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Standard User b4dger
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Dec-15 13:46:23
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Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[link to this post]
 
Yesterday I had a call from a relative who had been on a visit to my parents to let me know their phone line had been broken by a falling tree. They had managed to cut the tree and clear the road and asked me to report it for them.

My parents are elderly (dad is 90) and live in a remote area in Wales 200 miles from me.

Their line is with the Post Office...
After managing to find a number to report it and explaining the situation they said I would need to contact BT.
I asked if they were sure as I thought the provider needed to deal with things like this, but they assured me they couldn't help and I need to call BT.

I called the BT Open Reach number they provided (0800 023 2023) which sounded like an overseas call centre when I called.
They kept saying that they could only help with "safety issues" - I explained the line was on the ground etc. etc. He said all the engineer would do is make the area safe and not fix anything!?!
He told me to phone another BT dept. on 0800 800 150. I asked if he was sure that's correct as their provider is the Post Office. He assured me that was the number to call. It's an automatic system that asked for the affected number - it immediately informed me that it wasn't a recognised BT number and either it or me hung up!

I called the Post Office back up and explained things again. They apologised and said they would deal with it if my dad accepted any possible charges. I explained (again) that he wasn't able to be contacted so I would accept them on his behalf. That could only be done if he instructs them first - and we just went round in circles.

I asked them to test the line and they couldn't see a fault.
I let them know how disappointed I was and said let's hope there's not an emergency and this all ends up in the papers...
That was the end of the call.

A few minutes later the PO called me back and they had retested the line and could now see a fault and would report it.

Today reading the Open Reach website and also BT's website they list the first number I mention above to report damage on - and not just for "safety" issues. So I called again and just ignored the warnings about safety and just kept saying the phone line is on the ground. They said an engineer would visit within 4 hours. They gave me a call reference (something the PO couldn't manage to do). I asked if I could view the status online by using the reference - they just kept saying yes but you'll have to phone us. I gave up trying to explain what 'online' meant!

My Mum has just called via a mobile after walking to an area with coverage so she knows things have been reported.
It seems dealing with phone faults is harder than sending a man to the moon - there has to be a better way!
#Frustrating

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 31-Dec-15 15:43:20
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: b4dger] [link to this post]
 
The retailer should be earning their profit by taking the call off your hands once account checks are complete and liaising with Openreach who are the wholesaler.

If there are neighbours its worth making sure they've also reported a fault to their providers, since the more faults logged the more likely to get further up the list.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User b4dger
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Dec-15 15:52:07
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Hi MrSaffron,
No neighbours on this line I'm afraid.

BT OR engineer just called me while trying to find their location before his mobile lost signal. I'm hoping I got enough details through to him before the call dropped. So it looks like my OR call to report damage has worked.

The 'providers' should try calling these numbers themselves to see how their customers fair if they are interested in Customer Service!


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Standard User johnjburness
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 31-Dec-15 17:12:30
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: b4dger] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by b4dger:
I called the Post Office back up and explained things again. They apologised and said they would deal with it if my dad accepted any possible charges. I explained (again) that he wasn't able to be contacted so I would accept them on his behalf. That could only be done if he instructs them first - and we just went round in circles.


Who owns the "offending tree"?

If it is not your parents (i.e. it is on the highway or where it crosses another property), I'm not certain that such charges would be valid!!

HTH

Regards,
John
Standard User b4dger
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Dec-15 17:38:46
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: johnjburness] [link to this post]
 
I'm not sure from the details I have - it sounds like flooding in a river that borders their property has undermined the tree that came down.

My own dealings with BT and trees on the line have never gone smoothly! But that has always been down to who owns the tree and who's going to pay for tree work.

This is a bit different where the tree is down and the service is out.
At the moment I'm not so worried about charges I just want them to have a phone connection!

A BT OR called at 3pm looking for the line, I'm hoping the details I got to him before getting cut off worked. At 5pm after not hearing any more I sent him a text asking how he got on - no reply so far.

I was just about to submit this when the BT OR engineer called!
He has "tied the cable to the pole to make it safe" - that's all he was asked to do and all he can do. "All jobs must come from the service providers".
He didn't even knock on the door of my 90 year old parents house...

I told him the full story - without much luck. All I could (eventually) get him to do was to escalate this to his management (which he said would be a waste of time) to explain there is a 90 year old couple without any outside means of communication and the reporting of the fault isn't going well!!!

Standard User gt94sss2
(experienced) Thu 31-Dec-15 18:04:49
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: b4dger] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by b4dger:
This is a bit different where the tree is down and the service is out.
At the moment I'm not so worried about charges I just want them to have a phone connection!


As others have suggested, from the information you have given, it sounds as if the Post Office have let your parents down.

Openreach are right in saying the fault reports should come through whoever the line rental is paid too.

In circumstances where 'vulnerable' customers are involved, many keep their line rental with BT to benefit from their Free Priority Fault Repair Scheme which means they do what they can to get a customers line back in service asap. A quick search reveals it looks like the Post Office have their own version of this scheme here

Of course, one is supposed to register for such schemes before a fault occurs..
Standard User b4dger
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Dec-15 18:37:27
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: gt94sss2] [link to this post]
 
Thank you. I will look at that.

Edited by b4dger (Thu 31-Dec-15 23:04:13)

Standard User eckiedoo
(experienced) Thu 31-Dec-15 19:43:21
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: b4dger] [link to this post]
 
I wonder if any of the contents are applicable-

https://www.btplc.com/Thegroup/RegulatoryandPublicaf...
Standard User b4dger
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Dec-15 20:27:33
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: eckiedoo] [link to this post]
 
Thanks again.

I've just been talking to the Post Office again and got a completely different level of service - at least verbally.

He confirmed that their original call handler shouldn't have asked me to call the BT 'damage' number and will be looking in to see why that happened.

My parents are obviously still without a phone line but at least he was able to give normal expected responses to my queries and the current state of play.

He also couldn't understand why BT would turn up and leave the cable tied to a pole rather than either fixing it and/or talking to the home owners.

I was also able to speak to him about help for the elderly and vulnerable.
This looks like it only makes them focus a bit more on the outstanding fault rather than being able to escalate anything within BT OR.

Edited by b4dger (Thu 31-Dec-15 20:28:04)

Standard User btbert
(committed) Thu 31-Dec-15 20:40:16
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Re: Post Office / Open Reach broken line woes...


[re: b4dger] [link to this post]
 
"He also couldn't understand why BT would turn up and leave the cable tied to a pole rather than either fixing it and/or talking to the home owners."

On a DRO (damage report other) we make safe and thats all we do . DROs go to the very top of the Q even above PWs ( private wires ) that cost £0000 as its a safety issue.

these comments are my own and in no way represent any company that i may or may not be linked too.

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