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BT Infinity – It Felt Like It Yesterday

Posted by Pat | Posted in Observations / Life | Posted on 05-10-2010


Why did I go and do that?

One reason that I have evolved into a grumpy old bastard is because of the incompetence of large corporations. I ask the rhetorical question above because time and time again it taps me on the head like Chinese water torture usually towards the end of an ordeal. The same thought usually reminds me of that feeling I had before I commited myself; the “Don’t rock the boat, Patrick, you know it’ll end in disaster” feeling, shortly before clicking ‘Submit Order’.

Well no surprises how it’s going after I placed an order for BT Infinity on 22nd September, then.

The product is relatively new to the UK. It uses Fibre-To-The-Cabinet technology so that the amount of copper you actually use for your broadband connection is as minimal as it can be without running fibre optics directly to your house. In a nutshell, my potential download/upload speeds here were to increase to possibly 40Mbps and 10Mbps respectively. For someone who works online, uploads quite a bit, receives 400+ emails a day and so on, the speed is important to me.

Because it’s so new and so that any possible line noise is dealt with, it requires an engineer to visit your house, upgrade your master socket and give you a VDSL modem. You get the ‘Home Hub’ router in the post, seperately.

All was fine – I had received the Home Hub, supplied my MAC code from Sky (when they eventually gave me it) and had my install date for October 4th, between 8am-1pm.

I wanted to make sure I was completely awake and ready, so was up at 7. I know that’s no hardship for most – but I really don’t usually bother to rise before 9.30 if I really don’t have to! There are some possible phone ‘wiring’ issues here I need the engineer to deal with – and want to make sure they are softened up accordingly with a cup of tea/biscuits in case any of it is out of their remit!

So then the day just turned into one long wait.

I posted on Twitter about it at Midday – they still had an hour left, I was just getting frustrated. Quite sadly I couldn’t concentrate on doing any amount of work, thinking that firstly the bloke is going to turn up and secondly my broadband was likely to go off at any minute anyway.

1pm came. More Twitter frustrations.

At 2pm I decided to call BT. I called the number I’d been given on ordering – 0800 731 0286. After a short wait, they said the order looked ok and he’s probably just delayed, but gave me a customer services number – 0800 111 4567 – to call, just in case, later on.

Well I managed until about 3.30pm.

The customer services number is seemingly an Indian call centre. The first man who I eventually spoke to (after around 20 minutes of being on hold) said he had to put me on hold while he spoke to the Infinity team. After around 10 minutes of listening to classical music, I heard a ring tone, the bloke sounded exactly the same but said “Hello, how can I help?”. It wasn’t the same bloke. God knows what happened. I explained the situation with the new guy and he went off also to speak to Infinity, putting me on hold.

Well, lo and behold, 10 minutes later – “Hello, how can I help?”. I was in a ‘Being on hold Groundhog Day’. I explained that to the man – unfortunately he didn’t get the reference, so reverted back to explaining my Infinity problem and asked nicely if he could do something whereby I don’t end up having to explain everything again and thereby go slowly mental?

This time the same man came back after 10 or so minutes, saying the line was really busy but he was sure that the engineer would turn up very very soon.

So I left it at that.

Knowing the appointment was supposed to be ‘between 2-3 hours’, I couldn’t contain myself much longer at 4.30pm, thinking there’s no way he’s going to turn up now and work until 7pm!

I went to phone them again, this time for a definitive answer.

Just before I picked up the phone, I looked online at my BT.com order – it said ‘Completed’ and that ‘Your appointment is no longer required, as our engineer can connect your line without requiring access to your premises’. That is just obviously plain WRONG. He had to bring me a VDSL modem for one thing, let alone deal with the master socket stuff he’s not even aware of yet(!).


Armed with this new information, I called again. This time, the system offered to call me back because the wait times were so long. I declined as I would rather wait, and it’s an 0800 number so wasn’t costing me anything. Maybe the wastage in people staying on the line might encourage BT to employ some more staff, I thought, while I waited another 30 minutes.

I got through to a nice Indian lady and put on hold to speak to the Infinity team. After another 20 minutes, it started ringing again and eventually rang out, leaving me with that film-like-moment of a ‘number unobtainable’ tone where you look at the receiver in disgust, knowing there’s no coming back from that noise; put the phone down Patrick, you’re going to have to do it all again.

Kept my composure. I’m learning slowly about doing this lately.

So, I phoned again. This time the wait was about 40 minutes, but they actually got me through to the Infinity team who appeared to be in this country. She had a look and put me on hold… and came back (amazingly) saying there had been a ‘glitch’ and the order had never actually gone through. She added it wasn’t the first time this had happened. I was then put on hold again while she wrote an email (not sure why, I don’t mind hearing people type emails) and said I should hear back about an appointment pretty quickly – and the appointment should be in the next 48 hours.

Well it’s almost 24 hours since the final phone call, and no sign of an appointment.

A small ray of potential light is the @BTCare Twitter account, who I bothered all afternoon while stuck on hold, only to brush them off several times when the phone was answered. They are looking into it, so I will report back on what they say.

I feel like I lost a whole day of my life over that. Having Twitter was fun, but I was posting a little too often and feel bad about it, which is why I have offloaded it here.

The Terms and Conditions of the Infinity product state I can cancel the order right up to the moment it is activated. Given it’s 18 months and I have since read about it not being ‘Unlimited’, and I may very well get throttling put on my line, I’m in two minds whether to just cancel this outright, right this second. I think it depends on what @BTCare tell me later on.

So there you have it, if you actually bothered reading this, congratulations – it was just as boring experiencing it, and it’s not even over yet. Think of it as an episode of Neighbours or something.

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[…] BT Infinity – It Felt Like It Yesterday Why did I go and do that? One reason that I have evolved into a grumpy old bastard is because of the incompetence of large corporations. I ask the rhetorical question above because time and time again… […]

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