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Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

430
Grafter
Posts: 131
Thanks: 1
Registered: 06-08-2007

Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

Having been contemplating returning to PN after 4 years away with O2 and then Sky when it bought the customer base, I’ve been reading through a lot of recent discussions about broadband issues and customer service relating to them. When I left PN it was primarily on cost grounds, but even then, the hand of BT was becoming apparent (2 or 3 years after the takeover). There was then, and still seems to be now, a case of “them and us” (BT and PN), despite the fact that one is a subsidiary of the other. Customers are not interested in an intra-group blame game, which does seem to get used as some sort of justification by or on behalf of PN for service shortcomings. Given this stance, and the seeming inability of PN to exercise any real influence on BT when it comes to rectifying customers problems, I’m left wondering whether becoming a BT broadband customer is actually the sensible thing to do. Costs aside, is that logical?  I’d be interested to hear of any ex BT customers experiences.
8 REPLIES
pwatson
Rising Star
Posts: 2,468
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Registered: 26-11-2012

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

I fear you're lumping three different entities into one 'BT' umbrella...
Two BT divisions (BT Openreach and BT Wholesale) are involved in the provision of both Plusnet and and BT Retail's broadband products.  BT Retail *should* be no different to Plusnet when it comes to access to the services provided by BTOR and BTW and Ofcom would be very interested if they were.  Ultimately, if you have a phone/broadband fault it's BTOR who have to fix it and it is this division that you'll see blamed for delays.  
The distinguishing factor between most ISPs is how effective their support is in a) making use of tools to determine where a fault lies, b) escalating the fault to BTOR and c) chasing for fault resolution.  
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,089
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

For the sake of clarity being within the BT umbrella confirms no favours - under the rules, BTOR treats all ISPs with the same contempt.
Though PlusNET is a member of the BT group, it operates independently of the other divisions.  What you refer to as "blame" is in fact a fair statement of the real issues - BTOR own all of the physical service provision and are very poor at servicing it.  Indeed they operate as though they were still nationalised and government owned - answerable to no one.
430
Grafter
Posts: 131
Thanks: 1
Registered: 06-08-2007

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

That sort of silo mentality is strongly discouraged in my line of business (financial) and taking ownership of a problem is strongly encouraged. It is certainly not acceptable (from a customers perspective) to engage in finger pointing at other parts of your business - the customer (me in this case, should I return) has no relationship with BT (although I am a phone customer). My contract would be with PN. End of. I don't care if the garage I pay to fix my car is supplied the wrong bits by his motor factor. His problem, not mine, and if he cant sort it, I have recourse against the garage, not the motor factor. The situation is actually worse than that simple example, as PN is part of the same group, albeit with a notionally arms-length relationship.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,089
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

Sorry, I think you have confused your original question.  For the purposes under discussion, PN is not notionally part of the same group and thereby garnering any preference.
Under Ofcom rules, all ISPs are to be treated in the same similar manner, no favours, no preferences to those having some tenuous connected parentage.
That is somewhat different to ownership of accountability for owning the issues.  If one took your argument to the limit, then not matter what or where the fault, the responsibility for failure is with who you pay the bill to.  Such non-attribubility of responsibility masks understanding and improvement.
Your question was about would one get better service from BT Retail than PlusNET - presuming that anything having the "BT" badge on the fronth of their name might be more joined up than those bits which do not or are not part of the group.  What the informed responses seek to communicate is if everyone is playing by Ofcom rules the answer is an emphatic "No" because the industry requires the supplying divisions to treat all retail operators equally BT branded or within the group or otherwise.  Given that it is the supplying divisions which are failing all retailers ought to have the same issues.
If there is evidence that one retailer is being favoured over others, then that needs to be out before Ofcom.
I would actually suspect that retailers within BT are actually getting a less favourable service so as to ensure there can be no hint of wrong doing.  There is certainly no visibility of PlusNet's CEO beating up BTOR's' CEO in the BT bike sheds for the latter's persistent abysmal performance reported on these forums.
430
Grafter
Posts: 131
Thanks: 1
Registered: 06-08-2007

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

I didn't suspect for one minute that PN were receiving favourable treatment - quite the reverse was on my mind. And there are too many ifs and presumptions to give me any great comfort. In my own industry, we all know that miss-selling financial products, manipulation of benchmarks etc. was commonplace, when clearly it shouldn't have been. No one will admit to something contrary to the rules, but that doesn't mean it does not routinely happen - very difficult to prove as well I should imagine, hence my question about real world experiences.
Moreover, I'm not sure that a customer is really interested in understanding the detail of an unrelated party's shortcomings- rightly or wrongly, it always smacks of buck-passing.
pwatson
Rising Star
Posts: 2,468
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Registered: 26-11-2012

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

Absolutely agree about apparent buck passing.  The reality is it out of PN's hands to resolve any line issues and, on a case by case basis, there's little they can do.  However, what's missing is any visibility of any pressure that PN (or other ISPs) are bringing to bear to make any long term progress in this area.
All customers see is the "shrug shoulders and that's how it is" approach...
orkhun
Newbie
Posts: 8
Registered: 17-09-2014

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

Although Plusnet is part of BT (budget service end like some other companies) BT customer service and system works better, only problem is BT is too expensive for internet you get very high speeds without connection problems unless there is a problem on local exchange but you have to pay a lot more, I was with BT Infinity 2 before joining to Plusnet, it was expensive but I didn't get any problems and as I live next to exchange I was getting 75mbps fiber connection and very low ping (10mb per sec on download) waiting on telephone was always a problem with every company it is waste of time but waiting for 60 mins (1 hour) is ridiculous like recently happening at Plusnet. It isn't about the people working for Plusnet or their service but their system isn't working well and they are probably understaffed as it is a budget company. Much better than TalkTalk (as most companies) but less then BT as BT is the main company distributing the internet.  Smiley
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,089
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Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Is BT better at dealing with service issues than PN?

For total clarity on the subject, irrespective of who you pay your bill to, the connection to the internet - your home to the exchange uses the SAME SYSTEMS.  It is those systems which determine your synch speed - nothing else - at that point there is no ISP involvement.  Data speeds might be predicated by the package offered by a particular ISP, but that is a different matter.
It is true that benefiting out of the break up of the BT group that BT Retail have better diagnostic / fault reporting tools available to their agents than do other ISPs.  The fault for that lays with Ofcom who failed to ensure that the playing field was truly level - all diagnostic and reporting tools should have been retained by BT Openreach for the use of call persons using their infrastructure.