Trying to sort out a cheaper phone and broadband package has proved to be a ruddy silly farce. We have our broadband with BT and our phone with TalkTalk.
We phone BT first to see if we could crawl out of the dark ages and switch from a 10gb limited broadband package to an unlimited broadband package.
We were told we could do that yes if we also took out a phone package. No problem, happy to do that if the deal was good. That's when things started to unravel.
The call centre operative could not discuss packages with us until we had switched our phone to BT and paid a £50 'connection' fee. Only then would they discuss an appropriate package.
Er no, we said. We're not switching our phone and being put onto a contract first in case your deals are not competitive. We were put onto hold while they spoke to their manager, who apparently said no, phone contract first.
No, we said. Talk deals and make it worth our while. Away she went again to speak to her manager. Apparently BT could offer us a deal that would save us about £15 a month, but they couldn't be more specific than that.
Try to be more specific we said. That isn't acceptable. PlusNet could give us £25.95 a month for broadband if we signed up for a phone too, and we're pretty sure TalkTalk could offer to match it (we are in a restricted market band so cannot get some of the really cheap deals being touted on the TV).
So, away she went again and finally came back with a cost of £33.84 for a 12 month contract, however, she wouldn't put the order for it through today. First we had to agree to the phone contract first, wait 10 days, pay the £50 connection fee and then ring back and we would get the deal.
Do we look like we're stupid? She gave us her word we would still get the deal, we could have her name and her managers name, blah, blah, blah. Nothing about the conversation inspired any trust in BT. It just made them look like a lot of shifty conmen.
In the end we refused to go any further and rang off.
We made the decision in the end to go with PlusNet, but hesitated for a couple of days, reluctant to lose the BT email addresses we have had for more than a decade. Not knowing how long we had from the time we requested our MAC code until we lost our BT email address, we decided to archive our emails, change the email address on all of our accounts to a gmail account for continuity, and then switch.
We sat there and looked at one another tonight, knowing we had a herculean task ahead of us. Give it one more go, I said to Martin. Ring BT and request to go unlimited again, see if you get a human being on the end of the phone. So he did.
No said the operator, that's not possible on your account. Oh go on, said Martin. Otherwise we're going to have to go to PlusNet and that's a load of hassle. Unless you can help us we're going to have to if we want unlimited broadband. We can't keep paying your charge for going over our limit every month. You're goading us into going to one of your competitors.
Away she went again to speak to one of her managers. Oh go on then, she said, you can have unlimited. I'm putting the order through now. Your monthly fee will drop from £23 a month to £17.03 and there's no contract.
Martin nearly fell off his chair. He was so gobsmacked that when she asked him for his mobile number the daft lad gave it to her, so now he'll be spammed relentlessly by BT but he says it was worth it. The email confirming the order came through before Martin had put the phone down and went live immediately.
What a load of silliness to have to deal with.
Anyway, I've worked out that the new monthly cost plus our basic costs with TalkTalk will save us around £15-£20 a month. I originally estimated we could save £28 a month, but didn't know at the time that we were in one of the expensive 'market bands' serviced only by BT wholesale so could not get the cheapest deals no matter which supplier we went with. As it stands, we are paying around £1.50 more a month with this new arrangement than if we switched to PlusNet, but we are happy to pay this as the hassle of moving is too great.
So finally two happy campers and an extra £15-20 a month into Martin's pension.