Last year I wrote about a conversation with scammers claiming to be BT Technical department. They haven’t given up and continue to provide amusement.
A few months ago our BT land line was practically unusable. It crackled so much conversation was almost impossible, rather defeating it own purpose. We called BT (the real BT) to report a problem. It took several attempts as the line was so bad the call centre agent couldn’t hear us.
Eventually we called from a mobile and were given the usual threat (or should that be warning) that the automated test could not detect a problem and charges would apply if no fault was found. The agent saw the funny side and booked us an engineer.
A few days later an engineer arrived. He listened to the line, confirmed there was a problem and set off to trace the overground line back towards the exchange, honing in on the problem.
The last we saw of him he was shinning up a telegraph pole and explaining that someone would contact us later to let us know what action was taken.
The line is still pretty bad, although occasionally it is possible to make a call. We never heard anything more from BT but the always reliable self styled “BT Technical department” called.
“Hello, this is BT technical department. Am I speaking to Mrs X? I’m calling to ……”
I interrupted: “Oh thanks for calling back. We thought you had forgotten. Did you find the fault? The line is still very bad.”
“I’m sorry, it’s a bad line. I didn’t hear you.”
“Yes, I presume that’s why you’re calling…. About the fault we reported? When is it going to be fixed?”
“I am calling about your problem.”
“Good. At last. So you found the fault?”
“Yes. We found a fault. It is a problem with your internet connection. It will be cut off tomorrow unless the fault is fixed.”
“No, no. There is no problem with my internet. What about the fault I reported?”
“A fault with your internet connection? Can you say it again? The line is bad.”
“Not about the internet.” I say, speaking more slowly but also louder. “About the faulty line. As you have said at least twice it is a bad line. That is the fault we reported. Your engineer came. Isn’t that why you are calling?”
There is a pause. Only the crackles on the line can be heard. I imagine a young woman doing a miserable job somewhere in a call centre in India, or maybe she really is in London, but somehow I doubt it. I feel a bit sorry for her. But then I think she must know she’s part of a scam, so I continue. “You are BT Technical department, aren’t you?
“Well I expected you to have fixed my line by now. It is two months since your engineer visited. How long do we have to wait for it to be fixed?”
“It is important you are in front of your PC. Are you by your PC? I can’t fix the fault if you are not.”
“My PC is not connected to a BT service so it won’t help you.”
“All PCs are connected to BT even if you have your account with someone else, like Talk Talk.”
“Mine isn’t. My ISP may use BT provided trunk routes but my internet is not connected to my ISP by BT, so I’ll leave the ISP to deal with any problems, thank you. What about my bad line? Listen to the crackles.”
“But you need to listen, your internet connection will be cut off.”
“No it won’t. When will my line be fixed?”
Another voice comes on the line, this time it is a man. He sounds older, and he sounds annoyed and tries to give an air of authority: “Madam, you have a problem with your PC and you will lose your internet connection.”
“Are you sure you’ve called the right person? My problem is with poor line quality. Fortunately I don’t use it for my internet connection; only voice calls.”
“There is a technical fault with your network and I can see the problem is caused by you PC. We need you to co-operate so we can fix it to stop you being disconnected. We can’t allow your PC to remain on the network.”
“Which IP address is causing the problem?”
And the crackling stops. The line goes dead. He has given up.
As a post script, the line still hasn’t been fixed. Our last bill was about £80 for less than £4 of calls. It is so bad we don’t make many out going calls and people who call in complain. We have been testing a VOIP system and are almost ready to switch away from our BT account. It will be even more fun next time we get a call from BT Technical department.