The difference between August and September (or: BT, it's not hard to look at a calendar!)

One of the perennial frustrations of dealing with a monopoly supplier like BT is that there’s nothing you can do when they screw things up. There’s nobody else to turn to for a telephone line, in rural Devon. And it seems that when they do make mistakes, they do it on a grand scale.

Last week, I called BT to let them know that at the end of September we’d be leaving our house. We agreed that the phone line should be ceased on 29th September. Fine, I thought: another one of the many suppliers has been informed. Tick that box.

Yesterday (the 29th August: seeing a connection?), Kate tried to phone her brother. The phone wasn’t working. “No problem”, I thought, “I’ll phone BT and report a fault”. But of course the line wasn’t working.

Luckily (and inexplicably) our internet connection on the same line appears to be functioning at the moment. (We’ve got a backup strategy for internet access, of which more in another article). So I used a VOIP connection to call BT, and ask what was going on.

To be honest, I shouldn’t be surprised by the ineptitude of a supplier who has such a huge monopoly on phone lines. Nor should I have been surprised by the response: “We’ve cut you off a month early! We’ll reinstate the line, on a different number without internet by next Wednesday.”

You can’t call us at the moment. You can leave a message on our mobile numbers, but there’s no reception at home. We can make outgoing VOIP calls for as long as we have a reliable internet connection, so we can call you back.

In so many ways, we are being prepared for life in Uganda.

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