Contacting British Telecom...

So I get an annoying telesales call from some (for once reasonably comprehensible) guy in India on behalf of our dearly beloved national telco trying, somewhat bizarrely, to offer me a Visa card. After explaining that I prefer to obtain financial services from financial institutions and to stick to purchasing telephone service from a telco I hang up and go looking for a way to tell BT to cease and desist with this nonsense.

You see although my phones are all registered with the statutory anti-telesales list, the Telephone Preference Service, BT are still allowed to call me because they have an “existing customer relationship” with me. At least until I explicitly tell them not to by invoking the snappily titled Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

So I start by logging into my account on their web site and looking at the preferences, where there is a helpful option to control whether I “Would like to be kept up-to-date with BT special offers and innovations by email?”. Unfortunately there is no equivalent option for phone calls…

Next stop is the “Contact Us” link which leads to a long menu of reasons why I might want to contact them, none of which really apply in this case. Unfortunately there is no “none of the above” or “other” type option for miscellaneous enquiries.

Even the “Complaints” section of “Contact Us” has a carefully selected list of narrow categories in which you might wish to complain with no general way to make a complaint, or even to make a meta-complaint about an inability to complain.

Needless to say, when I do find a way to complain both barrels will be being discharged in view of the fact that they’ve managed to make complaining so hard…

UPDATE: Having re-read the PEC regulations I now believe that in fact the “existing customer relationship” clause does not apply to phone calls (it does apply to email) so BT were in fact breaching regulation 21(1)(b) with their phone call.

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes
Software Engineer, Developer and system administrator for OpenStreetMap

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