Compliance Management, Privacy, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

BT patrons complain – locked out of email for over a week by passwords flaw

BT appears to be struggling with authentication issues resulting in customers reporting they are unable to log in to their BT accounts to manage billing, payments and email accounts. was informed this morning that a Leeds based BT client was unable to login to their emails for 11 days and the response from BT was, “It is a generic problem and they are working on it.”

Despite the BT service status page not showing any issues relating to this, dozens of BT customers have taken to Twitter to ask @BTcare for help with the same issue, with the earliest visible tweets appearing on  21st of June.

Luisa Gottardo, a freelance social media consultant, told SC that she had been without access to email for nine days and had “countless” conversations with BT customer service reps who promised to call her back but to no avail.

Describing the issue, Gottardo told SC, “It was impossible to log in – every time we tried, it took us to the BT ID page, where it didn't accept our email address or passwords. So I was unable to receive email for nine days – the same goes for my whole family – both parents and sister.”

The official response from BT was, “There seemed to be a problem linking the primary email account with the MY BT account.”

Gottrado said that it was only when she decided to email Libby Barr, managing director of consumer customer care, that her problems were resolved. BT did not inform her that the problem was solved – she had discovered it herself by trying to log in.

Richard Benson, a development manager for a software company, told SC that after his internet was cut off, he got messages claiming he had not paid his bill. Checking his account confirmed it was fully up to date.

Benson told SC via Twitter, “Customer services insists it was because parental controls are on, they weren't and never have been. When I said they weren't on, [the customer service rep] asked for my account password so she could do it. She said 'it's OK, you can change it later', I still refused. Had to ask multiple times to escalate, finally got to a manager and he thought it was OK to ask for my password as well.”

In response to this, Benson had tried to complain and was told he would be sent back to the same people who thought it was acceptable to ask for passwords.

Expressing concerns over this business practice, Benson said, “My worry is people like my mum would give her password, and I'd put money on it being the same as her email password.”

He added, “These guys have to deal with idiots all the time, but they wanted my password because they didn't believe my responses and wanted to check for themselves.”

Benson concluded, “I did not give them my password, even though I use strong and unique passwords for all sites (password manager). After 1.5hr on the phone, they finally agreed there was a real issue. It was fixed a few hours later.”

BT was approached for comment but did not reply in time for publication. 

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