We apologise for the inconvenience .....

BT's promise that telephone and internet service would begin yesterday was of course not met.

Apparently similar issues have been faced by Cory Doctorow, Brian Turner, someone named Matt, and Bob Jones, along with, I am sure, countless others.


Owen said...

At least if you're not installed BT can't blame you and charge you for the problems on their part of the line.

Eric Gordy said...

I am discovering the advantages of being annoying. After an unsatisfying exchange following an hour on hold, I sent a note to the CEO of BT, who has put a wheel in motion. Suggesting that BT does have access to some wheels. It might be a good idea to give up on trying to do business in the normal way at all, and just do everything through the heads of corporations.

Owen said...

You're right, this has happened to other people I know. For some reason I've never quite figured out, if you write to the Chief Executive, Managing Director, Chairman, they don't simply tell you to get in the queue with the rest of the poor sufferers and just refer you back to Customer Service Hell, as in principle they should. Perhaps they think if you've managed to find out who they are you might have friends who know where they live.

Aleksandar said...

Speaking of British public services... have you paid your TV tax? A friend of mine who recently arrived at Oxford (from Canada) recounts his experience, and his tirade is quite hillarious so here it is verbatim:

"The other letter that had me steaming I haven't yet replied to, and this is from some moron named Paul Stanfield at the TV Licensing
Authority. In Britain you have to pay a licensing fee for having a
television in your quarters; I know this applies in Germany, but I don't know whether it does in Serbia, although given its tradition of strong state "initiative," presumably so. Nonetheless, reasoning that the
overwhelming majority of Britons spend their evenings, weekends, and
essentially all their free time staring slack-jawedly at the television and having their brains systematically eradicated by programming such as Wife Swap, Big Brother, and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, Paul Stanfield and his minions take an aggressive approach in licensing fee
enforcement. So I received a letter saying "You have not paid your TV licensing fee. You are therefore breaking the law, and will potentially be required to pay a 10,000-pound fine." Toward the end of the letter,
Paul suggests that there is a non-zero possibility that I do not have a television, and if so, I can send proof of this to him and I will be exonerated. As reasonable as the Authority's assumption may be, I do not
have a f***ing television, so Paul Stanfield is going to find his letter returned to him pronto together with detailed instructions as to where exactly he can put his letter".

How do you prove you do NOT have a TV...? Is it like trying to prove Ratko Mladic ISN'T on your territory?

My first post by the way, I thought this gem would be a fitting way to get started.

Eric Gordy said...

Funny you should mention. I just sent them a message today telling them that I do not have a TV. We will see what it takes to make them believe me.

Eric said...

On the TV licence,I sent them a note and got this in response. It does not seem so burdensome or unreasonable, really (I deleted the name of the signer):

BS98 1TL

Tel: 0844 800 6702
Fax: 0844 800 5816
E-Mail: tvlcsc@capita.co.uk
Our Ref: TVL5565078


Dear Dr Gordy,

Thank you for your reply to my colleague?s letter

As you have let us know that you do not use television equipment, I have now annotated our records to show a set is not in use at your address.

To prevent unnecessary reminders being sent we have now changed the process regarding homes where a set is not in use. Within the next few weeks you will receive another letter. This asks you to reply only if a set has been installed or a licence purchased.

As no licence is required, as a set is not in use, then you do not need to reply. In due course one of our Visiting Officers will call on you and confirm the situation. Once confirmed, we will update our records accordingly. This will protect your address from mailing, for a longer period than would normally be set at an address, as it has been confirmed that a set is not in use.

Some unscrupulous people will use this particular action as a form of evasion. I am sure you will appreciate, we have a responsibility to the Licensing Authority and the licence holding public to be certain of the licensing requirements for each address hence the instigation of the new process.

I hope the information above clarifies the situation.

Yours sincerely

Mr X
TV Licensing

Owen said...

I'm taken by surprise that you've treated with such respect when the rest of the population are treated by the TV Licensing people as probable criminals unless demonstrated otherwise, exactly as aleksandar reports.

Over the last twenty-five years this country has become more and more crude and unpleasant a place to live an ordinary life but the TV Licensing people have been among the most successful in adapting to the new world. Maybe it would not be such a bad idea for C. del Ponte to enlist their help.

Anonymous said...

The license fee pays for BBC TV and radio. Not perfect, but anything of comparable quality in the US or Serbia? No, thought not.

Eric Gordy said...

Quite right, I'm happy to pay for BBC.