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BT Openreach engineer charges

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BT Openreach engineer charges

Hi

I have been billed by BT for an Openreach engineer visit to identify a faulty microfilter supplied by PN and manufactured by BT. I find this situation crazy. Do I have any rights to complain to BT or PN about this charge?

A little history. One afternoon my phone line went dead. I spoke to a neighbour and he had the same problem. My wife noted that some BT engineers were at work down the road and so I reported a fault to BT. BT suggested that it could be a local fault and that there were engineers in the area (really!) and that an engineer could visit the next day - so I agreed. At NO time in this conversation did BT mention a charge for a visit. I did test my line by disconnecting all phones and filters and plugging the phone directly into the master socket - however the line still had problems so I assumed it was a local loop fault. However when the engineer visited he located the fault to belong to a faulty microfilter manufactured by BT and supplied by PN. The filter is less than 12months old but I have been charged £55+vat by BT for the privilege of this 5minute visit.

Does anyone think I have a case for a refund of this fee either from BT or PN? Its quite a lot of money (£66) for a fault with equipment that was less than 12m old and was supplied by PN and BT. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say this equipment has built in redundancy! The thing that annoys me most is that BT never ever mentioned this charge before I got my bill! Its possible that there was a local loop fault AND a fault with my microfilter - and that I just got caught in the middle.

Cheers
Mark
6 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,877
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

BT Openreach engineer charges

I would say no, you are responsible for ensuring that the equipment works before reporting a fault, whilst I can appreciate that your neighbour was also having problems so it didn't seem like an isolated issue to do with your line only, I would still have ruled that out before raising a fault with BT.

PN are of course required to rectify the problem with the faulty microfilter in whatever way they see fit, (refund, replace or repair) but IMO (and I'm no professional lawyer or anything so that's all it is my opinion) they wouldn't be liable for the charge BT levied onto you.

Also I'm going to move this to Broadband Help where it's more appropriate.
hitachi
Grafter
Posts: 343
Registered: 05-04-2007

BT Openreach engineer charges

If Plusnet had arranged the visit they would have warned of the possibility of a charge if your equipment was faulty.
You would have thought that BT should at least do the same.
I would try complaining to BT.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,229
Thanks: 1
Registered: 12-04-2007

BT Openreach engineer charges

I've heard of this happening before - where at no point in time was the person warned of a potential charge;
They put this forward to BT as an argument against payment.
They won the argument and didn't have to pay! Wink
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BT Openreach engineer charges

Just had a call from BT - they will cancel the charge as they did not notify me of this before calling to my property. It shows its always worth complaining. The moral of the story is that one should never trust BT to do anything without charging you for the privilege. But its good to see that there is still some customer service within BT!
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,038
Thanks: 27
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

BT Openreach engineer charges

I had a similar sutuation about six months ago. BT tried to charge me £55 plus VAT for a call-out and they found the problem was a faulty modem supplied by Plusnet, who had asked for the line check (not me). I refused to pay the bill and BT then threatened me with disconnection.

I therefore immediately took BT to court, using the simple, cheap Government Small Claims Court website. (www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) on the grounds of anticipatory breach of contract - i.e. threatening to cut me off, telephone and all, for not paying a bill which I did not owe. The Court ordered BT to pay me £300.00 in compensation ! BT paid up very quickly after that, but never apologised.

I recommend that more people should stand up to bullies like BT. BT is totally in the wrong, because BT Openreach is part of BT Wholesale and not BT Retail. There is therefore no contractual relationship between you, the end user and BT Openreach, who are actually contracted to Plusnet. Your contract, if you have anything at all, is with BT Retail and not with BT Wholesale - that was all part of the Government unbundling of BT's monopoly, but BT still does not want to acknowledge it.

I should add that Plusnet tried to get this resolved as they recognised their responsibility for the faulty equipment (which PN replaced without delay) and for the call-out, but BT refused to take any notice of them !

The advantage with the Small Claims Court is that, other than a small court fee, there are no legal fees involved, even if you lose. The Court will not award costs to the winning party. Therefore, as a private individual, you have absolutely nothing to lose, only to gain, whereas of course the bully has to instruct solicitors and barristers to defend the case, knowing that they will not be awarded costs even if their defence is successful. It really is a case of "heads I win, tails you lose". I have done this very often now, have won very many more than I have lost, and in every case, the bully has incurred legal costs of around £500. If more people stand up to bullies in this way, they will change their ways, but only if ...
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BT Openreach engineer charges

thats a very interesting anecdote shermans. I have thought about using the scc for other reasons and its good to hear some positive experiences. The world of broadband and BT reminds me of the trains and BR. Im sure the scc will be busy for a very long time to come with cases like yours.