I never thought I’d feel so helpless without .....

  Diemmess 11:04 03 Aug 08
Locked

....the wires. No phone, No Internet and a weekend coming up.

Thursday 24th July mid afternoon telephone went dead. Checked every point in the house, no line.

On the way across the lane to my neighbour for help, saw the line between my house and across the lane to the pole 211 feet away had broken at the pole and now lay an untidy heap at my end.
The line had always been a long span and dubious height, but had survived 18 years since first connected.
This day a huge farm tractor towing a 4-unit hay spinner had dragged my line off the pole.
Using neighbour’s phone for 0800800151 ran the gauntlet of submenus and reported the fault. I had to convince faraway India that the fault was not inside the building but very much in the category of a damaged BT line.
An earlier suggestion to go online and report the fault there was easily ignored.

Eventually they confirmed there was a fault on my line, offered call diversion to my mobile and text messages to me with updated reports on progress.
First message within an hour said they “aim to repair my line Friday 25th”
Friday am, helmeted hi-vis-jacketed men from Open Reach? Arrived complete with cherry picker, since the old pole had a ladder prohibition on it.

Ten minutes later said No Can Do, needs a replacement pole to achieve safety height above ground and away from E-on electricity supply. “Very Sorry sir”. So was I!

Monday a white van (Fujitsu Europe)? and one surveyor arrived with telescopic measuring pole, and one of those wheels surveyors use to measure distance over ground. He disappeared up the lane and returned in about an hour.
The job it seems had expanded to installing 6 new poles of considerable height and re-rooting my supply with the tallest pole as a new support close to and on my side of the lane.
HSE (who else) require any connection to be to a point which itself meets the standard, hence the domino effect.

When? I Ask.
“Don’t know, will have to be approved by Openreach planners and surveyors”

I had meanwhile spent £20 on topups for my mobile which usually remains unused until an emergency, like now!

The 0800 number is not free to Orange PAYG callers and all middle-India would tell me was that there was a fault on my line which would be attended to.

Fortunately I discovered during the earlier menus there is an almost secretive mention late in a menu to press 8 to report damage to lines or poles.
Pressing 8 at the right time brought me the blessing of the voice of a UK damsel, and eventually, the brave reassurance that engineers would work at it on Friday August 8th.
A third attempt using “press 8” brought the better news that this was a complete by date and likely to be sooner.
Like seeing the cavalry come over the hill, a welcome gang arrived on Friday 1st my phone was normal 3hrs later.

This is not uncommon around here where too many sat. navs. with Slavic drivers and 6 axle artics. try to use narrow lanes and usually knock something over before leaving.
I had over 8 days without Internet and made several journeys of 8 miles each to go online.
More expense to top up my mobile

At last, to the point-

Can I claim reasonable expenses from BT? If so how do I make contact?

BT are my telephone provider (I use their online facility) . Aol are my ISP

  spuds 11:25 03 Aug 08

I would suggest that you ask Ofcom click here for advice Dealing with BT on matters like this can be rather tricky, especially as it may include the ISP, in resolving any issues.

I use Tiscali as my main provider of services, and trying to report a line fault or break in service can get both depressing and financially un-rewarding.In the direct BT days, it was a simple case of dialling 100, not now though.

  Forum Editor 12:35 03 Aug 08

is that of course this wasn't a BT fault - the problem was entirely the fault of the "huge farm tractor" which dragged the line off the pole - a pole which had done its job perfectly well for eighteen years.

If you have any claim at all it is against the driver of the vehicle which created the problem, and the farmer may have a public liability insurer which would meet a negligence claim.

Bt seems to have carried out what was far from being a simple line reconnection fairly swiftly, and I very much doubt that you have grounds for a claim against the company, although there's nothing to be lost by trying.

  john bunyan 13:03 03 Aug 08

Diemmess I imagine BT did a quicker repair than if you had another service provider. It is mainly for their repair service I stay with them for line rental although I have a different ISP, intenet phone etc.I agree with FE. I think they do give a small rebate for the number of days the line was out of order.

  Diemmess 16:34 03 Aug 08

First but NOT (to me) the most important, is how to obtain a reasonable refund of out of pocket expenses.

After all I pay for an option with BT to supply certain services. If the BT connection fails suddenly I am faced with the need to find an alternative where possible and pay extra for that service.

I grew up in times when there was little likelihood of any refund if a public service failed to deliver.

BUT

More important to me is the need to provide information about the day to day state of any service for which I pay.
The number must be easily obtained and staffed by someone who also grew up within the British Isles and who has access to the details of any breakdown/repair.


spuds really said it all in his post though it goes way back to Post Office Telephones-
"In the direct BT days, it was a simple case of dialling 100, not now though."

  Forum Editor 18:19 03 Aug 08

and staffed by someone who also grew up within the British Isles"

Why on earth must a BT helpdesk be staffed by people who grew up in the British isles? I can't think of any reason why that is a 'must'.

As far as recompense goes, you may well find that BT does something, but I repeat, the fault was not of their making - a tractor broke their cable. The tractor driver is the one who caused the problem, and the tractor driver is therefore liable for driving without due care.

  Diemmess 18:46 03 Aug 08

FE forgive me being too coy.
[Why on earth must a BT helpdesk be staffed by people who grew up in the British isles?]

Well, because I do try my best when confronted with a heavy accent on a sub-continental support line.

However hard I try, I usually find it difficult to understand the "agent," or he or she to understand me.

Regional accents, Irish, Scottish, Liverpool London or Birmingham give me such difficulty at present, but doubtless may change if immigration continues apace.

  interzone55 20:05 03 Aug 08

BT may compensate you for the 8 days without a line, but I'm afraid it's down to the farmer at fault to provide further recompense.

As for BT, I've always found that a simple call to 150 gets a UK based operative...

  Diemmess 20:43 03 Aug 08

My last post reading "give me such difficulty at present" should have read "give me no such difficulty at present."

What sensible balanced comments.

alan14 - you may be right I simply asked my neighbour from my panic, to give me the help number! I will try it next time the World stops turning for me.

Thanks everyone for their input, could tick this but will leave it open for anyone to add their story

  interzone55 20:50 03 Aug 08

I've just remembered something...

I was accidentally cut off by BT about 10 years ago, the should have cut off someone in Reading (01707 area) but cut me off in Rochdale (01706) instead.

Easy mistake to make I suppose, but seeing as my wife was very ill at the time it was extremely inconvenient. Anyway we got in touch with BT, who for some considerable time insisted that I had requested that they terminate the line. Eventually I got fed up I contacted Radio Manchester's consumer type program, they got in touch with BT's marketing people who arranged for the line to be reconnected that day, they also paid off my current bill & gave us a £50 credit on the next bill.

I also had a note added to my account that states no changes can be made to the account without my signature...

  Clapton is God 14:38 04 Aug 08

May I suggest that the long-term solution to your problem would be to move away from the sticks (where, I gather, you live) to the town/city where telephone lines are underground and, thus, there is little or no chance of them being damaged by a "huge farm tractor". ;-)

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