back to article Alan Sugar's 'cockup braindead in call centre clueless' BT row

Alan Sugar showed UK business how to secure tip top service from BT today, pursuing a dual strategy of ranting on twitter while pulling the "don't you know who I am" line on the call centre staff. Trouble first started brewing about six hours ago, with LordAlun taking a break from slagging off Piers Morgan and touting his new …

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Boffin

Always knew he was brain dead and clueless

Admittedly I don't know where Sugar lives but I'm pretty sure BT moved all their exchanges to ADSL2 years ago and the current maintenance will be either for ADSL2+ or fibre.

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WTF?

I have to say I agree

I agree wholeheartedly with Lord Sugar.

I have on many occasions told people I am Lord Sugar and they have not believed me either.

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Grenade

Wrong

Nope..... still on plain old up-to 8meg ADSL here and many other market one exchanges where the lack of ability to move from the BTw network means there is no commercial imperative for BTw to bring us into the new millennium despite us paying higher bandwidth charges for using the slower (upto 8 meg adslmax) service.

Seems like cable/llu areas get upgrade after upgrade while we are left further behind paying though the nose for the original flavour ADSL. Just another BTw rip-off.

Grenade.. BTw upgrade planners need one... and another for OFCOM for waving through a price hike of over 20% for IPSC before WBC was available right across the country

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Silver badge

You're wrong - Alan might be right :)

A lot of exchanges have been upgraded but not all. Mine hasn't (Brackley) even though it's a market 3 exchange and due to get FTTC this time next year. We don't get ADSL2 until February.

Well..I say it hasn't been upgraded to ADSL2 - but it's only BT who've been slow. It's a market 3 exchange so several other telcos have installed ADSL2 equipment. I've been using BeUnlimited for over three and a half years now.

So a lot of what Sir Alan twittered is true. BT are pretty useless and his exchange may indeed be in the process of being upgraded :)

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Pirate

ADSL2+

Er yeah no, what country do you get internets from?

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Thumb Down

NEVER use BT

Same thing happened to me at my old job. Spent hours on the phone over the course of 3 weeks trying to get a line disconnected. Complained on Twitter once, and it was sorted in minutes. Bizarre customer service BT have, they only do anything if you complain on Twitter!

I'll never use BT for anything again. Beyond hopeless

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Ofcom

Did you complain to ofcom?

I spent around three weeks trying to get a line disconnected, in the end put in a complaint to ofcom and it got sorted quickly, plus BT had to negotiate compensation with me.... which ended up meaning I didn't pay a phone bill for about a year.

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FAIL

ADSL2 ?

Way to show how in touch with IT you are there Al! What were you running before? Also, if you make routers, why investigate a Belkin? just use one of yours (though i don't doubt it will go titsup in exactly 366 days!)

I suspect that the frizzy haired spiv is actually a complete moron when it comes to IT.

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FAIL

there is no title only Zool

Well yes, if hes allowing anyone to put Belkin shite near his network. Purveyors of incendiary routers and general useless trash for too much money since....

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He was smart enough...

... to tell MS that he wasn't going to pay for MS-DOS. They then gave it to him for next to nothing.

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smart?

or cheap!

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If he bargained someone down from...

...the full price of MS-DOS to what I think he described as 'a pittance' then I'd say he was a good businessman.

Obviously, MS were desperate to build a monopoly and could be forced to give their software away if you were aware of it.

Still the same today - if a council says it's going to migrate to OSS then MS will come over and give you millions of pounds worth of software for free. It worked for Newham council and I'm surprised more councils and companies have not pulled the same stunt.

Of course, you end up with MS software and nothing works properly but hey ho!

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Alert

Shock-horror: Lord Sugar found to be pompous ar*ehole...

...and in other news, boffins discover ursine lavatory in arboreal area

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Bronze badge

Priceless.

"After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was and I make pc's and routers for day job. Made no diff still went tru stupid check list.Help!"

To be fair Alan, they probably thought you were joking. Unless the staff were over 35 they wouldn't remember the last product (other than yourself) that you actually sold.

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I remember sugar's attempts at computers

and to be honest, the last thing he'd get off me by pulling the "don't you know who I am" line is good service. From what I can see and recall of his various doings, he's one of the most ignorant and inconsiderate people to ever be involved in the IT field. And considering the range of socially challenged people who seem to be attracted to the profession that's not an accolade to be proud of now, is it?

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Who I Am

"After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was" is NOT the same as pulling the "don't you know who I am" line.

If you phoned BT you would also need to tell them who you are otherwise they won't talk to you.

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Re Who I Am

"After 5 mins told BT bloke on phone who I was"

"Why have you forgotten?"

"Don't you know who I am?"

"Why, have you forgotten?"

No, you're right. They do have different meanings.

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Thumb Down

Oy!

I owned two CPCs (464 and 6128) and they were bloody good. A bit late to the home computer party but they performed well enough and were well designed.

Admittedly 'his' attempts at PCs were a bit dire but not everything his company has done has been crap.

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WTF?

'in the field'

talk about putting a jumped up barrow boy on a pedastal! - atleast 'tory plan b' (so nearly an anagram) the old PM did it for a wheelbarrow full of money.

I was taught networking by one of the poor sods that degenerate had reverse engineer the bios for his first 99.9% pc compatable computer. (the missing .1% being... any functionality at all) drove the man to drink... and even worse teaching at a crappy provincial college

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

He produced crap at inflated prices when the sheeple market supported it.

Have you EVER heard anyone say "ooooooh an AMSTRAD! I wish I had one of those...."

He's a thug, an ignorant barrow boy selling crap - the Ratner of the "electronics" world but the difference was Ratner was honest.

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Re: Really and I remember sugar's attempts at computers

>Have you EVER heard anyone say "ooooooh an AMSTRAD! I wish I had one of those...."

Not recently, they are rather out of date. I doubt you'll here anyone say "ooooooh a Commodore PET! I wish I had one of those...." either.

As for his attempts at manufacuturing computers, I have a PC1512 which still works, as does the only upgrade to it, a 20Mb Western Digital filecard, so both he and WD must have been doing something right, and WD still are.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

Is that why you never find any major manufacturer with WD components?

Actually you're wrong - I heard "I wish I had a PET" quite a lot in the 80s.

Nobody EVER said "I wish I had an Amstrad"

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WTF?

Now there's a problem

Most of the time, I'm quite happy to think of BT as the source of all that is dark and evil in the Universe, and whenever I'm in London, I shudder if I have to get too close to Barad Dur[1]. But now I find myself cast into doubt.

BT upset Alan Sugar. Can they *really* be all bad, in that case? I do hope that whoever got the "do you know who I am" treatment gave him the deserved response of "there's a shouty bloke here who doesn't know who he is".

[1] Or the BT Tower, as *they* pretend it's called

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Grenade

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM........

Sorry Sir this is BT not "psychic friends", would you like a pamphlet on how to use your phone to dial the correct number?

Why Oh Why am I unemployed?

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Re:Do you know who I am

When I read his "Do you know who I am" I had a flashback to the Eddie Izzard Deathstar canteen video on youtube. Perhaps the reg could do a playmobile re-enactment?

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Who I am

You meant to say after clarifying "don't you know who I am" they didn't hang up on principle?

Shame on them!

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Troll

See below

What a twat!

Now he knows how us mere mortals gets treated by BT!!

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Anonymous Coward

Can I be the first to say

What a complete wanker.

Actually, I'm 100% sure I'm not the first person to say that about him.

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IT Angle

Someone with his knowledge

If he knows so much about computers & routers he'd know that belkin are just as crap as his own cheap shite.

IT? Icon because what does a jumped up salesman know about IT

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This sort of thing......

....is why I hate Twitter.

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Anonymous Coward

Dear Sir Alan

Sir Alan, being a businessman, should understand how a callcenter like that operates. It doesn't matter how skilled or unskilled the person doing the support is. They have been given a list to go through in order. Their calls are monitored. If they don't go through that list as they have been proscribed to, they will be disciplined.

Call centers are a horrible business anyway.

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It's not Sir Alan

It's Darth Sugar.

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Happy

Just work the problem

It's really easy - they have a list to go through and the faster you get through that list then the faster the problem gets fixed. You can do it the hard way or the easy way - it's really up to you - after all, it really doesn't matter who's the problem is so long as it gets fixed does it?

What an idiot.

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Not Darth

but Barf Sugar

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Grenade

Let me work this out...

Alan Sugar: My internet bust!

Call centre: Have you checked your router?

AL: Yes

CC: You're sure?

AL: Yes!

CC: Absolutely positive?

AL: For the f*ing last time yes!

CC: Do you mind if we just check as well?

AL: <insert curse words>

CC: We've checked the line and it's fine. Are you *definitely* sure you checked the router?

AL: <explodes> and call in IT

.....IT investigates...

CC: Have you checked the router now?

AL: Yes...and it *might* be broken. But it's still your fault

Yes, these call-centres are pure purgatory for us techs, but sometimes it help to actually do the fundamentals first before kicking off, eh Alan?

Fragmentation suppositories all round...

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Unhappy

Spot on

Even harder for non-BT broadband generally. And little wonder why they pretty much force you to use the router they provided in the first place in order to eliminate f**k ups like this.

I always tend to feel sorry for those who don't realise BT was split up a helluva long time ago and are not really able to control the entire line/equipment to properly identify a problem. Not to mention if he was in some dodgy extension socket etc, and probably shouting "absolutely nothing has changed my end, it must be your end"

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Grenade

Re: Let me work this out...

>Fragmentation suppositories all round.

ROFL!

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You show exactly what's wrong with most IT support.

So BT change ADSL to ADSL2 or ADSL2+ or something and don't have a policy in place to deal with routers which may have a problem with this.

Sralan's BB is working fine. BT change something and then Sralan's BB isn't working anymore.

And somehow this is Sralan's fault.

Your answer is - Belkin router - nah good mate - wotcha got one of them for - us intelligent techies wouldn't touch with barge pole etc etc.

This is exactly the problem the IT industry has - as summed up years ago in a famous Not the Nine O'clock news sketch - a gramophone, grandad?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSINO6MKtco

For you and all the upvoters - customers don't care about IT - or you. They just want service. Stuff which works. The industry produces over-complicated tech which goes wrong and needs techie level expertise to fix.

Answer - keep things simple and reliable rather than cutting edge and a pain for the customers.

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The only shame is...

...that Sralan has been conned into blaming Belkin.

I've had clients who've had exactly the same problem with Netgear routers.

And why can't we have decent ADSL routers? Because the ADSL in the UK is different from all other ADSL in the world (thanks again BT for that) so big manufacturers generally only supply domestic level routers to the UK market (unless you want Allied Telesyn etc). That's why we need to put in a basic ADSL router and then link that to pro level stuff for companies.

At least Demon confessed up to the issue and sent out replacement routers after a phone call.

Here's an idea for BT - don't upgrade if it's not needed. And if you do upgrade carry out checks first to see if customer routers are OK with the upgrade. And switch back to the original ADSL in event of a problem. And communicate with the customer.

Of course, BT don't have to do this cos they're a shoddy private monopoly who have no real competition.

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Go

@ Kevin

as the original poster I'll reply as follows:

- the general point is, that the router (regardless of brand) was *broken*. Not mis configured, wrongly chosen or poorly installed. Broken. This should have been an obvious check, which was my point.

- You also miss the point that IT want stuff that "just works" too. You think we like being called out at 2am because a flaky server shat itself, or cleaning up our relatives malware, or fixing their now-mis-configured pcs/phones/<insert tech here>? No - we want it to "just work" too.

- agree with your points on BT though. Biggest bunch of bastards ever.

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My understanding was...

...the router was fine. The problem was caused by BT upgrading to ADSL2[+].

The first tweet was 'Big problem at home with BT internet they r tinkering to change to adsl 2. '

Probably the router wouldn't work properly to ADSL2. One of our clients had the same problem.

As for the rellies - they've all been told to get Macs. Support calls then go to my brother-in-law who's had Macs for years. Anyone else who calls RE some Windows PC gets informed that I don't use Windows and haven't done for years. I pass them a number of a firm who will fix on a charged basis.

Thanks for confirming RE BT - we recommend Demon every time and have done for years.

And my wife gets the some model phone as me every time - that way I don't have to learn two phones!

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I agree with you ... to a point.

Kevin,

I agree with you that 90% of customers want a service, not a product. So they buy a broadband service, get a modem (cos they need one), plug it in as explained in the glossy pamphlet and ... away they go.

Great, right? No.

Because customers are canny now, and they shop around for the best deal for their broadband. When their year's contract is up they decide they're going to change to another broadband service, so they receive another modem and glossy CD, follow the instructions and ... away they go again.

If they're lucky. I promise you three cycles of this will cause all sorts of chaos in the average home PC. I've had the distinct pleasure of having to sort out a PC that had BT, Orange, Freeserve and finally BT again attached to it. The easy CDs were full of poorly written code hanging off shockwave graphics and, surprise surprise, completely nonced up Windows' settings, the Hosts file was enormous and it took a fair amount of work to straighten everything out again.

However a simple set of instructions detailing what buttons to push and what data to enter would avoid all of these problems. Most customers will run a mile from this - arrgh! Too scary!, so the Easy CD has its place, but why then make it so difficult for someone who knows what they're doing to find the settings required and bypass the easy CD - I'm looking at you O2 and Orange? Most customers know someone who works as an unpaid technical advisor - usually their son/grandson/son-in-law who can do this, so why so tricky??

Most customers will run a PC for four, five years so will probably change broadband providers two or three times. How's a support line going to be able to unravel the internal mess on their PCs? Why should they? It wasn't their CD necessarily that cocked it up in the first place.

I agree things should be simple - wifi setups on PCs and Mac show that it can be done (Detect, click, enter password, go). I also believe that ADSL setups should be as simple - it only needs a batch file to be run FFS.

Don't get me started on companies that supply ADSL Modem/Routers and then don't support anything but the modem (yes, you again O2), so when the routing table gets f**ked up they refuse to assist. Fine, I could handle that if there was any other form of help for the device, but no - even Thomson, who make the thing, couldn't help because the SW in it was bespoke O2. Twats.

BB providers don't help themselves in many cases...

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Doh

What he should have done was plugged in his Amstrad Emailer and sent a stern email to BT.

Amstrad stuff was always a pile of crap, if he hadn't made his fortune on the back of making SKY boxes, nobody would know him from Adam now days.

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Joke

heh heh hehe!

hehe, the only place I've ever seen the Amstrad Emailer phone is on the set of the Apprentice and also funnily, the set of I'm Alan Partridge!

Maybe Lord Suggsie should bring out a landline Twitter phone too, bring the range "up to date" *chuckles*!

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Not really that much money from sky...

Sugar's principal money came from Amstrad. He took his returns in cash and put them into extensive property holdings in Mayfair et al.

At one time Amstrad were Europe's largest PC manufacturer; by his own admission, he underestimated the speed of change in the PC market, and didn't innovate fast enough to maintain that position. But he made a lot of money in home computers, one way and another.

Similarly he made a lot of money from Binatone clock radios and such like. The Sky boxes came later on, and were profitable, as was Viglen, but the main money is in property.

He is shrewd and pretty honest, including about himself. I'm no defender of his, but he is what he is and has done well from it. Most of us are in no position to criticise!

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Agreed...

... I worked at Northamber and they sold Amstrad PC's. They had a very simple and effective repair policy.

Amstrad supplied boxes of replacement main boards and power boards.

If an Amstrad PC came in for repair the technician just had to figure out which board was at fault and switch for a new one. The faulty boards then went back in the same boxes used to send the new ones.

Customer was happy cos the PC was replaced in a couple of days. Meanwhile the other PC's were having new bits soldered to mobo's etc. The techies enjoyed the challenge but the customer might have to wait weeks.

I think that Sralan has made his bunce by getting the basics right and keeping the customer happy - something other companies could probably learn from.

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I see what the problem was

He used a Belkin router. I rate them about as highly as I rate Amstrad products. They both won't ever enter my house again.

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Grenade

Didn't realise Belkin was a brand name

I always thought Belkin was Taiwanese for "free unsecured wireless network, attach here to bittorrent copyright materials"....

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Silver badge

Second that

I had one for ADSL2 and never again. Absolute piece of sh1t couldn't hold onto a connection for more than a couple of hours and wouldn't reconnect without a power cycle. Paid good money for a Draytek - solid as a rock.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahhh

Ahh yes, good old Belkin54g...

I'd imagine 95% of those are default admin password... well, I say password... last I was aware blank didn't count...

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