A while ago, following a line fault I wrote about why BT TotalCare is a total waste of money. I’m sad to say, following a line fault, the situation has not improved. This time, they fixed the fault in what I suppose is a reasonable period of time – that, you would have thought, was the hard part. But their customer communication (which you would have thought was the easy bit) was dreadful.

Once again, here’s the promise from BT’s own web site on TotalCare (with my emphasis):

Have you considered how much it would cost your business if your Business Phone Lines went down even for a short time? In lost customers, lost revenue, customer dis-satisfaction? … BT will respond within 4 hours of receiving your fault report and if the fault is not cleared during this period, we will advise you of progress.

And from another BT site (again my emphasis):

We guarantee to resolve a “Service Failure” in line with the care/service level you have chosen. For Total Care, this means 24 Hours after you report the fault, unless you have requested specific appointment date. The Total Care working week is 7 Days a week, 52 weeks per year.

What actually happened is:

  • I reported the fault at 17:55 yesterday (and, to be clear, the woman who took the call was helpful).
  • BT’s web based fault tracker never indicated any change until the fault was fixed, but suggested I rang BT for an update.
  • When I rang BT, I was effectively told off, and told (wrongly) that this was a 24 hour response service, not a 4 hour response service.
  • I received only one update from BT, and that was 16 hours and 50 minutes after the fault was reported, and was out of date.

A little digging suggests that whilst the 24 hour ‘guarantee’ is encoded in the contractual documentation (albeit with more holes in than a colander), the four hour response ‘promise’ is nowhere to be found. So, potential buyers of BT TotalCare, beware:

  • The marketing material might say you get a 4 hour response time, but contractually this appears to mean nothing (corrections from BT welcome).
  • As far as I can tell on any recent fault I’ve had, nothing substantive has ever happened out of business hours, even when the fault is at the exchange.
  • Don’t think you will actually get any useful fault updates from BT at all. That’s not to say they won’t fix the line (they did, and within the 24 hours, unlike last time when they claimed they couldn’t work in the dark), just in their own good time. I mean it’s not as if you’re paying extra for this, is it? Oh. Yes you are.

If it wasn’t for the fact BT owns very nearly all the copper infrastructure in the UK, I’d change providers. As it is, I’m stuck with them.

I’ve started keeping diaries of BT faults (obsessional? me?), so anyone really interested in the gory details can click on ‘Page 2′ below.