You are liable for damage outside of your property, within the boundary of your house.
See this link for more information.
Its Openreach that do the work, and then pass the charge to whichever service provider you are with.
It woul be the same even if you were with another provider, except cable providers like Virgin Media.
The engineer is not a BT employee and has absolutely no right to speak on their behalf.
He works for a company, Openreach, who do this sort of work for many companies. of which BT are only one. He also does the same work for Sky, Talk Talk, ....... and many more. Unless he understands the Ts & Cs of every company, he should make no comment.
He should have advised you what he had done and referred you to your supplier's Ts & Cs. He should not have given you the impression that his work would be free to you and the bill effectively paid by BT.
Thanks for your post. Very helpful indeed. I'm about to face the same problem. I haven't had phone or internet service in two days and when I call BT they want me to agree to a "verbal statement" on the phone saying that I will be charged £129 if the problem is found to be my fault. I refused to agree to this. As a paying customer for the past 13+ years, I feel I am entitled to know what the problem is, what is needed to fix it and then a quote from their engineers before anything is done. And if I don't agree to the quote, then I should be free to find another engineer to do the work. That's how the service industry operates. When you need a plumber, you get quotes, they tell you what they can do, and what the repair entails. They don't tell you over the phone that you MIGHT have to pay a certain amount of money without first seeing what the problem is and then saying they will charge you for the call-out if you decide not to have the problem fixed. On top of all this, we are already paying customers!! What BT is doing is unethical, unconscionable, and frankly makes very poor business sense. They may say that all ISPs do the same thing (except Virgin, I guess), but does that mean that they have to? Why doesn't BT acknowledge this is unfair to their customers and get rid of this ridiculous policy. I will leave BT as soon as I can afford to. (I'm stuck in their contract until October) I also run a business. Because I'm moving premises, I'm looking for a new telephone and internet service provider. And guess what! I'm not going with BT, so they will lose not only my home service but will certainly not get my business service. They lose in the end.
Try and check your internal wiring, by carrying out the checks published in your BT phone book or described on line, but MAKE sure that the box you test is the first junction box into your premises from the outside box.
I had the same problem 7 weeks ago. I have been with BT from their GPO origins.The engineer found that the wiring was wrongly installed, the first junction box into the house was the original GPO .Bakelite junction box with both newer version boxes wired from that box by GPO. Owing to this wiring arrangement the engineer claimed that he could not test the wiring from the main newer box.He identified that there was an earthing fault to extension box, to which the BT supplied router was connected. We disconnected the router from the electric socket and phone boxes and let it "rest" for about 2 minutes. Reconnected it and let it reboot and the phone returned to normal. Off he went and six weeks later I got my statement with £130 added for his visit.
GOOD LUCK I will not rant online because if I make any criticisms of BT this post will be deleted anf therefore will not help you.
You would only be charged by BT for any fault found within your property after the master socket. Anything prior to the master socket is up to Openreach to repair free of charge.
You can employ who ever you want to work on any part of your phone line and home network after the master socket within your property. The internal wiring and your network is your responsibility not BT's. You can get a local engineer in to do this for you and get it checked out and an estimate for the cost of repair if one is required.
BT inform you about the £129 charge so that you do not get a shock if the fault is within your property and you are billed.
This also allows you to get a local engineer if you would prefer. I would imagine that if you do get a local engineer out there may be a call out charge that you will have to pay. It may be cheaper than £129 but you would need to find that out.
I'm looking for a new telephone and internet service provider. And guess what! I'm not going with BT, so they will lose not only my home service but will certainly not get my business service. They lose in the end.
Unless you move to a cable operator, it will stil be Openreach who raise the charge, and that will be passed onto whichever Service Provider you choose.
Here is a guide to charging.
they want me to agree to a "verbal statement" on the phone saying that I will be charged £129 if the problem is found to be my fault....
Having just received the same hit on my phone bill, it seems that BT goes out of its way to lull customers into thinking that they are not going to be charged for fixing problems in BT's own equipment and lines, and then finds any excuse to levy a charge.
I too was assured that there would be no charge if the fault was not within my premises. It wasn't. There was a failure on a line that BT had installed many years ago.
My complaint is not that I was charged, but that BT misleads customers. From the messages here, this seems to be common pattern and suggests that the company needs to be much clearer in its communications. It should not allow support people and its own engineers to say one thing while the billing department behaves very differently.
At no stage did the engineer or the very helpful and efficient broadband support team warn me I could be liable for any defects found outside my own premises.
The warning is hidden away in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "beware of the leopard". Instead that link should go out in all communications about the issue.