CONSUMER: Broadband and TV sports deal that became a big own goal
Michael Egan thought he'd scored a hat-trick when BT offered him a '˜bargain' TV sports and broadband deal.But it turned out to be an own goal.
The BT Sport package seemed right up his street, but four months later the frustrated 82-year-old Portsmouth football and rugby fan was still unable to view the service he’d paid up front for.
The picture kept dropping out and endless attempts by BT to fix it all came to nothing.
Michael’s son Peter, 51, did all the initial negotiations, and it was agreed that, for a £55.95 broadband connection fee, his father would be able to access his favourite top sports events on TV.
He specifically asked whether the download speed would be sufficient to support the Sky Sports service and he was assured that it would.
As soon as the BT broadband hub arrived, Peter helped his father set it up.
But try as he might, he couldn’t get BT Sport to work.
He called BT’s customer service helpline and after a frustrating hour talking to an operative on the phone, was finally able to get a picture.
He pointed out that it had been a convoluted, tortuous exercise getting the sports channel up and running, and was immediately told that it might be an ongoing problem.
And so it turned out.
A few days later Michael’s frustration level began to rise when he attempted to watch a game of football and his enjoyment was spoilt when he found himself staring for most of the time at a blank screen.
Peter attempted to ride to his dad’s rescue and spent hours on the phone to BT as it tried to talk him through the set-up procedure to fix the problem.
Michael said: ‘Three times they got us to change bits of the system.
‘I had three different routers and when I rang they’d give me exactly the same instructions every time, which annoyed me intensely.
‘No-one seemed to have a record of the problem – they just kept talking me through the same routine and supplying routers.
‘To make matters worse no one came promptly, so in between delivering routers I had to repeatedly ring them for set-up instructions.
‘After about an hour when it still wasn’t working, they’d say give it a few more hours to see if it comes on. But of course it never did.
‘It just went on and on, with one false dawn after another.’
In the meantime, son Peter discovered that one of the BT engineers had persuaded Michael to upgrade his broadband.
This involved another connection fee, delivery charge and an extra £5 per month service charge.
Four months down the line and five engineer visits later, father and son were tearing their hair out, but ever hopeful the new broadband connection would fix the problem once and for all.
But they soon found out it didn’t make a blind bit of difference.
A disappointed Michael still couldn’t view the sports channels he was paying for, so BT was instructed to cancel the order and asked to refund all his payments.
However, Peter was furious with BT and all the disappointment and inconvenience his elderly dad had experienced.
He also felt aggrieved that a promised refund of his father’s original connection fee hadn’t materialised, despite pointing out the system had never worked properly from the start.
He dashed off a quick e-mail to Streetwise and asked for our help.
We got in touch with BT and highlighted the fact it was in breach of contract.
It was quite unacceptable to take Michael’s money and not provide him with the sports service.
BT agreed to look into the matter, and shortly after our intervention it quickly moved to defuse the situation.
A spokesperson told us it had assigned a dedicated case handler to fix the problems with Michael’s BT Sport connection and new equipment was on its way.
Michael was impressed after the engineer turned up and finally fixed the system problems.
BT asked him to give it a couple of weeks just to make sure all was now working to specification – and, sure enough, it was.
The spokesperson said:
‘BT customer services spoke to Mr Egan yesterday and all issues are now resolved.
‘The new equipment sent is working well and BT has agreed to refund the initial connection fee and provided a £50 goodwill gesture on Mr Egan’s account.’
A grateful Michael was sure nothing would have been fixed unless Streetwise had got on the case.
He said: ‘Thank you for your help, it made a big difference.
‘Within a week someone from BT executive complaints got on the phone, and that was it – sorted.’