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BT broadband problems? Read 2020 reviews

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If you’re thinking about switching (or switching back) to BT, it’s obviously important to know what you have in store for you as a customer. Are you going to be well looked after? Ignored? Or treated poorly by overworked support agents? As one of the telecommunications industry cartel kingpins, if BT’s customer service is anything like its closest competitors, it’s not looking good. According to Ofcom, just 51% of broadband customers with a complaint last year were satisfied with the way it was handled.

So how does BT compare? In this page, we’ll be discussing this and focusing a good deal on how individual customers feel about the treatment they receive from BT:

BT broadband reviews: Overview

To get a sense of how customers generally feel about BT, we headed to the review site Trustpilot. We acknowledge that people usually head to these sites when they’ve got something to complain about, whereas if you’re happy with your provider you’re perhaps less likely to go looking to leave a review, but even so, a score of 1.3 / 5 stars does not look promising.

The stats don’t look greatOf the almost 6,000 reviewers to have posted on the site, a shocking 90% gave BT the worst rating of Bad. Less than 5% recorded a positive experience with BT, which does leave us thinking this is more than just a handful of angry customers kicking up a stink.

A closer look at the content of the reviews tells us that there are all sorts of reasons to be dissatisfied with BT - reviewers cite everything from rising prices and mischarges to bad customer service and engineers missing appointments. To give you a better idea, we’ll go through these recurring complaints categorically.

BT customer service reviews

If there is a silver lining to being with BT, it doesn’t seem to be that customers’ contact with them is a breeze. In fact, a common complaint seems to be that BT is happy not to contact you at all - even if they plan to cut your service due to late payment:

I was outside of home and needed to make calls, but found out via automated message that my phone was cut… My wife was driving using phone as navigation when hers was abruptly cut

This particular customer was late having cancelled his direct debit in order to take more control over his payments - he suspected BT were continually overcharging him and wanted to keep an eye out. It’s an important lesson for those thinking of taking this route: do remember to make your payment as BT is quite happy to cut you off without a word of warning if you forget!

Frustrated man

BT also gets a lot of flak for the way its customer service team approaches calls, with people left feeling that no matter what they called for they are being pushed (and often misled) into a sale. One customer was called and offered a new hub, a simple conversation which should have ended simply - not so:

I declined but despite having no new equipment this conversation somehow tied me into an 18-month contract. Spoke to numerous people and they used every trick in the book to make me pay a penalty or stay with them.

BT reviews for pricing

The same customer whose “no” to a new hub somehow meant “yes” to a new contract had, he claimed, been loyal to BT for 25 years. He sums up a gripe several existing customers have with regards to pricing quite well:

I am embarrassed to say I didn’t watch how much the bill was going up. Paying double what a new customer would pay.

It seems that however tempting BT’s offers are initially, customers can’t expect to keep their bills down for too long. Its contracts, it says, are subject to annual price rises based on inflation, and when a contract ends it is automatically renewed at an increased price (which you should be able to see in writing as you choose your deal in the beginning).

For this reason, we’d recommend you learn from the nasty surprise the above reviewer was on the end of and plan for when your contract (and the great deal you signed up for) ends.

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Bills & account management

Like most major providers, BT now offers customers the ability to check and pay bills and manage their account in a few ways via its app. The app is called the My BT app and gives some cause for optimism, as reviews for it in both the App Store and on Google Play are reasonably positive. In the App Store, more than half of 24,000 users give it a 5-star rating, giving it an average rating of 4.1 / 5. Android users are less emphatic, with the average rating across over 5,700 reviews being 3.5 / 5. A significant chunk of 1-star reviews is dragging its overall rating down on Google Play - something we’ll take a closer look at later on.

Apart from checking and paying bills, the app allows you to check your service status, test your broadband speeds, track orders and check your usage (if you’re a mobile customer). The iOS edition seems to be doing these things effectively on the whole, and even reviewers who have reported problems in the past say that these have since been resolved:

A new version of My BT has ironed out the former problems. Thanks BT for working hard to rectify the errors.

As we’ve mentioned, there is a smattering of 1-star ratings making reviews for the app for Android slightly less glowing. Login issues dominate a slew of recent negative reviews, which seem to have come from a bug resulting from a recent update to My BT. Several users report a failure of the updated app to recognise their account login:

Unable to log in with the new update today. An error message stating no account associated to my ID.

Other users describe similar problems, but several of them have since updated their reviews to report that the issue had been resolved on the following day. If this remains an isolated incident, we’re willing to give BT the benefit of the doubt. The majority of reviews apart from the ones reporting this incident are positive and that the bug seems to have been dealt with quickly is an encouraging sign.

How well are BT broadband problems handled?

Every year, Ofcom collects data on how telecommunications companies deal with complaints, giving us a handy indication of how much care the main players are handling their customers with. The most recent report (for 2018, published in April 2019) found that, while BT customers had marginally less than the average reason to complain, just 47% of those that did complain were satisfied with the result. This is below the average of 49%, which is already low - only TalkTalk performs worse in this category.

Though the percentage of BT customers with a reason to complain was slightly below the average, the number of complaints about BT received by Ofcom per 100,000 customers was well above. The average in this category was 58, while BT complaints stood at 79 - behind only TalkTalk (again) and Plusnet. So what are BT’s agents doing to get under its customers’ skin? Let’s take a closer look:

Absolutely dreadful company if you have any sort of problem to solve. Raised an issue nearly 2 weeks ago and nothing since despite over 6 calls to various 0800 numbers.

This apparent lack of concern for issues being faced by its customers seems to be characteristic of BT’s complaints handling teams, which isn’t at all encouraging - you always hope for the opposite, of course. Paired with the problem of engineers either failing to turn up for appointments or failing to resolve the issue they were called out to deal with, you have the main source of users’ annoyance:

Beware of BT, signed up for their internet and they have managed to not only cancel my old internet but also the new one isn’t working. Their excuse is brilliant: ‘the engineer ran out of time.

Issues with engineers are common - another reviewer tells of two occasions on which an engineer failed to turn up and on the third time of asking the engineer arriving but failing to resolve the issue. This would not be so worrying (it could be the fault of Openreach, which is a separate entity) if customers weren’t also reporting a total lack of urgency or concern on the part of BT’s customer services teams in dealing with customers’ complaints about it. Regardless of your provider, problems can arise - to us, the care with which companies respond to these problems is what separates the good from the bad.

Laptop on a striped background

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BT Reviews: the verdict

Man holding balls

It’s safe to say the general impression of BT hasn’t been a great one. There are certainly some positives to report - opinions of the My BT app are good, and this is hugely important nowadays with the increasing demand for easy and automated control of our bills and accounts. BT would also point to certain data put out by Ofcom (below average call waiting times, for example) which paint an improving picture for its customer services.

Despite this, we can’t bring ourselves to be more generous than to give BT a two-star rating.

Some would even perhaps feel that we’re being generous here, given the almost unanimously damning nature of BT’s customer reviews. We do feel the need to take all sources into consideration, however, and appreciate that not every one of its customers has had the bad experiences reported on Trustpilot. We hope to see the negativity surrounding its service diminish a bit, because at the moment almost a third of the UK’s broadband subscribers are settling for this sort of shoddy service from BT.

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