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8am, 10th July 2006 - Rant

I have finally experienced the full extent of just how poor customer service is here in the UK.

I thought it was bad when my bank had a problem with the payments on my credit card and rather than sending me a letter or calling me or even emailing me, they chose to communicate by cutting my credit card off. I thought that was bad, but they were quite happy to talk when I rang them up and asked to be allowed to use my credit card again. They even refunded the £20 fee they had charged me without being asked to.

Bulldog Broadband, on the other hand, wrote a letter dated 22nd June which stated that my broadband services would be restricted seven days from the date of the letter. Then they forgot to send it. Eventually, they found the letter again and sent it off, but by this time we already had no internet and no phone because we have a bundled service that includes our phone as well.

The good news is that their customer support phone number is a free call; I have no problems talking to them all day because I'm not constantly thinking about how much it's costing me. The bad news is that their training consists of two sentences: "If a customer calls you, push this button to fix their problem. If they don't ask you to push that button, tell them to ring the correct department." The people on the end of the phone discovered that they could shunt you around for days on end without even really trying. They can't even transfer you to the correct department, you have to ring back again and go through the talking computer menu options which, incidentally, take one minute and thirty two seconds before you can even choose the first option... every time.

I rang back so many times that in the end, I started hitting the same guys again. How many of you have actually called a call centre so many times that the people on the end of the phone know your voice ?

As I write this, 5 days after I first rang them, having called them and spoken for an average of 30 minutes every day, I still have no access to the internet.

The excuses they gave also varied a bit; I was told that they had recently changed the billing system and it may have lost my details, the the billing system was down (twice, by two different people on two different days. I called straight back and a different person told me that the billing system was fine.), that they didn't have the ability to transfer phone calls to a different department, that I was being transferred to a different department, that the person concerned didn't have a supervisor, that they "don't have supervisors here", that the supervisors don't start work until 10:00am (I was calling at 9:00am), that the supervisor wouldn't take my call, that the supervisor would only tell me the same thing as the person concerned was and finally, that I had been placed in a queue for the supervisor to call back... which never happened.

All in all, I think I should have believed the girl who told me the billing system was down, cancelled my account and signed up with another provider. I'd be £168.39 richer, I'd probably have acess to the internet by now and I woudn't have wasted two and a half hours on the phone to people who weren't interested at all in helping me.

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