Worst Company In Britain - United Utilities v BT

23 November 2009

worst 2009 It’s another day, and here’s another pair of companies who have cheesed off enough of you for them to make it on to the shortlist of Bitterwallet’s Worst Company In Britain 2009 competition.

Today’s pairing sees United Utilities square up against the shitty might of BT – which of them will progress into the second round?

Your votes will decide and you have until midnight to make your voice heard.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Utilities


  • singhster
    BT wins for its shitty ad campaign.
  • neilo
    I've never even heard of United Utilities!
  • Mark T.
    United Utilities is much worse, especially as thay are an unavoidable overcharging monopoly, who in this rain sodden country, manage to charge me £££s for water! (half of the £££s is for drains/drainage which they keep reminding me might break at any moment and be my extremely expensive responsibility.)
  • Aunty B.
    Can we include the BBC in the list of Britains worse companies please?
  • MrJ
    Hmm tricky decision... that was sarcasm. I notice a trend with companies that contain the word 'British'.
  • ScottC
    Mark Tyson - very confused, I very much doubt you pay United Utilities anything directly, I assume you pay your water co for drainage! Also - you are paying for the sewerage disposal and public sewerage system. not your own drains.... Cant see how this is anything but BT!
  • NikT
    United Utilities are the water supplier for the North West, and from what I've seen on Watchdog they're probably the worst in the UK. Never had any issues with any of the other water companies. I reckon BT will 'win' this one just because they have more customers...They deserve to win just for charging £120+ to connect!
  • kev
    can't wait til the next round, BT Vs British Gas
  • Andrew D.
    BT should come out worst because of their joke connection charge! Virgin Media will only charge me £15 connection charge, and will refund it over the first three months of bills.
  • Pizza_D_Action
    BT are fuckers... thats all.
    Cockermouth book shop is a terrible company - been shut for 3 days now ffs. appalling.
  • CG
    I don't see how this is a fair comparison. United Utilities only consist of customers in the North West whereas BT has customers all over the UK. It is inevitable there will be more dissatisfied customer across a nation as apposed to a region within it. I have a friend who worked for BT who shed some light on the connection charges The fee is down to BT's regulation from OFCOM to provide land line coverage to everyone the U.K. In some instances it can cost BT over £1000 to connect a line but only charge the customer £120. The £120 is an average figure to go towards covering the cost of line setup, This maybe unfair on those where it cost BT say £20 to connect you, but in effect you are paying towards those who are very costly to connect so as to make land lines accessible to everyone. I also believe that it costs BT over £250 just to send an engineer out to a premise or exchange. So all in all it really isn't as bad as it appears. In comparison to Virgin, quite simply they don't own and run the core network which BT do so don't have the same overheads to connect, in many instances they actually process this through BT on a wholesale basis as their cable system is already linked to BT's network and therefore very cheap to do. From a personal point of view, I've had a lot of issues with United Utilities due to their sheer ineptness at dealing with customers on every possible issue you raise with them so they get my vote easily
  • SimbaK2K
    Surely BT should go up against Virgin Media? This thing is stupid.
  • Alan
    A message for BT from a customer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj2oXMdZ4sk
  • MD
    Undoubtedly BT is the very worst company in Britain. Shocking service, can never ever ever get to speak to anyone to complain, and when you do they don't give a shit I've never forgiven them for signing me up to a contract I never agreed to, and even when I gave in and paid they "lost" my payment and sent a debt collection agency afterwards. To rub salt in the wound I still get regular flyers telling me they "miss" me. Urgh. BT to win it this year.
  • Jimbob
    CG please say that you are joking with all the Bull that you have just writen, I actually work in a technical call centre for Sky broadband and the connection charges in reality are for an engineer to go into a phone exchange and plug 2 wires into some equipment a job of ehich can take about 2 mins, as for the rest of the work configuring the line, that is all done aurtomatically now, so the connection charges are a complete joke. And please dont get me started about the engineer visit, the engineers themselves although some are highly qualified they are only paid about £8-9 an hour and are limited to 2 hours per visit, so how the hell can this justified them charging people £150+ for a visit. Right now Bt are in trouble and are actually cutting corners everywhere due to a complete and utter failure of their plan for a global network. In comparison to service that is run specifically for the northwest of the UK Bt are much worse.
  • R B.
    BT boils my blood. They' re everything we at Virgin Media aspire to be. That being a dodgy monopolistic, imcompetant criminal bunch of shysters. We've had to learn our utter crapness at Virgin from BT, the masters of non-customer service. I feel however that a poll with BT and Virgin head to head may see us edge it this year. I feel we have suckered quite a few of BT customers this year from their frying pan of BT non-customer service into our fire of lies and imcompetance.
  • SRH
    Stupid poll, you can vote time and time again, I just tried it! At least set it up properly!
  • NikT
    SRH, I think you might be right there! 14 consecutive weeks without Virgin BB for me this year. Took 12 engineers, a complaint to Ofcom and an escalation someone in the CEO's office to fix it. Virgin definitely get my vote.
  • CG
    Jimbob - If you care to read what I actually wrote, BT charge an average fee to compensate for those customers who would otherwise have to pay hundreds of pounds to get connected. Sky Broadband DO NOT own any core network and lease from BT hence the fact your engineers only have to plug 2 wires into a box. You do not have to maintain and service the Core Network which having to connect a property too can bring up the costs of those remote customers who otherwise have no connection to it. Does it also not occur to you that not only does a company not have to pay for the engineers wage, but his van, fuel, public liablity insurance, equipment, NI etc etc. My friend who has no reason whatsoever to lie to me says it's a fact that BT actually makes a loss on customer connections due to the more remote customers which cost them a fortune in labour and material to connect. There fee is agreed by OFCOM to ensure fair accessiblity to everyone. I'm actually making myself out to be a complete BT fanboy by this argument which certainly isn't the case after customer service issues I have had with them, however, they aren't a patch as bad as United Utilities.
  • Master_Chief
    CG: Surely you're talking about infrastructure costs, not connection costs. If a customer in a remote part needs connecting up physically that's an infrastructure cost. Infrastructure costs are what are paid for by the line rental of all the customers, what else are you actually paying for month by month. Once your connected it doesn't cost BT anything for you to make calls amongst their own network, if you call outside the BT network then you get billed anyway. So in summary: Infrastructure costs covered by line rental Connection charges = profit! And if £250 is the cost to BT to send an engineer anywhere and the engineers only get paid £10-£20 an hour then that's a lot of money on the van, fuel, public liablity insurance, equipment, NI etc etc. Considering an engineer must do say 20 jobs a week at least, the costs to BT are £5000 a week per engineer? I think you've been given inaccurate facts...
  • Chris
    So a company that operates in a small part of England vs a world wide company. Great comparison! I wonder why BT got the most votes...
  • Surya O.
    I'll just quickly talk you through a few problems i have with BT. I lost my password. So i went on to the website, clicked 'forgotten your password'. Where i am prompted to input other account details and some security questions. Then the most surprising thing happens. They actually ask for the password. Er BT hello. I was searching for my forgotten password, so how can I type the bloody thing in? A two hour phone call ensues. Costing me £2.57. (another thing: why can't calls to a phone company be free?). Once i finally get into the website to check my account, the links to other parts of the site say illegal request. Nice. Then i try to contact someone. The contact us page has no numbers to call on it. You have to go through multiple pages to find a number which might be able to help you, but probably can't. Next thing to get on my goat was the email account setup. Mac mail. All passwords input correctly, and account working fine..... for a day. Then my mail account asks for a password. So i type in my password. No joy. Again, no joy. Another 2 hour phone call to BT resulting in a conversation with a guy who says my password has changed to whatever for *input techie language here*. So i go back to input password, great it works. Next morning password prompt again. SO i input the password given to me by the BT tech man. NO joy. Another phone call. Another password. Next day same thing happens again. I hate BT. Before i was a customer i heard all these stories and thought that all the people complaining must be lonely middle aged people with nothing better to do with their lives than complain at people for nothing. Now I know the truth. I wish someone would murder this lumbering behemoth. It's a company which aims deliver communication services but doesn't have the first idea about anything which resembles communication. I guess they must think that 'as long as the connection charges and late fee's keep piling in, we don't really have to care about anyone but ourselves, six figure bonus anyone?'. Please Mr Rich Millionaire businessman start up a phone company which works and stretches around the whole country, oh and has one password for access to it's services.
  • david
    Having been a long time customer of Virgin Media and now with BT, the latter are a joy by comparison. United Utilties win the two horse race as worst company in the UK. Slightly different issue, all of these service companies - telecoms, energy, water, have quangos one can complain to when complaints procedure has been exhausted. These quangos are no more than an extension of the company one is complaining about, they are in the pockets of the telecom, energy, and water, companies. The same goes for the numerous ombudsmen.

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