I just got back from a really cool weekend in Milan, and will write plenty o' stuff about that later (once I've divested the camera of its photographic payload), however I thought I'd chronicle the next gripping instalment of the ADSL saga.

The day following the debacle I got up and rang BT at 8:31, and followed the guy from the night before's instructions (i.e. Dial 150 for BT, then dial 1 to speak to someone), and predictably the menu system had changed since he had familiarised himself with it. I even asked him at the time – “do I press anything after 1 ?”, to which he assured me you didn't have to, because that would put you through to a human. The phone menu system thought otherwise.

I spoke to BT Broadband, and they said that I should contact billing. I rang billing, and they said I should contact sales (remembering of course that I'd spoken to sales the night before). So I just started randomly picking options until I got a person on the other end. At one point I got someone who seemed dangerously close to helping, but after explaining it to them and then being transferred somewhere else and having to explain it again, they said that BT Broadband Wholesale were the only people who could help, and that I couldn't speak to them as I'm not an ISP customer.

I rang another pocket of ignorance within the corporate structure and asked for the complaints address, and after insisting that I explain what was the matter, the lady gave up the info. She warned however that the complaints dept. are a bit snowed under, and are still dealing with complaint letters from August. Can't say I'm that bloody surprised.

In the meantime, I missed a call on the mobile from what seemed to be BT Faults (whom I'd reported the problem to using the web interface the night before after not being able to raise a person on the line), and after calling them back they said that yes indeed someone had tried to contact me, but they didn't know what it was about, nor who it was. But the system said that a call to my mobile was indeed logged.

Having now wasted half a day, I went in to work and pondered my next move. It really seemed that the quickest way to get anything done about this was to reapply with the ISP and get reconnected, and then chase BT for a refund after the event… hardly a popular move, as it would leave me £60 or £70 out of pocket, but then it'd be a swifter resolution than waiting until February for BT to read my letter and then deciding whether or not to do anything about it.

At about 5pm, I got an SMS from BT's Faults arm, saying that they were happy to report that our line was now back in service. I was loathe to take this as a positive answer, so I rang BT Faults again, and asked if they could explain the message. The call centre jockey at the other end really had no idea, but said “well if that's the problem you reported, then that's what the message means!” – i.e. it was like getting medical advice from your doctor's paging service. Predictably, when I got home and plugged the modem back in, there was no indication of broadband at all.

Realistically, if I want broadband any time in the next month or so, the only option is to reapply and shell out some more cash. Grr ! I've run this stuff past a couple of web-forums on the topic, and everyone agrees that this is the fastest way to a result, and that BT have just been following their standard procedure so there's probably no chance of a refund. The only bit I don't get is how it can be standard practise to cancel a service on a line as part of an account change that was put on the line after the account change ? I'll write the letter and see what happens I guess.

2004-11-22 : BT: acronym for “Buncha Tossers”, or “Barely Talented” ?
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