BT Retail Responds to Electric Broom (See D.I.L.O. WLR Dealer on 24 July)

BT Retail has responded to Jed Marson of reseller Electric Broom, who made a complaints (Reproduced after the statement below) by issuing the following statement:

“BT is fully committed to ensuring that all parts of its business and any agents working on its behalf, including BT Local Businesses, operate in a professional and compliant manner at all times. We have strict policies, extensive compliance training and robust systems in place to ensure that all regulations are upheld and we refute any allegations that the BT Local Business referred to by Electric Broom acted in breach of Data Protection regulations.

We can confirm that S&D Communications, the BT Local Business in Worcester, contacted Electric Broom on July 20th as part of a wider marketing campaign targeting existing BT Business customers. The telephone number of Electric Broom that was contacted is connected to a line rented from BT Retail, and this account is managed by S&D Communications on BT’s behalf.

In order to manage accounts effectively, BT Local Businesses are entitled to access certain customer information from BT, and these customers are therefore a legitimate target for ongoing marketing communications. We would not share any customer information with a Local Business that it is not entitled to access in managing the accounts that have been passed to it.

When speaking to customers, BT Local Businesses may legitimately offer information on complementary products and services, such as BT Business Plan which provides businesses with a competitive package including discounted calls. This approach is driven by our commitment to delivering the highest possible levels of service to all of our customers.

Of course, we appreciate that there are occasions when customers may wish to opt-out of future marketing communications, either by telling us directly, or through the Telephone Preference Service. We fully respect this right and are committed protecting customers’ privacy – as the launch of our own BT Privacy service demonstrates.

Although Electric Broom had not previously opted out of future communications, it is now noted on the Local Business contact system that future marketing calls would not be appropriate.

With reference to Mr Marson’s final point, it is not appropriate for BT Retail to comment on issues relating to BT Wholesale.”

The original Jed Marson complaint:

Jed Marson, Operations Director at Worcester based Electric Broom called in to say that he had just had yet another sales call from a telesales person at Worcester BT Local Business, “on one of my VoIP numbers, if you please, that went something like this…”

“I have just noticed that you have a service with BT but you don’t have calls and I wondered if I can offer you a discount.”

We choose to keep one line with BT for line rental, mainly because we can’t have ADSL without it but also because, in the countryside, you just can’t get the same faults service wholesale that you get if you pay BT direct. But I don’t want BT to share that information, nor that of the other customers I have had to keep on BT lines for the same reason. This really is an abuse of the Data Protection Act and I don’t understand why OFCOM haven’t sent both BT and these independent franchises to the Data Protection registrar to have their hands slapped.

It is this simple. If the customer doesn’t make calls with BT then they are a wholesale supplier’s customer and the Local Business – the wholesale supplier’s direct competitor should never see these records – end of – OFCOM take note please!

Just for the record on faults, I now have one customer with a crackly wholesale line and a clear BT line on the same premises – all the excuses under the sun, but who does that customer feel more secure with – and who’s had to do all the running around to improve things.

Whilst on the subject – why can’t a wholesale customer have access to a single faults number – OFCOM needs to make it a level playing field for faults resolution and it certainly isn’t today. Then I could make revenue to pay for the time spent supporting the scrappy BT lines in the countryside I have to look after revenue free.

Roll on even more VoIP.

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