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An engaged tone is a connection?

henderson2
Newbie
Posts: 8
Registered: 10-07-2009

An engaged tone is a connection?

I'm in disbelief that I was told the following in response to my ticket #57538728 about being charged for 40 calls in 18 minutes to my doctor's surgery where I got the busy/engaged tone on each attempted call. 
"A charge is applied every time the phone connects. An engaged tone is actually a connection.
The only call you are not charged for is a ring tone before connecting. Therefore all calls are chargeable."

I have never been charged for making a call to a number that was busy before.  I have no problem paying for calls that I make and that connect.  Do you also charge for calls where the number rings yet no one answers?  Is this a change in Plusnet's billing policy?  And if it's in the terms and conditions, would you kindly direct me to where I can read this.



8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

Do you hear a break in the ring tone one or two rings in and then the engaged? I'm guessing what's happened is that their switchboard has answered the call and it's then ringing an extension which is engaged. As far as BT Wholesale (who sell the service to Plusnet) the call has been connected so they will charge Plusnet.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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henderson2
Newbie
Posts: 8
Registered: 10-07-2009

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

We did get the two rings then it went to an engaged tone a few times when trying to call.  However, for the vast majority of them we got an immediate busy signal according to my husband who was the one actually making the call.  Perhaps I should ask him to think back a bit harder.  LOL
Thanks for the explanation on a main number answering and auto-switching to an engaged extension.  That possibility hadn't occurred to me.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

It's not very good on the part of the surgery. They should either not accept the call or put you in a queue.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Community Veteran
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

The statement ""A charge is applied every time the phone connects. An engaged tone is actually a connection" made on the ticket is complete rubbish.
A connection has to be "answered" to be chargeable. I'd put a response on the ticket to that effect.
Clearly the standard of training in this area has a lot to be desired.
Whilst an engaged tone is a connection in one sense if it is returned by the exchange equipment for the called subscriber's line, there is also "EET" which is equipment engaged tone and only a trained ear can distinguish between the two. EET means any equipment between the calling subscriber and the called subscriber is busy, EET is a rare event these days, but this is not a connection.
However neither event is chargeable.
jelv's explanation is the most likely. IMHO this sort of practise is unethical and is especially unfair on the elderly and hard of hearing who may not realise what has happened. You should make a written complaint to the Practice Manager if this is what's happening. If they refuse to change their system, write to your MP and the local NHS Trust and consider changing your GP.
Some telephone banking systems do a similar thing, returning their own ringing tone whilst routing your call.
Calls can also sometimes be "answered" in some fault circumstances, eg. "Ring-trip" where you may (or may not) hear a short burst of ringing and then silence or strange noises when a loop on the called subscribers line due to a fault on their line gives the answered condition.
Infinity
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 6,137
Thanks: 265
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Registered: 19-06-2011

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

It's the same with (BT) online answer .
If the person you are ringing is engaged.
No warning, straight to the answer device, for which you are charged.
And of course, if you don't leave a message, but keep checking back, charged every time.
A relative had this enabled, pre mobile usage, very annoying, especially the first time you don't realise you are being charged every time.
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

Hi Mrs H,
We do only charge for calls that are connected, so calls that do not connect i.e. engaged, are not chargeable. This does seem be at the doctors surgery end, more than likely connecting to their switchboard.
Chris
henderson2
Newbie
Posts: 8
Registered: 10-07-2009

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

Thanks Chris and everyone so much for all of your help.  Not too chuffed with the doctor's surgery at the moment, but a lesson learned.
Mrs H
Plusnet Alumni (retired) chrispurvey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 5,369
Fixes: 1
Registered: 13-07-2012

Re: An engaged tone is a connection?

Not a problem Mrs H, hope you got through in the end! Smiley