According to this PDF buried in the bowels of the BT site, if you are "chronically sick or disabled" you should be eligable for accelerated fault repair. http://www.bt.com/includingyou/assets/downloads/FreePriorityFaultRepair.pdf
Now, having read this booklet, it looks to me as if we are eligible. The issue is that eligability is based on being "registered as Chronically Sick & Disabled by your local authority social services under the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970" Now this is a bit out of date. I'm reasonably certain the person in our household who would qualify is registered, but these days people don't know they are registered because most of the job of the local register is now taken over by a central database of who gets DLA (Disability Living Allowance). So most forms these days don't ask your doctor to sign to say you are on the register (gps haven't regulated the register for years and years) they ask you to enclose your DLA letter.
So. I tried to contact BT to see what I should do.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
BT fault repair deny all knowledge of this service - you tell them you have a disabled person in the house and can they prioritise the fault and they ignore you - so I tried to avoid calling them. I attempted to ask my question via one of the chat support people, but they INSISTED on putting me through to fault repair, who called me (I hate it when they do that, if the line was good enough for me and some person in India to understand each other then I wouldn't be contacting you in the first place, would I?) and when I finally made myself understood, they said no they were the wrong department and they would transfer me to someone in customer support or some such. And kept me on the phone for 5 mins, then cut me off. I am not phoning back. If I ever get through to customer support I can guarantee they will put me through to fault repair.
The form has to be sent to:
Priority Repair Scheme
What I have been trying to get from the various call centre people is a phone number for this team. So I can talk to someone who knows something about it. It will take three or maybe four minutes of their time. But apparently BT pay a lot of people in India a lot of money to make sure that no-one in BT in the UK ever has to pick up the phone. (Well, presumably their UK phone lines are provided by BT so I can see why they'd want to avoid that experience...) So nothing I can do or say will persuade them to give me that number.
Where do I go from here?
You are eligible to have the account registered as “Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons” (or CSDP) if your local council has agreed to pay all or part of the line rental for a customer’s line.
There is a dedicated team that deals with accounts registered for “Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons” (or CSDP) and they deal with the local authority directly.
If you don’t fall into this particular category, but suffer from a long-term illness or disability, you can be eligible for our free Priority Fault Repair Scheme.
You can sign up to this by filling out a leaflet, so please send in your details and I’ll get this sent out to you. You can get in touch by sending over your details via our “Contact us” form which is available on my profile page (top-left).
No, I have the form thanks. The issue is a query with the form itself. Virtually every organisation in the UK these days asks not for GP signature (a right pain for us to get, as the GP who knows the person I am filling the form for is only in 1 day per week) but for a copy of your DLA letter which will state what care and mobility support you are entitled to, and why. It would be easiest for me, and BT, if I could copy the DLA letter and send that straight away instead of queueing for the GP. I need to find someone who can tell me if the proof that is acceptable to everyone else in the country - from Legoland to Blue badge applications - is also acceptable to BT.
We have a fault on the line which has been outstanding for a week. The person concerned (my eldest daughter) has a life-threatening condition which means we may need to call an ambulance for her any time of night or day. We have no mobile coverage. The earliest the engineer will call (again) is Wednesday, because we haven't got priority fault repair. I'm trying to get it set up as soon as I can - the fault is shaping up to be a long-term problem, and every day without reliable phone access is a day my daughter is at risk.
If you haven't done so already send us an email using the contact us form in my profile.
You can copy this form address in the section about me at the top of my profile.
Yes, I sent you an email via the contact us in your profile. That was Friday. It's now close of play Tuesday. No contact from you, so I am a little puzzled why you suggested using the form?
Meanwhile, still - obviously - no improvement in the BT line and we still have no reliable way of getting help in a medical emergency. My daughter's health has been poor in the last few days and there is a real probability of needing to summon emergency help - the issue is you can't just pop round to the neighbours and use their phone; when a young child stops breathing you have to be using your phone in the same room as the child for the emergency services to talk you through the rescusitation etc. So we're living off a diet of fingernails here.
And still no answer to my (I think, fairly simple and reasonable) question: is there a contact number for the team that register "priority fault reporting" for people like my daughter, so that I can expedite getting us registered with this service? I am quite, quite certain that this BT team has telephones. It is not a bunch of monks toiling in a basement somewhere with parchment and quill pens, I'm sure it's a (relatively) modern office with desks and chairs and pcs and even telephones. With telephone numbers which, hypothetically, one day someone from the <shudders> outside world where the <whisper it> customers are - might use to phone them and have one of those new-fangled telephone conversations.
That is, if picking up the phone is not too scary an idea for British Telecom?
I dunno, maybe I'm being a bit radical here.
Possibly I'm not appreciating quite how difficult a question I am asking here. Maybe this team really don't have telephones. Maybe BT in Durham doesn't exist and all their mail is posted on to India? I tried (BT) directory enquries:
"Searched for british telecom in durham
This business could not be found.
The number you are searching for may be ex-directory, alternatively, please try the following suggestions to search again:
1. Check your spelling
2. Reduce the business name to the first four letters followed by an * e.g. Brit*
3. Try an alternative business name
4. If you know the type of business, select the Business type link and retry your search"
Maybe they're ex-directory. Is that allowed? Isn't BT making one of their customer services departments ex-directory slightly cheating?
Thanks John - so they are monks with quill pens?
Well, all joking aside, I'm now going to take this one to Ofcom and see where I get to with them. Not as a specific dispute, but as general policy in deliberate breach of British Telecom's licence (ie the general conditions under the communications act). This states that:
"Subject to paragraph 15.9, the Communications Provider shall provide a priority Fault Repair Service as swiftly as practicable to any Subscriber with disabilities who has a genuine need for an urgent repair."
A fault service which is not advertised, in fact which the fault team deny even exists, and which you cannot sign up to at short notice (because access to it is only moderated by post) is NOT being provided "as swiftly as practicable". We had "a genuine need for an urgent repair" and priority repair was refused to us.
OK, quick update - Ofcom agree in principle that this is a breach of the general conditions and have advised me to put in a written complaint under the BT code of practice, because the regulators can't get involved without it.