Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Profitting from faults

Well, this is an issue that we have raised over and over again and winds me up a lot. A major telco trying to actually make money from faults, rather than actually trying to make a service that does not have as many faults.

However, we are having some fun with this (for some definitions of fun)...

Background: They used to fix faults when things break, including, if necessary, sending an engineer to fix them. No option to charge us for that even if fault was customer caused (apart from missed appointment). We try and be sure not send them on wild goose chases, but apparently other ISPs were not so careful. So they created a special type of engineer as a new optional service to check out the line and the end users kit, charging for the latter. Unknown to us they planned to replace normal engineers with these special ones. The special ones cost around £160 for checking the end users kit.

So, when we don't need an engineer, they will randomly send one without asking or arranging a time, and then try and charge us for the engineer or a missed appointment. That is annoying.

But when we do want an engineer (or rather, when sending an engineer is the right thing to fix a fault, as all we really want is the fault fixed) they refuse to send one saying we have to buy their special engineers. They also make not finding a fault their side count as must be customer kit and charge us even though they did not actually do any work. We have to spend hours each day arguing to get them to fix what we have already bought and paid for (even if that means them sending an engineer) and then hours arguing the bill later.

Mind you, the arguing the bill bit is a lot easier now - we just say "We did not order that service - show us the order from us or take it off the bill" and do not get involved in disputing clear codes or other nonsense. Nice and simple and we get to just take the amount off what we pay. They try insisting we have to do things and contact other departments to resolve it, and we just say "show us the order". They insist it will not get resolved otherwise, and we say "it will, leave it 6 years and it vanishes under the Limitations Act - we can wait"... They don't like that.

However, on to the latest fun...

What we are finding is they try and push their special engineers on us, and we decline. So they then, eventually, stop trying to do that and change their tack to "send an engineer to exchange", or "pass to another team for further diagnostics" or one of a number of other fault remedy actions that are not sending an engineer to site.

Now, in our view, that is clear proof that the suggestion of an engineer to site is not as a result of it being the correct action to rectify the fault, but as a sales pitch to sell the special engineering service. If it was the real solution they would not change their tune when we decline that service but would send an engineer to site anyway.

So, we are raising complaints about hard sell sales pitches taking up our time. We plan to start calls with "you're not going to try and sell me anything are you?" and "good, because we charge for sales calls"... Then when they do the pitch for special engineers we'll explain that it is a sales pitch now and where do we send the bill.

I may go as far as sending a bill soon. We have told them we charge for sales pitches on fault calls now. That should be, err, interesting.

1 comment:

  1. What really annoys me, a lot! is that BT demand the end user equipment is up to scratch and rightly so before considering anything outside of obvious line faults as the fault seems to default to EU equipment.

    I have gone to great time and expense to ensure that my end is 100% clean, new filters or faceplate, testing with router on UPS and other power turned off etc. etc. but after all this I recently found that my issue lay with the splitter at the exchange (SMPF?) - this splitter apparently belongs to BT, not BTW.

    This fault was not determined by BTW/SFI, it is by process of elimination despite numerous visits by both voice and transmission engineers.

    As there is no issue with voice they won't fix it - how very convenient that BT keep this separation... I am forced to take a new line hope for the best - another great money making scheme for BT me thinks - why fix it when we can force more money out of you. Grrrrr.

    Mr. Livingston could not help me despite my best efforts because BTW would not give him any information on my fault! Double grrrrr..

    Sorry to post this off your blog, maybe I should start my own.