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Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

odyssey
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Registered: ‎15-01-2017

Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Engineer notes: 
"There was a fault within the end customer's wiring/equipment but was not fixed as the end customer's declined the completion of the repair. as they preferred to fix it themselves. What wiring/equipment (phone, fax etc.) caused the fault? EU has 2 extensions plugged into a none open reach filter socket that is causing the fault"

So £65 charge to be made. Not happy. Replied to the Question as follows:-

The problem is an intermittant noise on the phone line. This has been going on for over a year, since an Openreach engineer made some changes in the nearby cabinet on another line, and we were cut off for a few hours.

95% of the time the line is clear, but occasionally on incoming or outgoing calls there is a bad crackling distortion, only evident at our end not the other party's. When it happens, on dialling out, I can dial the same number 2 or 3 times and get the crackle, redial a 3rd or 4th time and there is no crackle, all within the space of a minute, with no changes to anything. This suggests to me that the problem lies at the exchange. I have not yet been able to 'catch' the noise on a quiet line test

The set up consists of the overhead line, (which I think is shared with a neighbour) a dropwire of about 6m, new OR master socket fitted by OR about a year ago, with a filtered face plate, with a dedicated 5.5m solid copper direct connection to the BT home hub 6. There is a corded phone plugged into the face plate and a hard wired extension totalling 7m with 2 slave sockets, one with a 2 handset DECT phone and the other with a Panasonic fax/phone. The noise, when it appears, is on all the phones.

Broadband is not affected at all, rock solid connection for nearly a year with download speeds averaging 14 Mb/s. Router stats are as follows:-

  1.08 kbps / 16.33 kbps
1084 / 18192

8.5 / 3.3 (currently up slightly from an average of 6.1 / 3.1
  27.5

146 / 275

This was all explained on the phone when the original Question (14732467Cool was raised on April 5th.

When the engineer attended on the 7th April, I explained in detail, she made various line tests with no real conclusion, mentioned something about a very slight 'loop' on the extension, made no reference to the non OR faceplate, and offered no repair.

I have since checked the resistance on the extension and find there is only small difference between that and the master socket.

She also said that there had been problems with (I think) a 'block' at the exchange and would go and check it.

I appreciate that intermittant faults are difficult to diagnose and repair, but I feel it was all a bit vague, and not really definitive enough for a charge to be made. The noise has appeared twice since the visit.

Perhaps you could raise the matter with OR, bearing in mind the 'thin' details in the engineer's inconclusive report.

Regards - Alastair Bruce

29 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Alastair.

I am sorry to hear you have been charged for your engineer visit. If the problem was with your internal wiring, the appointment would be chargeable I'm afraid regardless of whether it was fixed by the engineer.

 

Is the fault still occurring with your extension sockets disconnected, or ideally plugging your home phone handset into the test socket if you have one? Explained here: https://community.plus.net/t5/Library/Testing-From-The-Master-Socket/ba-p/1322242

 

Thanks,

 

Anoush

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 Anoush Mortazavi
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odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Anoush - The problem is that it's intermittent, about 4 or 5 times a month - and we make about 250 - 300 calls a month, plus maybe 100 - 200 inwards. The frequency and conditions have no perceptible pattern, totally random, weather, temperature, day, night, dry, wet, etc.

I've done the test socket thing, but can't leave other phones and BB unplugged for long enough to have a hope of catching the noise. It's an annoyance - we just have to hang up and redial, sometimes 2 or 3 times to get a clear line.

On the last occasion I left the line open and disconnected all the phones in turn with no change to the noise, but obviously not the face plate. I've replaced all the phone to socket wires.

I feel that the engineer couldn't see any real fault and just thought, 'blame the non OR faceplate and the internal wiring'. I don't know if she went to the cabinet, but she didn't check the dropwire connection box or the pole. She seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere else. I wouldn't mind the charge if there was a definite diagnosis, but a vague mention of a 'slight loop' doesn't adequately constitute a diagnosis.

The fact that the noise is either on or off with no half measures; you dial a number - it crackles, you hang up and immediately redial and it doesn't crackle; seems to me pretty conclusive that there is a faulty circuit somewhere between here and the exchange.

The next time it happens I will try to record the noise on a quiet line test.

Please talk to the 'powers that be' regarding the charge - I know it's down to BT OR who seem to be a law unto themselves.

Regards - Alastair

Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

I appreciate intermittent faults are difficult and by the very nature the faults can be intermittent. An appointment can be chargeable for no fault found scenarios too, as well as internal wiring faults.

Before the engineer visit was arranged, was the line crackling in your test socket?

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Before the engineer visit was arranged, was the line crackling in your test socket?

Difficult to test because of the intermittant nature of it. If it happens on an outgoing call and I take the faceplate off, the line drops. The only way to check would be to remove the faceplate when the noise appears on an incoming call, I'll try that the next time it happens on an incoming call.

Regards - Alastair

Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

By removing the faceplate if you're on an outgoing or incoming call, this will still drop the call. I'd advise leaving home phone plugged into the test socket and see how it goes.

As for the applied engineer charge, because the engineer identified no fault with the wholesale network, the fee would be applicable I'm afraid.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Right - had an incoming call at 9.15 today with the noise - more accurately described as distortion of the other party's voice, rather than continuous background noise, answered on one of the DECT handsets. Ended the call then dialled 17070 on the phone/fax/ans unit on the upstairs extension and started the Quiet line test - distortion; started recording, cleared down, re-dialled QLT, still distorting, cleared down again, re-dialled QLT - no distortion!

So I now have a single continuous recording of the behavior I've been describing. Three consecutive outgoing calls to the quiet line test - 2 distorting and the third clear. Plus the original distorting incoming call.

Thinking back to the original problem in the cabinet about a year ago, the very thorough engineer that fixed it mentioned something about aluminium cables installed in the 60's degrading. I can't see how this would affect the on/off nature of this problem but then I'm not an telecom engineer.

I will try to convert the recording to a digital file that can be sent to OR . . .

Superuser
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi odyssey

As has previously been asked, is this in the test socket, or whilst your internal wiring is connected?

odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi - as I previously stated:-  I've done the test socket thing, but can't leave other phones and BB unplugged for long enough to have a hope of catching the noise. 

We work from home, test socket is downstairs, office is upstairs, router is in the office with a direct dedicated cable wired into the filtered faceplate. I could run a new extension wire from the test socket to the office phone, but the BB would then be disconnected. The distortion happens so infrequently (around 4 or 5 times a month out of approx 400 total calls a month), that we can't be without BB or phones elsewhere in the house on the off chance of it happening.

I was prepared to do the test socket thing on a distorting incoming call from someone I can say "hold on while I test socket the line" to, but according to Gandalf the call will drop when I unplug the faceplate. I'm not sure if that's correct - if you hang up on an incoming call and then pick up again, as long as the caller stays on the line, it won't clear down. I'll maybe do a test and if it works, leave the face plate unscrewed so I can quickly plug the downstairs phone directly into the test socket.

A.

Plusnet Alumni (retired) TonyMC
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Odyssey, I understand your concerns about removing the face plate to plug into the test socket, we ask you to do this to see if the direct link to the line is also affected, If we send an engineer out and finds a fault with the internal equipment including the socket and or the faceplate then it would be classed as a chargeable job and £65 would be added to your next billing,

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 Tony C
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odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Tony - yes I understand that. Have you read the whole thread?

Plusnet Alumni (retired) TonyMC
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi yes I did, I understand about running extensions that it is affecting around 400 calls a month, we want to get this sorted for you and this is why I'm asking you to check this, Now, if it's not convenient to do it now I understand, try it when you don't utilise it so much say on a weekend perhaps. The test socket bypasses any internal wiring and tells you and us the quality of the service coming from the Green cabinet to the master socket, it will confirm almost straightaway if it is an internal or external problem.

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 Tony C
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odyssey
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Tony - it's not affecting 400 calls a month, we make and receive 400 calls and it affects only 4 or 5 of them.

However - an update, I just tried to make a call - distortion. Cancelled it.went straight to linebox, removed face plate, plugged corded phone into the test socket and dialled 17070 - and guess what? - distortion on " This circuit is defined as etc . . "

Tried to work out how to record the distorted message, and realised I could video it so I now have a video of the phone in the test socket with the distorted quiet line message, which timed out to "thankyou for using BT facilities" just as I worked out the best way of recording it, but you can still hear it. Redialled and the distortion had gone.

Perhaps you can now convince OR to do something about it. I will download the video and also video the recording of this morning's incident. Two incidences in a day is unusual.

Regards - Alastair

Plusnet Alumni (retired) TonyMC
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges

Hi Alastair, no need but thanks for the offer, as an engineer has already been and as it is still happening I can offer two possible resolutions, first we arrange another engineer but again if no fault found there would be a £65 charge as before or second have you thought of trying a different phone plugged into the test socket utilising different wiring in case the wiring or the phone itself may be faulty, I'm not saying it is but it would be worth checking - Tony

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 Tony C
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Re: Suspected line faults and BT OR charges


@odyssey wrote:

...according to Gandalf the call will drop when I unplug the faceplate. I'm not sure if that's correct - if you hang up on an incoming call and then pick up again, as long as the caller stays on the line, it won't clear down.


 

And a very useful facility it was, for transferring an incoming call to another extension.

Unfortunately the scammers were taking advantage (news item), so now the call ends within a couple of seconds of called party cleardown.

The incoming call transfer trick can still be achieved, by pressing 'Recall' or flicking the switch-hooks, whereupon you get intermittent dial tone. Clear down, and ringing is applied, and you than have a reasonable time (I haven't timed it exactly) to pick up the call again. In your particular application, though, I fear the ringing may well temporarily 'cure' the fault.

Remember you are unique - just like everyone else