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Problem with Post Office home phone/Openreach.


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In a nutshell:

Last September, we noticed that the cover of the external junction box on our house was missing (presumably blown down in the high winds we'd recently had.)

My husband called our home phone provider, the Post Office, who asked various questions, such as whether it was affecting the line etc. He was very clear that it wasn't, but he was concerned about the wires being open to the elements.

The P.O arranged for a BT Openreach engineer to come out. He arrived, looked at where the box is sited (under the eaves of our house, over our porch) and said a cherry picker would be needed to get up there. Cherry picker duly arrived, the whole box was replaced with a new, modern one and the engineer told us we wouldn't be charged, as it constituted essential maintenance.

Several months later, our phone bill arrives...with an additional £140 plus vat for the call out. According to the P.O, we are responsible for the external junction box, so we have to pay.

Fast forward to last month, and the new junction box has come away from our property and is hanging in mid air, suspended between 2 cables. My husband has gone back to the P.O, saying that he is not happy to have to pay again for work carried out less than 10 months ago. The P.O try to argue that there is no such think as any kind of guarantee on work carried out by Openreach, and we would have to raise a complaint with them directly.

Meanwhile, Openreach inform us that we should never have been charged for the call out anyway, as it was an external issue and not inside the property.

 

Who is right? And where do we stand, now that the junction box needs re-attaching to the property?

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OpenReach are responsible to where the outside cable is connected to the internal BT Master socket inside the property

 

You have been stitched up like a kipper by PO LTD and entitled to a refund

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OpenReach are responsible to where the outside cable is connected to the internal BT Master socket inside the property

 

You have been stitched up like a kipper by PO LTD and entitled to a refund

 

 

So, how do we get any further, ie our money back, and the box sorted, when the PO refuse to agree that we shouldn't have been charged? They will only send out another engineer if we agree that we may be charged...again! £320 plus vat for an external junction box??

Openreach "aren't a customer-fronting company", so we can't deal with them.

Who is ripping who off here? - Openreach trying to fleece the PO? the PO trying to fleece us?

The PO claim that the junction box is our responsibility, because it is on our property, external or not.

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This seems to be an increasing problem. Open reach are charging non BT customers for routine maintenance. I have suggested to my phone provider that a copy of the engineers report for carrying out the work should be given the customer. I have also spoken to Ofcom in regard to my similar problem even though it as now been resolved. At present I cannot get a copy of the engineers report. Whilst in the military I was trained to fault find and deal with both phone and line problems. My phone line and box have been in situ for over thirty years and nobody will tell me when they should be replaced or even if open reach have a routine maintenance schedule. To be fair my phone provider gave me my money back very quickly but even they said that it was a gesture of good will rather than evidence based. As I have said I spoke to Ofcom and I have sent them a complaint about the actions of Open reach, I did get the impression that they would be interested in hearing from people who have this problem.

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This seems to be an increasing problem. Open reach are charging non BT customers for routine maintenance. I have suggested to my phone provider that a copy of the engineers report for carrying out the work should be given the customer. I have also spoken to Ofcom in regard to my similar problem even though it as now been resolved. At present I cannot get a copy of the engineers report. Whilst in the military I was trained to fault find and deal with both phone and line problems. My phone line and box have been in situ for over thirty years and nobody will tell me when they should be replaced or even if open reach have a routine maintenance schedule. To be fair my phone provider gave me my money back very quickly but even they said that it was a gesture of good will rather than evidence based. As I have said I spoke to Ofcom and I have sent them a complaint about the actions of Open reach, I did get the impression that they would be interested in hearing from people who have this problem.

 

 

Thanks for your post. We have asked for the engineer's report, but the P.O would only quote verbally from it and the part they read out was in shorthand/tech speak, so meant nothing to us.

It seems ridiculous that Ofcom will only look into complaints when they have enough to form a case, and even then, it is not on a case-by-case basis on behalf of individual customers. It's also ridiculous that Openreach won't actually deal with the consumer directly - so, even though we had an engineer attend our property and tell us there would be no charge, we have to deal with our provider when complaining about Openreach...and our provider simply puts the barriers up and refuses to discuss it.

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Honersmum I would suggest you start a formal complaint to the post office. You rent the line from the post office you are not responsible for the maintenance of that line. Ask to see a copy of your terms and conditions. Openreach are responsible for that line until it reaches the Box inside your house. I have now had two episodes where my phone providers have tried to bill me for routine work and I have won both.

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