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Mis-leading BT Engineer Charges!!! BEWARE!

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Mis-leading BT Engineer Charges!!! BEWARE!

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Phones & TV
16 replies 2.2K views
MarkusDYMarkusDY Forumite
7 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Phones & TV
Just had the most patronising lady on the phone ever telling me that I am being charged £99 for an engineer to clip a tiny wire in my phone socket. I really cannot believe how they mis-lead people with their wording on their website.

I recently had to report a fault with my BT line, had no dial tone and when calling in to my number from another line, it was going straight to BT Answer 1571.

I decided to do the efficient thing and report it via the BT.com website, knowing how long it takes to get through to them on the phone sometimes! Having done the online diagnostic thing on their website, it came back with a message saying they didn't think it was a fault with the line or exchange and it was potentially a fault inside my house. Having had this happen before in my last house and the website was wrong, I was inclined not to believe it. I then had a disclaimer to agree to which read as follows:

"Engineer Home Improvement Service - We can send an engineer out to check the network and your home setup. If the problem is with our network it is free. If the problem is with your home setup or damage caused by you it's £99. It's worth carrying out some simple checks to see if you can resolve the problem yourself."

Like most of us on here I'm sure, I'm not a telephone engineer. I didn't realise that BT's interpretation of "Home Setup" is actually the internal wiring in the house. I had done all the right things and tried different phones etc before committing to the appointment. The engineer found a extra tiny wire in an extension upstairs and said "I can remove that for you if you want and it should work". So I agreed. However, what he didn't tell me was that it would cost me £99 for the privilege! If he had of told, I would have politely declined as I was having the line cut off imminently anyway!

I thanked the engineer for his time and he went on his way without a mention of a pending charge.

A few weeks later, I receive a phone bill for an additional £99 "Home Improvement Service" charge. When I called BT to complain, I got passed to another department in Cardiff and have never been spoken to in such a patronising way in all my life! The woman there told me that I had clicked the book the appointment and if I didn't read the terms or didn't understand them, that was my fault. I requested a call back from a Manager, who was equally as rude, so I can only conclude they must be trained that way. They both told that their engineers were trained not to discuss charges. I said there is a difference between discussing and disclosing, but they didn't see my point!

I explained to both the first person I spoke to and that when I read this online statement, it doesn't say if you have a faulty internal wiring, they will charge you. It just says "Home setup" and how do you define "Home Setup"? I could assume that means BT's equipment inside the house, or my actual phone, who knows? It also doesn't state on the BT website that the engineer will charge for even just coming to the house, whether they do any work or not. So I would never have had the option to decline the work. It doesn't say that you will be advised of the charges at the time the engineer is present and neither did he tell me that I would be charged regardless of what happened. I told them both that I felt this was mis-leading, and it implies by "Home Setup" that it could be a faulty phone, not internal wiring. I told them that I think it should be made clearer that BT will charge for faulty internal wiring and it is not their responsibility. However, they weren't interested and just told me the charge would not be removed and was a valid charge. I was then threatened that if I didn't pay it, I would have debt collection activity commenced.

As I live in a brand new house, if I had been given the chance to deal with this another way, I would have been able to contact the house builder and ask them to repair the wiring under their guarantee. But this way, I have lost £99 and BT have gained.

I have been a loyal BT customer for many, many years. Even in the face of much cheaper deals elsewhere, I have stuck with them. Luckily for me, I was recently persuaded to leave them for Plusnet and thank god I did! They have far better service than BT.

BT fail to recognise that their wording is mis-leading to many, most of us are not BT engineers and do not know their terminology. Or maybe this is done on purpose as a money making scheme from BT?

From this point on, I will absolutely never use BT again and I will make sure everyone I know gets to hear of this scam, because that's all it is... a scam!

:mad:
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Replies

  • BrowntoaBrowntoa Forumite, Board Guide
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    It is made clear that if the fault is proved to the customers own kit then there is a fee ?
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    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's , Boost your income and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to [email protected] Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • BrowntoaBrowntoa Forumite, Board Guide
    48.4K posts
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    Links in my signature currently broken
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's , Boost your income and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to [email protected] Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • Browntoa wrote: »
    It is made clear that if the fault is proved to the customers own kit then there is a fee ?

    Sure, but define "Kit"? Their website says "Home Setup". One would assume that be the phone, fax or whatever is connected. Not the internal wiring?

    As I say, it needs to be worded much clearer. Home setup is not acceptable.
  • cajefcajef Forumite
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    BT are responsible for the wiring up to your master socket, any fault caused by internal wiring is the customers responsibility this is because people wire their own extensions etc. and BT are not going to sort any problems they may have introduced after the master socket for free.

    It sounds like the fault was caused by the builders faulty internal wiring in which case you need to claim the charge back from them.
    I used to have a handle on life, but it broke. :|
  • iniltousiniltous Forumite
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    You would have been charged regardless of the engineer fixing the problem as it's the un-necessary visit that's charged for, not the 'fix' also it's Openreach that raise a charge that's passed on to you, so it wouldn't have mattered if your provider was BT, Sky, TalkTalk or anyone else, you were charged for reporting a fault on something OR are not responsible for, and you were told of the potential for charges if you proceeded with a report when the indication was the problem was inside your property, sorry but the charge is correct
  • macmanmacman Forumite
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    Any wiring or sockets beyond the NTE5 master are the householder's responsibility, and have been for many years. What else could 'home setup' mean in this context, if not those?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • jb66jb66 Forumite
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    part of the test before booking an engineer is to remove the faceplate. if you did this then you woukd be nearly £100 better off
  • Sorry to disillusionyou OP but you would have had the same outcome with Plusnet - I speak from experience!
  • Roland_SausageRoland_Sausage Forumite
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    I am an Openreach engineer and we are told not to discuss or disclose charges.

    The reason being that Openreach never directly charge the end user but instead bill the service provider and it is up to the service provider whether to pass these charges on or absorb them (some do).

    So if an end user asks me whether they will get charged for the visit, I pretty much have to tell them that it is not up to me and it is the service provider's decision.

    In this case the engineer was correct to raise the charge as the problem was found with the extension. The engineer wasn't raising charges for the fact he fixed it, the charges were raised for the fact that he visited and no fault was found with Openreach equipment. The charges would have been raised even if you had declined to allow him to fix it, so you were just as well allowing him to fix it when he offered.

    You could have ruled out a problem with the extensions by unscrewing the front plate off the master socket and testing from the test socket behind it.

    As someone else said, the same criteria applies for engineer charges regardless of who you are with (BT, Plusnet, Sky, etc). The only difference is whether the service provider is going to pass these on or absorb them.
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