When an engineer is booked to repair a fault, one of the options is a "co-op call".
This is where the engineer in question talks to our staff. It can be useful to confirm what we can see our end, and so can help the engineer do his job.
One of the rather odd things about this is the charging. Even though the term "co-op" seems to suggest a mutual benefit, or a two way thing, BT charge us £35 for the co-op call.
This makes no sense if we are helping the engineer do his job, surely it is mutually beneficial (so no charge) or we are providing consultancy (so we would charge BT).
What is stranger is the charge seems to apply even if it is found that the fault report and engineer visit was completely correct (i.e. a fault is found in the BT network and fixed). This especially makes no sense.
Even though this is rather odd, we have a specific field in the fault booking system to say if we are requesting a co-op call, and we always say "No".
Lately we have had the occasional call from an engineer, and helped them out, and to our surprise we have then had a bill from BT for co-op calls.
We explained that we did not request them, so "sod off", or words to that effect, but they are saying they have had a change of policy and now the engineer can request/make a co-op call whether we asked for one or not.
And, if the engineer makes a call, even when we said we do not want one, BT will charge us £35, even if the fault is found and fixed.
I'm sorry, but, basically, no way. This is so totally wrong it exceeds all of the other things that are wrong about BT engineer visits by orders of magnitude. It is quite unbelievable. It means BT can, if they wish, make £35 out of us for reporting a genuine fault in the service they provide and for which we pay. Even just calling to say "it seems to be working now" is £35. Actually making money from faults in their network.
So we have a plan, as always, and it is a voice warning on the contact number advising that the engineer should only proceed if he agrees to our terms for co-op calls, and to hang up otherwise. We'll record the call. The terms will be for BT plc to pay us for the call. I can't see that not standing up in court.
It does leave me wondering what the next cunning plan someone in BT will come up with to rip off its customers.
Lets be clear here - I really want to work with BT on fixing their systems. We need an attitude of working together to fix problems. Bullshit like this just alienates customers and makes it a battle with BT, when it should not be. Someone in BT needs to get some clue and stop the battle and actually think about providing a proper service and fixing it when it goes wrong. We have tried, and will continue to try and work with BT. I have personally joined in with an internal meeting with BT fault desk managers, given presentations, and spent the day with them. I really thought we were making progress, but once again it is all going downhill. Depressing.
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