How do I get compensation from BT?

  becks148 13:16 23 May 06
Locked

I run a small business selling books on the internet. In all, there are 7 computers connected by a LAN and a reliable internet connection is essential. Twice a week at least, I need to upload and revise stock listings on my own website and various other internet databases. All orders and enquiries are received via email. So, without the internet I would not have a business.

On Monday 21st April 2006, I noticed a drop in the speed of our broadband connection. I contacted my consultant who advised me first to check with BT to make sure there was no fault on the broadband line. I was informed that there was no problem with the line. So I then arranged for the consultant to come out and check the network (Tuesday 25th April 2006). When he arrived there was no internet connection. He attempted to reset the network and eventually obtained a broadband connection.

However, when I tried to upload our stock the file was rejected on four separate occasions and within 3 days I again had no internet connection. I contacted BT again and explained what had been happening. I was informed that there was no fault with the line and the fault was probably with my router. So my consultant came out again (3rd May 2006) and installed a new router and reset the network. Still there was no internet connection. In a final act of desperation I contacted BT again and explained the situation. They again tested the line, this time they found a fault! They apologised for the problems caused over the last couple of weeks and gave me a job reference number: 18904240 and said someone would be in touch after the weekend. As I had not heard anything, I phoned again on Tuesday 9th May and was informed that the fault had not been passed to the engineers department! The person apologised and assured me this time an engineer would be put on to the job. On Friday 12th May your advisor informed me that the fault was ongoing and someone would be in touch. On Saturday 13th May 'Cathy' contacted me from the Bristol office. She informed me they could not find the source of the problem and she would arrange for an engineer to come out to see me on Tuesday 16th May. When he arrived, the engineer said everything was ok and there was a strong signal, he then went on to test all the lines add a new junction box and re-wire the lines to the office. I had also arranged for my consultant to be present so that he could reset the router. This he did and the broadband connection was finally established. After the BT engineer had left, I also tried the original router and found it to be working perfectly. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there has been an fault on the BT line since 21st April - 25 days ago!

Today (16th May 206) I spoke to Glen in the BT billing department and explained the situation, he checked my records, spoke to his supervisor and agreed that there had been a problem caused by BT for more than 3 weeks and he was authorised to credit my account with 3 weeks of broadband rental. He said: "It was only right as you had not had a proper connection. You can not run your type of business without a regular connection."

I hold BT responsible for all the trouble caused over the last 25 days. This fault has prevented me from advertising my books and prevented customers from emailing me for the last 3 weeks.

  johnnyrocker 13:27 23 May 06

it would seem you already have the answer from billing dept.


johnny.

  €dstowe 13:33 23 May 06

This is a downside of running an Internet business.

Whilst my business is not dependent on the Internet, it does need a regular and reliable connection to maintain my customer base. To this end, I have two broadband lines which can I swap over if one should fail on me - a business connection and a home one. Perhaps I am lucky that my home is adjacent to my studio but I would rather pay out for this extra facility than be left in the lurch and lose any business opportunity.

This does, of course, fall down if there is a failure of the service to both lines (storm damage and such) but most likely a lot of others would be in the same situation.

  rmcqua 13:38 23 May 06

You will probably find that there is something in the small print of the broadband contract you signed up to, which absolves BT from "add on" costs/compensation associated with loss of internet provision.

  Totally-braindead 13:39 23 May 06

I presume its a business account you have and the only advice I can offer is to check the small print. I would imagine BT would have some sort of disclaimer somewhere in there and if so then I would think the offer they made is the best you would get. Perhaps there will be something else in the small print you can claim against.

  realist 14:52 23 May 06
  stlucia 15:52 23 May 06

No harm in trying, but I would say you're onto a loser there. It's a general principle that no supplier can be held responsible for what you do with what they supply or, more importantly, for the repercussions of failure of what they supply (other than reibursing you what you've paid them for supplying whatever it is that's failed) unless compensation for disruption or other loss is specifically included in your contract with them.

If they were to be held liable, they would have to vet every customer before they supplied them with broadband, to determine what the risk is of a large claim for lost business, or worse. If your business relies on the connection, are you not insured for interruption?

  spuds 16:52 23 May 06

Would appear that BT have offered a rental refund, and this is possibly as far as you will get, but you could contact Ofcom click here or Otelo click here for further advice.

  Daveboy 22:07 23 May 06

All your eggs in one basket ! If your business is reliant on something it is essential to have a backup if it fails. Even reverting to dial up would give you some functionality - most ISP's allow access via "pay as you go".

  mammak 22:24 23 May 06

Don’t have much clue about the guidelines regarding this but many stated what they might be
but I think Daveboy has made a very good point backup in your business is essential, my partner is a self employed taxi driver he needs a phone line for obvious reasons it is essential but on the rare occasion that service is disrupted he falls back on his mobile or even mine, so I hope you get what compensation you deserve BT in my opinion is a good company and they will do what is legally required of them I am sure.

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