Sean Kelly is fed up and furious with BT after he received a £300 bill for an unreliable TV and broadband service that let him down right from the start.
Football fan Sean decided to go with the BT home entertainment and communications package last January.
He’d seen it on his lodger’s TV and when he moved out he started to get sport withdrawal symptoms.
But when the BT equipment was set up in his Portsmouth flat it didn’t work properly.
After he complained the firm sent an engineer to investigate. He diagnosed a faulty router and ordered a replacement.
Bricklayer Sean, 58, said it worked for a few days but the picture kept dropping out so he wasn’t able to view a compete match.
‘My partner Linda also wanted to use the broadband,’ he said, ‘but we had to get on to them again because none of it was working, and she just had to use her mobile phone.
‘I was told that if I’d just change this or turn that off for a while, turn it back on, do this and that, it would work. But it didn’t.
‘Every time I got on to them for help, I kept getting put though to an Asian customer centre.
‘I couldn’t understand them, and they couldn’t understand me.
‘I was trying to watch the football, getting more and more frustrated because all they were doing was reading off some sort of crib sheet in front of them which they said would take care of all the problems, but it didn’t.
‘I must have asked them to send out an engineer on at least 10 different occasions and, apart from the one who first sorted the router, no-one ever came to get it fixed. All the time we were with them we couldn’t watch the TV, especially the sport which was the main reason I got it.
‘I received various assurances from their customer services that all the problems would be sorted, but nothing ever happened. It was like talking to a brick wall.
‘They kept sending me bills, but because I wasn’t getting the service I contracted for I stopped paying.’
‘I wasn’t prepared to keep on paying for the TV and broadband service I wasn’t able to use for months. It was absolutely terrible.’
Ominously, the ongoing dispute with BT was about to get a whole lot worse.
Sean said apart from the countless calls to BT customer services, Linda only used the phone part of the service to call 0800 Freephone numbers and to pay her mobile phone bill.
But the couple were stunned when BT sent Linda a text to confirm they’d closed the account and billed them for £300.07 with the threat of court action and debt collectors if it wasn’t paid.
Around £100 of the bill was for phone charges.
Sadly, Sean and Linda are not alone in having problems with BT’s entertainment and phone services in the Portsmouth area.
Recently Streetwise took up the story of another sports fan, Michael Egan, who took out a BT sports package only to spend months staring at a blank screen.
Michael ended up with three router changes and was infuriated with BT customer services operatives simply parroting unhelpful connection instructions down the phone.
We also looked at communications watchdog Ofcom’s recent complaint statistics, and were not surprised to find BT were languishing at the bottom of the table, just one notch above TalkTalk.
We got in touch with BT about Sean’s complaint.
BT’s customer complaints code says that although they try very hard they appreciate they don’t always get it right.
We said he was far from happy with the service and his claim they were in breach of contract appeared to be valid.
To be fair, after investigating they took it seriously and were anxious to get it sorted.
A BT spokesman said: ‘BT’s customer service division has contacted Mr Kelly to discuss the problems he has encountered with the service.
‘BT has arranged for a credit of £30 to cover the bank charges, as a gesture of goodwill. We are discussing with Mr Kelly the possibility of removing the cancellation charges of £220.02, and refunding part of the rental charges in an attempt to resolve the matter.
‘Our records do show that calls were made over the service, which leaves a bill of over £100 left to pay.
‘We hope to conclude the matter as soon as possible and apologise to Mr Kelly for any inconvenience caused.’
Sean said he was grateful to Streetwise that BT had offered to knock the £220 off the bill for the abominable TV service, but discussions were still ongoing with them about the outstanding phone charges.
‘Thank you very much for your help with this,’ he said.