When I was a child, my mother would read me stories and would always start “are you sitting comfortably, now I will begin”. Well I hope you are sitting comfortably because this is a long and very boring story.
In November 2014 my company Cater For You Ltd was in the process of signing the lease on a new warehouse on Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, HP12 4HJ. Knowing that the building didn’t have any phone lines going to it, I contacted BT to order BT Infinity a few weeks before we signed on the dotted line as I knew this would take a little time to install. As an ecommerce and wholesale company phone lines are essential to our day to day running and knowing that we couldn’t move in without them I made sure to reiterate the lack of them when setting up our account and order.
On the 20th November you sent me several emails confirming our order (ref ZXH166SM), BT Business account and a note stating:
“We’ll get your new service up and running on 01494530220 by midnight on 08/12/2014. We’ve got a few line checks to do first, so this date might change. (We’ll let you know if it does.)”
“Great” I thought, if the lines are installed on this date then we could move in around Christmas. This would be ideal for us as it is our quietest time of the year and thus would cause minimal disruption to our customers. I did take note that checks were being made and the date was subject to change however I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would all progress smoothly.
By Friday the 5th December everything seemed to be coming together, we had just signed the lease, work had begun on our new office inside the building and BT emailed me an appointment reminder for Monday the 8th stating that there would be an engineer on site between 13.00 and 18.00 and to ensure someone was onsite to grant them access.
As promised, the Open Reach engineer turned up on 8th December, however this is where the horror began. He informed me (after taking time out of my busy day to wait for him) that he was unable to connect us as there were no lines coming to the building. Funnily enough I had said the same thing to the person on the phone when I set up the account and wondered why this hadn’t been picked up when the checks were being made. I was told a survey would have to be carried out and that BT would be contacting me once this had been carried out.
As promised on the 10th December we had an email from a member of the Copper Planning Survey Team outlining what was required, and asking for consent to dig a hole to add a new duct box in the path outside. We got the landlord to give his consent for the work to be carried out and hope of a Christmas move was again renewed when a large hole appeared outside the building. A new appointment with Openreach was booked in for the 22nd December.
Now this is the part of the story when things start to get a little long and boring, as once again I took time out of my day to go and wait for the engineer only to be told the same story, there are no lines to the building. On showing the engineer the nice hole next to the building he told me that that the exterior work had not been completed and until it had, he couldn’t do anything.
With my hopes of a Christmas moved now dashed once again I returned to the office, where I phone BT customer services to find out when this work was going to be carried out. After going around in circles and being passed between several departments, I was eventually told that work was being carried out on the29th and we would be given an update on the 30th. This update came a day late on the 31st December but as it stated that the work should be completed by Monday the 5th January 2015. I didn’t mind as again our move in date was insight.
Monday the 5th came and went and the work still hadn’t been completed, I think it is at this point that our job was escalated to the highest possible priority level and for the next few days was given a daily update by phone with the final outcome being that the work would be completed by the 16th January. I would like to say hope of moving was again renewed but by this stage I had resorted to praying.
On the 8th January I popped down to the warehouse for an unrelated matter and found that the hole had been back filled with concrete, over a week sooner than the date I hold been told it would be finished. As I am sure you will appreciate this started alarm bells ringing so I returned to the office and emailed my contact stating what I had found and asking if these holes been filled in in error.
As at this stage I was still getting a daily call from the Your Business team. I mentioned the backfilled holes several days running, feeling almost foolish for repeating myself so often. Each time I was told that they would pass my concerns onto the installations team but as far as they were aware the work was still due for completion on the 16th.
As the 16th drew closer Openreach made their third appointment with us for the morning of 16th, could this be the day that it would all come together? Of course it wasn’t (you must be getting the hang of this now) as for the third time I took time out of my day to meet the engineers down there only to be told the same thing that their two previous counterparts had told me and what I had told the person over the phone back in November, there are no phone lines to the building. Boring isn’t it.
Now before I let the rather embarrassed Openreach engineers go I asked them if they could find out for me what was happening from their side. One of them was kind enough to get on the phone and speak to someone in the installations team who told them not to go too far as a dig team was going to try and get down there that afternoon and they could be called back in to complete the job. Failing that, a dig team would definitely be back on Monday. Neither of these things happened.
On Tuesday the 20th I was updated once again by the Your Business team who told me that work would be taking place on the 22nd and I would get an update on the 23rd. As hope had all gone and prayer seemed completely useless, to save my sanity I decided to work down at the warehouse on the 22nd so that when the workers turned up I could talk to them and find out in person what was happening.
So on the 22nd I took myself down to the warehouse and pottered around doing some small jobs waiting for someone to turn up, looking hopefully out the window every time I heard a vehicle pull in to the car park. Sadly once again my hopes were dashed and I am now sitting here on the 23rd waiting for my promised update which hasn’t materialised and it is feeling like I am no closer to moving in than I was over 2 months ago back in November when I first opened the account and ordered the lines.
I would understand if I was given this timeline at the start of the process however the constant date changes, failed Openreach appointments and broken promises of work schedules has really been frustrating and has left the company in limbo between two warehouses. I have been told we are at the highest level of priority and have been so for the last two weeks however in that time even less has happened than before so I would hate to think what it would be like if we weren’t pushing it.
I hope you have found reading this story as boring and frustrating as I have typing it out and recounting it for you, however I can assure you it has been 10 times more frustrating dealing with this matter over the last two months. Taking aside the fact I am now being invoiced for rent, rates and utilities on two separate buildings one of which I am unable to use due to the continued lack of a BT phone line, my main concern is that it looks like I am now going to have to move premises when I am much busier, therefore causing a greater disruption to my customers.
This I think is an alien concept at BT.