BT engineers - missed appointments

This topic was created by Kelly Fiveash .

  1. Kelly Fiveash

    BT engineers - missed appointments

    Do tell us about your recent experiences with BT Openreach engineers and missed appointments.

    Have you waited in all day for someone to come and repair busted broadband kit and/or connections only to discover hours later that the engineer allocated to the job is a total no-show? Do you think a pattern is emerging with BT struggling to keep up with demand, perhaps? Or, is it the case that service is simply superb? And how does the experience with BT compare with other telcos?

    Fire away with your comments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      Sad to say that mine turned up more or less on time, spent less than 5 mins inside the house, simply unplugged my old modem/router without asking me which was a pain as I would have appreciated closing down my work at the time. Plugged in something to my wall socket, went off for 30 mins, no idea what for, came back and plugged in a new router and legged it.

      It just worked, I got an upgrade to 70Mb download speed on my Smoothwall and simply got on with my work less than an hour later.

      I know its fashionable to carp but in my case, they turned up on time, did what they were supposed to, and left.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      Well they are 100,000,000 times better than ntl: (as they were known at the time I left them), but that isn't hard. Still useless though.

    3. parklife

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      Not about missed appointments, but still Openreach engineers. They took down the pole without telling anyone, lost over half a day of work before before being reconnected.

      However the worst thing was watching an Openreach engineer break into the backyards of my neighbours!! Put ladders up at the rear of the properties then hung over and proceeded to undo the bolted gates!!!

      When challenged he said there was no answer & he needed to replace the external connection to the property. When no identification was produced I called the Police.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

        "I called the Police" - and what did Sting do?

    4. demented

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      In, my case which is still ongoing, I reported a voice fault to my Telephone provider BT retail last wednesday i was given an estimated time to fix the fault of 5 days so it should of been sorted yesterday monday , but wasn't And yes i waited in all day, a complete waste of time as no Openreach engineer showed , still have no dial tone, I have contacted BT via e-mail and i was informed i may need to wait until this Friday ,as BT openreach are apparently saying that there are a lot of faults in my area,(utter non sense) The best bit is that an BTopenreach engineer is responsible for the fault in the first place ,whilst fixing/connecting other lines at the local PCP they disconnected one of the 2 wires ( D 'side Pair) leaving only the broadband service working , and this same thing has happened before,

      And the BT retail (outsourced- based overseas) customer service is abysmal

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

        Back in the days of living in Blighty, my phoneline went dead, thanks to a engineer dicking around in the local wiring cabinet and, no despite him already being on site and, having caused the problem I still had to wait 3 days. After 3 days of it being down I rang back, the conversation went like this

        I'm chasing the status of my repair!

        It's fixed.

        No it isn't!

        How are you talking to me then.

        It's called a mobile phone.


        So no it isn't fixed, there's no voltage on the line.

        What have you done, its forbidden for customers to interfere with BT equipment...........Yap yap yap for a few minutes, you might have caused this issue yourself blah blah blah.

        I'm an IT professional, I deal with incoming phone lines as part of my job, I have a line tester (Total BS about having that piece of kit), I'm not interfering with your equipment as your engineer on-site the other day managed to disconnect my house from your equipment and has failed to reconnect it to your equipment, so how do you know it's fixed?

        It's in the call notes.

        What does it say?

        Tested line, fax machine answered.

        I haven't got a fax machine, I suspect you patched my phone line to the Young Farmers Club offices at the bottom of my garden.

        I'll create a new ticket, it will take 3 days to.....

        Shall I go and ring my number in their offices to test my theory, because as you will only give me as a domestic customer a second round of 3 days to complete a second repair for a problem your engineers caused and have failed to rectify, but they are a business customer and get same day service\24 hours, I'm sure they won't be very happy that they aren't receiving their faxes or calls and I seriously suggest you expedite that as my next call will be to the local cable company to get a new line put in as they just dug up the pavement outside my house and, are offering some very nice incentives to dump you.......

        I'll see what I can do.

        Less than 30 mins later the phone gave a little a ding from the handset, connectivity was restored at least for me, not sure about the YFC.

    5. miket82

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      Been with BT since before carrier pigeons. Always on time and I always benefit. Most recent : I complained that the external cable was coming off the wall. Result, he rerouted the master cable to a more convenient position and gave me a new router.

      Worst case : we had been abroad for some three months and had stopped all outgoing calls during our absence. On arriving back, no connection, our line had been used to service another user. On complaining and on the same day, they attended and fixed it. What happened to the person using out original line I've no idea but that's another story.

      Moral : BT equals Best Telecomms.

    6. HATS_UK

      Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

      I moved home January 17th. I was told BT could not install Broadband/Telephone line until March 3rd. I accept this answer as the new house I was moving into was not connected to the exchange.

      Alas I stayed in all day 3rd March. The appointment was anytime between 1pm and 6 pm but no engineer turned up. It's now March 6th. Logging on to My BT I see a notification saying "Your Broadband order is in hand with a member of our team and we will keep you updated with progress. Please continue to check online for further updates".

      Can I make a claim against BT for the day I had to spend at home and miss work? How do I progress this order with BT? Now the house is connected to the exchange, is it worth me cancelling my order and seeing if Sky or TalkTalk or some other provider can install more quickly?

  2. tickedon

    All fine!

    We had a problem with our business lines in one of our offices last week - had no problem at all booking a BT openreach engineer and having him turn up on time.

  3. Nick L

    Creative uses for streetview...

    Our broadband was failing badly when it rained. Engineer booked after persuading BT I did know what a cable looked like and, really, honestly, there's nothing else connected to the master socket apart from the router, and the damn thing keeps dropping when the front of the house gets wet.

    I work from home, and have developed a finely tuned ear for a transit van. I can open the house door before they get out of the van, normally. No show at all on the day of the visit. I was in all day, and watching for them. I even recently changed the doorbell and there's 3 sounders in the house now. Even toilet stops were conducted with extreme expedience. They simply never called.

    upon phoning at 5pm, BT had the temerity to tell me that they put a card through the letter box of a "brown wooden door". Yes, we have a brown wooden door. no, we have no card. Neither does my neighbour who also has a brown wooden door. The engineer simply never turned up.

    Callout booked for saturday. Never turns up. This time the excuse was that the agent hadn't booked it correctly.

    Two weeks later, an engineer turns up, does a professional job and leaves. Two weeks later...

    I shall be happy to see the back of them, and as soon as my contract is up then I'm off.

  4. Goldmember

    I used to be with BT...

    ...and their service was shockingly bad. They missed appointments more than once, and even used the weather as an excuse. However, I since switched to Sky for broadband and phone. When an engineer dicks about with the exchange and decides to knock off my broadband and/ or phone (it's a busy exchange and this happens a couple of times a year), Sky put in a service call with BT, and an Openreach engineer comes out to fix it. They've turned up on time, every time, and fixed the problem quickly. Same engineers, much better service.

    Whether this is because their hefty deals with Sky are more important to them than their own customers, or just because they have actually improved overall, I can't say.

    1. Steve Evans

      @Goldmember - Re: I used to be with BT...

      This goes back to the early days of opening the network... Anyone remember Mercury Communications?

      Anyway, Mercury used to lease lines from BT on a massive scale. The problem for BT was that if they even looked like they were giving preference to their own faults, as opposed to ones on Mercury lines, all hell broke lose with the regulators. So when a Mercury line developed a fault it was all hands to the pumps.

      I believe this is still the case today, if not worse as the local loop is now opened up.

      I'm sure that if Sky/TalkTalk et al get the slightest feeling of second class treatment, they're straight to the big red phone and contacting the regulator.

      The result is as a BT customer, your engineer is likely to be pulled off your job (before he arrives) and sent to deal with a Sky customer.

      Oh, and yes, I had a no-show for my Infinity install. No call, nothing. Eventually phoned them as 5pm to be told "Oh, he couldn't make it today".

      At least that's better than what I see in the offices where I work... Engineers installing lines and cutting off other offices down the hall. Engineers turning up to setup broadband before the line is even live at the exchange... For a communications company they really suck at communication, even internally!

  5. AndrueC Silver badge

    I had an SFI come out a couple of weeks ago (totally unnecessary as my ISP and I both knew). Appt was booked for Saturday PM and was a no-show. Engineer turned up Sunday AM. When I pointed out it was booked for Sat PM he said "I know but the system told me Sun AM". Sounded like a right cock-and bull story but at least he turned up.

    Unfortunately what we needed was someone from their network team since there was nothing wrong with my line or modem. Well - up till then anyway. The engineer's testing resulted in interleaving being applied and it was two weeks before the DLM relented. All this for an ongoing problem that repeats every 60 days and has done since last June.

    Increased latency, sync unchanged, no packet loss. It's the network, Jim! But BT have yet to accept that.

  6. Ralph B


    Reg says: "the number of no-shows appears to be increasing"

    BT says: "There has been no increase in the proportion of missed appointments"

    This pedant says: The two statements are not necessarily conflicting. If BT is making many more appointments, but missing the same (or lesser) proportion of them, then the number of missed appointments might still be increasing.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Statistics

      That's just fiddling with semantics, and you know it.

      No, the more logical conclusion is that BT is indeed missing the same or fewer appointments, but they're specifically targeting Reg readers to get your wind up...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Statistics

      I don't know why someone downvoted the post above since this is the answer to the article.

      No-shows could very well be increasing in actual numbers, but as the number of overall engineering visits climbs the 'proportion' of no-shows decreases.

    3. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Statistics

      It's far more likely that over-stretched BTOR engineers are being alotted an hour slot for a three hour problem, sticking around to do the job properly and missing the next two appointments. Given the rollocking they'll get for that, the simple answer is to tick the box that says "customer not home" which won't appear on the "no show" reports.

  7. TonkaToys

    Good Service(!)

    We moved house on Thursday and had booked BT to move our line on that day. However the wires on our building had been cut and the phone point removed.

    On Friday I had a terrible 30-45 minute phone call going round the automated system, then another 30 minutes with the polite call-centre operator; worst bit was when he said "without the order number we cannot proceed". I've moved house and have no broadband... how am I going to find that? Thank goodness for mobile broadband!

    Anyway, next day (SATURDAY!) the BT Openreach engineer turned up and confirmed that the wire had indeed been cut. He said he was using a temporary van, so I thought he'd just bugger off. Instead he phone in and another BT Openreach engineer arrived.

    We were up and running within an hour.

    Summary: engineers were great, booking system was crap.

    I'll let you decide whether my experience was good because they were able to charge me £99 as the fault was on my property.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good Service(!)

      Same situation as me. Waited in all day on house move and found out new house had BT wires cut and was a Virgin Media house. Engineer was supposed to come but he enabled something at exchange and I received an automated text saying everything was all working !

      Explained to call centre staff that it would be impossible as wire cut and raised a fault. Fixed a week later and can't fault them for fixing problem once spotted - at one point there was a cherry picker outside too!

      Think its the booking system and house move process that's wrong as people don't know what to expect once they get to the new house.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business visits are no better

    We have a maintainance contract with BT for a Nortel phone system they installed a few years back. We booked an engineer visit to do a reconfig in early February. We were given a date of Friday the 8th of March (a pisstake in itself).

    Come the day, no engineer, no call to say there wasn't one and when I finally got through to someone at 3pm to ask where our engineer was I was told "we don't have any resource to send you an engineer". Now a cynic may suggest that the local engineering office being Swansea, and the day after our appointment being an away Wales/Scotland match at Murrayfield might have something to do with it, but I couldn't possibly comment...

    Now, the real fun comes on Monday. BT are now quoting a date of the 28th of APRIL for a visit, and apparently can't tell me when an engineer is free before then. And it's not like we're a small company, we do £32k's worth of business with BT a year.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah I tried to switch to fibre in january.

    The openreach guy showed the first time but then couldn't fit the card in the green box so said he'd be back in about a week.

    Got an appointment for 3 weeks after - No Show.

    appointment the week after that - no show, but apparently because plusnet hadn't confirmed it.

    Appointment the week after that got cancelled by BT with no reason - if they're doing that it may explain why their no-shows are going down officially!

    I'm still on adsl.

  10. turbine2

    Not the greatest of install experience

    I've recently had BT out to install a new phone line and fibre, which in BT systems is two jobs (which I can just about accept).

    Date and time were agreed and on the day I was the first appointment of the day. BT engineer does his bit and installs the line, but he can't tell me if / when the fibre will be installed so I have to wait until the end of the morning deadline (13:00) to discover that there was a problem with my fibre install and no engineer was coming.

    BT engineer was trained to do fibre installs, so it wasn't a capability issue. He did say they have a new booking system, but their booking system does not help the customer at all.

  11. S4qFBxkFFg

    Technically, I've seen an improved service as when I had them out for a fault about a year and a half ago they first missed the appointment, then discovered the fault was in the exchange. All I got from that was a line rental refund for the time between the two appointments.

    A recent visit was to install a pluggable master socket as the property hadn't had one before - connection was working fine though so I wasn't caring when/if it got done.

  12. lansalot


    I waited for one that Plusnet had arranged, sat with clear view of the front door. Just as well..

    I saw the van pull up. I saw him get out. He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him...

    All because my wiring needed to be checked. Apparently, my wires know the difference between daytime and nighttime, and that's why it's slower in the evening... Plusnet said "not contention", I of course had to wait in.

    So he got to work, everything fine. I explained it was obviously contention but plusnet assured me it wasn't. He the phoned his BT helpdesk and they said "yup, hot virtual path" and switched me to another. Problem solved. So, a good result - but was still unimpressed at the "missed you" bit. If I hadn't been watching at that minute, I'd have wasted the day.

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Hmmm

      "He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him..."

      Experiences like yours make me think I should add another doorbell switch, but connected to the letterbox.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Hmmm

        I think a 3-phase supply into the doormat would be better. Then you have an OCR setup in the letterbox to identify 'sorry you were out' cards and a link to doorbell and letterbox. The system needs a method of knowing whether you're in, then if the card goes in less than a minute after pressing the doorbell, delivery naught-person gets full voltage... Sounds like the perfect project for a Raspberry Pi.

        Course you'd then need another project, some kind of robot for disposing of the corpses of delivery drivers and engineers...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        Or mount a PIR over the door, so they don't need to press the button.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      "He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him..."

      I've seen this stunt pulled a few times (usually by Royalmail and Brutish Hash). Unfortunately for the staff concerned there's a full digital CCTV system covering the doors and gates. Mentioning that such footage would get interesting media attention seems to get remarkable results.

  13. Corinne

    This all assumes that you get an actual appointment. A relative reported her phone line not working on Sunday morning, and the best response she's had is that it "should be fixed by sometime Thursday". Not sure how that fits in with the SLA of a maximum of 3 working days.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No figures rebuttal by BT

    If it were the case that no shows were going down then BT could have easily proven the case by showing hard figures as I'm sure the probably compile these on a service KPI basis. The lack of hard figures makes me think that there is truth in the allegation.

  15. Ian 62

    Help them help you

    I'd moved furniture, removed the dust and spiders so that when the engineer turned up...

    Straight in and out.

    Less than 20mins later; new cable run, new box, new router, FTTC installed tested working.

    He mentioned this was an easy job, sometimes he's climbing over furniture, under beds, got knows what.

    If we could all try a little to make it easier, they'd probably be late less often.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT? Untruthful? NEVER!

    Yet again:

    * Oh, no, fewer people are complaining than ever before

    And again in BT's high standards of integrity shine through; from

    * BT's "six-month free broadband"

    Along with the following from

    * No, we've never intercepted web traffic

    * No, we've never had anything to do with DPI

    * No, we'd never do something like impose bevavioural advertising trial on our customers without asking them first.

    * No, it MUST be your PC

    * No, we're not scamming prices.

    And one can probably add "I won't come in your mouth"

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: BT? Untruthful? NEVER!

      You missed

      * No, we don't have any aluminium cables left in our network

      * No, there are no paper insulated cables left in our network.

      Even using a rather generaous interpretation of "BT Network" (Which apparently stops att he distribution cabs and doesn't count street distribution cables), those statements are both provably untrue.

  17. anwl2007

    It's a joke

    Openreach engineers have unsuccessfully being trying to find what is causing the fault with my broadband and telephone. 2 months ago they identified a faulty switch near the cabinet and since then no-one has been out to fix the issue, there a joke.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to work in customer service for a well known ISP. When we had missed Openreach appointments it was often our fault, not BT's.

    The reason - poor software. Our appointment management system would fail to react correctly to OR's system when a booking was attempted. So on the surface it looked like an booking had been confirmed. In reality it had been rejected. In effect no appointment had been made. It often wasn't until the customer called to ask where their engineer was that it became apparent what had happened.

    Now I know Openreach also miss appointments through their own incompetence. But a significant number of appointments are missed due to the ISP, at least in my experience. Of course it's very easy for the ISP to blame BT, especially as it fits into people's preconception that BT are incompetent.

  19. mfc

    Ass Elbow

    BT made a complete hash of my install too. I moved into a new build house a few months ago. Fortunately the developers had already installed a BT line as they had used it as a site office, so I assumed that the activation process would be easy. How wrong I was.

    Firstly BT refused to acknowledge the existence of the phone lines - despite me providing them with the DDI numbers - and quoted a 60-day lead time. After two weeks of ultimately pointless phones calls to their engineering department there was no other option but to wait for the 60 days.

    BT arranged to send a engineer on install day but predictably they didn't turn up or even attempt to call. When I finally got to speak to someone I was told that they had determined a visit wasn't required and could do all the work from the exchange. However - the phone still wasn't working. This was, I was told, due to some work in the exchange and I would get a phone call later.

    24 hours later, no service, and no call-back I called again to be told there was a major fault in my local street cabinet affecting all of my neighbours. Strange, I commented, since I'd just been next door to use their broadband connection.

    My gripes were now three fold: no service, an engineer no-show, and being outright lied to.

    Service, of sorts, was finally delivered three days later - with broadband a massive 768Kbps with CRC errors and a further week of arguments to get a half decent service.

    My compensation offer for all the phone calls, inconvenience, etc? £10. An absolute disgrace.

    1. Phil W

      Re: Ass Elbow

      I blame you for this!

      Ok that's a little harsh, but tbh I'm pretty sure it's your own fault you wasted the first two weeks of time.

      I would take a very well educated guess that the phone line that was installed originally, which you had the DDI for, was not a BT line. I say that in the sense that it was probably purchased and paid for via a third party telecoms company such as Daisy.

      I know from experience that BTs accounts and line fault departments don't hold records for DDIs belonging to these third parties. I recently had to call in a fault for one of our Daisy owned lines, and found that BT had no idea what I was talking about. After working out it was a Daisy owned line, I called Daisy and a BT engineer was out the next day to fix it.

      Moral of the story: don't always assume you know better than idiot on the end of the phone, because very often you'll be wasting your own time.

      1. mfc

        Re: Ass Elbow

        Nope - it was a BT line, originally installed by a BT engineer to a socket with a BT sticker, with a BT bill. No third party involved at all.

        BT claimed that it was because the original postcode for the site was different from the final one. However the first line of the address did tally - so I don't see the problem.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scared witless

    You have scared the bejesus out of me now. I'm waiting on an engineer to come and fit infinity on Friday. This after having had three orders cancelled without so much as letting me know. I would have wasted those days sitting in if I hadn't checked online to see that everything was going ahead as agreed over the phone.

    So from my end, it's not the engineers that are the sole problem, their order system is clueless, the online tracker is slow to update and sparse in it's information when an order isn't going through. I have been sent the hubs multiple times (including the delivery charge) due to the orders being cancelled their end.

    As is typical with BT and the way it's all structured, one hand doesn't know that the other is picking it's nose in the car park whilst on a fag break.

    Hopefully Friday will pass without incident, don't much fancy a third week in my new place with no access to cat pictures.

    1. Corinne

      Re: Scared witless

      Ah i did the waiting in for an upgrade to Infinity thing twice. Each time the engineer DID come - only to discover that the box on the corner hadn't been upgraded (again) despite all their systems saying it was good to go. Still have the Infinity hub sitting in my study, but the order has been cancelled now.

  21. Leigh Brown

    How topical

    I just had a BT line installed today (for the Zen FTTC product that I have ordered). I was given an 8am to 1pm slot. The engineer arrived at 12:30pm and left about half an hour ago (3pm). Apart from the fact he went past the alloted time, I'm pretty happy. I told him exactly where I wanted the copper cable to be attached to my house, and exactly where I wanted the socket and he did exactly what I requested.

    For some reason I had to get a separate appointment to do the FTTC part so I'm crossing my fingers that will go just as smoothly.

  22. Fennie

    Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

    I used to be with BT Broadband but switched to Sky after a failure in my Broadband service. The problem was more with the outsourced customer service centre than the Engineer. It took a week to get an engineer. He diagnosed it as a problem at the exchange and "bounced the server" - that worked but failed again after 4 hours. Call Centre said i'd have to wait 3 days for another home visit even though i explained (patiently at first) that it didn't need a home visit.

    So I called Sky, asked who would cope with future service issues and they said "us" - so they won the business.

    Oddly, when I cancelled BT, I was contacted by their UK-based contact centre...too late BT, too late...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

      In PlusNet's defence, their UK call centres are usually helpful....

    2. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

      Sky lied to you then. The majority of the service impacting work has to be done by BT Openreach.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BT / PlusNet shambles

    I live out in the sticks. Broadband speeds in our village are very slow (1.5mb down, 0.2mb up).

    I was looking at any options on the PlusNet site for speeding up my basic broadband, put my postcode into their fibre option, and they said they could install it for a 30mb broadband! I thought I would be finally able to use streaming HDTV services and game download services properly!

    Arranged for the BT engineer to arrive on the PM of a given date. I took a half day off work, rushed home in case he had arrived at lunchtime.

    Waited, waited.

    4pm, I called PlusNet regarding the thus-far no-show.

    They informed me to give it til 6pm.

    Waited, waited.

    At 5.30pm, the engineer called the house phone saying that he was busy on jobs in the nearest town, and that he would be down in a couple of hours.

    At 8.30pm, engineer arrives but seems concerned that our village is too far from the exchange.

    He takes a drive to the exchange, calls me back, explains that at 2.1 miles the signal attenuation drop would be too great, he wouldn't recommend an install and apologises.

    Half-day wasted.

    PlusNet then proceed to charge me for the fibre broadband they didn't install. When I query this, they set my rate back to standard broadband - which has doubled in price!

    When I query this, I am informed that it was because they didn't realise I was so far from the exchange. I then proceed to tell them what to do with their broadband, and how sky's broadband offer would work out cheaper for me, they then decide to set the broadband charge to it's previous rate pre-fibre-attempt.

    So, I'm stuck on 1.5mb broadband, I feel like throwing things at the TV when services are advertised with a 2mb minimum recommendation, I chased the LoveFilm guy away from the door for this reason.

    The fibre DSLAM is in a hamlet of about 10 houses on a crossroads - presumably where a BT boss / local councillor lives.

  24. Da Weezil

    There are a number of posts on various broadband forums that suggest that FTTC installs are routinely marked by no-shows.

    What really bites is that BT will charge YOU if you break an appointment, maybe we need a level playing field whereby BT are required to pay us the same level of "fine" is they break the appointment without due notice, then we could expand that into fining BT for wrongful SFI bills. That might make them treat their customers with respect and consideration...

    Of course fixing my unstable 3km (or 2.6km depending on which database you look at)line so broadband doesn't drop out at random and delivers what all the stats say it s should would be too much to ask... even after 10 years. Hmm maybe one of the pair takes a longer route! that would explain the disparity.

    Fail (as my line does too often)

    1. Skoorb

      You sort of can

      However, you don't 'charge' Openreach, you claim compensation for consequential loss from the company you have a contract with.

      Whilst this guide is for missed courier deliveries, the same principle applies here:

      You will need to go though the complaints procedure though.

  25. Piro

    I haven't had a phone line for almost 3 weeks..

    ... Enough said. They've showed their face a couple of times, but that's about it so far.

    Still waiting. No internet at home other than GPRS or possibly HSDPA in the right place is getting tedious.

  26. James 100

    Third time lucky

    I got FTTC last October. At the first attempt, two nice guys from Openretch (apparently a roving team of FTTC installers) showed up - with the wrong paperwork, and despite getting confirmation it was a BT error, they were told from higher up not to complete the installation, since a box not being ticked on the order form is something they can't fix on a same-day basis. They rebooked for later that week ... no-show: apparently, BT's ordering desk had booked the visit with too little notice for the paperwork to come through to the engineers, so nobody was sent. The following week, a local guy showed up right on time (calling first!), swapped the sockets round, hooked up and tested the new kit and went away.

    BT wrote to me today to announce that FTTC's available here now. Having been using it for five months, I would certainly hope it's available...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not one but two

    Had our line connected yesterday by Kelly Communications, apparently a part of BT (or so the guy said) - couldn't be bothered arguing. They turned up on time with no bother at all and even managed to avoid the massive holes left by the builders how are redoing our road at the moment.

    Unfortunately he wasn't able to actually do anything as our line was cut and he couldn't find the manhole as it was snowing so he went off muttering something about BT arranging another appointment.

    A couple of hours later an openreach engineer knocked on the door saying "I know I've not got an appointment booked with you but I thought I'd nip in and chance you being in". He also connected something to the socket and then disappeared.

    20 minutes later he came back saying that he'd fixed the issue but there was now a problem at the exchange. So he picked up all his equipment (weyhey!) and off he went saying he would see if he could get into the exchange but it didn't look likely.

    I came back this morning and the phone and bb worked so whatever he did must have worked. Unfortunately he never told me his name so I can't thank him.

    Perhaps it's cause I work for BT? However I doubt it as its in my g/fs name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not one but two

      BT engineers themselves are bloody good eggs. Not a problem with the men and women on the ground at all.

      However they are managed by the biggest bunch of incompetents this side of anywhere.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Not one but two

        "BT engineers themselves are bloody good eggs"

        The older ones with actual BPO experience are.

        Younger ones are usually cowboys whose sole intent is to get in and out as quickly as possible. I've had several show up, plug in a test set, listen for dialtone and leave, marking the line as fixed - when the complaint was foreign battery on the line - and an immediate retest showed it was still faulty.

        One of the older guys explained it thus:

        BT allocate about 40 minutes onsite per fault. Faults are paid per item closed, not on time taken, therefore it's not in their economic interest to deal with "difficult" issues. Ditto with installations.

        The end result is that it took 6 years(!!!!!!) to get a faulty drop cable between the building and street replaced. That took care of 90% of the problems I'm seeing, however the engineers feely admit both the street distribution cable (to the local distribution cab) and the trunk cable (cab to exchange) are both rotten - I've looked at them when cabs and covers were opened and they're lead-sheathed, paper-insulated items with markings indicating they were installed inthe early 1960s (I quit the telco industry in the late 80s and have more than enough experience to identify cabling. Then I spent the 90s in the ISP game...)

        BTOR older engineeers state the usual way of trying to "fix" customer complaints is to simply swap lines around for the "least-bad" pair (which is what was done with my building drop cable until all 11 pairs failed). That simply gives another person the rotten one.

        BT have repeatedly claimed to Ofcom there is no paper-insulated or aluminium cable "in their network" - attempts to dispute these claims with Ofcom have met with hostile responses, even wehen complainants have evidence.

        I've been informed from a reliable source that the definitiion of "in their network" stops at the distribution cabinets. Street cables don't count. Nonetheless it'd be interesting to call the bluff of anyone making this claim and asking them to make it a statutory declaration in front of a judge. The penalties for perjury might just cause them to rethink the claim.

        It's not just BT who need to be dealt with firmly on the abject failures of Openreach. Ofcom have shown themselves ot be entirely too credulous on BT claims even when conflicting evidence is available. Refusing to reinvestigate is hard to escalate when Ofcom's staff seem to be disinterested in rocking the boat.

        1. Robin Bradshaw
          Thumb Up

          Re: Not one but two

          I have a cunning plan, what we need is location data for these crusty old lead/paper/copper cables on googlemaps, the pikeys will have away with it in no time, since it cant be BT's cable as they have sworn they dont have any, they wont have to burn the pvc off it and they can sell the lead too. Win all round :)

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Not one but two

            Yeah, but properly maintained paper-insulated cable is a lot better for DSL performance than plastic insulated stuff.

            The keywords being "properly maintained"

            The other issue is that BT "cut to clear" when there are pair faults and that's a huge no-no on circuits carrying any numbers of DSL connections - unlike voice circuits, DSL is wideband RF and is badly affected by faults in adjacent circuits in the cable - which a voice circuit doesn't care about.

      2. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Not one but two

        We had a very nice but extremely stressed OR engineer arrive for a mid-morning job in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. His next appointment (as dictated by the master 'puter at Openreach) was in Oswestry (50 miles east, 1.5 hours driving time if roads are clear, 3+ hours with roadworks, tractors, caravans, wind-turbine transporters and straying sheep), and the one after that was in Barmouth (60 miles west from Oswestry, 30 north from Machynlleth). Even before he left us, there was clearly no way the third job was going to be possible before that customers site closed, but there was apparently no way to change his pre-set schedule to visit them first, then head east and finally return to base after office hours. All OR's estimated travel-to-site times are apparently based on a 'national average', which round here is about as useful as a 4G handset down a slate mine...

  28. Tachikoma

    I have been dicked around by OpenReach twice while moving house, first they never turned up to disconnect my old property, but Sky closed my account and the internet still worked for another fortnight, so yay free broadband for the price of one days leave. However at the new property they made an appointment for 3 weeks time, about a week after I was to move in. On the second week, they sent me a text to say my appointment had been rescheduled for another 3 weeks. Booked the day off for the engineers visit and the night before the appointment they sent me another text to say it was all connected and there was no need to take the day off.

    Not turning up at the old place to disconnect everything was an annoyance, but re-scheduling the connection to the new property by 3 weeks after already waiting 2 weeks was... not fun...

  29. Gonebirdin
    Thumb Up

    Very good service

    Turned up on time to install fibre router, called me before hand to check I was home and let me know he was sorting out settings at the exchange and street cabinet.

    Install was really neat and engineer very polite and well informed. All up and running in about an hour. Cannot fault him

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally, not had a problem - engineer arrived on time (actually early, which he'd called me beforehand at work to ask if it was OK, giving me enough time to get home).

    However, am currently trying to migrate a non-BT ADSL line onto an infinity business product and am scuppered by BT not being able to find the address. Now this is not entirely BT's fault, and the chap I'm dealing with has been very helpful and has patiently spent quite a while on the phone to me as we try plugging all sorts of things into their database, but does show that their computer systems clearly don't have a clue.

    The issue is that the property is a pavilion on a sports ground, and that the billing address for the existing BT phone line is our main business location and not the address of the sports ground. But their computer cannot cope with this. If we book an engineer, he will turn up here, at the billing address, and not at the location in question. There is no option for 'send engineer to X'. Because the location doesn't appear to have any sort of valid address that matches what is on their computer, we can't go any further. It's rather surprising that BT can't look up oh, I don't know, the unique phone number currently installed and see what box it is connected to. You can actually see the BT exchange 100 yards away in a straight line.

    It does make me wonder what would happen if we stopped paying the phone bill. Clearly they couldn't disconnect the line as they don't know where it is...

    1. Andy ORourke

      Disconnect ....,...

      Done at the exchange end

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disconnect ....,...

        They know which port to disconnect, but the sub-loop can be confusing.

    2. Tim Jenkins

      I've had the frustrating experience of TWICE moving into new-build properties and have BT insist that the buildings postcode does not exist when I've tried to have a shiny BT-branded master socket enabled with a telephone circuit. Makes you wonder how their engineers managed to find the place in order to screw the sockets to the walls.

  31. Bonce

    Maybe they're measuring the wrong metrics?

    I had a no-show for an appointment to install my BT Infinity in January this year. When I phoned to complain I was told that it was "a problem in their workflow system" which meant that although my appointment showed on BT systems and I'd received regular emails and texts counting down the days until my installation and urging me to make sure I was at home and ready for it, no appointment had been booked on the OpenReach system. So I then had to wait another 15 days for a new appointment.

    Not off to a good start. Managed to get a measly £10 compensation for my wasted day, and had to fight hard for that.

  32. Volvic


    Openreach had an MBORC status (Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control) on most of the country over the winter months which might go some way to explaining the rise in complaints.

    MBORC basically means they can't actually confirm that they'll turn up on time or at all due to weather conditions. At one point in December we (major ISP) had over 10k overdue tickets with them because of it.

    1. Skoorb

      Re: MBORC

      Yup. TalkTalk has the majority of lines on response level 2, so was getting around 90% of faults passed to Openreach 'fixed' in 48 hours. At the back end of last year this figure dropped to 65%.

      All of this is due to 'MBORC' being declared. All faults marked 'MBORC', or in areas marked 'MBORC' are not included in the statistics, and all targets and agreements are immediately removed from these jobs.

      The best past is Openreach keep marking faults as MBORC in apparently 'clear' areas without saying what is outside of their control on that fault. There is nothing the ISP can do but sit and wait.

      So, the response from BT should be taken with a pinch of salt, as it will not include the massive proportion of MBORCed jobs stuffing everything up.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: MBORC

        At the start of February there were no MBORC areas.

        I'm highly surprised that MBORC can be declared without giving a reason. That's an open invitation for abuse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MBORC

      Ah, MBORC....

      Apparently snow in winter, high winds and rain in the UK count as "Matters beyond our reasonable control" rather than "Weather..."

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About a month ago, my phoneline went off.

    Broadband still worked.

    Registered a request.

    No response.

    Everntually got tired and tracked them down.

    Their response was. "We haven't actioned this, because it might cost you money. So we waited until you rang us again, to ensure you really wanted it fixed."

    The alternative was that I kept paying the direct debits, without having a phone.

    I'm therefore of the opinion that they're lying.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: About a month ago, my phoneline went off.

      FWIWm, that's probably a DC fault. DSL operates at radio frequencies so it often continues to work (badly) when there's a minor break in the cable pair.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problems here..

    I had an appointment for a fibre install on a Friday morning.... which turned out to be the Friday in the middle of the last major snow storm. I expected a cancellation but the engineer turned up.. actually two did, and within 30 minutes the upgrade was all done and they had gone on their way.


  35. colin79666

    No issue here

    BT bod came round yesterday at the allotted time (phoned ahead as well when he was leaving his last job). Installed the new NTE5 socket and filter. Went to the cabinet to patch in the fibre links and came back 20 mins later to check the broadband was up and the phones were still functioning (including the extension). All in all about an hours work and done without issue.

  36. Josem

    I tried to switch to BT phone and fibre in December. My flat was ready for fibre had an appointment on the 14 Afternoon.

    My Phone an adsl was disconnected in the morning from my previous ISP. The BT phone was connected from midday, The Openreach engineer showed at 3pm plugged something to my wall socket, went off for an hour no idea what for, came back unplugs the something and tells me He could not install the internet and another engineer have to come and do something outside in the box and I will be given another appointment.

    They give me and Appointment for 14 January then changed to 18 January. I give them 7 days to finish the job.

    The following week I spent several hours in the phone to cancel the contract and get the money paid in advance. They keep passing the buck from one operator to another no one wanted to cancel the contract finally they disconnected the phone on Xmas eve so I had no phone or internet for Xmas and New Year. in January the took the money from my direct debit I again spent several hours in the phone to get someone to cancel the direct debit and give me the refund of one year I paid for the phone in advance, finally someone called back and said that I will get my refund in 14 days I am still waiting. I want to take BT court for wasting my time and refund my money. Any advice?...

    I called Virgin Media they give an appointment within two weeks and the cable was installed in time no hassle.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Small Claims, it's easy

      It can also be done online, you usually don't need to go to court in person.

      Costs £20 IIRC, added to the claim.

      You will have to show that you've taken "reasonable" steps to settle the matter before going to court.

  37. Alan Brown Silver badge

    3rd noshow

    VDSL install: Failed to show up on Feb 21, March 7th and today (March 12th)

  38. stragen001

    engineers good, systems bad

    My company probably books about 250 SFI visits per week with BT so I have a fair bit of experience with BT Wholesale.

    The biggest problem we find is that BTs diagnostics will return "no fault in the BT network" for pretty much every fault, and BT's ONLY response to every fault is to send an SFI......even if the diags(our own and bts) clearly show its a network problem or not something an SFI can fix. This means there are way more sfi visits booked than there should be. Of course, the fact that bt charge you £120+vat if they can find any excuse to blame local equipment has nothing whatsoever to do with their insistence on an sfi visit for every fault......

    And don't even get me started on their callcentre! I once had a conversation with them and asked to speak to "someone that actually knows how ADSL works and I can have a technical discussion with" and was told that "we do not have anyone like that"

    1. Skoorb

      Re: engineers good, systems bad

      See and for the view from an ISP on the 'old' SFI product.

      This has now been improved somewhat with SFI2 (, but still ain't great.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: engineers good, systems bad

      > I once had a conversation with them and asked to speak to "someone that actually knows how ADSL works and I can have a technical discussion with" and was told that "we do not have anyone like that"

      You should fire that through to ofcom. :)

  39. Chloe Cresswell

    Had a new line install booked with BT, 1300-1800 slot. Engineer arrived at new building at 0900, phoned us to find out why no one was there.

    When pointed out there would be someone there in the time slot he was booked in for "I don't know if I can return then".

    Home line for employee with fttc install.

    fttc engineer arrives at 0930, tries to force the install onto employee's room mate's line (which had voice + adsl).

    Leaves, marked that customer refused entry.

    1230 2nd engineer arrives to fit the physical line for the new service..

  40. Tim036

    No-Show and fed rubbish !

    Living in a rural part of the UK, all the copper is up on poles. At the end of last November, the line went very noisy and Broadband dropped out, 10 days later very skilled Engineer came out and fixed.

    Ditto december, ditto January but this time it was a no-show.

    Winging a lot, I was told that it was a 'new' ticket (my jargon) and another 10 days would pass. Explaining that they hadn't done any thing with the first 'ticket' and may I speak to the suppervisor's supervisor , they fixed it in 3 working days. (Excuse was Engineer had tested it in the exchange and line was OK ! = rubbish)

    Meanwhile the telco '3' has a new mast with G3 on it nearby ! It's speed if on occasion up to 6MB/s. and the copper offer 1MB/s tops often less, I bought a WiFi dongle andget the familly's tablets, laptops etc running on it.

    As soon as I've got my Linux (Ubuntu 12.04) Desktop PC running on it I'm ditching the landline as an expensive joke.

    (This OS is a bit picky as to WiFi Dongle and a compatible one should be with me this week)


  41. scoopy

    Lead times

    Just had a new BT master socket installed. Engineer turned up on appointed day (interestingly a contractor) and job completed to good standard. Only issue was I had to wait 6 weeks for the install, which feels like at least 4 too many.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lead times

      Our last business appointment was a six week lead time for a non-fault Engineer appointment. No-one turned up and no-one contacted us to tell us this in advance...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who'd want to be a BT Engineer

    All the existing, qualified ones cost to much to keep, according to the Mgt. The solution is to 'manage' them out of their jobs by steadily increasing their targets. The aim is to replace them with less qualified people on 'cheaper' contracts or to force existing employees to accept changes to their contract.

    Don't take my word for it. Just ask your local friendly BT engineer, the next time they visit, or not.

    1. JaimieV

      Re: Who'd want to be a BT Engineer

      All too true. I wonder if the downvoter is a BT manager?

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Who'd want to be a BT Engineer

      "The aim is to replace them with less qualified people on 'cheaper' contracts"

      Hence why BT is taking on hundreds of ex-squaddies as contractors. It's not about giving them jobs, although that makes a nice soundbite. They'll be out on their collective ear as soon as their purpose is served.(*)

      (*) It's trivial to get rid of contractors, which is why they're setup like that instead of as employees.

  43. Robin Bradshaw

    Oh BT let me count the ways i hate you

    When I first moved into my house I arranged to get the phone line/adsl reconnected waited in for the engineer and all i got was a txt message saying it was all done, now im sure they had done something but they hadnt connected the phone as it was still completely dead.

    Ringing them up and getting past the standard doom and gloom it will cost you £££ if its your fault i tried to explain that it was probably connected as far as the pole at the end of the street but that I needed it to be connected all the way to my house, some more waffeling about availability of engineers and I finally cracked and told the nice lady if you dont fix it im going to climb up the pole and hook up the pair myself.

    The engineer and his nice fluke line break tester thingy arrived first thing next morning and sorted it out :)

    Then last year I had a friend banging on my door asking "if i ever answered the phone?" to which i replied no but it hasnt been ringing anyway, which is how i found the AC ringing signal was broken and why I hadnt had any nuisance calls for a few months.

    Reported the fault, the engineer turned up at the allotted time tested the line and confirmed it was broken but it was a job for the people in the exchange not him and said they would fix it and buggered off.

    That evening I got a text message to tell me it was fixed so I tested the line and it wasnt. So I got to play some fault report ping pong with them, reopen the fault, their helpfull website shown me a nice picture saying its my equipment at fault and closing the issue, me reopening the fault etc etc

    The fifth time I reopened the fault I had lost my temper and added the comment "for god sake check the line card at the exchange" to the ticket. That seemed to do the trick.

    Oh BT I hate you so.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sat around from 8am 'til 1pm waiting for engineers that never showed up to install a business line. They are claiming that the job was cancelled on Friday evening and that we had been contacted. Except we hadn't. I thought BT's core business was communication, evidently not. It's bullshitting when the cock up, clearly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Edit: This was a Saturday morning too. Not amused. I'll be invoicing my time at the Saturday rate.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It would also be very useful to know where I was on the day’s list of visits. A location tracker even."

    Gone too far. Sorry, but no! agreed that missing agreed dates is not good enough, but this suggestion is too far, intrusive even. You'd get no cooperation from me!

    1. JaimieV

      The vans *have* location trackers

      They don't use them for anything useful like seeing how accurate the system's automatic travel time calculation is, or even to make sure that engineers aren't having a sneaky snooze in a layby. They use them to make sure that the vans are parked where they should be out of hours.

  46. Tim 85

    No show and they still try and charge me

    I booked an engineer to come and shift my Master Socket last week. It was an afternoon appointment but the engineer failed to show so when it got to 6:00pm I rang BT to find out where the guy was. I then spent 40 minutes being transferred and put on hold before I get to someone who says the job has been done and there is nothing he can do - even manages to hang up on me mid-sentence. A few days later I receive an e-mail saying that my supplementary bill is available online and sure enough, an additional £130 has been added to my next bill

    I have complained to BT a couple of different times and have got a response back from one of their forum moderators where I also posted about this. The guy was as helpful as he could be and he said the charge would be removed from my bill - 4 days later it is still there.

    It is a really crap situation as I don't have the time to keep on chasing this with BT and if I cancel my direct debit and refuse to pay I will end up wasting my time having to go through the whole thing again and probably getting blacked marked for something that I shouldn't even have to pay. Still, there is no way in the world I am losing £130 to these clowns. As soon as this is sorted then I am ditching BT

  47. Naadir Jeewa

    I dare anyone in a major urban area to beat 126 days and counting to get a line plant conducted in London.

    Moved into a new build in an existing housing estate which already has BT FTTC and Virgin Media. Virgin Media's forbidden for at least 12 months by the housing association, so we're stuck with OpenReach. I spent two weeks trying to get Sky to place an order, but unfortunately they don't understand the process, even when I send them the OpenReach manual explaining how to do it.

    Next, I place an order with BT Retail and they book an engineer in for one month's time. I wait, and they don't show up for a morning appointment. BT call centre tells me the engineer is running late, and to stay in for the afternoon. Still no show, phone BT again and they say "there are no notes in the system....ooh one just came said there's no cable so couldn't do install." I ask why the previous call centre staff operator lied, which led to denials from BT, with promises of an engineer in a few days and compensation. All lies, obviously.

    Nothing happens for a few days. I phone back, and they book another appointment in a months time. Engineer does show up, spends two hours, then concludes there are no cables and leaves.

    I phone BT and ask why OpenReach didn't do a line plant, to which there's no proper answer. Am left hanging ever since. Repeated tweets at them were the only way to get status updates, which were usually of the sort "work to be done - update next week".

    I start contacting the housing association via my local councillor - they tell me OpenReach were supposed to do a line plant as soon as residents started placing orders - instead OpenReach just happily booked engineers to go visit households where they hadn't laid copper for months. Housing Association and I both start trying to contact OpenReach to no avail for several months. I write a letter to Sir Michael Rake and get unhelpful calls from "Executive Level Complaints", or "Executive Pass the Buck" as it should be known.

    Finally, the local councillor tries to contact them on a political level, at which point OpenReach start blaming the council because they couldn't get a permit because of existing gas works. Though, it should be noted that the gas works started to take place several months after OpenReach were supposed to be completing works.

    In the meantime, OpenReach continue to book engineer appointments for lines which can't be connected, who then never show up. I've stopped waiting in for them as well.

    1. Naadir Jeewa

      I should also add that there's no way of complaining about OpenReach. As they're not customer facing, they're not a member of any ajudication service, and OFCOM don't resolve complaints on behalf of end user customer, which means BTOR can continue to act (or not) with impunity.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Ofcom will take complaints about OR if you phone up. They did for me.

        Don't expect them to actually do anything, but if enough people complain perhaps that might change.

        1. Naadir Jeewa

          OFCOM take complaints, but they're only for "monitoring". They wont actually do anything.

  48. Naadir Jeewa

    So, I phoned OFCOM. There's no SLA for OpenReach to provision a PSTN line, just an industry guidance of "10 days." Then the adviser hung up on me when I tried to explain the issue.


    Who regulates the regulator?

  49. CTaylor

    BT engineers breaking my belongings!

    I know this forum is mainly about missed appointments.... However I thought I would share my horror story with you all.

    So this Monday (11th March), 3 engineers turn up in two vans to install our new phone line. The young men seemed nice and I offered them all a drink upon arrival. I then left them to get on with their job and asked them to phone me if there were any problems. Alternatively I said they could find me in the workshop, which is about 100 yards from the house.

    I came back in to the house a couple of hours later to check everything was ok and to offer more cups of tea, and the engineer inside the house said everything was fine. He was installing the new socket on the wall next to the TV and I had noticed that he had moved our surround system to the front of the TV cabinet so he had more room to work. The new location for the socket seemed a somewhat difficult one, as it was right in the corner of the room and I had already moved the furniture out of the way where the old socket is in order for the new one to be placed there.

    Anyway... I asked the engineer to give me a call when everything was done so I could come and lock the house. He did so (after 6 hours of being on my property) and said everything was finished and fine and said he would leave me our new telephone number. I thanked him for everything and that was that.

    Me and my partner arrive home just before 8pm to find an absolute disgrace in our house. I don't really know were to start:

    *First thing we noticed was that both ours and our neighbours garden gates had been left open, resulting in my rabbits being tormented by the dog from next door all afternoon.

    *Inside the house, the old socket had been dismantled and wires left sticking out. I discovered the hard way that one wire was still live when putting it back together!

    *Our speakers were still round the front of the TV cabinet, which wasn't really an issue until we got a closer look. Brick dust was all over one side of the TV (the opposite side to the socket) so we had a look and found that the engineer had pulled the sound system out of the way that hard that the cable attaching it to the TV had been snapped!! Now not only were our speakers broken, but the metal part which was once connected to the speaker wires was still inside our TV! So no sound on our TV any more.

    £600 worth of damage later and it's safe to say I was angry. I wouldn't have been half as mad if the engineer had told me before he left!

    Complaint was made Monday evening and was told I would be contacted within 24 hours. Still waiting.......

    1. Phil W

      Re: BT engineers breaking my belongings!

      Sounds like they did a shocking job, but I'm curious as to how you come up with £600 of damage?

      From the way you described it you've got some brick dust to clean up, and snapped a cable (hdmi/toslink or something?)

      Not excusing their poor workmanship and shocking behaviour and maybe it's just how you've worded it, but it sounds to me like they just did a crappy and messy job, and caused some minor damage rather than £600 worth.

    2. Corinne

      Re: BT engineers breaking my belongings! @Phil

      I think it was the bit where he says "but the metal part which was once connected to the speaker wires was still inside our TV". If his TV works the same as mine, if the external speaker system is plugged in then that automatically over-rides the TV's inbuilt speakers. So CTaylor's TV will be thinking the surround sound system is plugged in and won't use it's own speakers, while he can't plug anything in because of the broken bits left inside the TV.

      So either an expensive repair job on the TV or a replacement TV.

      1. Phil W

        Re: BT engineers breaking my belongings! @Phil

        Ah, I'm seeing it better now!

  50. Naadir Jeewa

    This is OFCOM's stupid written response:

    "In terms of our role, our regulations stating that one should be in place relate to Service Providers that supply and charge end users (customers) for the service rather than Openreach.

    Whilst I am unsure as to the nature of your complaint, I should explain that a consumer’s contract is with their provider and as such, they have no relationship with Openreach. In the event that a there is a problem with their phone or broadband service, or an issue about the work that has been done at their premises by an engineer, they should raise this with their service provider.

    The provider has a duty of care to have a duty of care to manage their customer’s complaint, ensure that Openreach are doing what they can to sort out the problem and update their customers as things progress. Their service provider can liaise with Openreach as necessary.

    If a consumer remains unhappy with the way their provider is handling the issue, they may wish to follow their provider’s complaints process. Details of this should be shown on their provider’s website, or can be obtained from their customer services department directly."

    So, OFCOM don't understand basic principal-agent theory. Given that BTOR is the monopoly copper provider, what means of compellence does a end-user customer have if they have to go through an intermediary to whom BTOR withholds information?

  51. AJI

    No show that won't appear in statistics

    Just waited in all morning but no BT infinity install! Phoned them up, "the work hasn't been done at the exchange or in your cabinet yet, we'll call you in a week to arrange an appointment" . I asked politely why no one had bothered to tell me this, since I had all the paperwork confirming the appointment and my online order tracking still shows it as in progress and on target. "We tried to call you last week but you never answer your phone, it just rings and rings". I explained that I have an answerphone, and I had successful calls and/or messages left by other people every day, so that seems implausible, but the response was there must be something wrong with my phone. I also pointed out they have been sending me emails all week assuring me the order is on target, and my online tracking shows the appointment on track - they just changed the subject at this point.

    What's the betting this doesn't appear in BT statistics as a no-show?

    The helpful person on the line made a generous offer of £10 credit for my trouble - did I feel good about having my time valued at £2 an hour?? She also said there was no problem if I didn't have broadband, because they would let me have free minutes on BT Openzone! She seemed puzzled that my house might not be covered by openzone wifi.

    With a lot of persistence I got a VERY VERY reluctant agreement for a manager to call me back, but it won't be till next week, apparently they are all too busy with important calls - from which I deduce that mine doesn't fall into the "important" category. Should be an interesting call next week......

    1. Corinne

      Re: No show that won't appear in statistics

      The reason why they didn't tell you that the exchange/cabinet work hadn't been done was because the department that does that work doesn't have a process for telling the installation department that the work has been rescheduled. So the people who call/email you have no idea that your install can't go ahead, and may only have found out themselves when the engineer goes to the cabinet that day.

      This is exactly what happened to me twice - engineer turns up at my house only to discover that the cabinet hasn't been upgraded. The second time it happened I was insistant that they didn't even schedule the third visit until they had confirmation that the work on the cabinet had already been carried out, yet I still got a call a couple of days before the cabinet work was due trying to insist I could make the appointment as the work was definitely going ahead. Guess what? It was rescheduled again to "some time 2013" (bearing in mind this was going on over a year ago).

      Like you I received a generous £10 per failed install and I had to argue for that as technically they HAD called, just not been able to carry out the work, which makes that payment discretionary!

      1. AJI

        Re: No show that won't appear in statistics

        Actually that isn't the way it came across for me: they said they had known the week before the appointment that the work hadn't been done, but claimed they had been phoning me repeatedly to cancel the appointment. That was clearly not true, but they kept up the pretence, and just generously agreed to overlook the fact that I wasn't contactable.

        As of today, was promised exchange would be done Tuesday and I would be making an appointment today, however the story is now that was (another) mistake, and it is now due 9th April. I'm not holding my breath!

        1. Corinne

          Re: No show that won't appear in statistics

          They may have TOLD you that, but I had a nice sympathetic engineer who told me the morning of the 2nd failed appointment, followed up by an even nicer guy at BT Dundee who confirmed that was what was happening,

          Just don't make another appointment until they confirm they have actually done the work - you may get pressured by a salesperson to make that appointment but hold firm.

  52. Naadir Jeewa

    Right, OpenReach still haven't done the works to get our properties connected. Next update is on Day 162. I live in London. I can really see OpenReach rolling out FTTC to rural Scotland, can't you?

    1. Skoorb

      For goodness sake, just make a formal complaint already and start the 8 week deadline rolling:

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The work to upgrade the cabinet to allow your FTTC is completed 4 days before appointment so any issues can be fixed before engineer turns up so theres no excuse if they turn up and its not done.

  54. sandyring


    Took half a day off today, sat in the lounge a few meters from the front door from 8am til 12:50, at 12:50 I got an email saying the BT engineer couldn't gain access to the property, another 2 hours spent on the phone trying to find out when he has turned up.

    Now 10 days without internet which I need for work.

    Absolutely abysmal, no one cares at all.

    1. Phil W

      Re: abysmal

      Not excusing BT's poor service in any way, obviously crap response you've got.

      Just curious though, are you paying for a business package from an ISP? Or just using a normal home internet package?

      I wouldn't like to presume, but the majority of home workers that I hear complaining about their internet being off and needing it for work are paying cheap rates for home user connections instead of forking out business rates and getting SLAs from their ISP.

  55. Poprocks84

    Been in new build since april 2013. Initially ordered phone and broadband with SKY. Between april and July 2013 had engineer no shows and nobody contacting us. Was advise there were faults on the line, no line laid by BT openreach ect, each time was told something different. With no active phone line we moved to try with BT in July 2013. As of today (16th sep 2013) we have had two failed engineer appointments, 3 cancelled orders for broadband and phone line and today BT cannot tell us when this will be done. They now say the engineer checked the phone line and there wasnt one laid to the poperty. Cannot speak to BT openreach. Been advised to check back in october. Nobody willing to take a complaint at BT and 6 months on , no phone line or internet!! I feel like screaming and crying!!!!

  56. Suburban Inmate

    I'm finally shifting my lazy arse away from BeThere, but they have offered me 12 months half price (shit, I should have made the call when I first heard rumors of Sky) and now it just doesn't seem worth the hassle.

    Should I stick with half price BeSky or move over to Infinity unlimited?

  57. hangell

    I took half a day off work and BT Openreach didnt turn up, TalkTalk have washed their hands of it and BT arent getting back to me. Allow other companies to work on the lines, with the correct training of course, having just OpenReach is clearly not working.

  58. Zacherynuk

    Openreach are to the infrastructure as G4S is to security. And, indeed alarm company ADT.

    They are a poor umbrella / management company with countless sub contracted individuals leaching off the name. I have noticed in London that they have run out of vans, even and sending joe bloggs and his crimping tool into establishments with only a 2x2 sticker on their C reg Astra van.

    They are a running joke, like BR was in the 80's. Thing is BT 'for real' aren't any better, the sales and account management is diabolical, especially in highly congested areas like Mayfair - I have seen 100+ grand sales (annum) for BT vaporise this year so far because they couldn't be arsed to get back.

    Openreach took nearly 3 months to connect my second line at my home office. 9 engineers. The issue was the overhead needed replacing, but that required work and they get paid a set fee per call out so would rather not do work. I was told, by one of them that geo-stationary satellites caused the interference and since I was so close to Gatwick flight path I was always going to have CRC errors. Despite another xdsl line in the house being fine.

    The short of it is that it is almost entirely at the discretion of the engineer as to whether he does his job or not. There is no peer review, there is no where else to go. there are no standards, due care or retribution.

    When I did my school work experience, aged 15 I spent 2 weeks sat in the back of a big yellow British Rail Lorry playing Gin Rummy and drinking tea. Apparently this was because they got paid triple time on weekends and so didn't want to clear any tickets. They still got paid though.

    Every single time. Every.Single. Time. Every single time a new line goes in at countless London clients sites, whether it be the Gherkin, a Regus officem a shared building or a wholly owned building of over 2000 people. EVERY SINGLE TIME a new line goes in the Openreach engineer will snip and use the nearest LLU line (easynet etc) since it doesn't have a dial tone - but is the neatest one and VERY CLEARLY MARKED. EVERY SINGLE TIME. He'll go away with an easy job, next engineer will come out and know what happened and have to put it right. I think it's a game they play. (Although I wouldn't be surprised if they charge the LLU's!)

    Openreach is clearly not working.

  59. jds123456

    I havent personally experienced this but....

    My friends recently moved house and decided on BT broadband, however when BT didnt turn up they cancelled their order and went with virign media.

    1. John P

      Re: I havent personally experienced this but....

      A friend of mine had the same issue recently when moving in to a brand new estate. There was no Virgin so BT was his only choice, they failed to turn up 3 times before they could be arsed to actually turn up and install his line. The first two times they cancelled the appointment but didn't tell him, the third time they just plain didn't bother to visit.

      Interestingly, according to the representative of the construction company that he spoke to, the reason BT was his only choice was because they'd made a deal with the construction company that wouldn't allow Virgin to lay their lines during construction and somehow actively prevents them from doing installations on site for X years after completion. How on earth can that be legal?

  60. Cleary1981

    Disconnection Fee

    Not impressed with BT. I called at my mums to look at her BT bills. She has been on the same broadband package for years which has a 10GB allowance. Typically they were hitting 20GB per month. So I called BT to change package and was informed that they could have infinity for the same price she pays now but there was a £30 connection fee. I asked if it could be waived for a longstanding customer who has been hit with extra charges for over use. Not liking their response I asked about cancelling the contract which is long expired and was told she would have to pay a £30 fee to have it disconnected. This apparently is buried somewhere in the T&C's which would have appeared onscreen when she first setup her broadband. I find this completely underhand and I would love to know when this came into affect as she has had this package for some time. If anyone knows a way round this I would love to know. The money is not the issue I just hate caving to these scum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disconnection Fee

      Bascially if you cancel ADSL and don't move your service to someone else Openreach/BT have to send someone out to physically disconnect the ADSL and therefore they charge.

      If however you request a MAC code and move to another ISP they won't charge.

  61. Lionel Baden

    The day I saw Red

    I learnt the expression "Seeing Red" is a literal term. No Joke...

    New build property, 3.5 month to get phone and broadband. although paying full price for both

    Claims there were no cables laid to the property, I quite happily explained they were sticking up the side of the house just not connected.

    2.7 months into ordeal of phonecalls

    Crews working on other properties on the same estate wire up my property, they managed to get the paperwork after a month on needling their manager.

    Finally a Kelly engineer turns up, i have moved all the furniture for easy access, i laid out all the equipment for him. and he then states there is no broadband install ordered for my property (I saw red here) He then tries to put through a charge at a later date for £130 as there was already a phone line.

    So order broadband and end up paying for 2 phonelines, 2 phone packages and 2 broadband connections.

    i was offered £25 for my entire ordeal.

    I managed to get back around £500 for overpayment, lack of service, mobile dongle(no wifi spots), and data usage.

    It was the worst experience of my life with a company. I have never been treated so poorly.

    There is more to the story and more details i have skimped on, but to explain in full would require much to much time and would get rather monotonous.

    I have many positive experiences with BT, and their older engineers are of a class second to none. Who care about their work and the customer. I still believe they are the best choice for most consumers.

    I have had 2 problems with kelly's, mind you that they have only visited twice speaks volumes.

    I was a self employed IT Consultant who worked from home the entire time this happened.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm in this loop now.

    Bt Openreach engineer working in roadside cabinet in January managed to screw my line, and it's now the middle of March. I still have a faulty line, and trying to get BT to do anything about it is just impossible. All you ever get is some call centre worker, who has no accountability or stake in being arsed about the problem, who sits and spews forth platitudes. I can't tell you the number of BT call centre employees who have told me "not to worry" apparently it's all in hand and "the problem will be fixed".

    I'm now sat here looking at the number for the disconnection department, because I've really, really had my fill of BT's utter incompetence. I know I should do it, but I wonder if it wouldn't be wise to find an alternative provider first, instead of letting my frustration and anger get the better of me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Get the right BT engineer and your woes will fade away as he fixes the problem... it's how to get the right BT engineer which seems to be the problem :-)

    2. rhydian

      If you value your phone number I'd hold off until the line is fixed. Getting another provider involved during a fault is a recipe for disaster.

      As said, the engineers themselves (unless they're a sub from Kelly's or similar) are usually fine blokes who know what they're doing. The problem is the layers of crap between you and them.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "As said, the engineers themselves (unless they're a sub from Kelly's or similar) are usually fine blokes who know what they're doing."

        Over the last few years, BT has systematically employed ex-squaddies. Most seem to think the correct way to reboot a computer involves steel toecaps.

        Army boys may be good at following orders but they're not so good at analytical thinking or initiative.

  63. Pbhana

    I recently ordered Sky and Sky broadband since I was moving into another flat. The broadband appointment was scheduled for the 7th July 2014. The booking was confirmed between 8:00 - 13:00 PM. I contacted Sky at 12:45 asking what the status of the engineer was and they told me that the engineer has missed the appointment. I was frustrated and left for work. The engineer called me at 15:45 asking me if I was at home (obviously at work by now). He complained to me about the amount of work he had to do.

    I later phoned Sky and they could only re-schedule the appointment for the 21st July 2014. I begged and pleaded and they were sympathetic yet assertive that they could not change the date since it had to do with the BT booking portal. On the 20th July, I received a text message notifying me that the appointment for the 21st July was now cancelled and the best they could offer me was the 4th August....

    I called Sky on numerous occasions and again, they guaranteed me that and engineer will connect my broadband on the 4th of August. I'm not sure what I should do. This has gone on for a full month. Does anyone out there know who I can contact to have my broadband connected??? Please help!!!

  64. Edward Grefenstette

    BT/Openreach are incompetent

    I ordered an upgrade on BT line, to BT Infinity. My flat has a broken buzzer, and a big sign on the door that states this, and my phone number (to call, to be let in). To be safe, when booking the upgrade, I also added a note stating that the buzzer was broken and that a call needed to be made (indicating my number). No call was made on the day, and the engineer never showed up.

    I call BT support on the evening of the failed visit (a Monday), and they assured me that they were on my side and would advance an engineering visit to Thursday or Friday, and call on Tuesday to confirm. No one called on Tuesday, so on Wednesday I called BT again. This time, they stated that the engineering appointment couldn't be brought forward because "The engineer couldn't get access to the property" (no missed calls on my end!). I explained that I had given notice of how to access the property at the time of booking, and on the door to the property itself. The support chap said that he would arrange for an engineer to come on Thursday, Friday, or Monday. I had a chat with BT today, and it turns out the engineer is not coming any of those days, and will come at the end of the month "because they couldn't get access to the property".

    In short, Openreach lied that they couldn't get access to the property, because they didn't follow instructions, and BT has repeatedly lied to me that they would resolve the issue. Avoid these companies!!

  65. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "I had a chat with BT today, and it turns out the engineer is not coming any of those days, and will come at the end of the month "because they couldn't get access to the property". "

    They tried this on me once. I offered to upload the CCTV footage showing they hadn't bothered turning up.

    On another occasion the Openbletch tech parked outside for 25 minutes, then drove off, trying to claim "noone was home". CCTV footage showed that lie up too.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beware MJ Quinn engineer

    Last year I ordered FTTC from an indepentent ISP. I had a PM appointment slot which I had to take a day off work for. The engineer was from MJ Quinn who rolled up 2 minutes before the end of the time slot and took one look and said, "sorry, your router is incompatible so I can't do the work". I argued with him as I knew my router was good, and even if it wasn't, he would've had to install an Openreach modem anyway, but he wouldn't hear of it, so he logged an abortive visit. I think his shift was ending and wanted to get home to have his tea so couldn't be bothered. The next day I complained and a Kelly Communications engineer turned up the day after and installed it with no problems.

    I work for a small IT company and have had many run-ins with incompetent BT/Openreach/Kelly/Quinn engineers, but also there are some that have had some common sense and broke BT's H&S rules to keep the customer happy.

  67. David_Penson

    Can’t even fix a fault with their own equipment.

    i have had to take many days off work, and still the fault with their equipment is not fixed. they continue to take money for a service they are not providing, and as i have lost so much money sitting at home waiting for an engineer to visit if they actually turn up, they claim they have a photograph of my front door to prove they visited, this is contrary to 6 hrs of cctv footage. I may be forced to take them to court, as apparently a payment for a service that they can’t provide is non refundable.

    After the 3rd and final BT visit my connection speed is less than when I started to complain about it dropping out. and plusnet`s response is its fixed. I think not.

    Now they are blaming my cctv for REIN, however it complies with EMC directive 1999/5/EC.

    They made my internet worse, damaged my property (because clearly they are not trained to use drills), and now blaming unrelated equipment.

  68. jamiep

    BT let me down

    Had an installation booked in on 27th August 2015 between 1-6. Nobody turned up rang or contacted me to inform me of this, spent 2 hours on hold waiting to speak to a manager. The following day I spent a further 2 hours on hold finally got through to a manager called kumar who lied a load of times to me and also informed me that there wasn't an engineer available for that slot. How is this even possible we had an appointment ready for the works what a waste of time and effort. They gave me another appointment a week later, BT openreach installed a phone line and waited for the other engineer to turn up. Spoke to customer services again who informed me that another appointment will have to be made, I am fuming how can this be aloud.

    1. rhydian

      Re: BT let me down

      "also informed me that there wasn't an engineer available for that slot. How is this even possible we had an appointment ready"

      Usual answer is that they've "run out of resource" (also known as: run out of engineers).

      Also, many utilities are moving over to workers "picking up" jobs from a despatch system. Your appointment would be put on that list to be picked up by an engineer, however if they're all busy then no-one turns up, and you don't get to know anything.

  69. auden12

    But properly maintained paper-insulated cable is a lot better for DSL performance than plastic insulated stuff.

    1. rhydian

      The key word there is "properly maintained". Openreach have given up looking after external line plant in my area. Cables fallen from poles and left for years, crosstalk on lines never fixed..

  70. auden12

    Turned up on time to install fibre router, called me before hand to check I was home and let me know he was sorting out settings at the exchange and street cabinet.

  71. Bob H

    I got accused of missing an Openreach appointment recently where the engineer was supposed to install a new FTTC line, which was interesting because the bloke came fairly promptly, installed the line, it worked fine and he was on his way fairly quickly (a very satisfactory experience).

    I suspect someone failed to close the job correctly and I got blamed as a result.

  72. cfisher1966

    Repeated Openreach cancellations

    I confirmed on appointment for today, 24th November, on Friday 20th November, arranged hotel to be there by 0800 and drove 130 miles. So, large expense and night away from the family. This morning I chase and am told that Openreach have moved the appointment until tomorrow. So another night in a Hotel away from my family, yet more cost.

    They did exactly the same to me on 25th August, as per the following complaint we sent them

    An appointment for an Engineer on-site visit was arranged back on 17th August. This appointment was for an engineer to turn up between 0800 and 1300 hours on 25th August to perform the upgrade. We were also advised that our external IP was changing which meant that technical support had to be on hand to minimise loss of business and reconfigure our external comms.

    In order to ensure that our technical staff would be there by 0800, our ICT administrator went to Market Harborough the day and spent the night in a hotel. His combined travel, subsistence and hotel expenses alone are close to £300, not to mention his daily wage which we have not factored in.

    We find it totally unacceptable that Openreach:-

    1. Failed to attend during the hours of 0800 and 1300.

    2. Did not contact us at all – we had to call you to chase them

    3. then advised that we should hang around until 1800 hours as they would definitely attend

    4. Failed to attend again despite these assurances

    5. Claim that they could not get hold of their engineer – are they not a communications company?

    6. claim they attended at 2200 hours and that no-one was available. This was a business appointment, how on earth did they expect the office to be manned at 2200?

    7. claim they left a voicemail stating that they had attended. This is not believable

    As a result of the above, our technical staff had to remain in Market Harborough until much later than planned, which would have incurred another hotel night charge had they not chosen to drive 150 miles home.

    We also find Openreach’s claim that they attended at 2200 hours ridiculous. Our technician’s contact number was given, and no voicemail was left. Lastly, the site is very secure and has rising bollards that are designed to stop heavy plant machinery being stolen from the site, so the claim that the engineer entered the site in an Openreach Transit van is not believable.

    I would be grateful if you could pass this complaint on to Openreach and also to advise where we should send our invoice for our technician’s travel and hotel expenses, directly incurred by their failure to attend.

    Openreach's response? They did not even bother to reply. Has anyone had any success claiming compensation from Openreach?

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