I live in N Yorks, my father-in-law (almost 90) lives in S Yorks 70 miles away, and periodically has a problem with his line going engaged for long periods when it is not in fact being used. From memory the last time it happened was nearly a year ago, but it has happened three times in the last six weeks and always on a Thursday or Friday. The first two times the line was engaged for about 2.5 hours, last Thursday for 5.5 hours.
Time was that you could ring the operator and ask for an 'engaged speaking' check but no longer - you <must> speak to faults. I even went through BT HQ who said the same but did advise that I insist on speaking to a supervisor.
India of course work to a script from which they will not deviate. On the first occasion in January the 'agent' (speaking with a very thick accent) insisted that they could do nothing unless I give them my f-i-l's account number and password (as password that I know and he confirms he does not have) and cut me off.
After the second time I did manage to get through to a UK faults person and after insisting a number of times eventually got through to a supervisor. This person said she would have the line put on monitor (testing showed it as OK) for 24 hours - not a lot of good for an intermittent fault - and call me back the next day between 11:00 and 13:00. This they did - from India - and asked if the fault had recurred and could they close it? I said no and no, but when I looked on the fault log after last Thursday's occurrance I found the fault had been closed.
On Thursday afternoon - after this last fault - I tried again to get a supervisor but was cut off by India twice. Browsing through the BT Complaints Procedure I found a number (152) for small business faults who could not have been more helpful. Answered in the UK, listened attentively and apologised, then connected me through to a residential UK 'agent' who sorted it in minutes by arranging a visit for tomorrow (Tuesday) with the usual warning about the £129 charge.
As I am acting for my f-i-l with his agreement BT have my mobile number. I had a text from them yesterday confirming the appointment with a line about checking equipment. I have had another this morning but in a rather stronger tone and - specifically - saying that their tests indicate that it is a fault at the premises. How? So far every check they have done has shown no fault, and the fault has not occured again since last Thursday. To me this is a downright lie and is BT trying to avoid handling the call by bullying.
Perhaps someone can correct me on this, but if an incoming call is not cleared down but f-i-l has then the exchange will terminate after a few minutes. If f-i-l does not clear his end then after a while he gets the three tones and message, followed by the howler, and if it is not then cleared the line is made NU. If so then how can it be engaged for over five hours??
I wonder if the people at the top of BT have any idea how much difficulty we customers have getting anything done, ESPECIALLY when dealing with India? My f-i-l is vulnerable - he lives alone and his only external means of contact is his phone - but as he is well (apart from deafness) he does not qualify for the priority repair service.
I bet a Moderator does not pick this up or do anything about it!
Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting about your father in laws line problem. I'm sorry it has taken so much effort to get the fault accepted by the helpdesk and arrange an engineer.
It sounds like there is an intermittent loop fault on the line or with your fathers equipment which basically means a short which is sending the the exchange a signal the line is being used. The remote tests will not pick this up especially if it is intermittent and not affecting the line when the test is being carried out.
The automated texts you have received are not trying to put you off but to inform you that if the problem is not on the BT network a charge will be made for sending an engineer. If it is on the network there are no charges but it is recommended that all your father in laws equipment has been checked and a known working phone has been tried in the test socket. This link may help phone line and test socket checks.
If you need any further help getting this sorted please use the contact the mods link to send over your father in laws details. You'll find the link by clicking my username.