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BT help, issues and complaints

By Aaron Howdle | Tuesday, May 30th 2023

We rely on broadband and telephones for work, entertainment and our social lives. This suddenly becomes very apparent when we have a problem with our broadband, phone or TV services.

In this guide we will take you through some of the most common issues faced by BT customers and how to resolve them. In addition to this guide, BT has a great help section on its website, which includes clear instructional videos to help you solve many technical issues.

Problems with your bill

If you have missed a payment or are struggling to pay your bill

If you have an irregular income and pay your bill by direct debit, it can be easy to miss a payment without realising. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your bank statements or BT account online to avoid late payment fees.

If you miss a payment, contact BT straight away. Letting BT know when you can pay can help you avoid late payment charges.

If your bill is outstanding for too long, your service can be restricted until the bill is paid. If this happens you will be charged a reconnection fee to get your service back. If you are struggling to pay, contact BT via its website or help line. It is often possible to come to an arrangement, depending on your circumstances. It may be possible to make a larger number of smaller payments to clear your debt.

If you think you have been overcharged

If your bill is unexpectedly high, or you do not recognise items you have been charged for. Check your contract for charges such as late payment fees or expensive phone calls which fall outside your call package. If you believe a charge is incorrect, call BT to discuss the problem. Alternatively, you can contact BT via its website.

Broadband Faults

Slow or unreliable broadband can be a real pain in this day and age, when we rely on it for so much of our entertainment and admin. So what can you do about it? Here are a few things you can try before contacting BT.

  • Have you tried turning it off and on again? – Unplug your router from the power supply. While you are there, unplug the cable which runs from the router to your telephone socket at both ends. Wait a couple of minutes before plugging the cable firmly back into the telephone box socket and the router. Now reconnect the power and wait for the router to finish starting-up
  • Have you paid your bill? – Check to see if you missed a payment, If you are behind on payments you may have a restricted service until the bill is paid
  • Check the service status – Visit the BT website to find out if there is any maintenance work happening in your area
  • Plug a device directly into your router with an ethernet cable – If the device can connect to the internet this way, then the problem may be with your wifi

If you don’t have any luck with these suggestions, contact BT to report the fault.

TV faults

The latest BT TV Pro Box offers almost all channels though your internet connection, but there are a few Freeview channels that still require an aerial. The older BT YouView box requires an aerial for all Freeview channels, with only the premium channels available via your internet connection. This means TV reception problems can come from different sources, depending on which channels you are trying to watch.

Bad quality or missing Freeview channels

The Freeview channels on the older BT YouView TV box are received via a standard TV aerial. So first check that the TV aerial cable is correctly plugged into the BT TV box. If it is and you still have missing channels then you may need to re-tune the channels. Re-tuning can become necessary if bad weather has changed the position of your roof top aerial or if new channels have been added to Freeview.

Problems with subscription channels

All subscription channels, including BT Sport, are streamed to your BT TV box over your broadband connection. Therefore a problem with these channels usually comes down to a problem with your broadband connection. Check your broadband is working by connecting to it from a computer or mobile device. If the broadband has stopped working then you can try switching it off for 10 seconds, before restarting it. You can also check all the cables are firmly connected, paying close attention to the ethernet cable between your broadband hub and BT TV box. If broadband issues persist, you can try some of our tips in this guide or contact BT via phone or its website.

If your BT TV box is slow or freezes

If you find your BT TV box is slow or freezes, there are a few things you can try. It is also worth noting, a slow internet connection may be the cause of problems with streamed TV channels.

The simplest possible solution is to switch your BT TV box off and unplug it from the mains. Wait for 10 seconds before plugging it in and switching it back on. This simple reboot might fix the problem. If a simple restart doesn't work, you may need to update the software on your BT TV Box. The option to update the software can be found under Settings>Information & Reset in the menu system of your BT TV YouView box.

Phone line faults

If your phone is not working correctly there are a few things you can try before contacting BT. Checking these things may avoid call out charges associated with a visit from an engineer.

  • Ensure cables are securely connected – This is a quick and easy one. Check the telephone socket to make sure all the telephone cables and broadband micro-filters are firmly connected. Repeat this process on all extension sockets around your home. If your phone requires a power supply, make sure this is also plugged in and the electricity socket is switched on
  • Unplug all your equipment to test your phone on its own – Unplug your broadband microfilters, all telephones, TV boxes and any other equipment connected to your phone line. Then plug a phone directly into the phone socket. If the phone works then another piece of equipment may be to blame. If your phone does not work, try connecting a different phone to be sure it is not the phone itself is not broken
  • Check the batteries – If you have a cordless home phone, make sure its batteries are charged. Flat batteries will prevent the handset from working

There are other things you can try, which require visual instructions, because you need to open up your telephone socket. Video instructions can be found in the help section of BT’s website. If you have no luck with these suggestions then contact BT directly.

Customer service phone number

If you need to contact BT customer service the number is 0800 800 150.

Slow or unreliable broadband

With more of us working from home or sourcing our entertainment online, a slow internet connection can be a genuine pain, although the arrival of full fibre broadband should mean this is no longer an issue for many people. However, if you are suffering with slow broadband or dropped connections, the problem can come from a range of sources.

If you have recently experienced a slow connection, there may be a fault on the line, but it could also be the number of people using your connection. If this number has increased then you may need to upgrade to a faster broadband connection. Superfast fibre is available to almost all properties in the UK now, and full fibre is currently available to around 30 per cent, so upgrading shouldn’t be a problem. You can use our postcode checker to find out what is available at your address, quickly and easily.

The position of your wifi router can also cause problems. If your connection has become less reliable after moving your router, this may be the problem. Structural steel and other features of a building can interfere with the wifi signal. If you have a room in your house with a consistently poor signal, you could try using a wifi booster. BT provides its Complete WiFi service to solve this problem in exchange for a small additional monthly fee.

If there is no fault found, but you are consistently getting speeds lower than the estimated speed you were provided with when you signed up, then you can make a formal complaint. Visit the BT website for instructions.

Use social media to speed up response times

If you are struggling to get an issue dealt with by BT, you can try making your issue known on BT’s social media accounts. Airing your complaint publicly can spur providers to tackle the issue more quickly. It is vital to keep things polite and constructive, to help you get the best response from BT.

Frequently asked questions

What causes broadband issues?

A number of things can affect broadband, from a loose wire to the number of people using it at once. It is a good idea to try fixing it yourself before contacting BT as solutions are often straightforward.

What is the Universal Service Obligation?

Since March 2020, Ofcom states that if you receive a broadband service with a download speed slower than 10Mbps, you are entitled to ask for an upgraded connection. BT offers a number of both superfast fibre and full fibre packages that should solve this problem.

How quickly are faults fixed?

This will depend on the nature of the problem. While some problems can be fixed while you are on the phone to BT, more complicated problems may take one or two days. If you require a visit from an engineer, it will depend on when an appointment is available

Can a faulty telephone line affect my broadband?

Yes it can. If you have standard or superfast broadband, the service uses your landline to enter your home, so a fault on the line can also affect broadband.

How do I find out if there is a fault in my area

Visit the BT website and look for the section called Service Status. Here you will see if any faults are reported in your area.

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