“Call handlers in India just seem to read from a scroll and not understand what you’re explaining” - Brampton, near Aylsham, couple’s epic wait for a BT phone

Jonathan and Rita Spinks, from Brampton, are having problems getting their phone line installed.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Jonathan and Rita Spinks, from Brampton, are having problems getting their phone line installed. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thursday, March 27, 2014
7:30 AM

Communications giant BT has spent more than nine months repeatedly failing to connect a short length of cable - leaving a north Norfolk family without an urgently-needed phone in their new home.

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In a saga of farcical proportions the firm’s own communications have failed so dismally that through summer, autumn, winter and spring it has mistakenly sent a stream of engineers to help Jonathan and Rita Spinks - none of whom has been the right man for the job.

The Spinks say they have spent countless, fruitless hours on the phone to BT call handlers in India and they have now referred the matter to the communications ombudsman.

And the couple claim it was far less hassle getting their new house built on Marsham Road, Brampton, near Aylsham, than trying to arrange a new phone and broadband connection through BT.

After a reporter contacted BT this week the firm apologised, promised to “urgently investigate” and get the work done.

The saga began last June when the family, including children Robert, 21, and Jessica, 19, moved from their cramped home elsewhere in Brampton, into the spacious new house they have had built.

Mr Spinks, 48, under instruction from BT, ran ducting and a phone cable from the new house to their property boundary. It then needed Openreach, BT’s infrastructure arm, to take it a further 12 feet and connect it to a roadside BT box.

Mrs Spinks, 46, stayed in on many occasions to be there for agreed appointment times but when engineers turned up, they always expected to be connecting the phone in the house, not the cable in the road - and went away again.

“I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to phone up about it,” said Mrs Spinks. “I always get someone in India. Once, after an hour, she tried to transfer me, I got cut off and had to ring back. I was on for another hour and a half and it still didn’t get sorted. They just seem to read from a scroll and not understand what you’re explaining.”

Meanwhile the couple, who own Brampton MoT Centre, say they fear they could be losing vital custom as their business phone is often blocked while they are trying to contact BT.

Last Friday engineers arrived, unannounced, and finally ran the cable up to the BT box but the Spinks still do not know whether it has been connected internally, or when and if their phone will be installed.

“I think BT are absolutely useless,” said Mrs Spinks. “No wonder the country’s in the state it is with companies like that. It’s been quicker getting our house built.”

A BT spokesman said it appeared that a previous order had been mistakenly closed, causing delays. He added: “We will urgently investigate and will be in contact with Mr and Mrs Spinks to fully update them, discuss the whole issue and apologise directly.”

Further engineering works should be completed next week and all the work would be finished “as quickly as possible.”

8 comments

  • I sometimes wonder if phone users in india get call from an English call centre to solve their problems?

    Report this comment

    i am mostly wrong??

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • This is why Aviva lost alot of customers, too many complaints about the poor service from overseas call centres.

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    Piranha24

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • But isn't the private sector supposed to be super efficient? That's why BT was privatised in the first place, wasn't it?

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • I have been in contact with Better Broadband for Norfolk about fluctuating wi-fi, they have contacted BT and from there the black hole which is BT customer services has done nothing about it, no contact at all. This has only gone on for about 4 months now so I wouldn't expect to hear anything. The GovernmentLocal Government keep awarding them big contracts to supply us with a sub standard service and and so called super fast broadband. In reallity we'll all end up with the bare minimum that BT can get away with whilst the rest of the Europe get streets ahead of us in their abilities to communicate. I feel sorry for the couple who have waited so long to get their phone connected but it just goes to show how much clout these ombudsmen actually have. Come on Great Britain wake up, force these companies to give us the service we pay for or vote with your feet and go to someone else.

    Report this comment

    fatboy

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The headline about the call centre seems to me to be very misleading. The problem the couple have come across seems to have been caused by poor service in the UK by not getting the original order right in the first place. Also it is BT a UK based company whom give the call centres their instructions and scripts and monitor the service and BT are ultimately responsible for the service they provide. I think it is more a demonstration of the current bad customer service that exists in the UK than a problem with an Indian call centre. I have only ever faced customer service problems with UK and large US based companies. I have also never faced problems with small regional based companies whom I find provide the best customer service.

    Report this comment

    PDH

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • This story is hardly news. Everybody I know has experienced difficulty with BT Open Reach they employ Indian staff to deal with connections in this country, in my experience BT deliberatly mis inform these staff what is happeing on the ground in England, I personally had BT Indian call centre employee inform me on more than one occassion the engineers were replacing cables along my road when they were not, when I explaned this to the person in India they became embaressed. I think it is embarressed that a multi national company not only treats its cumstomers in such a way but pays poor people in the sub continent to lie on their behalf. Everybody knows contacting BT openreach is a joke on the customer I dread having to contact them does everyone I know.

    Report this comment

    laurellee

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • The situation that arose with BT is not uncommon. I could tell you a tale of epic proportions for a couple in Walcott whose line was damaged in the December sea surge. If you think this example is bad, I could describe a far worse story of utter incompetence. Openreach even managed to turn up at the WRONG property to fix the line, not once but twice. They have no understanding of the words urgent, compensation or customer service. About time BT had to compete like all other market sectors. A formal complaint made through their on-line complaint system remains unresolved.

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    JanieH

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • Try emailing the ceo at gavin.e.patterson@bt.com Or phone. 0207 356 5000 Ceo 's don't like to be bothered so something might get done Worked a treat with Vodafone

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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