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8:00am Thursday 21st June 2012 in Letters
Sir – It is out of sheer desperation that I am writing to you about an example of shocking disregard for the frail and elderly by BT.
My 83-year-old mother, Christine Guilford, lives alone in North Oxford. She has Alzheimer’s disease and depends on her fixed phone line for contact with the outside world, particularly her three sons, two of whom live abroad. She is unable to use Internet or a mobile phone.
On June 5, we reported to BT’s online repair service that her phone line was not functioning. Two weeks, five complaints and numerous desperate pleas later, it is still down.
BT has promised five times to restore the line by specific deadlines. Every successive deadline has been broken. Five times, hapless and apologetic staff have promised to call back with an update on the state of engineering work. Nobody has ever called back.
Worse, other elderly people in the same neighbourhood are reportedly facing the same problem and receiving the same cascade of broken promises, making a mockery of BT’s customer service.
Its staff pledged, on two occasions, to treat my mother as an urgent “welfare” priority. This amounts to nothing. I and my brother have spent several hours every day badgering BT, with no results at all.
Take today: we were told their lines were “very busy” so opted for their “one-hour” call back option. They never called back. We sent another online complaint detailing the litany of broken promises from BT. Then we phoned complaints again and waited in a queue. We were eventually put through to a supervisor who promised to call back in half an hour. He never did.
I am disgusted by BT’s callous neglect of the needs of elderly people like my mother. We were even told that one of the countless delays was because there was “too much water in the exchange box”. Wrong kind of water, perhaps?
Peter Guilford, Brussels, Belgium
Dr Tim Guilford, Oxford