Real life

Real life

23 September 2017

9:00 AM

23 September 2017

9:00 AM

BT have just put the phone down on me for asking them to stop sending me junk mail, which is a bit much really. I rang the customer services number to ask if they would please unsubscribe me from all the emails they’ve been sending since I became a wifi customer of theirs. ‘You’re driving me mad with these emails,’ I explained, and truly I was at the end of my tether.

Every day, the same message arrives in my inbox, warning me I have only days left to take advantage of a special offer on BT Sport. I wouldn’t mind but one of the things I spent countless precious hours of my existence explaining to BT when I took out wifi was that on no account did I want BT Sport.

I’ve tried to unsubscribe from the emails but all that happens when I select the unsubscribe option is that I am redirected to a page bearing a short paragraph that, if it is a way to unsubscribe, is surely the most impenetrable way that proposition has ever been worded. This is it, word for word:

‘Contact BT. Email is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way to keep up to date with BT’s latest news and offers. We’d love to continue contacting you by email, but feel free to unsubscribe here if you wish. Email address………………… If you are a BT customer and just want to change your contact email address please visit https://home.bt.com/login/loginform. Submit.’

That’s it. All you can conceivably do is enter your email. But as they already have my email, and what I’m trying to achieve is them not having my email, how does entering my email achieve un-entering my email? You can click the submit button without entering your email, but if you do all it says is ‘Please tell us your email address.’ ‘But you already have my email address, you fiends! That’s why I’m angry!’ I scream at the screen. Not wanting to enter my email again, and make the seventh circle of junk-mail hell even worse, I decided to ring customer services. I suppose I expected a mild apology.

But the chap on the other end of the phone — in Swansea — took umbrage. ‘That’s nothing to do with us,’ he snapped.


‘How can emails from BT asking me to sign up for BT Sport be nothing to do with BT?’ I asked, hardly believing that those words were having to come out of me as they came out of me.

‘I don’t know who they’re from,’ he said. ‘They’re not from us.’ And he went on and on about how he had no way of stopping emails that were nothing personally to do with him.

‘I’m not saying you personally sent these emails!’ I said, my voice getting on for a squawk. He then gave me the old ‘calm down or I won’t help you at all’ routine. ‘Look, I’m cross because you’ve done something wrong,’ I said. ‘This is another problem. You wind your customers up then tell us we’re the problem when we get angry.’

‘Well, I’m just trying to help.’ No, you’re not. ‘The thing is,’ I said, ‘I took out BT wifi, I gave you my money, and all you’ve done ever since is send me an email a day asking me for more money. So if they don’t stop I’ll have to terminate my account.’

He told me to hold the line while he got a supervisor. A very short time later, barely a minute, he came back and informed me that his colleague had successfully unsubscribed me from all BT marketing emails.

Oh, so when you said you can’t make them stop what you meant was you can make them stop in 30 seconds, I didn’t say.

‘Out of curiosity, before I go, tell me what it was I should have done on that unsubscribe page.’

‘You press the unsubscribe button and it unsubscribes…’ ‘No, ’ I said. ‘You can’t press a button…’

‘You’re not listening!’ he shouted, and then he went off on one, yelling down the phone about me not paying attention. ‘You need to calm down,’ I said. There was a gasp, a barely audible retort. ‘You (something or other)…’ And a click, as the phone went down. The usual questionnaire was texted to my phone 15 minutes later.

‘Hello, BT here. You spoke to our advisor. What did you think?’

‘Well, I rang to complain, he told me to calm down, shouted at me, then, when I told him to calm down, he put the phone down on me,’ I texted back.

‘Thank you for taking part in our survey. Your feedback will help us to continually improve.’ Of course it will. And I’ll get no more junk mail. And the world will live as one.

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