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!