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Openreach

shermans
Pro
Posts: 1,297
Thanks: 97
Fixes: 3
Registered: ‎07-09-2007

Openreach

This has nothing to do with Plusnet at all, but I am hoping that someone might be able to recommend how to resolve a problem with BT, as Plusnet is a subsidiary of BT and may be able to advise what to do next.
I am having a serious problem with a BT Landline which belongs to my 95 year old disabled neighbour.  I have been wrestling with this problem for a month now and it is becoming intolerable.  I do not know how to escalate it as I have tried everything according to the book.
The trouble is that it falls between the external infrastructure and my me neighbour's phone, and so no-one in BT picks up the ball and runs with it.
My neighbour lives on his own.  He has carers during the day but at night there is no-one in the house.  We are in a small rural community of about ten houses, a mile from the nearest village and fifteen miles from the nearest town.  The telehone is therefore my neighbour's life-line.  He has had a stroke and is very vulnerable.  If he needs to use the bathroom at night, he can do so, but occasionally he falls and cannot get up.  That means that one of us neigbours has to go round and help him back into bed.  With no phone, it means that he will lie on the floor all night until the carer arrives in the morning.  There is no back-up as, of course, we have no mobile phone signal out here in the sticks !  Not that he could work one at 95, even it it did.
About a month ago, his BT telephone started to play up.  It would ring for no reason sometimes.  At other times he could not make calls.  I reported it to BT for him and eventually an engineer called.  But of course everything was working when he visited, so "no fault found" was reported.  The problem continued and so I reported it about three times more.  Each time it meant a lengthy call to India where it was like dealing with a robot.  Despite further visits to the house, the problem persisted.
Finally matters came to a head when a terrible sparking sound was heard by other neighbours coming from an electricity pole in the lane.  They called the electricity company who came out immediately.  They confirmed that the sparking was coming from a box at the top of the pole marked "BT 140 volts D.C." (or some measurement like that).  You could hear the noise from fifty yards away - I could hear it from my own house.  So I called BT India again and the same sequence of events repeated itself.  Eventually, I demanded to speak to someone in England who could understand English, and I was then passed from pillar to post until eventually a sensible lady from Openreach in England answered.  I explained the situation, and at first she said that she could not deal with a member of the public.  So I pleaded with her to help in view of the health and safety risk to my neighbour, because it was obvious that this was directly connected with his problem.  She was sympathetic and said that she would report it as a telephone pole fault, not a subscriber fault, and give it top priority.
Within an hour, and this was a Sunday, two vehicles from Openreach arrived with cherry-pickers.  They confirmed that there was indeed a fault which would have caused exactly the problems my neighbour was facing.  However, they explained that the fault itself was about a mile away on a neighbouring farm, but that there was a splitter on the pole outside my neighbour's property which would then chatter very loudly as a result.  So off they went to fix the problem on the farm, and by the end of the day, peace was restored and everything was working once again.
That lasted for two weeks, but it has now all started back up again.  Earlier in the week, my neighbour's telephone rang at 4 a.m. and in the process of trying to answer it in the dark, he fell out of bed.  When he managed to answer the phone, there was no-one there.  The phone was dead.  He kept trying to call for help, and after about ten minutes luckily the phone came back on and he was able to telephone one of the neighbours to come and get him back into bed again.
In the meantime, all the old problems are back.  There is a constant "click, click" on the line whenever the phones is used.  Sometimes it is dead, and you cannot call out.  Sometimes, it does not ring in the house when someone is calling him.  It is particularly bad whenever there is a frost.  I have been through the same old procedure with India as before, but of course when a BT engineer arrives at the house, the day has warmed up, the equipment in the line has de-frosted and everything works again.  I have tried repeatedly to explain all this to BT in India, but of course they don't have frost in Bombay and don't know what I am talking about.  As far as the local BT engineer is concerned, he checks the house and as always, he reports "no fault found".
This just cannot go on.  As I am not a BT customer myself, I cannot even threaten to stop paying the bill until it is resolved. I just do not know how to escalate this or who to call, or how to get in touch with the Openreach team again who identified the fault last time - they said they were not the same department who visit the houses.
Having tried everything else, I thought as a last resort I would see if anyone on the forum by any chance knows what else I can try.  It is a huge worry, and even though my neighbour has a Priority Reference due to his age and incapacity, it makes no difference to BT.  The engineer that comes to the house just shrugs his shoulder each time and says everything is working and walks away, even though we know that there is an external fault that no-body can be bothered to fix, and this frosty weather must lie at the root of it.  Do we have to wait until anambulance arrives ?
So any ideas would be most appreciated.
Thanks.
1 REPLY 1
Townman
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 19,725
Thanks: 8,058
Fixes: 94
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Openreach

Hi,
What a terrible tale of BTOR conduct.  I doubt anyone here at PN can help in anyway - they struggle too with BTOR service delivery.
If faced with such a problem myself, I would write to all of...
1. The CEO of BTOR
2. Your local MP
3. Ofcom
4. Local news papers
5. BBC watchdog / you and yours (R4)
There is nothing like embarrassment from poor publicity and the gross lack of consideration for the elderly and infirm to fix the ineptitude of a corporate Goliath!
This tale is a good warning to anyone who thinks going over to BT Retail is a good move - India as no understanding of the UK!
HTH
Kevin

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