12 Jan 2009 dwmw2   » (Master)

My DSL line has been unusably slow and unreliable since around mid-November, and BT's responses in the fault ticket are, as usual, varying between the stonkingly incompetent, the dishonest, and the outright fraudulent.

They claim to have sent an 'external engineer' on January 3rd, who claims to have tested the line and reported it OK... despite the fact that we were in France skiing on the 3rd, and the line was connected at a speed below the Fault Threshold Rate all of that day, until the evening.

They seem to be referring to this alleged visit as "Chargeable" despite the fact that we clearly did not ask for their "Special Faults Investigation" service, so it would be a violation of the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971. And despite the fact that the charge is for "repair activity beyond the NTE", and they would have to have broken into my house to do any of that in my absence.

They keep clearing the ticket with idiotic claims such as "EU Equipment/settings/drivers believed incorrect" despite the fact that they've been here (on a previous occasion when I was actually present) and checked it all.

They seem to have learned another trick recently, to fraudulently avoid the 'Service Level Guarantee' clock counting up and having to pay compensation for the extended failure. They've taken to reassigning the ticket back to us, telling us to wait for the BRAS profile to change. But the BRAS profile is just a reflection of the state of the line, limiting IP traffic so that we don't saturate the ATM link. So effectively they were saying "we won't bother with this until the problem magically fixes itself... and we're not letting the fault timer count up while we wait, either".

They also tried arbitrary delays — clearing the ticket with "GPMS notes state that the line is not stable so case needs to be slept for 8 hours. So setting a sleeper for remaining time.". As if another 8 hours is going to make a difference when the line has been buggered since mid-November.

They closed the previous ticket outright, even though the line was still dropping, so this particular ticket has only been open since December 30th — but BT's blatant fraud means that they've only just admitted to exceeding the 40-hour Service Level Guarantee, almost two weeks later.

As usual, it's quite scary reading the fault ticket. The responses from the BT side seem completely nonsensical at times, as if they haven't even bothered looking at the fault history. They've even cleared the ticket reporting that the line is in sync, while it's clearly connected at a rate below the fault threshold. They repeat themselves and almost never seem to respond directly and coherently to anything — neither the direct questions and statements in the ticket, nor the facts of the case. It's difficult to understand how anyone could be so massively incompetent.

I sincerely believe that British Telecom is too incompetent and dishonest to be permitted to hold the monopoly position it does. A huge number of people have no choice but to deal with them, and the watchdog is notoriously toothless.

I fantasise that the government will realise this and issue a compulsory purchase order to re-nationalise the infrastructure which connects British homes, then allow the existing British Telecom to go bankrupt. They seem to be completely beyond help.

I don't know what would happen to the infrastructure after this — I normally wake up at this point. But whether it remains nationalised or whether it's sold to someone else, it couldn't possibly be as bad as British Telecom.

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