Caller finally gets through to BT with YouTube attack
Patrick Askins shamed BT into replying personally by filming himself complaining about his treatment by the communications giant and posting the footage on the internet.
Mr Askins, 60, who is also a BT shareholder, received a letter in April telling him he owed an extra 90.70 on top of his 103 bill. It said that due to a "systems error" he had not been charged for 0844 and 0845 calls between August and November last year.
The retired salesman, who lives in Warwick, queried the charge and sent the company a letter asking for a breakdown of dates the calls were made.
When he received no reply he phoned the company, but was left frustrated with the "automatic maze" in which customers press buttons to be put through to the relevant department.
When he finally got through to a human voice, it was from a call centre employee in India who was unable to help him.
During his six-month struggle, Mr Askins was often left hanging on the line listening to recorded voices, was regularly rerouted to overseas call centres and had his phone cut off three times. He finally snapped when BT sent him automated voice calls warning him he owed the company money.
Mr Askins, who claims he spent more than 200 on phone calls and postage, sent his two-minute film to the company's chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, but didn't get a reply.
Finally, because of the stress, he caved in and paid the outstanding 90 over the phone.
To add insult to injury, when he asked for written confirmation of payment, he was told: "I'm sorry, sir, we can't do that."
Only after he posted his online tirade did the company finally contact him personally.
Sir Christopher Bland's assistant apologised in a letter and offered to reimburse the 90.
But Mr Askins, a BT customer for 30 years, said: "It should have never have reached such a farcical situation.
"There is nobody there to answer your questions, it's all computer-generated stuff."
A BT spokeswoman said the dispute had been dealt with and apologised for the inconvenience Mr Askins had suffered.