Due to updates, over time, that have been made to the site and the age of this article, this post may not display correctly. In particular images may be missing or product reviews display incorrectly.

If this is the case and you'd particularly like me to fix it, then please reach out to me on Twitter.

It’s been quite a week.

I’ve been using O2 broadband for a good few years now and have had no issues. Only recently I also moved my home phone to them as well and, so, when buying a new mobile phone contract it was O2 I went to (especially as they take £5 off your broadband monthly bill if you do).

So, moving home… I did the right thing. About a week and a half before moving I contacted them. I gave them the date of the 24th of August. They explained that a BT engineer visit is arranged and usually takes up to 10 working days. The first opportunity they could find was the 8th September. Until then I’d be without broadband. However, after the move I released that I didn’t know if this included the phone – was that swapped over quicker? I decided to call them. It was a good job I did.

It would appear that the person I originally spoke to put the 2 aforementioned dates in his notes but then got confused when actually booking the engineer – he put my move date down as the 8th September. That meant that an engineer would be a further 10 working days after that. Nearly a month without a land line and broadband? I was fuming.

It’s usually at this point that a company can recover a situation by doing whatever they can to help the customer, showing a concern for the mistake that they’ve made. Sadly, this didn’t happen. I was told nothing could be done and that was it. Silence. I spoke to a supervisor. It was the same thing – an explanation that nothing could be done and lots of silence when I insisted that something, anything, had to be done.

I suggested that they add some free minutes to my phone contract but they told me that they were a difference part of the company to the mobile division and couldn’t do this. What they did suggest, in the end, was that I travel to an O2 shop and purchase a dongle. They paid, to my card, £40 to buy this and a £10 top-up. That would give me 1GB of data.

My nearest town doesn’t have an O2 shop so I’d have to travel out of my way to get it… for 1GB (which wouldn’t last long at all). I wasn’t impressed.

Thankfully, I have a bit more intelligence than they did and I’m using my £40 to buy data top-ups for my phone. The Galaxy S2 can act as a wireless hotspot so I’m switching that on and then, unlike if I had a dongle, any wifi device in the house can connect to it. With £40 now to spend I can get through 4GB – a lot better!

As for phone calls… I’m still stuck with an hour of free minutes during the month. Unsurprisingly, I’ve sent a formal complain to O2 and I await their response.

To add insult to injury I received a text from O2 yesterday to state that my latest mobile phone bill was unpaid. I recently moved banks and although they’d have been sent details of my account, they appear to have not actioned it – I ended up having to set up the direct debit back up again over the phone. I then had to pay my outstanding bill, otherwise face being “cut off” within days. Unfortunately, their system wouldn’t accept payment from any of my cards – I was told it was because I’d used the wrong address, but I hadn’t (and have used the same cards successfully since). I was told to try again after 24 hours and just have – it failed on my debit card but eventually accepted my credit card. Does anything work?

Update (19/09/2011):

A week after the initial problem I got a phone call from James from their Complaints Review Service. He apologised profusely and arranged for a connection date of the 14th September (yesterday).

Whilst talking to him again last week he had something else to admit though. Because of the date mix-up our phone number, which we’d asked to have transferred, had been released. As O2 is new to the home phone market they don’t yet have a method in place yet to request phone numbers from BT so had, essentially, lost it. Again, I was told there was nothing they could do about it.

Really not impressed I mentioned this on Facebook and a friend sent me details of a European directive that had been taken up by OFCOM in the UK which basically meant that companies had to provide “portability” of phone numbers. I spoke to OFCOM and they said that this didn’t require them to transfer my number, only to be able to give me the option (essentially, it’s useless legislation). They did, though, tell me that O2 only needed to apply to BT Wholesale to get my number back as it wasn’t usually re-used for at least a month. Speaking to James, however, he denied it was this simple.

At this point I should break away from the story and discuss James from O2. Or rather getting in touch with James from O2. He never gave me a last name, reference or, indeed, a direct number. Instead I had the number of a switchboard that constantly denied his existance. I was told, over a number of phone calls, that they had “only one James and he’s never spoken to you” or “sorry nobody called James works here”. One afternoon, I despaired when I was told, once again, that the James I was after didn’t work there. I was then told I “shouldn’t be rude”. Shouldn’t be rude? I think I had a right at this point.

Anyway, back to the story…

I was told that a BT engineer would attend yesterday and would need to be at home between 1 and 6pm. Normally an engineer wasn’t needed but in this case O2 wanted to make sure everything was working so he’d be there to check everything out.

He turned up around 4pm and immediately asked where I wanted it. Wanted what? “The phone socket”. But I don’t need a phone socket, just a line transferring. Apparently that isn’t what he was told. None-the-less, he would sort out the transfer and he and his mate disappeared for about an hour before returning. My phone was transferred and tested fine. My broadband, however, wasn’t working. They didn’t bother looking at that – they went as soon as they knew the phone worked. So much for them being there to ensure everything worked.

On my modem my broadband light was flashing (it should be solid) and the internet light was off completely. By this time it was nearly 5pm so I rang James. Of course, it wasn’t easy as they, again, denied his existence. I did get through and I was told that my internet access just needed turning on which James did there and then. However, when they know I was being connected why hadn’t they sorted this? Or, at least, if I didn’t need to call why hadn’t they told me this?

So, at this stage my home phone and broadband is on. My internet connection is now a cool 9MB, compared to the barely 2MB I got at the old house. These speeds were predicted by BT via their website checker sometime ago.

I’d like to say this was the end of the story because it isn’t – I’ve had to ring O2 this morning to find out why my caller display wasn’t working. I pay extra for this service from O2 (they charge extra for all the “little extras” that you often get free to keep the base price down – it’s a good move, so I don’t have an issue with paying for this additionally). It turned out that they needed to transfer the service from the old number to the new one. Again, when they knew this was happening, why didn’t they do this? And, to add insult to injury, it will take up to 4 working days before it starts.

I make one final call to James who seems unconcerned about the fact that they didn’t set up the caller display. What he does do though is check out the quality of my broadband line – based on this he halved the noise tolerance on my line, boosting my internet speed to 12MB.

My compensation for all this… free broadband for the year. I wasn’t overwhelmed but, equally, wasn’t disappointed enough to complain further. Hopefully, I won’t have to speak to O2 again over the next year.

If you liked this, you should try The Big Tech Question, which includes articles written by myself.

The Big Tech Question delivers straight answers to the biggest questions in tech. And some questions nobody really wanted the answers to…