My battle with BT. The conversation continues…

Hello, BT here. Chapter Two

Having asked for help at the end of October Felicity is still unable to access her account with BT. They can take money out of her account each month but she cannot see her bill and what she is paying for.

Friday, 12 November 2021.

Text: Hello, BT here. Just a quick update on the BT ID fault. We are really sorry about the delay in this repair. The team are currently working on the fault to get it fixed as quickly as possible but need some more time. We will continue to check in with them regularly and will be back in touch with another update on 17/11/2021. Our apologies once again for this delay and thank you for your patience. Please don’t reply to this text – we won’t see it. Thanks.

There was no mention of the fact that I could now no longer receive or send Emails.

The following morning I phoned BT Help to see if I could get my Email facility back again. I attempted to explain what had been happening (or not happening) and he said he would check my files. After a lengthy pause he said “Blimey!” Which was of little comfort. Anyway, he patiently helped me change my password again and I was able to access and send my emails once more. He then tried to get me into my account and almost succeeded. It failed at the final moment so we decided it was best to leave it to ‘The Team’ rather than maybe make a mess of what they were doing. Or not doing, I wanted to add but suppressed the urge.

Thursday, 16th November, 5.45 p.m

I was in the middle of making crème caramel to take to a lunch the following day – a dicey procedure at the best of times especially when one has to watch the caramel like a hawk which was what I was doing when the phone rang.

“Hello Mrs Graham, BT here, Josh from Cardiff. I am ringing to see if there is anything I can do to help with your problem.” I told him that ‘The Team’ had it all in hand and I hadn’t got a clue what he could do to help. I also explained what I was doing and would have to put the phone down to tend to my critically fast cooking caramel. He exuded ‘understanding’ platitudes which annoyed me. If he ‘understood’ anything about cooking, a quarter to six of an evening is the wrong time to phone anybody at home when they more than likely would be in the middle of preparing the evening meal. I told him ‘The Team’ had said they were going to contact me on the 17th which was in fact the following day.

“Ah yes,” he said, “They may not be doing that now.” So he had been talking to ‘The Team’ – why couldn’t he have said that? He then went on to explain that my problem had proved to be more difficult than they thought and wouldn’t be calling me for another three ‘working’ days. He then very casually suggested that the problem may be sorted if I were to change my email address which was, he said, extremely easy. My caramel was becoming critical and needed to be plunged into cold water and then immediately poured into the waiting, heated ramekin dishes. Difficult enough to do without a holding-on BT help person waiting on the other end of a line…

It did however give me time to think. NO WAY was I going to change my email address. The sneaky ‘Team’ had got poor old Josh from Cardiff to phone me to try and persuade me to change it. How transparent can some people be? How stupid do they think I am? If I were to change my email address, I would have to inform all the hundreds of people I know who have it, my bank, family in America, South Africa, New Zealand GRRRR, everywhere. Goodness knows what messages I would never get. NO NO NO. He didn’t sound too surprised and backed off. How on earth could this be so complicated? How many men from BT does it take to change a light bulb? And in how many ‘working’ days?

Monday, 22rd November

The landline rang at about 6.30 p.m. This time it was a lady (who should have known better than to contact me at that time) called Karen (I didn’t ask how she spelt it and was pretty sure it only had one ‘r’) who informed me that she had texted me a few minutes earlier to say she would be phoning me and had sent me a pin number. As I had been outside, in my studio and my mobile phone was at the bottom of my handbag in the kitchen, I had not received her text. I was made to feel this was almost a slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanour and when I retrieved the darned thing I found it was out of charge. Karen said she would hang on until I re-charged it and I began to frantically plug things in. She then decided it would be quicker to Email me and send me another pin number and when I received it, would I read it out to her. I told her it would take time as my computer was pretty slow and she said she had plenty of time and not to worry. I didn’t say she was lucky I wasn’t cooking a meal as I wouldn’t have had the time. Going through the process I suddenly realised what all the ‘texting from an 0800 number and pin numbers was all about. It’s in order to prove you are not a robot or a person impersonating yourself. WHY would anyone want do that? I asked myself. I could have been a thief who had just stolen my phone or the window cleaner or a grandchild having fun. Weird.

Eventually I went through the usual carry on with Karen trying to find my BT ID. I have a feeling she thought she could make a ‘breakthrough’ and be acclaimed by ‘The Team’ but to no avail. She told me what she was going to do next but so quickly my bad hearing didn’t get half of it – nor did I really want to. She finished by saying she would give it until Wednesday and I asked her what would happen after that, would my ‘case’ be shelved and forgotten? She resolutely denied that anything of the sort would happen and we parted company leaving it unresolved yet again.

Tuesday, 23rd November

11.15am Text: Hello Mrs Graham it’s Karen from BT in Newcastle here. Within the next five minutes, I’ll be calling you from an 0800 number. This is to check if there’s anything we can help with. Thanks.

Then: Hello BT here. Your PIN is 1767. You’ll only be able to use it once.

Needless to say I received no phone call from Karen in Newcastle. While writing this I realise I did not receive this message from her yesterday because my phone was out of charge. It must have somehow got onto her ‘to do’ list for when my phone was charged again and sent itself without telling her. Such are the vagaries of BT. What next, I wonder, will transpire in this gripping saga?

Wednesday, 23rd November.

On my way home from seeing my son who had just come home from holiday I suddenly remembered that one of ‘The Team’ people I had been talking to had told me they would phone me today and would I be sure to be standing by my phone and computer in the alert position? I had assured them I would be and even wrote down the time on a piece of handy paper – but not, alas, in my diary. On my return home I found the piece of paper and lo and behold, I had been near to my landline and my computer at the appointed time and no call had come. Whew! But this is the second time ‘The Team’ has asked me to be ‘ready for a call’ and they have not called.

A few minutes ago – a text: “Hello, BT here. We’re sorry – it’s going to take us longer than we thought to fix your Email/BT ID fault. This is because we have to do some more work and the relevant team are currently dealing with this. You don’t need to do anything. (Like what? Stand on my head and wiggle my toes or jog round the City Hall stark naked?) We’ll get your service up and running correctly again as soon as we can. To find out how we’re getting on, go to bt.com/faults or chat online with us at bt.com/chatdesk Thanks.

Please don’t reply to this text – we won’t see it. Thanks.”

OMG ‘Thanks’ to you guys as well.

Over and out… Anyone want tickets to watch me run round the City Hall?

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