My experience with Openreach – So angry I want to cry!

I am living with my boyfriend and two other wonderful (new)-adults in a house by the Thamesmead lake. Everything is great, the lake is great, the birds in the morning are great, the housemates are great and even the scummy pub in the town centre is kind off okay… But the internet is… let me tell you that uploading a video on youtube takes about 17 hours, or that sometimes Facebook won’t even load. 2.1 mbps at the best of times is downright hell for a house of gamers and young professionals. But what can we do about this? Yes, indeed. Contact Openreach!

First Contact with Openreach

The first contact with Openreach has been established in January 2016; one year and six months ago. My boyfriend and his friends had moved into the house in September and noticed that the internet was incredibly slow. My boyfriend and his friends being avid gamers and computer enthusiasts, it was incredibly hard for them to survive on this speed, especially if shared with 4 other people. Openreach told is the latest they would be connected to fibre was April 2016.

I wish.

Contacting Openreach … Again

But they saw that the fibre metre on the “when will I get fibre” did not go any further and indeed stalled on the “Build” stage. Yet again, Openreach was contacted. “You will have fibre by June”. AWESOME!

Or not?

Fibre has been 5 months away for the last 18 months

So yes, Fibre has been 5 months away for the last 18 months. And this is not a lie. I am seething. I cannot recall the number of times we have been in contact with Openreach. Many times they have come up with bogus answers and gave us dates that came and went without fibre being connected in our house.

Two months ago something changed: our fibre-o-meter changed to activate: fibre was a mere month away! We actually partied at home! We talked about what we would do with the internet that would actually WORK, where we would not need to download overnight, where 500mb would not need over 12 hours to download…

But obviously now we are two months further and there has still been no change in our Fibre Journey. Very disappointed.

They should change their slogan to : Superfast Fibre - But only if we feel like it
They should change their slogan to: Superfast Fibre – But only if we feel like it

How was our experience contacting Openreach?

I would literally rather stuff broken glass up my ass than to contact Openreach ever again. And that is a very honest reply.
I have had the worst customer service experience with Openreach EVER. I have worked for a company that did literally the same thing but in Belgium, and I cannot believe that customers are treated this way.

We tried to contact Openreach by online forms

Online forms take up to 28 working days. Yes. Working days. That is 5 weeks and 3 working days. Almost 2 months so to speak. I would definately understand them taking so long to answer mail if they were actually busy activating and placing fibre connections. But I think this blog post and the hundreds of other complaints and stories that can be found online that this is actually not the case. So why do they take so long?

When contacting Openreach via online forms we literally receive one reply per request – if we are lucky, stating that fibre will be at our home soon. ( woohoo ) but as said earlier in this post: those dates all came and went without any progress in our Fibre Journey. I feel cheated.

We tried to call Openreach

Calling Openreach is a dangerous endeavour. There is a very big chance of getting frustrated and actually smashing your phone on the floor. You can call Openreach on the number 0800 023 2023, but anyone that has been in this situation knows that this is to no avail. You have 3 options of which the first 2 revolve around property damage. From what I have read on fora, even people whose property was damaged by Openreach will hardly get anyone on the phone.

The third option : more information, plays a recording of someone giving you a list of URL’s and websites you can visit for more information. Websites, URL’s and forms we have visited and filled out about a thousand times by now.

It seems impossible to speak to an actual human being at Openreach! What a disgrace!

We contacted Openreach on Twitter

I am a Marketing Executive with a specialisation in Online and Digital Communication. If I ever have to teach anyone how not to communicate with customers or just plainly: how not to be a community manager, I will put Openreach up as the perfect example. There were only two solutions they could give us:

  1. Look at the “when will I get fibre” page, the one I have been checking three times every day for the last year.
  2. Contact us via our contact form. The form I personally have filled out at least 7 times and via which the information given was false or just a blatant lie.

They have now stopped replying on Twitter. I just asked for them to DM me an internal number of the fibre department or just to speak to ANY human being. It was impossible. How can it be impossible to speak to a human being that works at Openreach in the Fibre Department. It is not as if they are working – we would have had our fibre installed, and it is not as if everyone has been replaced by robots, aliens or humanoid creatures – that would be scary.

I have no idea what to do next… so we contacted service providers.

Well obviously not
Well obviously not

We contacted service providers to help us in our Fibre Journey

I am oing to keep this short since contacting internet service providers was the biggest waste of time in the history of time wasting. Open Reach always asks customers to contact their Internet Service Providers.Well, so we did. Everyone had the same answer: not available. We do not know when this will be available. This is up to Openreach. Contact Openreach. No, we do not know how to contact Openreach. Here is a website to show you where you are in your Fibre Journey. I am so sorry you already check that website three times a day.

The worst part was that one customer service agent at Sky thought he was going to be smart and would angle in a sale. Yes, fibre is available at your premises – I called with for information about Fibre and said I would love to connect. I acted as a new customer.He lied. He even made up bogus Internet fibre speeds. I told him I would like to talk this over with my housemates. Would this offer still be available if I called back in half an hour? Yes sure!

I sprinted downstairs. I was happy as can be because maybe Sky knew something we and the others did not know. Maybe we could have fibre this week! I called Sky again to order Fibre. It was unavailable at our premises.

Shame on you Openreach!

Shame on you Openreach. You are using public money – money that equally comes out of my and my housemates’ pockets, to provide a lousy service. There is no excuse for bad customer service, especially not the excuse of being a “web based company”. Other web-based companies like Tide have incredibly customer service and try to help everyone – and it does not take them 28 working days to respond to a query.

I am appalled by the lack of care and the lack of service provided by Openreach and I will try and get results every single day.

I am sure there are many others like me and I would advise you to not give up, to tweet them and to send letters or to visit them in their headquarters. Something I am thinking of doing.

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