobody knew anything about it. Not to worry though, I could get an upgrade right now to Infinity 2 and receive a new Router called a Hub 3.0. I immediately felt a cold hand around my heart: BT would have to take on two orders at the same time, but the sales lady said, BT could handle it. I admired her reckless pluckiness and we haggled over the price and agreed on a payment of a few quid for delivery and a reasonable reduction in monthly payments.
A few days later, I was told in rather condescending terms in a letter with lots of coloured blocks with large letters, big icons and references to 58.9 Mbps as 58.9 Mb that the new upgraded service was to start on the 18th of April and that on the same day the equipment would arrive and the service would be upgraded. I had to strictly wait with the self-installation of the kit until BT phoned or emailed to give me the go-ahead. The letter also said that it could be any time until midnight of the 18th that I would get that go-ahead call or email.
To my complete astonishment, on the morning of the 18th, the postman delivered a package containing the new Hub 3.0, which arrival on the agreed date was a absolute miracle akin to a blood crying statue of the virgin Mary or a potato resembling the face of Jesus. After gradually overcoming my surprise, I considered that the race was on: would they or would they not? I waited and waited and waited some more but no call or email emerged. Although I had low expectations, I still felt disappointed that BT had failed again.
BT has been in existence since Medieval times and nothing much has changed since then. BT is a male dominated organisation with a couple of token female non-exec directors and it is not likely that there may be a woman CEO or Chair in the next 200 years. The management structure is that of a neo-Ruritanian hierarchy and modelled on the British civil service in India circa 1850.
On the morning of Friday the 19th, I ventured into what can be called a rather risky exercise: to phone BT and find out what went wrong. With slight trepidation and resignation to the fact that much of this day would no longer be my own, I chose from a menu read out by a female voice in need of Strepsils and I was put through to a young man in a BT call centre who thought it excellent, brilliant and wonderful that I knew my own name and address and he verbally orgasmed that I was able to read out the order number.
He said it was all splendid and no problem. During our conversation, he decided to add my surname name to the end of every sentence, but after the 4th time, it started to fray and sounding rather different from what I call myself. But, lucky me, he said, he would sort it out by connecting me to the Order Management Department.
Order Management apparently does not reside in the UK. Order Management is chosen to maintain the historical connection with Britain’s colonial heritage and after two bars of holding music (shades of things to come), I was swiftly transferred to a representative located in the Indian subcontinent. I presume he must have had a PhD, as standards are high in that part of the world. The gentleman introduced himself by reading his name from a script, which, during our conversation, he stuck to like glue, as improvisation is severely frowned upon within BT and even the smallest deviation from his script had to be immediately discussed with a supervisors likely to reside in Kamchatka, the Faroe Islands or Manchuria, during which lengthy intervals, when I am sure they also chatted about last night's telly, the footy and the weather, I was put on hold and subjected to BT's holding music.
Now the BT holding music is BT’s punishment for anybody who has the temerity to contact the company by telephone. If we, clients, take that risk, we receive the holding music in revenge. The holding music manifests itself as a loop of around 45 bars of the Allegro, the first movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Serenade no.13 for Strings in G Major (K525) also known as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, which Mozart must have composed when he’d been overindulging on Jaeger bombs. The piece should have been called Eine Grosse Scheisse Musik (Google Translate will help you out with that one).
Somebody within BT, who would probably pass the Sociopath test Cum Laude has decided that the caller should not just be tortured by a loop of only a small piece of this music, knowing full well that holding during communication with BT is always lengthy, but we should be forced to listen to a rendition played by Radio Azerbaijan’s Part Time Retired Amateur String Ensemble. Also, as an integral part of the punishment, the playback volume on BT’s holding music system is deliberately set too high, so what arrives in one's earhole, whilst waiting, is a nasty nauseatingly distorted short loop of a badly played piece of classical sh*t that makes you grab for a sick bag after about five repeats. After 15 minutes on hold, several of my senses moved to DEFCON 2 and I wanted to play Russian Roulette with a loaded bread knife. I have since called Guantanamo Bay’s Enhanced Interrogation Development Team with a tip.
For 43 minutes, I endured Mozart's soporific composition in reverse as well as my good friend from the Indian Subcontinent flicking backwards and forwards to his supervisors, putting me on hold and at one time threatening to connect me to the Engineering Department where, when it comes to sales orders, they have great difficulties distinguishing between their rectum and their olecranon process (look it up). He did his best to make sure I did not blame him for the mishap. He and I had started bonding via a naturally occurring process known as the Stockholm Syndrome. I did not blame him; he was just as much a victim as I was, so I wished him a good life, hung up and decided to take a different tack.
I have been here before with BT. I have on several occasions been confronted with their astounding levels of incompetence, which they should patent, as the coalition government is borrowing heavily from it at the moment. BT can afford it though, as they have a monopoly. Now from experience and because I am a sod, I know that if you go high enough up the BT food chain, you actually find people who are trained to find their way around this choas of gross incompetence and who, miraculously, do not directly contribute to it. In other words, they can, on a good day, sort you out.
I looked for the telephone number of BT Group PLC in London and found it via Google, who are a bit like God, omnipotently knowing all about me and making sure that wherever I go on the Internet, there will be a link to a video of a brace of sexually active voluptuous lesbians (only joking!). Those are the perils of when you are not a client of Google, you become the product. The number auntie Google gave me for BT Group PLC appeared not to be in use any longer; a bad omen!
I found other telephone numbers via more obscure websites and I managed to get through to the BT Group PLC switchboard where I encountered a bull terrier by the name of Paul, who refused to put me through to the Chairman’s Office because of procedures, policies and a whole lot of other flannel. I insisted, cajoled and almost threatened to pay the office a visit and personally insert a new shiny Home hub 3.0 into an organic cavity devoid of solar illumination. Finally, we agreed that Paul would send an email to the Chairman’s Office with a request that somebody would ring me back and solve the problem. I asked to be called back within 2 hours and he said, he would put that in the email and send it immediately. I asked to be copied on the email so that I had the Chair office’s email address, but he probably figured that one out too and he didn't. Nice try though!!!
Now within BT, it is part of corporate culture that nobody rings back. As part of a slow developing enlightening process, BT has succumbed to the fact that there is absolutely no use ringing the customer back as nobody has an inkling on how to solve their problems, so on pain of an instant P45 and a security escort from the premises whilst carrying your belongings in a cardboard box with a stylish BT logo (never missing a marketing trick), nobody calls you back.
Five hours later, in the afternoon, I decided to call the Group PLC office again to see what happened with the email. Fortunately the drunken Mozart tune has been eliminated from calls to the head office and after explaining why I called, I was almost immediately put through to a lady who has no other job title than: Working for the Chairman’s Office. She informed me that because of climate change, a new Pope and various other important things like washing her hair, I had not received a call from my new case manager by the name of Beverly, who was also graced with the job title: Working for the Chairman’s office although she doesn't work from his office, but a few miles away in Brentford, which nicely mixes it up in the job nomenclature.
Beverly did call me later as she is not constrained by the no-call back P45 threat. Beverly ignored my rant about incompetence and holding music torture, she must get that a lot as I could hear her yawn when I mentioned it.
Now Beverly came out with an astonishing stroke of genius, a bit like the reverse of Nigel Farage’s, (he of the political wing of the Flat Earth Society) vision of Britain's future. Beverly said: “sir, after looking into your complaint very thoroughly, I have found out that THE ORDER HAS FAILED”.
I was absolutely stunned, as that fact would have never occurred to me in a million years and I nearly cried because of feeling so blessed to witness such divine insightfulness at the outer regions of Homo Sapiens' ultimate powers of deduction.
As BT had now admitted culpability, I asked for compensation for my suffering and my time, but Beverly made it very clear that this was certainly not her first priority, “a bit of goodwill, yes”, she purred, still rather chuffed with having been able to find out that the order had failed, “but we need to get you a new order on Monday”. I asked if I could have it today, but she muttered things about BT Wholesale (whatever that is) and she proved to be completely incapable of even contemplating getting me sorted out today as that required a level of initiative that was way beyond Beverly’s pay grade as well as possibly her cognitive abilities, even if it only meant making a couple of internal calls to people in engineering who needed to flick a switch.
So, no Infinity 2 and no active Hub 3.0 yet, but a wonderful sojourn through BT Land where the sun never sets and life has a meaning of its own.
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