Dear Helena Bonham Carter,
Even though you don't know me, we do in fact share at least two things in common. Like you, I also have a double-barrelled surname, and as you live in the UK, there's a good chance you're also a British Telecom customer, and probably have an Internet subscription (although not necessarily with BT).
The reason I'm writing you this open letter, is to enquire whether you pay your BT bill online, and if so then how? You see, I've discovered a rather annoying feature of BT: They seem to be biased against us double-barrellers.
Let me explain.
BT have a section of their Website which enables customers to pay their bills. To use this facility, one has to register for the service, then add a bank or credit card to one's profile. At a certain stage in the process, one is asked to provide the name associated with the bank card, and this is where we double-barrellers come a cropper.
BT's system has a fault, which rejects names containing anything other than alphabetic characters, preventing me (and presumably you too) from paying BT bills online. Having discovered this fault, I quite naturally reported it to BT, but their response was less-than encouraging, indeed I found it quite insulting. It was suggested to me that I should simply change my name to something less awkward, in order to circumvent the fault with BT's system, as their engineers had neither the skill, time nor enthusiasm to address this issue, implying that double-barrellers are clearly the real problem, rather than BT's broken system, and that we should go away, stop inconveniencing these busy engineers, and stop using silly names containing odd characters.
As you can imagine, I'm a bit peeved by BT's response, which I find highly disrespectful. They should treat their customers' names with the same respect they'd expect the trademarked name “British Telecom®” to be treated. My name is not a joke, it is not an inconvenience, it is not something to be discarded or altered on a whim, particularly when that whim is apathy, or worse, contempt.
How do you feel about this situation?
Do you, in fact, pay your BT bills online?
Have you altered your name to suit BT's apathy or contempt?
I look forward to reading your thoughts on the matter.