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Openreach beyond reach

Squirrelatecabl
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎28-04-2012

Openreach beyond reach

I've had no land line for 4 weeks now, due to squirrel damage to cables.  I have had an ongoing battle, with Plusnet fighting on my behalf, with Openreach since January, when the problem first started.  I must commend Plusnet on their efforts to help but it has had no effect. The reports from OR engineers read like something out of Monty Python. I am not able to contact Openreach directly; everything has to go through Plusnet.  There are access difficulties with this line, but unbelievably each Openreach engineer who looks at the problem has a different reason for not repairing it, and none of them has been given any information from previous visits so each starts as a fresh job. I think Openreach is out of control.
I have  been very impressed with the customer service I've received from Plusnet. Openreach is simply not co-operating and are apparently a law unto themselves, with no accountability. I pay Plusnet for line rental and they pay Openreach to maintain the line. However, I have just discovered from blogs on this forum that Plusnet is a subsidiary of  BT. Openreach is a division of BT. This is interesting...
Whoever owns whoever, I am outraged that I as a consumer have no right to complain to Openreach. In fact, I appear to have no rights at all.
The repair is scheduled for 18 May, which means 7 weeks without a land line. Previous appointments have not been kept so I'm not holding my breath. Third World, or what?
Any suggestions?

4 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Openreach beyond reach

Welcome to the Forum
Your post sums it up well
RPMozley
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,119
Thanks: 30
Fixes: 5
Registered: ‎04-11-2011

Re: Openreach beyond reach

Maybe look into contacting OFCOM but I'm not sure if they have any powers left anymore.
That's RPM to you!!
x47c
Grafter
Posts: 878
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎14-08-2009

Re: Openreach beyond reach

Unlike broadband there is a guarantee of service for voice landline availability.
In short this means that if the last pair in the cable fails and it costs £30000  or whatever to put a new multi-core cable in then BTOR have to do it and have to pick up the tab.
What I don't know is the time limits for any voice fault to be rectified.
But I don't think that 7 weeks for a repair job is a reasonable time frame by anyone's standards and you are right to be (very) annoyed.
Squirrel damage is a regular event in overhead rural drop lines - I can't see what is the problem - unless as you hint the access difficulties are immense!
Mabe the line goes over private property and BT have to get legal access which no one sorted out all those days ago when it was the GPO?
Although Plusnet is a subsidairy it is a requirement that the network operator (BTOR) deals with all their customers (that the likes of plusnet, BT retail etc) in an equal manner.
This is to ensure that competition exists in the industry between phone providors and was the reason the organisations are seperate.
So in practice you can regard BT and Plusnet as totally seperate companies, just as you might regard BT retail which deals with end users as a seperate company from BTOR that deals with the network if you were a BT voice/broadband customer.
Sad to say end users cannot deal with BTOR.  In reality and even sadder to say this is probably a good thing overall as it allows the likes of Plusnet and BT retail to filter out those complaints which are drivel/dross/rants from end users and mean that BTOR only get clear defined known approved problems to sort.
BTOR does not have any customer facing facilties to it.  It is an engineering works only subdivision.
.....but I fully agree it is very annoying when individual end customers want to have a sensible calm conversation with BTOR about the best way to resolve a problem and why it is taking so long cannot do so.
The principle of not being able to complain to BTOR who are in this case a subcontractor to Plusnet, when you think about it, the usual way of doing business.  Your boiler fails 'cos some part in it breaks down - you go to the person who put it in to fix it.  You don't go to the boiler maker, much less the foreign manufacturer of the relevant suncomponent part to discuss it - well you could ask the part manufacturer but I'd expect you'd get even less reply from them than from BTOR.
Where the problem is of course is that Plusnet cannot simply decide that its subcontractor is crap (BTOR) and just  get another one in.  Mind you again I see their point if you could have any old company mucking about with BTOR's infrastructure and then not recording the alterations made properely. that would be a recipie for total and utter chaos.
Such are the problems with a monopoly supplier........

Community Veteran
Posts: 19,102
Thanks: 443
Fixes: 21
Registered: ‎31-08-2007

Re: Openreach beyond reach

Despite people's reservations about complaining to OFCOM they are the regulator. If people don't complaint then nothing will happen. Even if OFCOM try to wash their hands, complain again and also complain to your MP. Have a word with Trading Standards and see what advice they give. Email Watchdog, the series is running so they may get their teeth into it.
Openreach is one of the most inefficient badly managed organisations I've ever come across. It's a good job they have some decent engineers otherwise we'd all be in a right pickle.