This BT customer wants to ask if BT are aware of the service us customers are receiving when it comes to broadband and telephone services.
On the morning of 24th November 2009 I realised that my phone was not working correctly and also my broadband internet. I found it very strange as the night before everything was working fine. I checked the only sockets in my home which had anything connected to them which were the master socket (telephone and sky connected via internet filter) and upstairs in the master bedroom (wireless router connected via internet filter). These seem to be fine and nothing had been touched.
I then called the automated line test number and they carried out a test And put me through an operator in the UK who was helpful. The operator mentioned that the line to the master socket had been checked and was working fine. This was really baffling as I really could not understand what the problem was. I explained that the phone line did come on and off and the operator said that she would send me an email to asking me to take some steps to try and establish the fault. Although the internet connection at this time was not working correctly I mentioned that hopefully I might receive the mail as the line was fluctuation from on and off.
I waited for the email and but unfortunately due to the connection problems I did not receive the mail. I then called up BT once more and was transferred to your Indian call centre. Again the operative there was also very helpful and I explained that I did call earlier and that I did not receive the email due to connection problems. The operator than asked if she would like to talk me through the procedure via the phone. I said yes that would be great, she asked me to locate the master socket and we established it was the master due to a horizontal line on the front panel. She then asked me to open up both screws for the front panel and so I did. She asked me to remove the front panel and told me to connect the phone onto the internal “test socket”. I did this and found that the phone was working perfectly. She then asked me to reconnect the front plate and then connect the phone once more to the socket on the front plate.
I tried this and found that the phone did not work and the problem was still there. She then told me that an engineer would need to come out and if there was a fault to be found in the internal wiring of the home, then BT will charge me a call out fee of £125! I felt this very extortionate and asked the operator, that I understand from what you have stated that BT are only responsible for the line up to the master socket, but does this include the master socket as it says BT open reach on the front and I felt it would. She confirmed yes it does include the socket. I mentioned that in my lay mans thoughts I felt the fault lies with the front plate which she had asked me to remove and asked her would I be charged if the engineer found a fault with this front plate?
She replied no I would not as it is BT’s property. She then went on to booking in the engineer for the next morning which is today 25th November 2009. I also had a text message confirming that the engineer will visit my home any time between 8am and 1pm. Up till now I found the BT service to be very professional and what I would expect from you.
This morning you engineer arrived at my home at approximately 9.30am as arranged. He walked in and did not offer to take off his boots, nor did he even put on any over shoes. He asked where the master socket was and I took him into the lounge where the master socket was located. He asked me what the problem was and I explained the above and that I felt that I might be a problem with the master socket front panel after the tests that I was asked to conduct yesterday.
At once he replied “in all of my years at BT I have never had to change that part and it is definitely not that problem” I thought felt he must know what he is stating and he carried on with his testing. He plugged in his special phone into the test socket and the phone made some noise and he mentioned that was working fine, I said yes it was yesterday to. He then placed the front panel of the master socket back and reconnected his engineers phone and it again made some noise. He said, ok the problem is with your internal wiring, I said are you sure? I find that strange as it was working perfectly fine day before yesterday evening and nothing has been touched in the home, there have been no repair works or anything like that. He mentioned that sometimes there could be a problem with a trapped wired internally which could become a problem at any time. I repeated but nothing has been touched, he asked if any of the sockets may have been accidently knocked and I said no not at all.
He asked if there were any sockets which had any items connected to them and I said no they are all currently unconnected. I then asked him, if it was a possibility to change the front panel of that master socket, he said ok I can do that if you want me to but it will not make a difference! He then got a spare part from his van and replaced the existing front plate. He then reconnected hi engineers phone and it made a funny noise again. He said can you here that funny noise, its definitely the internal wiring. He asked me if I wanted him to leave the front plate off so I could at least connect the telephone and I said yes that’s fine. He then collected his tools and left.
I was now very confused as to what the problem could be, I thought to myself that I should try and connect the phone to the front plate myself as the engineer never tried my to connect my home phone and try. I connected the home phone firstly to the test socket and it worked, I then placed the front panel back on and connected the home phone to the front panel socket and to my disbelief it worked! I was now even more confused as the engineer had clearly stated that those funny noises meant it was still not working and it was not the front panel of the master socket which I felt as a lay man was the problem all along!
I then reconnected the telephone and sky via the internet filter and also reconnected the router upstairs via the internet filter, basically reconnecting everything how it was previously when everything was working. Firstly I tried the phone downstairs and this was working perfectly, I then tried the phone upstairs and this to was working perfectly, finally I then logged onto my computer to check the status of the internet connection and believe it or not this was also back to normal!
I am very disappointed by this morning’s scenario with your BT engineer, I felt that I was not at all looked after in the correct manner, the engineer seemed to think he knew exactly what the fault was (internal wiring in my home) purely because he had never had a problem with the master socket front plate in his time working for BT and even when the plate was refixed and working, he did not have the courtesy to simply mention that I was correct and the problem was with the front panel on the master socket and all he had to say was this was a first incident like this for him. But because he already mentioned that it can never be the front panel on the master socket, his ego would not now permit him to take it back and be truthful with the actual problem.
I am not only frustrated by this, but it is not the first time I have had issues similar with BT fault finding Engineers, last year I had a similar issue where for some reason the phone just went dead. 3 Engineers visited to fix the fault and after completing their tests the mentioned that everything was fine and it was a problem with my phones or internal wiring.
It seems to be their best phrase, internal wiring put the blame on someone else if you don’t know what the fault is. I was furious and called BT back, they sent a fourth engineer, I recall this chap was very polite and very courteous, he even removed his boots himself prior to walking into the lounge where there is carpet and where the master socket is located. Any way he checked the system once more and found there were no faults with the line up to the master socket, but because he knew 3 engineers had previously visited he asked to take down my mobile number and would call me back as he took the liberty to actually go to your exchange and double check that there wasn’t a fault there although the line test was proving to be fine.
He did mention that he had not come across this problem before. To my delight after 30 minutes the same engineer called and said he had actually found a fault at the exchange and would fix the problem and come round again to my home to recheck and ensure the line is working again. He came over and checked the line, it was working and I was very pleased. I thanked him and said thank you for taking the effort to assist and not putting the blame to “internal wiring” as all your other engineers do. He smiled and left.
So both time the fault has been with BT and yet your engineers very quickly establish and persist that it was nothing to do with BT and the fault lies with the internal wiring. Both times eventually it has been proven that your engineers have been wrong as the fault has on both occasion lied with BT yet your engineers have failed to establish that! It makes me wonder how many other people out there will be receiving the same treatment and home many time will BT falsely be collecting £125 for call out charged when they should not be?
I would like this email escalated to your Chief Executive. Is he aware of BT’s conduct and the service your loyal customers (I have always been with BT) are receiving? Is this how BT operates in a climate where there is stiff competition from others who are providing very competitive packages?
I look forward to his response in due course.
Mr. S Pankhania