Ex Communication


I have just had one of those life enhancing moments in time, a long phone conversation with the BT customer support call centre.

Now, I’m not about to launch into one of those “kept me waiting for ages, … overseas call centre, …. couldn’t understand me, …. couldn’t understand a word they were saying” wrants.

In fact my call was answered after only a few minutes, not bad.

The call was answered by a delightful Asian lady and we understood each other perfectly at an English language level.

The issue I have is that the technicalities of the call were resolved, but the resolution was wholly unnecessary.

Let me explain.

For the last many years, maybe  twenty, my email provider has been Which, the consumer watchdog. They were our original Internet service provider. Many years ago I switched to BT as my isp but kept the Which e-mail ID.

All was fine until a couple of years ago I had to change the e-mail settings. Nothing too complex, just the POP settings for the outgoing smtp server. Instead of mail.which. net I had to use mail.btinternet. com

Along with this I had to provide my BT id and password.

Once again all was fine until yesterday.

The first I knew that there was a problem was when my wife uttered the words “I can’t send emails ”

I did all the usual things…

Asked her what she had changed.

Checked her Ipad, I have an immense distrust of those devices. But that is a whole new blog page. The message she was getting indicated a problem with the mail server password.

Tried sending a test email from my Android phone. Same response. Password needed for the outgoing mail server.

Same thing with my laptop and so on.

I tried editing and confirming the password on each of the devices, no joy.

I also thinking I was being smart, tried to check my btinternet email. Perhaps they had sent a message to me.

At this point I began to get an inkling of what the problem might be. On attempting to log in I received a message telling me my email had been deactivated on the 20th September and that it would be permanently deleted if I didn’t request reactivation “in days”. Nope, that isn’t a typing error. They didn’t stipulate any number of days.

After a failed attempt at reactivating the email account I had to resort to the phone which brings me to here.

The pleasant lady asked me all the usual security questions.

I explained my problem.

She explained that as I wasn’t using BTs email that she couldn’t help me.

I re-explained the problem emphasising the error messages requiring the BT mail server password.

I was put on hold, having to suffer awful music of dubious sound quality through my low spec handset.

On her return she offered to reset the password for my defunct BT email and walked me through logging in. The result was just the same. I was presented with the same error message.

Once again she informed me it was down to my usage of a non BT email tool.

When I pointed out that users of Outlook would experience the same issues she put me on hold again.

On her return I was informed that since my BT email was permanently deleted I would need to set up a new one.

That once I had the new ID I could try sending emails again.

I agreed to give this a try but protested that this was unacceptable. An arbitrary action by BT was going to cause me to have to update all our devices.

So, she walked me through the new ID procedure.  Once completed the system informs me that it could take up to thirty minutes for the ID to become active.

We agree that she will call me back tomorrow at the same time to see how I got on. Her parting words to me were that I should phone Which to determine if anything had changed at their end.

The good news is that within minutes of setting up the new ID I was sending emails.

The net of this is that BT broadband is set up such that you get full use of their service as long as you keep your email ID active even if you don’t use it for emails.

The question I have to ask tomorrow is

“How long before this happens again? “

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