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Struggling to get a decent support experience

markey165
Newbie
Posts: 4
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Registered: ‎29-12-2022

Struggling to get a decent support experience

 

Hi peeps,

i've been trying to resolve a fault with my mum's phone and broadband service for over a month now. On the first ticket I logged, nobody replied to my updates for weeks. When I eventually phoned up, i was told it had been logged as a support ticket instead of a fault ticket, and nobody monitors support tickets which was why nobody had replied....umm seriously?Huh

The problem was then logged under a fault ticket and an Openreach engineer attended on 22 Dec. Not sure what was done, as this was at my mum's house, and nothing was recorded on the job ticket. We had an update from support yesterday saying the fault had been repaired and everything was now working. However whilst the phone line has improved (but still not 100%) the broadband remains virtually unusable (speed tests show ~0.2Mbps down and 0.06 up, with pings between 5000-7000ms). We discovered on first raising the issue, that the line had been banded due to the original fault to the lowest level, rendering her Broadband virtually unusable. We got this removed, but it seems it has been reapplied again, although the support colleague I spoke to today, couldn't tell me if the re-banding had been applied before, or after the Openreach engineer's work on 22 Dec.

Just to confuse things, during my call today I referred to my existing ticket, but the latest update has been logged under a new ticket, breaking continuity and resulting in 2 open cases for the same issue. We've got another engineer booked now, but its taken a lot of effort to get this far. I also requested a Visual Radius report from 19th December until today, to help track progress of the fault, and was assured this had been added to the ticket, however i've checked and it hasn't. I'm also not clear if the banding has now been removed (again) or is still in effect, as this hasn't been recorded on the ticket either.

I also can't upload any images to the support ticket (ie the speed tests which show the broadband fault). My screenshots were ~50kb in size, and the filenames were jpg's with no spaces, hyphens or non standard characters, I even tried just screenshot1.jpg, but every attempt to upload fails with the error "Something isn't right" but it doesn't say what, so as far as i can tell, uploading images doesn't work at all.

My final moan is that on checking my my mum's bill's I've realized she's out of contract and paying £48 a month, for effectively no service. She's 77 and not able to reliably troubleshoot this herself. It was only when the phone line deteriorated to being almost unusable that I went over and started to investigate and realized there was a problem with the Broadband as well. She had complained about it being slow for some time, but I hadn't realized it was slow to the point of being virtually unusable. It transpired that Plusnet has been banding her Broadband for some considerable time, at least months, possibly longer, but not provided any notification this was being done. Surely if you're seeing a major fault on a Customer's line, that results in the service being banded to the lowest level, you would at least notify the customer there is a problem, and at best reduce the amount being charged, to align with you're restricting the service.

The next job is to look at getting her on a new contract, but is there any chance of negotiating a partial refund as a gesture of good will based on this?

As above we've got a second engineer booked for 3rd, but in the meantime, can anyone help check if the line is still banded, help provide a visual radius report from 19th-29th December and help with the support ticket image uploads problem.

Many TIA 🙂

9 REPLIES 9
Gandalf
Community Gaffer
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Hi Mark, sorry for the issues you've had trying to sort your mum's service. Sad

Seeing what I can do to help... The line's banded again to ~0.2mbps, so I've reset it. Hopefully the speed comes back and stays stable. Banding is applied automatically by the Dynamic Line Management (DLM) software at the exchange and we don't monitor lines ourselves, so we couldn't have notified her of this.

I can see we've since closed the duplicate ticket and consolidated things in ticket 230016684. I'm not sure why you aren't able to attach images though, maybe try opening the site in private browsing mode and/or clear cache & cookies and/or try a different web browser, in case that's having an impact.

Visual Radius graphs seem to be a bit of a legacy thing nowadays, so not all agents may know how to. I've produced a graph for you from the 19th December and attached it below.

To renew the contract, it may be worth either doing that online here or calling the Customer Options Team on 0800 013 2632. We may need to speak to your mum as the account holder, if you phone us to renew.

If your mum finds it difficult to manage things (understandably) due to her age, it may be a good idea to fill out our Additional Support Form here as this is one of the ways we try to offer the best support we can.

We'd generally discuss compensation or goodwill gesture if appropriate, after a problem has been resolved. Speed issues normally aren't compensated for, if there's been no loss of service though.

I hope this helps. Smiley

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi
Plusnet
markey165
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Posts: 4
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Registered: ‎29-12-2022

Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Hi Anoush,

Thanks for your help and removing the banding, much appreciated. Understood re not having visibility of when this happens, apologies for the lack of understanding on my part.

I've tested image uploads again, and it worked via Firefox and Windows based screenshots, so either the form doesn't like Chrome (seems unlikely), or it didn't like the screenshots from my mobile (they were jpg too, but maybe the form doesn't like them, who knows). I can also see they've merged the duplicate tickets this morning.....great.

The final dilemma, was that yesterday's support rep, said she could definitely see issues with the service, however it wasn't clear whether she was seeing issues caused by the banding, or something else as she didn't go into detail. She logged the updated fault as "slow speeds" but clearly the banding would have been the primary cause of that. She confirmed banding was in place, but didn't remove it for some reason (which you now have).   Speed tests (screenshot) now show 3 mbps down and 0.3 up, so looking better, but do ping times seem high? We're told she should be averaging 10mbps on that line but 3mbps is probably the highest i've seen it!   Hence we're a bit unsure on what the line's current status is now? Is there still a fault or isn't there. It looks better from the VR graph (apart from a few drops, although not sure what's normal), but i don't know what else was checked or seen.

That puts us, and the engineer attending on 3 Jan in a bit of a grey area atm


Gandalf
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Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Hi Mark,

Cool no problem. I wasn’t able to run full tests due to there being an engineer already booked as the system just returns a ‘test rejected’ result in these cases, so it’s possible the agent saw an underlying issue. 

I probably shouldn’t have removed the banding, because if the underlying issue is still present then it’s likely to be rebanded until that’s dealt with, but I made a judgement call and stepped outside of process. 

The visual radius graph does look a lot better, but not sure if the banding was holding the drops back. We’ll see. Openreach would generally deem 3 drops within 24 hours or 6 drops within 72 hours to be acceptable, providing there are no other significant issues.

I think it’s worth keeping the engineer booked in, so they can make sure the connection is running okay, stable and at a good speed. If you type your mum’s landline number in the broadband availability checker here, what’s the speed estimate range on the ‘WBC ADSL2+’ row? That should tell you how fast the speed should be. 

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi
Plusnet
markey165
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Registered: ‎29-12-2022

Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Regarding the banding, it was first removed by an agent on 25 Nov during my initial support call.

I'm not sure when it became banded again, but i'd guess it was before the engineer visited on the 22 Dec. I appreciate you having removed it, because it was virtually unusable, and at least she can use it again now, and hopefully its stable enough not to get banded again. From talking to my mum today, she thinks he was having trouble isolating the fault. He replaced and rewired the master socket and did something outside. 

 

I've run the BT line speed test and these are the results (a fair bit more than what she's actually getting atm). The router is connected to the master socket, anything we can do or ask for, to improve the speed?

   

ADSL ProductsDownstream Line Rate (Mbps)Upstream Line Rate (Mbps)Downstream Range(Mbps)
WBC ADSL 2+Up to 13--7.5 to 17.5
Townman
Superuser
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Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Hi Mark,

Happy New Year.

This sounds so similar to the recent experience of one of my referrals.  BT Engineer came out to a line fault, which they fixed, but did not lift the chronic banding on the line ... with the usual "Wait 10 days for the DLM to sort it self out..." mantra.  The DLM will not fix it self on a chronically banded line, so this is a great out of process call by @Gandalf .

Where the line is clearly chronically banded, this should be SOP after the BTOR engineer's visit, for without that a user will not know if the problem is resolved.

Is the router connected direct to the master socket?

Are there any telephone extensions?

Are there anu other connected telephones?  If yes, are they all on filters?

Is the line now quiet?

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Gandalf
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Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

@markey165 - Yeah I figured removing the banding would be worth a go so that your mum at least has a usable service for the time being. Not sure there's anything more we can do our side to improve the speed. The engineer's still booked in for this afternoon so let's see what they say. Happy new year by the way.

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi
Plusnet
markey165
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Posts: 4
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Registered: ‎29-12-2022

Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

@townman1 - Yes, see post just prior. Router is connected directly to the master socket, well via a filter for the phone anyway. Nothing else is connected, so very simple setup. And yes, very happy that @Gandalf removed the banding, as prior to that, we could barely even load a webpage, never mind get her Alexa working, or try and do remote support for her. Those were pretty much non functional.

 

Just to add a further update, the engineer visited on 3rd, and found a broken wire on the pole outside, which he showed to my mum. I'm surprised it worked at all if there was a broken wire, but he fixed it, and its now on 10 days monitoring.

 

Obviously i can't see what the line is doing at the moment, but hopefully it stays up now, and doesn't get banded again!

Townman
Superuser
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Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

@markey165 

Surprisingly broadband will limp along if one leg of the line is disconnected, however in that condition, there will be no dial tone on the line and a remote line test will clearly report a DIS fault (disconnection).

What I would suspect has happened here is that there has been a bad joint on the line giving rise to intermittent issues.  One of the "curved balls" around bad joints is that when test voltage / current is applied to the line ... they can "fix" themselves and no fault is reported.

Boots on the ground checking every joint is the only remedy; it would not surprise me that when poking around in the cable / junction box, the said bad joint just gave up and broke fully in the engineer's hands!

Hopefully this will be the end of a challenging journey - issues such as this are far from easy to locate, but having done so, the remedy is easy.

 

Staff will now need to deal with the other billing issues you mentioned.  Did you follow-up on the vulnerable persons measures referenced above?

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

adamwalker
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Struggling to get a decent support experience

Glad to see things have been stable for the last couple of days, I'll give you a call later if that's OK to see if that matches up with your experience: 

 

<img src="http://visualradius.plus.net/visualradius/generated/image16731675996970.png"/>

 

Adam

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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team