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BT PC snafu leaves 3,000 families disappointed

Telco blames surge in demand

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BT is shelling out more than £150,000 as a "goodwill gesture" after failing to deliver some 3,000 PCs to consumers in Scotland in time for Christmas.

The UK's dominant fixed line telco blames the cock-up on a massive surge in orders for PCs as part of its BT Home Computing Scheme.

Set up in Scotland for public sector workers last year, the scheme allows computers to be leased to workers for a monthly contribution taken directly from their wages.

But demand in Scotland for the scheme was 50 per cent more than the telco had bargained for leaving it unable to cope with orders.

One of those let down by BT told us: "Many people were planning these as Christmas presents and BT has sold them down the river. I know of council workers and NHS workers here in Scotland who were let down by BT.

"I know many people in the same boat and don't know a single person who has had their order fulfilled," he said.

In a letter to punters just before the New Year the telco apologised for failing to deliver the PCs as promised.

"This was due to unprecedented order volumes," it said. "Consequently suppliers have struggled to deliver on time with the knock on effect on the delivery slots from our courier partners."

It went on saying that "as a gesture of goodwill we will send you a £50 voucher for the BT online shop...which can be redeemed against any BT product".

Although BT managed to fulfil 15,000 orders before Christmas it admits that more than 3,000 families were left without their orders.

As an indication of the scale of the problem Gary Tubb, one of BT Retail's senior execs, even drove a van from Reading to Scotland just before Christmas to ensure that another 13 families had their computers on time.

"We're really sorry this has happened and would like to assure all our customers that we are working flat out to get their computers to them as quickly as possible," said BT in a statement.

"Some customers have been given delivery dates in late February, which is not acceptable, and we are working to bring these dates forward. Customers will also receive a goodwill gesture for the late deliveries. We have also doubled our call centre capacity to improve our customer service delivery," it said. ®

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