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Lfaratro
Beginner
10,403 Views
Message 1 of 21

Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

An engineer came round on 29th oct 13 to fix a fault with our phone line, initially he told my grandmother fixed the problem saying it was due to a disconnected line and then asks to look outside so my grandmother opens the side gate for him, he then tells her that he has to carry out more work, they initially had their previous providers box which bt had connected their line to when they moved to bt, the engineer disconnected the wire from the old box and added a new wire so no longer passing into this box, all this work was carried out on my grandparents outside wall, she asked the engineer several times whether they would be liable for the call out charge and was told that no they wouldn't and that the work he carried out didn't fall to us to pay for and was covered by bt, on 27th dec I get a bill including £129.99 call out charge, I've contacted bt and their complaint review team and they continue to accuse us of lying saying we have no proof that the engineer said we wouldn't have to pay an that the problem didn't lie with us, they say that the engineer report stated there was dampness in the socket so this was caused by us, he never changed anything on the inside of of the property and all work was carried out outside. No dampness was shown or explained to them when they asked the engineer what the problem was and what i'd like to know is how can my grandparents be at fault for alleged dampness that is found outside, I can understand if the internal socket had damp but we are talking about outside work that was carried out. No work was carried out to the inside of the property.
When I spoke to the manager gareth at the complaints review team I told them that I wanted to send pictures to show where the work was carried out and to show that it was outside and I was told that in fact he didn't want to see any pictures as these pictures would now be two months old so aren't relevant to the day this work was carried out and so he was closing the case.
How dare they refuse to resolve problems with their customers and then say well its too late down the lane to look at any pictures, how is it my fault that they bill me for the charge two months after the engineer attended?
I spoke to Gareth on 8th jan and as we could not reach an understanding and was told there was nothing else he was willing to do he said he would be sending me a deadlock which I would be contacting the ombudsman, still haven't received the deadlock letter and not only that I tried several times this week to contact Gareth to request this letter and kept being fobbed off, spoke to him finally on Friday and was told it would be sent via email by the end of the weekend and also again in the post as we hasn't received the other letter he supposedly sent but guess what it's now the end of the weekend and I've not received no email!
To say I'm extremely angry is not even close as I've never dealt with such bad customer service and to be lied to time and time again.
If there is any moderators who can look into this please as it's very upsetting for my grandparents.
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20 REPLIES 20
Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
10,392 Views
Message 2 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

You are liable for damage outside of your property, within the boundary of your house.

See this link for more information.

 

Engineer visits – information and charges

 

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.

 

 

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Lfaratro
Beginner
10,374 Views
Message 3 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

Thank you for your reply but I am not saying that just because the work was carried out outside that we are not liable for the charge, the problem is that the engineer clearly said several times to them that the work carried out wasn't something that they would be charged for, he said it was covered by bt but now the engineers report is saying there was damp in the socket, A why should people be found at fault for damp found on an outside socket if its going to be extremely difficult to prevent rain water going into a box that is placed on an outside wall? And B why did the engineer say one thing to us and then write a completely different thing in the engineer report? There are several cases of this that I have read on this forum so something is not right
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ernie_c
Expert
10,357 Views
Message 4 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

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.

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RickF
Newbie
10,290 Views
Message 5 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

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.

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Percy39D
Aspiring Contributor
10,280 Views
Message 6 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

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.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
10,279 Views
Message 7 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

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.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
10,271 Views
Message 8 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!


@RickF wrote:

 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.

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/12439/c/

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Lfaratro
Beginner
10,247 Views
Message 9 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!

My complaint is still on going with BT and have now passed it on to the communications ombudsman as I'm not letting it go, we were charged for work carried out outside the property after the master socket as they put it down as damp! They have such bad customer service and very rude. The thing is that we feel we cannot trust them anymore as when the engineer came round he said it wasn't our fault and wouldn't have to pay, then we did get charged so how can we trust another engineer again? This happened at my grandparents house so who knows what they are trying to get away with thinking they are elderly and don't know what's going on!
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michaelkenward
Aspiring Expert
10,194 Views
Message 10 of 21

Re: Unfair engineer charges! Someone please help!


@RickF wrote:

 

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.

 

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