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BT Damaged My House, Refuses Any Liability for Damage - Tells Me To Sue Their Contractor


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Living in England, about 6 months ago, I joined BT to get full-fibre broadband. When the engineer installed the fibre optic cable through the exterior wall, he SMASHED (not drilled but smashed) a fist sized hole through the roof of my porch. I complained to BT, who put me in contact with their lawyer. After I got in contact with her, she sent me a form to fill in. I filled in the form giving all the details and gave a description of the damage, along with photographs and a quote from a local builder to repair the damage.
I then received and email back from her saying;
"Investigations into this matter have revealed that [Contractor] were working at the incident location at the relevant time. BT is contracted with [Contractor] to carry out works on its behalf. Pursuant to the contract between BT and [Contractor] are required to indemnify BT against claims brought against BT for damages and/or loss and/or injury. Your claim therefore should be dealt with by [Contractor] and/or their insurers.
I have forwarded your claim to [Contractor] and asked them to correspond directly with you in relation to your claim. Our file will remain open and we will maintain contact with [Contractor] throughout the claim."
In the weeks since, I have (of course) received no communication from [Contractor] nor any thing more from BT

My questions are;
(1) I only have a contract with BT, never having heard of [Contractor] until now, and indeed, have only BT's word that the engineer really was working for [contractor]. Is it not BT that bears the responsibility of any damage anyone working for them does to my property, contractor or not?

(2) If the answer to (1) is yes, is BT's lawyer breaking any laws by falsely telling me BT is not liable, and, if so, to what professional body do I complain about this?
(3) What should I do next?

 

Living in England,

about 6 months ago, I joined BT to get full-fibre broadband.

 

When the engineer installed the fibre optic cable through the exterior wall, he SMASHED (not drilled but smashed) a fist sized hole through the roof of my porch.

I complained to BT, who put me in contact with their lawyer.

 

After I got in contact with her, she sent me a form to fill in. I filled in the form giving all the details and gave a description of the damage, along with photographs and a quote from a local builder to repair the damage.


I then received and email back from her saying;

Quote

 

"Investigations into this matter have revealed that [Contractor] were working at the incident location at the relevant time. BT is contracted with [Contractor] to carry out works on its behalf.

 

Pursuant to the contract between BT and [Contractor] are required to indemnify BT against claims brought against BT for damages and/or loss and/or injury.

Your claim therefore should be dealt with by [Contractor] and/or their insurers.


I have forwarded your claim to [Contractor] and asked them to correspond directly with you in relation to your claim.

SeeOur file will remain open and we will maintain contact with [Contractor] throughout the claim."

 


In the weeks since, I have (of course) received no communication from [Contractor] nor any thing more from BT

 

My questions are;
(1) I only have a contract with BT, never having heard of [Contractor] until now, and indeed, have only BT's word that the engineer really was working for [contractor].

Is it not BT that bears the responsibility of any damage anyone working for them does to my property, contractor or not?

 

(2) If the answer to (1) is yes, is BT's lawyer breaking any laws by falsely telling me BT is not liable, and, if so, to what professional body do I complain about this?


(3) What should I do next?

Edited by BankFodder
Restructured in order to make it readable
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The responsibility is British Telecom's. You are being fobbed off.

You should keep control of this and that means that you should reject any attempts by British Telecom to pass you on to someone else.

Why have you hidden the name of the contractor? What is the name of the solicitor who sent you this message?

I understand that you have an independent valuation of the damage. Is that in writing? What is the value of the repairs?

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10 hours ago, Shining_Hammer said:

(2) If the answer to (1) is yes, is BT's lawyer breaking any laws by falsely telling me BT is not liable, and, if so, to what professional body do I complain about this?

 

That isn't what BT's lawyer have said, but even if they had it wouldn't be breaking any law. I read it as saying that BT have instructed the contractor to deal with it on BT's behalf.  But if the contractor has done nothing then you go back to BT.

 

Is the lawyer a BT internal legal department lawyer (ie a BT employee)? Or an independent firm of solicitors?

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The BT lawyer, Vicky Tomenson,  tells me the name of the contractor is MJ Quinn - a google search shows that this 'www.mjquinn.co.uk ' is presumably the company, a Telecommunications contractor in Knowsley, England. I should point out that the only evidence I have that this was company is the BT lawyer, Vicky Tomenson, saying it is - All I saw was an engineer who gave his name as 'Connor', who turned up in BT Openreach marked van, did "the worst install we've ever seen" (a quote from BT engineers who came to fix the fibre line - they took a picture to show their co-workers), strewed rubbish all over my driveway, didn't make sure the line actually worked, and drove off before I could go outside and see the damage. The line didn't work for almost 4 months and took over 10 BT engineer visits to finally fix - the problem was finally traced to 'Connor''s very poor fibre optic splice. I have no personal proof of anything else.

 

The BT lawyer I have been told will be dealing with my claim is Vicky Tomenson, Claims Handler, of DWF Claims of Bridgewater Place Water Lane Leeds LS11 5DY. I was told by BT (during a phone call with BT) that 'these are the lawyers that deal with claims against BT.'

I have got a quote from a local builders of a total of £660 inc VAT in a written (emailed) quote from a local builder that I attached to completed claim form I sent back - can I claim extra  for my (excessive) time I've had to spend dealing with this?
The documents I sent were;
(1) Completed claim form.
(2) Quote from builder for repair of the damage.
(3) Multiple photographs of the damage.
(4) Photograph of my driving license as proof of identity.
(5) Utility bill as proof of address.

The reason I did not name the law firm at first was that I was unsure about if this was permitted as this is my first post here - I see now that it is.

I'm going to SAR both BT, BT Openreach and MJ Quinn right now.

Thank you for your reply.

 

 

 

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You say that photographs have been taken and also an engineer working for BT criticised installation. Do you have any evidence of that now?

 

Also, during the period that the system didn't work, where you paying any money to BT?

It is starting to become clear that the situation is rather more complicated than you first indicated.

Please can you give us a bullet pointed chronology/timeline of events

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Not a lawyer at all. Simply a so-called "claims handler" who probably spends a lot of her time fobbing off BT victims onto contractors et cetera. Probably thinks that she is doing BT a favour

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I understand also that you have had the damage inspected and you have a quotation for the repairs. I think it's a good idea to get to quotations. Make sure that they will be good quality repairs – you don't need to skimp because BT will be paying.

Sending SARs is a good idea but the most important thing is that you get the quotations.
Vicky Tomenson
Once you have done that then come back here we will take you to the next step. We will try to point out to Vicky Tomenson that the best thing she can do is to help her employers act morally and responsibly.

 

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M J Quinn is a national company doing telecomms installation work on behalf of BT Openreach. I often see their vans round my way with the the BT Openreach logo and underneath something like ' M J Quinn working on behalf of Openreach'. It's common for BT to outsource work to independent contractors, there seems no reason to doubt it in this case.

 

DWF Claims is part of the law firm DWF and handles BT's third party insurance claims. The Claims Handler there is likely to be an insurance person not a lawyer.

 

Can you clarify the time line here please

 

When did the damage occur?

When did you first complain to BT?

When did you first have contact the Claims Handler at DWF?

When did you return the claims form and documents etc to DWF Claims?

 

DWF Claims will only be involved with your claim for the damage to your house. The service issues BankFodder highlights will be dealt with elsewhere within BT.

 

[EDIT] Posted before I saw BankFodder has asked the same time line question.

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I see what my site team colleague has posted above – but I'm going to say right now that you should deal directly with BT. Refuse to deal with the insurance company – that is BT's problem. BT have already demonstrated bad faith by trying to fob you off and so you should challenge BT directly and begin a court procedure against them if necessary – as it probably will be.
Show BT that they have lost control and that you are now dictating timelines.


You have a damaged home and you want it sorted out quickly – and although you haven't given us a chronology yet, it seems to me from what you have said that you may have had to put up with the damage to your home for four months.

That's quite long enough.

Now the time to take control and get it sorted out quickly – and of course we will help you

 

You will be able to claim against BT not only for the damage to your home, but also if you have suffered loss of service for four months, then we will also help you claim for that at the same time – as well as any other ancillary losses

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I am treating the house damage and compensation for lack of service as two different claims at the moment.

(1) Do you think I should combine them into one larger claim? I have received some money from BT as part of the mandatory compensation as ordered by OFCOM, but the is more I need to claim in regard to missing service and missed visits - I just didn't want to muddy the claims by mixing them both up.
Here is the BT Damage Hole Timeline (not including missing phone & broadband service);
BT Damage Hole Timeline;
===================================
01/10/21 Initial Setup Appointment
I was told Broadband engineer would visit on 04 Oct 2021 between 8am and 1pm
===============================
04/10/21 2021
Engineer visit booked for between 8am and 1pm
ENGINEER NEVER ARRIVED
1st missed visit
===============================
11/10/21 Mon - new engineer visit setup - I phoned to double check - was told everything engineer would visit on 12th Oct, tomorrow.
===================================
THE PORCH DAMAGE INCIDENT
12/10/21
Broadband engineer Connor
Appointment date Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 between 8am-1pm
He arrived around 11am
BT job reference number:· VOL013-619545474893
SMASHED HOLE IN MY PORCH ROOF
==================================
14/10/21 EMAIL  from
You recently had a visit from our Engineer, Connor, on behalf of your communication provider and we would love to hear how things went. Simply
click below to give us your feedback:
======================
14/10/21 WEB FORM - I leave feedback making a complaint about the hole.
====================
15/10/21 EMAIL
From - BT
We're looking into it
Hello,
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
We're looking into the complaint you raised and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Your reference number is VOL013-624452256581.

British Telecommunications plc
================================
18/10/21 EMAIL
We have investigated your complaint. Firstly, we would like to apologize for the unprofessional installation. In order to get the issue resolved, you will be required to raise a case with Openreach directly. Please follow the instructions on the link below:
=========================
21/10/21  EMAIL
From - Lillie Stewart

claims at DWF

BT - Claim Form (Damage) - Updated

Template.doc

Insured: BT
         
We are in receipt of your telephone message and confirm that Vicky Tomenson will be dealing with your case on behalf of British Telecommunications plc. Her email address is [Email Removed]

I should therefore be grateful if you could address all future correspondence to her quoting the above reference at the end of the subject line, in the following format - [Removed]

To enable us to investigate your claim, I attach a Claim Form which I should be grateful if you could complete and return to DWF claims

Kind Regards,

Lillie

On behalf of BT

Lillie Stewart
Claims Assistant             
=================================
24/10/21 EMAIL
We're looking into it

Hello,
Thanks for getting in touch with us. We're looking into the complaint you raised and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Your reference number is VOL013-626971299333.

British Telecommunications plc
==============================
30/11/2021 to 03/12/2021  EMAIL - I ask for quotes from builders
===============================
30/11/2021 to 07/12/2021  EMAIL - I receive various builders quotes
===================================
07/12/2021 to 28/01/2022
I should mention that I am severely disabled and often have long periods of time when I am so bad I am unable to do anything. This is one of those periods.
===============================
28/01/2022 I sent completed claim form to Vicky Tomenson at DWF claims
================================
07/02/22 EMAIL

Good Morning

I refer to previous correspondence.

Investigations into this matter have revealed that MJ Quinn  were working at the incident location at the relevant time.

BT is contracted with MJ Quinn to carry out works on its behalf.  Pursuant to the contract between BT and MJ Quinn are required to indemnify BT against claims brought against BT for damages and/or loss and/or injury. Your claim therefore should be dealt with by MJ Quinn and/or their insurers.

I have forwarded your claim to  MJ Quinn and asked them to correspond directly with you in relation to your claim.  Our file will remain open and we will maintain contact with MJ Quinn throughout the claim.

Kind Regards

Vicky Tomenson

On behalf of BT

Vicky Tomenson
Claims Handler             
=========================

...and that's the hole story....

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I'm not able to read through your entire post at the moment, but absolutely.

 

They should be a single claim against a single target which should be BT .

 

There is no reason to divide them or to dilute the pressure on BT

 

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So, you're saying I should combine my two claims (damage + lack of service) into one large claim and request-payment-then-small-claims-court just British Telecommunications plc (BT)?

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Hi

 

I agree with Bankfodder.

 

Something else you could do with this and I do say supposed Lawyer from BT as you don't know if they actually even is they have signed a letter off stating 'Solicitor' or 'Paralegal' how do you actually know they are and qualified you don't.

 

So you could write to BT and ask that individual for there SRA Details/Registration

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6 hours ago, Shining_Hammer said:

So, you're saying I should combine my two claims (damage + lack of service) into one large claim and request-payment-then-small-claims-court just British Telecommunications plc (BT)?

 

Of course. Why would you pick to fight instead of one fight – especially when BT is the responsible party.

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You haven't addressed the question as to whether you've been paying BT since they started the installation.
I don't think you've told us about the value of the damage.
We haven't responded to my suggestion to get two quotations for the work.

It would be helpful if you would addresses questions and tell us what your plans are to get the quotes.

We don't really want to hang around on this. We'd like to get going. It shouldn't take you more than a few days to get the necessary quotes and to let us know how much we are talking about – and then I expect that you would issue a letter of claim towards the end of next week and start your claim 14 days later.

Unless you want to hang around for another six months. Some people enjoy that

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