The Ninth Circle Of CS Hell
May 14, 2008 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Which body oversees British Telecom: Ofcom or Otelo? Or is it BOTH?

Two weeks ago, BT unceremoniously cancelled the DSL line in one of my offices. No warning; no red letter; there is no outstanding balance on the account... they just cancelled the service.

It is getting turned back on next Tuesday, but I can NOT get anyone from BT to tell me WHY they did it.

After spending all day on the phone with every BT Local Business branch from Leeds to Birmingham to Hereford (I'm not kidding), I am now waiting for a call back and some explanation.

You and I know both know the answer, though, don't we? The answer is that someone simply fucked it up. My boss wants the answer, though, and *compensation* for the petrol, man hours, spare router we purchased, the alarm engineer visit (these were all the hoops BT made us jump through).

Some poor drone in a call centre is going to apologise, and she/he will think that's going to be the end of it. Nope.

I have a letter drafted to:

Customer Service Director BT plc
Correspondence Centre
DH98 1BT

... I just need to know which government office to CC.

TIA for any help.
posted by chuckdarwin to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Ofcom's the regulator (very helpful too in my experience in getting telecoms companies to listen to you). I'd not heard of Otelo until I saw your link. Otelo seems to be more an independent mediator from what their front page says.

I'd try Ofcom first, and they can refer you to Otelo if needed.

Best of luck.
posted by edd at 6:59 AM on May 14, 2008

I think that the guidance you need is here. As far as obtaining compensation for damages, I suspect that you are likely to need the services of a solicitor. You can find one via the Law Society's find a solicitor service.
posted by dmt at 7:20 AM on May 14, 2008

Might be worth a glance through one of the more likely looking threads on the moneysavingexpert forums (Its like what 4Chan would be if it had a moral compass)
posted by Jofus at 7:52 AM on May 14, 2008

Having been through the same experience, I would recommend that you get in touch with the Chairman's Office and deal through them. The chairman is Ben Verwaayen, although I am aware that he has resigned and may not be around for long. He can be reached at and he does answer his own email - sometimes within minutes.
posted by skylar at 10:15 AM on May 14, 2008

Ofcom's the regulator.

Seconding what Skylar said. I got so fed up with Carphone Warehouse last year, and the fact that they only published ONE phone number to call them on - and then disconnected the line after a recorded message told me that the lines were too busy to deal with my call EVERY TIME I CALLED. I can't tell you how frustrated I was. I finally emailed the chairman, Charles Dunstone, outlining all my complaints, number one being there was no one in the call centre available EVER to discuss my problem. He emailed me back within hours apologising and within a few days I had a message from a person at Carphone Warehouse leaving a different phone number, asking me to call them back.

So email the chairman. But don't email Ben Verwaayen, as he's basically done there. The person taking his place is Ian Livingston as chief exec. The chairman is Sir Michael Rake. If for some strange reason their emails aren't at, they should be easy enough to find with a quick Google search.

Good luck chuck!
posted by triggerfinger at 12:56 PM on May 14, 2008

As I understand it, OFCOM doesn't actually resolve individual complaints, they just monitor and regulate. You can go to Otelo, but (in line with all ombudsman) they won't normally act until you've exhausted BT's internal complaint's procedure first, for which they will allow 3 months.
posted by wilko at 4:06 PM on May 14, 2008

When I had a problem with BT and emailed Ben Verwaayen, he replied an hour and a half later. Someone from the chairman's office then phoned me the next day and worked with me to resolve the issue. You may also wish to try emailing which he cc-ed in his reply to me.
posted by JonB at 3:04 PM on May 16, 2008

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