BT OpenZone sucks!

I am so tired of incumbent Telcos spending tons of money based on monopoly rent on advertising campaigns telling us customers how much they care about us and how they are dedicated to service, when THE FACT is that their service more than often is lousy if not non existing.

Here I am in the international departure lounge of Heathrow having an hour to spend before boarding my plane. In front of me is a big expensive plasma screen telling me that a British Telecom division/subsidiary (whatever) is offering WiFi access to Internet hungry travelers.

Filled with expectation I power up my laptop and start browser and get a screen that ask me to pay 6 GBP (!) for 1 hour of access. I accept, of course. I want to get access.

I go through the long and cumbersome process of setting up a BT OpenZone account, give up a lot of information and finally arrive at where I have to pay with my creditcard. I dutifully fill in all the required numbers. Alas, only to receive an error message “invalid credit card number” after I click on “I accept”. I try three different all valid and international creditcards to no avail. Same error message!

Then I call the BT OpenZone customer service on the mobile phone. The message is: “Oh, there are some problems with international creditcards. We apologize” What then? “You can buy a voucher at a shop in the lounge and use that”. Ok, goodbye and thank you for nothing. I go to the shop and ask for a voucher. “No, Sir, we haven’t had these vouchers for weeks. They are sold out!”

So here I am. I have spent more than half an hour trying to get access without any success. I will have to pay my own mobile company for the call to the BT OpenZone customer service. My batteries on my laptop is down at least 45 minutes. And there will be other frustrated potential customers like me, like there have probably been before me. Because BT OpenZone has bothered to give me or others any information on the sign-up or else where that some of us should not bother spending the time trying to get access. BT OpenZone sucks”

  1. Spike Allibone avatar
    Spike Allibone

    Three years since you wrote this post it appears that BT have done little to fix the multiple issues with Openzone – and I just wanted to concur with your report because it really does need to be underlined by us – the sucker public – who unfortunately give money to these fools for something that only slightly approximates a legitimate service.

    Whilst hotels and cafes around the world are more and more likely to offer free wifi service – there are still plenty of people who prefer to capitalize on the situation and sting you for the privilege of being online. In airports this is particularly greedy because the cost of providing the service is small compared to the revenue these places make from business passengers already. IE they can certainly afford to offer it free.

    I have got an Openzone account and I use the service quite often. I, like you need to get online in airports etc and so begrudgingly pay the price – hating BT whilst I do it.

    Here’s how they are shaping up in the world of service providing:

    Once you get an account they bill you for chunks of time (1 hour, 24 hours etc) as you previously mentioned in your article. If you just use a bit of that time then jump on your plane you can’t just pick it up again elsewhere once you are beyond the time slot you booked. They do explain that they going to do this to you at the time – but they also report back to you on your account page how much time you have paid for and didn’t use. Like they’re basically saying “tough luck, you paid for all this time – but it’s expired – sorry”. Therefore you have to pay again – even though you can see what you actually used / didn’t use on the “meter”. Incidentally, you also have to strangely sign in twice to get your account info. Why?

    Getting back to the billing / usage system, the odd thing is that, if they have the facility to meter your usage, why not charge you by the minute? Then I could use what I felt like using and not lose hours of paid time just because I had to catch a plane. Also, if I were to keep my account topped up and come and go as I pleased, I would have no credit card data entry nonsense each time I logged on.

    And this is the thing that really made me laugh. This is so typical for BT! They have invented something called “BT One click” or something like that.

    This means that you can just click to add to your account without going through the credit card thing each time. Good idea…. make it easier to hand them more of our money! – Except it isn’t.

    Instead of just using PayPal or something straightforward and universal, they have invented a half arsed pay system of their own. And does it work? Who knows! Since they don’t allow you online enough to open the account in the first place!

    Yes – they really are that stupid. If you are in an airport and want to get online – and you are tired of filling in your credit card data, just try clicking on “one click”. It takes you to a page that explains how you set up the account the next time you are online!!! Can you believe it?! The people at BT Openzone basically rob you, waste your time AND then insult you too. Oh but they do answer their support phoneline quite quickly – and they are very nice on the phone – so that’s one good thing I guess. Just as well since you need to phone them all time as you wonder what the heck is going on…..

    You know, all you want is your mails etc right?… But then, as you lift your laptop screen you see the words pop up “BT Openzone” – from that moment on, you know you’re in for a long haul flight to misery world.

    PS – I posted this rant when I got home – I couldn’t be bothered to get online at the airport.

  2. Tim avatar

    BT try to profess that they have the technology to do this and that, but when it boils down to it they are almost third world……:-
    I paid BT £299 GB Pounds for 12 months broadband (lol) connection, up to 8meg they said, I barely get 1 meg, I have called them almost every week for interference and connection problems (each call increases their revenue as its an 0845 num) and problems are not resolved, I was told today that if I wanted to cancel I could and they would stop my connection with no money back!! Like if you bought a car and it never worked properly since the day you bought it, then you had to give the car back but didnt receive a refund, BT are again going into the world of BULLY TACTICS and taking advantage of its customers, I lost my connection to the internet again today (once a week) and again called support who told me that I should delete my temporary internet files (lol) The guy was from the Congo I think as he had the same accent(by the by) point being they have my money and dont care about the service I now receive, but like an elephant I will never forget the third world service I have received from “British Telecom” they are a disgrace to Britain and like British Leyland have a bad strategy on new business, customer retention and after service alike. Anyway I said to the guy imported from the Congo, that he should stop reading from the textbook and put me onto someone who knows what they are talking about, he hung up on me, thanks “British Telecom” I then proceeded to fix the problem myself. The moral of this concise and all be it incomplete story is ******DONT USE BT!!!!!***** Even if you think they are ok really (big mistake) they are most definatey not, they have antiquated hardware, Indian helpdesks, unqualified support, terrible service, they are over priced and you will suffer. If you can get NTL great, I have never heard of problems with NTL, modern up to date hardware, no problems, you will probhably never get chance to comment on their customer service or support as you will not need to, BT are old hat and need to upgrade or phase out.
    Iwas told that I would get a refund for the time the service was unaacceptable, then I was told that I would get a full refund and I could go to another company, now I am told they will stop the connection and I will get nothing, make you proud to be British, glad my Dad landed on the beaches of Normandy so British Telecom could rip me off at a later date instead of German Telecom, think I would rather have had the latter…..

  3. Colleen Harrison avatar
    Colleen Harrison

    I have just had to deal with the parrots in Delhi but this was just with Broadband which used to be almost 6mb (5 houses from the exchange box) but has now deteriorated to between 1.2mb and 3.5mb max.

    After multiple shouting matches and being told the max my line can take is 6mb/4mb/3mb all in the space of 3days and over 11 hours on the phone to them, I have now managed to get to the callcentre in Dublin who tell me the acceptable threshold for broadband is 2.1mb and that an engineer will just charge me for visiting. Why am I paying for 8mb when all I can get is 2mb.

    At least I have managed to get to customer services in the UK now… I had to insist to my Delhi “customer services agent” that I will only speak to someone in the UK and he transferred me.

    Through that transaction I have obtained the HIGH-Level Complaints telephone number at the Chairman’s office. Give them a ring and lay your complaint.
    I am waiting on a call-back. If enough of us phone there maybe they will improve their service.

    The No is 0207-356 5000 – Good Luck

  4. Nick Smith avatar

    Im a BT hater whos has spent countless hours on the phone and generally not happy with BT. I got to the point where i started a group about my exp[erience with hating BT and it was picked up by the media – Times online.
    Please help me and join my group about hating BT so that together we can take these bastards down. Dont forget were all workjing for the same reason – we all hate BT!

  5. clinton avatar

    i just needed the internet for about 3hrs so i had a choice 90 minutes or 24 hrs mmmmmmmm what a decision when 2x 90minutes = £11.98 or 24 hours is £9.98 what a scam i thought. so i bought 24hrs after filling in the form finding out BT open zone has triggered a fraudulant transaction with my bank. Spend an hour on the phone asking my bank to rectify the problem. Eventually after all was sorted i went back to sign up filling out the form once again. i was loged in for about an hour then back to buy more time. What i thought i payed for 24 hrs. so i went through the whole rigmoral of filling in forms for internet access
    Ok i was online again. guess they charged me for 90 minutes. Once again everything shut down and kept redirecting me to the buy more airtime page. YES i bought again. now this time instead of wasting more time to complain(which i will do in person) i managed to do the things online i was supposed to(and write this)Oh my word if i had known the problems i would get i would have rather driven about and found an unsecure wireless to piggy back. STOP THESE INTERNET RIP OFFS NOW…

  6. Koichi Yasuoka avatar

    Six years are gone after you reported this, I, travelled from Kyoto to London, also suffered “Invalid credit card. Please try with a different card” for all of my cards by BT Openzone at Thistle Hotel. I was so frustrated these two days, and this morning I bought T-Mobile USB broadband at the store in Oxford Street. Yes, I bought it with one of my “invalid” credit cards.

  7. Suckerzone avatar

    It’s now September 2010, and BT Openzone is still a big heap of suck. I get Openzone as a freebie on my mobile phone tarriff. I can honestly say that it’s only worked once out of about 20 times I’ve tried it. I’ve given up now – I’d prefer to just stare into space than watch a browser doing nothing.

    Anyone have a good word about Openzone?

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