Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Dispute between BT and Plusnet re time period to reactivate a Stopped Landline

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎28-01-2018

Dispute between BT and Plusnet re time period to reactivate a Stopped Landline

Good evening everyone!


This request is in respect of my elderly parents' recently closed account with Plusnet.


My mother called on Wednesday 24 Jan to cancel her new contract with Plusnet to return to her original provider BT. Although she was within her 14 day cooling off period, the PN agent still charged her a Cessation Charge as well as only refunding 17 days out of a calendar month's prepaid payment. This was subsequently challenged by me with PN and, somewhat reluctantly, then refunded by a Manager (see below).....but not before my 88 yr old mother discovered late at night (with urgent access to a landline being essential due to a serious medical condition) to both her, and my, horror that her landline had seemingly been cut off by PN very soon after the only partial refund had been placed upon the account.

I took up both of these matters with this same PN Manager (Matt) as a matter of urgency on Friday afternoon and was advised that the line had been disconnected on Wed 24 Jan after my mother's call to cancel the contract prior to placing a new order with BT. When I took issue with this on the grounds that not only had she not been warned that the line would be disconnected forthwith and also why this had occurred when PN were still charging her for 14 out of 31 days of a calendar month, the Manager said that this was in order and the line was disconnected....and would take up to 10 working days to be re-connected by BT. It wasn't until I threatened to refer this matter to the Ombudsman that he chose to take further advice from a person that he described as a "Techy in the Faults department"....and reported back that the line had not, in fact, been disconnected but only stopped....and that "it only requires a flick of a switch by BT to re-activate the line within only 10 to 15 minutes in most cases, but certainly no more than 24 hours. Just make sure that you tell BT that it's a stopped line and not a disconnected line which is now with BT Openreach" once a new order had been placed with BT. I therefore promptly got back in contact with BT and placed a new order. However, the BT agent advised that the earliest activation date would be Fri 02 February. When I asserted the PN Manager's insistence that the line reactivation would take no more than 10 to 15 minutes, and certainly no more than 24 hours, after the new order had been placed with BT, she disputed this and put me through to the Connections department. When I explained to this department what Matt from PN had told me, he was absolutely astounded that "someone, particularly from within the BT Group, has blatantly lied to you. It can't be reactivated in 24 hrs let alone 10 to 15 minutes!" He said that he would do his best to get the line activated as soon as possible with an Urgent Welfare Request in view of the Serious Health issue requiring a working landline but that this was by no means guaranteed. He respectfully suggested that I take this back to Plusnet and escalate this blatant lie as an Urgent Complaint. I did so and was then told by yet another PN Manager (Liam) that "it is an OFCOM Regulation requirement that Stopped Lines are reactivated within no more than 24 working hours".......when I asked him to tell me exactly which regulation he was referring to so that I could cite this with BT, he replied that he didn't know this information "but this is what is handed down to us by higher management to tell people".

As I am sure that you can appreciate, this situation has caused an incredibly high degree of totally unnecessary upset and worry to my elderly parents and myself who have been extremely anxious at not having a working landline to hand which is so vital with an underlying serious medical condition requiring a constantly working landline....and needs to be remedied URGENTLY!

Clearly there is either a complete lack of knowledge, blatant dishonesty....or a combination of the two....from either PN, BT or both!!


Can anyone please offer any pearls of wisdom?

Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 699
Fixes: 30
Registered: ‎17-10-2015

Re: Dispute between BT and Plusnet re time period to reactivate a Stopped Landline

Good Morning, 


Whilst I am unable to look directly into this matter for you I would like to shed some light on what may have happened in this case as this used to be what I was involved in on a day to day basis.


From the point a line is stopped by us or another BT based provider, this is usually left in a stopped state at the address, which can be restarted with an up to 24 hour lead time for this, In general this only takes 10-15 minutes however in some cases it can take up to the full 24 hours, what is advised by Openreach in regards to these orders is a 24 hour lead time which is ideally what should be given to customers and if it activates quicker that is a bonus. 


However what can happen is that when a line is left in a stopped state, it won't show as active and any engineers doing work in the area will see this as a free line to use, meaning your line or at least part of it(usually cabinet to exchange or cabinet to pole portion) could be used to install or repair someone else's' line either with ourselves or another provider, this is a decision made wholly by Openreach and not something ourselves or BT Retail can directly influence.


If you are being advised that a longer time-frame is needed and possibly an engineer is needed to do something this would seem that the stopped line has been reused for another purpose. Our agent won't have known this was going to happen and the BT staff wouldn't know whether there was a stopped line previously if the record has been removed, they can only see the right now status of things.


This is a very unfortunate situation which does happen from time to time and I am really sorry this has happened to you, I'm sure one of my customer support colleagues will be back to look more into this and the information you were given in more detail in a few hours once they are in Smiley 

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 26,573
Thanks: 10,294
Fixes: 1,600
Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: Dispute between BT and Plusnet re time period to reactivate a Stopped Landline

Hi there. Welcome to the community forums.


Sorry to hear of the experience your parents have had.

In addition to Paul's response, if you can PM me their username I'll be happy to look into this.

From 31st October 2022, I no longer have a regular presence here as I’ve moved on to a new role.
Anoush Mortazavi