Cut off by BT for 64 days: Are we paying the price for Champions League football? | Daily Mail Online

After 43 years as loyal customers, Sandra and Ghyll Morfey didn’t give a second thought to contacting BT when their line went dead in June.

The elderly couple rely on a landline to talk to family and friends every day, and assumed the telecoms giant would be keen to reconnect them as a matter of urgency.

They had first noticed a problem during a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales when they tried to call home to check answerphone messages.

Cut off by BT for 64 days: Are we paying the price for Champions League football? | Daily Mail Online

A very patchy mobile signal in their rural area meant he could call only from an upstairs bedroom in the family home.

After finally getting through to customer services, BT confirmed the fault and said it would be in touch to fix the landline — and broadband — in a couple of days.

That was on Thursday, June 18. More than two months on, the Morfeys are still waiting.

 It’s been nothing short of a farce — a complete shambles

For 64 days, Sandra and Ghyll have been subjected to what they call ‘farcical’ customer service from BT that has seen countless broken promises.

Despite dozens of emails, texts and calls — often to overseas call centres where staff struggle to get to grips with the Morfeys’ problem — the couple have been unable to get BT to pay a single visit to their home. Most infuriating has been BT’s repeated changing of a planned repair date.

Usually this has taken the form of a formal text message or email sent to Ghyll informing him of ‘an extended delay’ — and that he must wait another couple of days for an update. This is followed by almost the same message days later — then another the next week.

The Morfeys’ phone messages have been left unanswered, emails ignored and requests to speak to a manager or engineer turned down. Although BT has redirected calls to their mobile, the poor reception means they rarely receive them.

Own goal? BT has invested £897 million in its TV sport channels buying the rights to Champions League football

Without broadband, they’ve had to drive to their local library to read emails. And all the while, the couple have still been paying BT £42 a month.

Sandra, a former nurse, says: ‘It’s been nothing short of a farce — a complete shambles.

‘We are just being brushed off with useless responses.

‘It’s wasting our time and energy trying to sort it out, and causing us unnecessary stress. We feel so powerless and totally forgotten about.

‘It’s just making our daily lives so much more difficult. Not being able to contact our family is hard and I worry what would happen if one of us had an accident.’

Last year BT won Money Mail’s Wooden Spoon for rotten customer service. John Petter, chief executive of BT’s retail division, picked up the gong after admitting the telecoms firm had spent too much time launching its £897 million BT Sport channels.

Call-centre staff had spent too much time dealing with new customer sign-ups rather than dealing with existing disputes.

However, its promises to invest in 2,000 extra engineers, extra call-centre staff, new software to ensure prompt callbacks and better kit to help its Openreach engineers repair networks more swiftly seemed to bear fruit.

But our postbag has begun to see a pick-up in complaints again.

Many irate customers now accuse the firm of over-investing in its superfast broadband and new sports TV channel — with Champions League football and, as was announced this week, the next Ashes series — at the expense of ordinary customers struggling to get a clear signal on their landline.

The most recent figures from telecoms watchdog Ofcom show BT ‘consistently’ generates complaints above the industry average, which is eight per 100,000 customers. BT received nearly double this figure, 15. Rival Sky had four per 100,000.

The worst performer was EE with 39 complaints per 100,000 customers.

When Money Mail got in touch with BT, the company finally swung into action to help the Morfeys.

Staff closed off their road to cut back overhanging trees and tested the phoneline’s proximity to a nearby exchange to check for interference.

A spokesman from BT says: ‘We are very sorry and apologise to Sandra and Ghyll for the delay in repairing their line. The problem was caused by a faulty overhead cable.

‘Sixty metres of cable needed to be replaced. This involved both tree cutting and traffic management — being able to close a road.

‘Customer service is a major focus for us. We are investing in our repair process and diagnosis of faults.’

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