Angry customer blasts BT over superfast broadband failure

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Missed appointments, shoddy work and weeks with no internet: Angry customer blasts BT over superfast broadband and TV failure

  • Nicole Beebee had to wait a few weeks to have TV, broadband & phone installed 
  • On one engineer visit, he drilled through her outside walls, cracking the bricks 
  • We reveal what you can do if you have had problems with something that wasn’t installed properly 

A BT customer who took two days off work to get superfast broadband installed has blasted it for shoddy work, missed appointments and weeks spent without internet.

Mum-of-two Nicole Beebee said she was ‘seduced’ by an offer of a free £40 pre-paid card and Xbox when signing up to a new BT deal that would provide a new home phone, superfast broadband and a TV package that included sports.

But a catalogue of errors left her with damaged brickwork, children without TV or internet during the school holidays and a struggle to get things sorted until This is Money stepped in. 

The damage caused to the outside brickwork

The damage caused to the outside brickwork

Damage: A BT engineer managed to drill through the external walls of a customer’s property

This is Money reader Nicole, of Bristol, got in touch for help with her dispute with BT over their inability to set up her phone, broadband and TV package. 

She initially paid £79.99 to the telecommunications firm and was informed that  everything was due to be installed on 13 August with the equipment arriving the day before.

However, after taking the day off work in order for the installation to take place, no BT engineer showed up. 

When she called BT to complain, she was told there was never any appointment booked despite her having text and email proof to the contrary.

Another appointment was booked for 20 August for which Nicole took another day off work.  

The BT engineer arrived at 9am and stayed until 5pm but by the time he left, nothing was working.

More frustratingly, however, the engineer drilled through the walls of Nicole’s home for the installation, breaking one of the bricks in the process. He proceeded to fix this messily with what looked to Nicole like white glue.

She also claims that he managed to drill through many of the walls inside the house.

A third appointment was made for the 22 August, with Nicole taking yet another day off work but no engineer showed.

She said: ‘My children have had no TV or internet for weeks in the school holidays and have missed the entire football season so far. Then there is the state of my walls. DIY SOS need to come!’ 

With no internet, she and her sons went over their mobile data limits and she had to pay out £45 for a dongle to be able to access the internet.

A fourth appointment was made where the engineer did show up but was still unable to find out the source of the issue.

Increasingly frustrated, Nicole contacted This is Money for help, whilst also suggesting she would be getting in touch with the regulator as ‘nobody at BT is doing anything to help’. 

Since This is Money contacted BT about the issue, Nicole’s phone line has been properly installed and she is now able to use all the services she has been waiting weeks to use. 

A BT engineer failed to properly install a customer's phone line, instead leaving damaged walls

A BT engineer failed to properly install a customer’s phone line, instead leaving damaged walls

A BT spokesperson said: ‘We’re very sorry for the time taken to fully install Ms Beebee’s BT services and for any inconvenience caused. Engineers fixed the fault with her phone line and have successfully set-up her TV service, so all of Ms Beebee’s services are now up and running.

‘Ms Beebee will be compensated in line with Ofcom’s Automatic Compensation Scheme and we have offered an additional goodwill gesture to cover the costs.’

Nicole has since received £195, equivalent to £5 for each day she had no services and £25 for each missed appointment. She was also given a sum to cover all the costs she endured in the meantime, for example going over data on phones, buying a dongle for £44.99 and a gesture of goodwill.

However, Nicole’s complaint with OpenReach, a division of BT, about the damage caused to her home is still outstanding. 

She added: ‘BT Openreach are still investigating so I’ve not had any compensation for the damage to my home nor a time scale for how long it will take them! It’s just all been so bad.’

It is not just Nicole that has had a bad experience however as Ofcom have confirmed to This is Money that since 1 September 2018, it has received nine ‘Fault/Service/Provision’ complaints against Openreach that contain the word ‘damage’. 

What to do if something wasn’t installed properly in your home

Citizen’s Advice have provided guidance on what you can do if you believe an item wasn’t installed properly in your home.

Be aware that this advice will differ depending on who you have taken out the agreement with. For example, if it is part of a package deal, as is in the case as the above story, then you will have to speak to the provider directly to sort out any issues. 

However, if you’ve had something installed at home and it’s been done badly, you’re entitled to get it fixed – or you might be able to get a refund. For example, this could be if:

  • It’s not where you agreed it would go, eg your new satellite dish is on the wrong wall
  • It’s dangerous or unsafe, eg you get an electric shock when you use a new light switch

When you gave the go-ahead to the trader, you technically made a contract with each other – even if it wasn’t written down. If they haven’t done what was agreed, they’ve ‘breached’ (broken) the contract and you can ask them to put things right.

Check exactly what was agreed, if you can. Look through any paperwork that they’ve given you.

You’re legally entitled to either: 

  • Ask them to fix the problem – if they provided you with goods as well as the service (eg they bought the shower and fitted it) 
  • Get a refund and stop them doing any more work – if they just provided the service (eg you bought the shower and they fitted it) 

The trader should fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time, without causing you too much inconvenience. The law doesn’t say what counts as reasonable, so you’ll have to agree it between you.

If they can’t or won’t fix the problem, you can ask for a partial or full refund – depending on how bad the problem is. You’ll have to come to an agreement with them about how much you should get. 

It’s a good idea to start by suggesting a figure and explaining why you think it’s reasonable, then take it from there. 

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