A run in with BT reminds Building's legal blogger why people go to court to resolve even the teeniest of disputes

A pal of mine keeps reminding me that life is all about perception. Yea, yea say I. And I get on with fathoming the next dispute with my magisterial wand. “Bloggs wins this time”, announces this pompous referee from his perch. Perception caught me unawares the other day. But not before I wrote in Building about the homeowner and builder getting steamed up about a 8ft x 6ft two-story extension worth £19,500. So steamed-up that it ended up in court and, worse, oh worse, it was a six and a half-day trial!

Inside me, in my head, my team of little eggheads fumed at the outright awfulness of a six-day trial for a tiddler of a tiddler of a dispute. “Perception” said my pal. These two perceived each other as deadly foe. And foes will go to any length to do whatever is the unwitting objective deep inside. Then I got an attack of perception. Oh it was, is, awful. I have got my own dispute.

No it wasn’t £19,500 worth of work. It was £120 worth of work. I wanted an extension telephone line to be moved... (don’t ask why) just moved 100ft. BT put the paperwork in place. It’s called a contract. Comfy with contracts am I. And lo, the BT team turned up. And lo they moved my extension line. And to do it, the BT man switched off my broadband line. And when he switched it back on it wouldn’t do its broadbanding. So the BT man shrugged and walked away. It was more of a run away. His parting shot was “Oh, it usually comes back on... eventually”. And he was right. It took four days and, wait for it, 11 hours of BT technical department in Leeds and me sitting at the computer screen in my office to bloody-well get the thing back to where we were one minute before the runaway BT fellow switched it off. 11 hours of my time! That’s when my attack of ‘Perception’ began.

I am furious. Worst of all, here I am six weeks later and still furious. And do you know I am getting 'furiouser'. That’s because the BT complaints department are giving yours truly the 'slow-burn'. Standard letter replies “We are looking into it” arrive at 3am any time from who knows where in the world.

I perceive they are taking the mick! So, go back to that 8ft x 6ft building extension row, which ended in 6½ days of lawyers and courts and judges and heaven knows what huge expense... and they did it because 'perception' got to both builder and customer. I bet you that they became so furious, so angry because of the way they saw the other fellow.

And, as for BT... yes, I am suffering perception. I can’t get rude enough on this page to do my 'perception' the world of good. And then I nearly wrote a very naughty word... it was one of my eggheads inside me that muttered it... naughty boy. Oh, I nearly forgot; the phone extension line works perfectly.