Friday, 28 December 2012

Seems BTs 7 hour fix is also a con

We have been wanting to "test" the 7 hour fix option, and we were fortunate in a way that a member of staff had a line with a fault and was happy to test. It is, in fact our escalations manager, Shaun. The fault was one that was permanently there and showing on BT's own tests which recommended reporting a fault (copper joint failure). It was not affecting the broadband (well, it may mean it is slower than it would be without a fault), so we were able to wait for a convenient time to test, and also ensure the line was set up for 7 hour fix before hand.

Shaun was planning to test on Christmas morning, but was a tad busy (not surprisingly). However, he did test last night.

BT did nothing on the fault for 11 hours - no comments on the fault report, no booking an engineer, nothing. Then, this morning they "progressed the job manually" and booked an engineer who has now turned up some 12 hours after the fault report.

So, it seems, that the 7 hour fix (which is meant to be BT working on the fault 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, night or day) is clearly a con as well, at least in my opinion. BT clearly had no intention of even trying to fix faults in that time frame, even when it is simply a copper line joint fault that can be fixed by a simple engineer visit and even when it was reported on a normal working day (not even Christmas day!).

I am wondering if we need to pressure OFCOM on this - BT should stick to their contractual agreements, yet it seems routine for them to let ISPs down, which means we disappoint our customers. BT have a monopoly on fixing the national infrastructure they inherited that is the BT network, we cannot work around that by having someone else work on faults. The compensation for failing to meet their targets is tiny so they have no real incentive to actually meet them. It is a sad state of affairs for someone that claims to be "World Class" in their business.

9 comments:

  1. "I am wondering if we need to pressure OFCOM on this - BT should stick to their contractual agreements"

    You will struggle to get any traction here - Their contract already has provision in it by way of compensation clauses.

    It appears obvious (to me anyway!) that BT work on the "he who shouts loudest" customer principle. Those who spend the most get best service followed by those who know the right people and then those who complain/shout the loudest.

    BT' compensation will have been carefully worked out on this principle and are likely tweaked when something changes to make it more beneficial to reduce the payments.

    The only way to improve things would be to get the compensation terms altered such that the penalties are more punitive in nature and thus force BT to improve their support.

    Good luck!

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    1. The issue is that they appear to be routinely breaking their terms - so the compensation is not an effective incentive to stick to them. Ultimately the original contractual offer of a 40 hour, or 20 hour, or 7 hour fix has to become a fraud if they have no intention of meeting that under normal circumstances. Breaches and compensation should be exceptional. It may be worth challenging them in the county court some time on the basis that the original contract was clearly fraudulent rather than for the simple pre-agreed compensation level, I suppose.

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    2. Isn't providing "commercially reasonable efforts" (the new "best efforts") a legal requirements for this type of contracts?
      I suspect that not scheduling anyone before 5x the target time (in case of 40hrs fix) or roughly starting investigating at twice the target time for the 7hrs fix, along with a statistically significant stats on how often BT meet/break their target (you might get data from other ISP to reach a statistically significant result) will get them hit in court.
      The only problem is even if they give you proper compensation, you might have to use the same process for each and every single call in breach.
      But I bet after dragging them a few times to court you will be "pain in the... level 87" and get a free "jump the queue pass" (legendary item) at BT for fault repair.

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  2. Is Shaun in any of the MBORC areas BT have open at the moment?

    I have to say that despite Exeter being listed, and a customer of ours in Exeter having a fault on the copper line, BT did fix it within the normal time even though as I understand it, the MBORC means that goes out of the window.

    I love your rants, but maybe you need a more representative sample before you could claim BT are intentionally and routinely not completing jobs :-)

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    1. That is a fair point - and it is actually quite hard to get the stats - one problem is that BT deliberately and systematically leave faults "with us" when in fact we are waiting on BT. They changed their systems to make this so even (not allowing us to send the fault back to them). This means the total time for a fault is distorted to seem that BT only had the fault "with them" for a short period. They even go as far as closing faults "no response from CP" when they are in fact dealing with it and have had repeated responses and ongoing discussion. Add to this that they have no way to re-open a fault or record such errors when pointed out to them. So they are sitting on stats that make them look rosy.

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  3. I can't say we've noticed this (yet)... faults seem to spend a lot of time sitting in the awaiting diagnostics phases various. Our issue is getting BT to tell us they've actually finished a job and resolved a fault. 99% of the time the customer notices before BT's systems ever do.

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  4. BT used to be terrible for closing a fault as resolved with out actually confirming with the customer (ISP) that it actually was, then it's a neigh on impossible to actually get them to do anything with it as it's "closed".

    I've not dealt with them in a long while so don't know if this is still the case but from what I'm hearing it sounds like it is.

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  5. Is the fault data covered by a confidentiality agreement? Could you, perhaps, knock up a script and publish stats with the overall resolution times, times for lines with maintenance agreements and also maybe something that demonstrates all the fraudulent stuff with the clock? You could always place it among some stats of your own (A&A downtime / response time to tickets / phone queue length etc.) if you were concerned about upsetting people...

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  6. I had all kinds of "fun" with an FTTC install last year. First visit, the Openreach engineer came out ... with the wrong paperwork, so his manager told him to fail the install job and re-book. (The paperwork error in question was that 'home wiring' was marked NO when BT provisioning confirmed that was their own error.) Offered a new date three weeks away, some complaining through BT Wholesale got it moved up to two days after the initial failed install - but nobody showed up: apparently the paperwork didn't come through in time to send anybody.

    The following week, a rather more experienced BT/Openreach engineer showed up and said something along the lines of "I'm here to install FTTC, so that's what I'll do, sod the paperwork details". Since the "missing" authorisation from the first work order was a non-charged option anyway...

    Then again, 4 years ago my office PSTN line suddenly went dead. Calling BT Faults, I was told "there's a cease on the line, that's why it has been ce - oh. Whoops. That's a cease & reprovide, for a tariff change. Sorry about that, you'll have to get a new install booked now." It took several weeks and hundreds of pounds in early termination penalties (later cancelled since it was BT themselves who terminated!) to get the line working again.

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