Plus net minus broadband equals anger

May 2013

As a result of the last government having spent half of the country’s money on rent boys and second houses, and bankers having gambled away the rest of it, no one has any money left. Because of this, companies are going out of business and people are being forced to sell their children for medical experiments just to make ends meet.

With the nation tightening its belts, everyone is trying to find ways of reducing costs. So looking for the best deals is an obvious place to start. For someone like me who occasionally has to work from home, telephone and broadband are both important necessities. Not wanting to put my company under too much financial hardship by having to pay for my internet connection and deciding BT were charging me too much for my land line, I did a bit of shopping around. Having seen their adverts and checked their rather nice looking and very functional website, I finally decided Plusnet were worth a punt. They seemed like a good company and had that friendly Northern charm that us Southerners always find so endearing.

Their offer was pretty good. I could get this top notch fibre broadband that can download porn at 60MB per second. I could get the same phone deal I currently have with BT. And I could get both of these for less than I’m paying now. On top of that, they have UK call centres and an easy to reach support team. Bargain.

So it was goodbye BT and their stupid Indian call centres, impersonal image and non-existent customer service and hello to my new Tetley Tea drinking friends Oop Narth. I placed my order, got regular text updates informing me of my order status and was given a date when an engineer would come round and fiddle with my wiring.

So the day came when the Plusnet engineer was supposed to come round to install my broadband. The guy arrived right on time and the installation was simple and everything went smoothly. The broadband worked fine and I didn’t need to mess about with either of the flashing magic white boxes. The only problem was as soon as the new broadband was installed, my phone line went dead. The engineer scratched his head and an obvious look of concern came over his face. I had a feeling he knew he’d cocked something up but all he said was “Oh, it will come back in about an hour” which I knew was a lie. So 3 hours later I phoned Plusnet, who ran some tests and basically told me the problem was with my current supplier and I needed to contact them, even though it was the engineer that Plusnet sent who broke it.

Already feeling a little bit let-down, I nevertheless took it on the chin. While I had the technical support person on the phone, I asked if I could be set up with a fixed IP address because I need it for home-working purposes. I was told this was no problem and would be set up immediately. So they upgraded my account and then my broadband died. So I phoned them back and was basically told it was the same issue with the phone line that caused the broadband to go down. So when I queried how my broadband had managed to work fine before they upgraded me to a fixed IP, I was not given much of a coherent answer but was simply told they would raise a ticket and the problem may or may not be investigated in around 24 and 72 hours time.

So to try and expedite matters, I gritted my teeth and phoned BT. Having spent literally hours working through a stupid automated fault finding system that usefully informed me there was no fault on the line before rudely disconnecting me, I eventually managed to work my way through a maze of voice activated options that put me through to a human. Of course this being BT the human in question was an unintelligible Indian woman who kept interrupting me and was about as easy to understand as the Koran. After god knows how long on the phone, she said BT would investigate the fault in about a week and if it wasn’t a problem with their equipment, I would be charged £100!

Of course BT owns Plusnet so either way you look at it, they were at fault. Whilst I can’t blame Plusnet for a third party engineer not knowing how to do his job properly, it is ultimately their responsibility. For example, one of my jobs is designing and building websites for people. Once I’ve done my job I upload the website to a server which is hosted by a third party. If some disaster should ever befall that company and my customer loses their website, I am ultimately the one who is responsible because they are my customer. I wouldn’t then tell my customer it’s not my fault and to call the company that has exploded.

So to say I started my relationship with my new supplier happily would be inaccurate. Despite their friendliness and generally excellent customer support, they charged me a set-up fee despite the fact they hadn’t set me up properly. They sent someone round who inadvertently sabotaged my phone line which they wouldn’t be able to fix for a month until they took control of my land line, and BT wouldn’t fix for at least a week because they were no doubt too busy fixing all their other cock-ups. They inconvenienced me by forcing me to spend several hours phoning technical support people in India from my mobile phone and leaving me without telephone or internet access for several days which, given the nature of my job, is like losing a limb.

Fortunately the story did have a happy ending. My broadband came back to life after some rather vocal protesting on my part. BT then phoned to inform me that the engineer who originally came round had indeed wired everything up arse about face.

Whilst I am happier with Plusnet and even more infuriated with the morons at BT, it will still take time for the annoyance to subside. So far their strap line of “We’ll do you proud” is a bit like Labour having a strap line of “We won’t bankrupt the country”.