Saturday morning. 10am. Suddenly the internet connectivity's dead and the usual rebooting of the 'so hot you could fry an egg on it' router doesn't fix the problem.
I pick up the phone.
This is REALLY annoying as I have a bunch of stuff I need to chase up on this morning. I dig out the BT phone number for fault reporting. A friendly voice asks me if I want to test the line or report a fault. I select "test the line".
The friendly voice says it will need a number like a mobile to call me on if the tests fail but doesn't ask me to input the number. It asks me to hold while it performs the test.
Then it says the test can't be performed and so it is hanging up. And it does so.
Is this a scam to just make money on over-priced mobile phone calls (the only available means to get the mess sorted) or what?!!
I dial the number again. This time I say I want to report a fault, not test the line. The automated system takes me to the same 'test the line' place as I'd been before. It tells me it will need a number to contact me on. Again! But it doesn't give me any means to specify that number. Again! It says it is doing the test. Again. Keeps me on hold for a minute and then says it can't do the test 'at this time'. Again! And then it hangs up. Again!
By now my blood pressure is rising. How much is this total incompetence costing me on top of the £50/month I'm already paying for a service that is broken? Who designed this bloody fault reporting system anyway?!
You can probably tell that I'm not happy! I ring the customer service line and ignore all the endless options except 'other' as I navigate through a hierarchical system designed to keep you on an expensive phone call as long as possible rather than allow problems to be reported. Fortunately I've learnt from the lessons of the past and manage to select an option where I can talk to a human being. But there's a long queue so I select the option where I can enter a number for them to call me back on.
The human being does indeed call me back (Hoorah! And in less than half an hour too - I'm impressed!), apologises for the farce that is the 'Fault reporting' line, and transfers me to someone in the fault department. I get to speak to another human being. She also apologises and tells me to 'please hold while I check the line'. 'But...' I start to say, but alas, it's too late.. I'm listening to God-awful hold music. The hold music lasts about three minutes - a nice little earner at mobile phone rates.
And then there's a click and I'm cut off.
I decide I'm not playing this 'Make money from mobile calls scam by deliberately giving crap service' game any more and wait. They have my number. I gave it to them and they called me back once. Maybe they'll do it again?
How naive am I?!!
Nobody calls but half an hour later the Internet broadband is back (which is how I'm able to post this, natch!)
The phone isn't.
After five hours with no return call and no working phone I decide 'Hang the cost. I need a landline phone', and go through the whole 'speak to a human' hierarchy of automated systems again. I get a person and the same apologies I got last time.
But this time I get to speak to someone who tells me there is a major fault on the London Exchange. This makes me feel rather foolish having spent so long poking behind bookshelves and far too much wiring trying to work out if the problem is perhaps at my end after all now that internet is working but the phone isn't).
They can't tell me when the phone will be back. Or how much all these mobile-rate calls to try and get the service I'm paying for reconnected will end up costing me.
But at least I have internet access.
So if you're trying to call me and getting an engaged tone or a 'no such number' tone, try the mobile.
So that's been my Saturday. I hope yours has been far more fruitful!