Beat Bureaucracy

Complaint letter of the year bashes telecom bureaucracy

We have been unable to find out who chose this letter as the prizewinner or who its competitors were, but here are excerpts from an amusing rant against the British telecommunications company NTL.

Dear Cretins,


I have been an NTL customer since 9th July 2001, when I signed up for your 3-in-one deal for cable TV, cable modem, and telephone. During this three-month period I have encountered inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions. Please allow me to provide specific details,so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative, and seek to rectify these difficulties - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you while away the working day...

My initial installation was cancelled without warning, resulting in my spending an entire Saturday...waiting for your technician to arrive. When he did not arrive, I spent a further 57 minutes listening to your infuriating hold music, and the even more annoying Scottish robot woman telling me to look at your helpful website. HOW?

....The rescheduled installation then took place some two weeks later, although the technician did forget to bring a number of vital tools such as a drill-bit and his cerebrum. Two weeks later, my cable modem had still not arrived. After 15 telephone calls over 4 weeks my modem arrived... six weeks after I had requested it and begun to pay for it.

I estimate your Internet server's downtime is roughly 35%... I am still waiting for my telephone connection....I have been informed that a telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that no telephone line is available (and someone will call me back); that I will be transferred to someone who knows whether or not a telephone line is available (and then been cut off); that I will be transferred to someone (and then been redirected to an answer machine informing me that your office is closed); that I will be transferred to someone and then been redirected to the irritating Scottish robot woman...and several other variations on this theme. Doubtless you are no longer reading this letter, as you have at least a thousand other dissatisfied customers to ignore....

Suffice to say that I have now given up on my futile and foolhardy quest to receive any kind of service from you. I suggest that you cease any potential future attempts to extort payment from me for the services which you have so pointedly and catastrophically failed to deliver....

John