To Libby Barr, Managing Director of Customer Services for BT plc

Subject: To Libby Barr, Managing Director of Customer Services for BT plc
From: IB - 161004-004551
Date: 4 Oct 2016

Dear Ms Barr,

I'm sorry I find myself in this position, but I needed to explain my frustrations to someone with enough seniority to be able to do something effective. As my recent cancellation email is signed by you/on your behalf, you're the ideal candidate.

Unfortunately, from the beginning of my contract almost 12 months ago, to my decision to cancel all but the landline yesterday, my experience with BT has been fraught with mistakes, delays, misinformation and on one occasion, outright lies. I've tried to make the best of bad situations throughout, and sought advice from BT whilst paying my bills on-time as agreed, and been left just waiting for the end of my contract, having to hope things might improve.

The physical service received for the landline and broadband has actually mostly been on-par, and as quoted, though there have been several issues with the homehub - one unresolved to this day - and a faulty line outside my house that I had to investigate and detect myself before an engineer would be sent out to fix it.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for BT Mobile, nor for over half of the customer service and "advice" I've received from various staff-members at BT over the year.

There seems to be an awful culture of miscommunication within BT, a general lack of understanding of policies and how to apply them, and a distinct lack of concern for the fact that there is very little continuity or congruity across the business.

This can become very frustrating for a customer, and equally so for the staff members trying to do the best job they can, some of whom I've known personally over the years, and I know this is nothing new.

I cannot tar all staff with the same brush, many have been helpful but not in the position to help, and those I spoke to yesterday were actually very well informed, and thorough. If previous interactions with BT had been as direct, I wouldn't find myself in this position, writing this letter to you.

When I called yesterday it was to ensure you had enough notice to terminate all but the phoneline on Nov 11th, at the end of the 12 month contract... I was just going to give up and walk away from BT entirely, switch to another provider for the phone line and a local wireless provider for broadband, but I discovered yesterday after some googling that I could've applied for BT Basic some months back and made this switch sooner.

Your BT mobile representative yesterday cancelled my BT Mobile contract effective immediately as I'm not using it, have never really used it save once or twice, as I can't get a signal where I live - contrary to signal claims at the beginning, and your service map. She also confirmed that under these conditions I could have cancelled months ago with no exit fee... The same thing I was told when I called a few weeks in to my contract to complain. I had hoped you would have Wifi Calling or some sort of app, as per EE, or one in the piplines at least - The chap I spoke to said they hadn't been told anything about new apps, but if I wanted to give it a while he would make a note for me to be able to cancel fee-free if it doesn't improve...

Yet several months back when I was trying to squeeze extra money out of our very tight budget, I called to do exactly this, cancel, as I couldn't use your service, and paying for the hope of an app was stupid. Imagine my surprise when I was told that I had fifty-something pounds to pay as I was in contract. I explained I had been told before that it would be fee-free, and that I wasn't even using the service, but after consulting the notes and a manager, he came back and said no, if I terminated, the fee would be added to my next bill. So I kept the SIM.

I then found out via google that I could downgrade my package, and still be in contract, saving £5 per month, so I did. The analyst who'd refused my free termination didn't think to suggest this, yet I had explained clearly that I wasn't willing to wait for better service anymore, and I needed to save every penny I could on our outgoings. We were having to claim state benefit in entirety, and living on not very much at all.

I also spoke to your team at one point to see if there was any way we could reshape our package to save money, and after analysis we decided it could be more costly to remove the anytime option. However, having been let down by BT Mobile, I now had a cheap EE deal with wifi calling, meaning I had lots of free minutes on my useable mobile service. This was discussed, as obviously the calls from my landline quickly became local-only, and again, this element being considered could have saved a not-insignificant amount of money.

This analyst, knowing why we were looking at changing the package, could have told me about BT Basic + Broadband right there and then. I had also explained not being able to use the mobile and not being able to cancel it, yet he didn't query that.

Why is it that at multiple stages your staff failed to advise me of BT Basic?

Why is it that your staff can't seem to agree whether lack of service entitles you to a free disconnect on BT mobile, especially when you've already been promised one?

Why is it that some of your staff seem to be able to find notes that others cannot? Is your CRM system THAT convoluted?

Why is it that problems with the Home Hub are just worked around, rather than acknowledged and fixed?

To explain the source of that last question, BT sent me a powerline adapter for free because your tech staff admitted the wifi on my homehub seems to be completely faulty, but don't seem to think sending another hub out would fix the issue. There are no problems with signal collision, I live in a row of cottages on a farm, there're no other wifi sources for 100m. I worked in IT support until recently, and had diagnosed where the fault lay... So, what's the problem?

I've digressed slightly with that Home Hub issue, as that's the hardware, not the service - but in itself, those actions are indicative of a culture of "make do" within BT, one that seems to creep in to all areas, with the unlucky few picking up the slack created by the deadwood.

Essentially, your staff should have completely annulled my BT Mobile contract at the latest when I spoke to them in June and later discovered I could downgrade it myself... if not at the earliest opportunity when I spoke to them back in March/April and was told I'd have to pay. That's £60 I could've saved. Frankly as I've been able to make all of about 15 calls on it I've paid £95 for diddly-squat.

Since June all of my calls bar a few local calls have been made from my new EE mobile, so that £8.50 extra for anytime was kinda pointless, too. I wasn't overly upset about that until yesterday, that was my decision to keep it on after consulting with your sales/billing folks, and I accepted that entirely... I wanted to make damn sure I wasn't going to get hit with an unexpected bill, as we were barely keeping our head above water. Bounced DDs would have sunk us!

But we actually DO need to add it on, because your salesfolk could have told me about BT Basic, as I had explained my financial situation clearly and was seeking to minimise my bill. They knew I had the EE mobile, which paid for itself in mobile call savings, and still didn't think to suggest removing Anytime, let alone TELL ME ABOUT BT BASIC.

My finding out about BT Basic is what has brought everything into focus for me, and it's really annoyed me. So, including £20 for no-service mobile, I could've saved up to a whopping £205, £180 if I'd taken Basic + Broadband, which is more likely.

That's if I'd taken it in June.

I got the EE phone both because I needed a mobile service, and because I needed to save on mobile phone call costs. I could've got it much sooner had I not been told back in April that I couldn't cancel my contract, and that if I tried to take my number away from BT that would be considered terminating my contract, so I'd have to change my number if I got a new phone.

I eventually decided to suck on having to have a new number, and got the phone I could actually use.

But you'll remember I called to discuss in March/April about the mobile, as I was needing to save money by refining everything. That's another 3 months that I technically could've cancelled everything and switched to BT basic + broadband. Potentially another £168 saved or so.

I didn't want to make this a total guilt-trip sob-story, so it's only now I'd like to point out that my wife is disabled. I need a reliable mobile service both at home and outside so she and others can contact me. I needed to refine costs as we'd experienced a change in circumstances, and I needed advice and support, not tripe and disinformation.

When we joined BT we were given an Account Manager, it later turns out that was by accident, and we were mucked around on install/go-live dates twice. I wish the experience had improved since then, I'm willing to give things the benefit of the doubt, and up until yesterday I was still giving you it, though lamenting the poor service.

Now that I know about BT Basic, and it's all come into focus, I can no longer give you the benefit of the doubt. I can no longer accept the level of service, the poor advice, and the money I've thrown away on services I've either not needed, not used, or not been able to use. The pure amount of hours I've spent on the phone trying to resolve problems and get advice. This all is just a snapshot of the things you can do something about... I'm not a serial complainer, but read through my notes, you'll see what I mean.

I know I stand little chance of getting it, but as far as I'm concerned BT owe me at least £280 - though if you've any decency you'll add the additional £168 or so I could've saved in line rental and package charges had you advised me correctly at the first opportunity. I would hope to see this as a direct payment, rather than a bill credit, and I would hope not to have to argue for it. I have been truly let down by BT in almost every sense, and it irritates me that I have to go to these lengths at all. I didn't even receive the promised Sainsbury's voucher incentive for signing up.

I've now got forms for BT Basic + Broadband coming out to me. I should have known about it and they should have been sent out a long, long time ago.

I urge you to investigate this thoroughly, and implement training from the top-down to ensure your policies are known and adhered to by all, to ensure the customer receives continuity of service, and issues such as mine get phased out over time. A company the size and age of BT should not be making these sorts of mistakes in 2016.

I appreciate your time reading this letter, and look forward to your response, and refund, in a timely fashion.

Many thanks