Moving House with BT

Phone KeysWe’re moving house shortly, and one of the many things we need to take care of is the phone line.

We are currently with ntl for both telephone and broadband, but the new address, despite being in an ntl area with all surrounding streets having cable service, was never cabled up. That means switching to BT.

Even if the street did have ntl service, we were still going to go back to BT for the phone line, as we cannot get free itemised billing on ntl, and the phone line goes dead during a local power cut (in contravention of OFCOM regulations). We would however have preferred to stay with ntl for broadband.

No problem sir… or is it?

A few weeks ago, I called BT to see whether we could take our existing phone number with us (originally a BT number before being ported over to ntl). I was told that this would not be a problem as the new address was still within the same exchange area. “Just give us a week’s notice when you know you are moving”.

Having a firm moving date, I called yesterday to place the order, only to be told that the BT line at the new address had been ceased for a long time and that an engineer* would have to call to check the wiring was intact. Strange that, since the current owners have a fully functioning BT phone line. The CSA claimed that it must be another non-BT line. How, if there is no cable? She got very shirty:“There are lots of other companies, sir”. Yes, but it’s called wholesale line leasing – the line is still a BT line at the end of the day! “No sir, the BT line has been ceased for a long time”.

Not wanting to cause further damage to my head or the wall, I hung up and called back later.

It seems, however, after talking to someone who did understand wholesale line leasing, that the current owners have chosen to pay their line rental to a third party provider, and although the line still belongs to BT who have leased it to the third party, BT have no details about the line. I find that very hard to believe, as BT must have a record of the leasing arrangement and that they are receiving an income from the third party for the line. BT would also be responsible for maintenance on the line, so are they saying they have no records for that either?

Need more staff

It gets worse: the earliest appointment for an engineer is 23rd January! That’s almost a month away, to perform a task which will take a few minutes (and may even be done without a visit). Pathetic! This means that despite giving BT two weeks notice (one week more than requested), we will be without a phone line at the new address for almost two weeks at the very least. It also means that we will not be able to take our number with us, unless we left the ntl line live after we move out (allowing the new owners use of a free line for two weeks) Not bloody likely!

It also extends the period without broadband, as I cannot order broadband until the line is working. Now because of this debarcle, for the first two weeks, I won’t even have dial-up access.

I would not be surprised if it is BT policy to deliberately ‘forget’ about wholesale leased lines just to put a spanner in the works, as sour grapes for being forced to lease lines to third parties.

I have posted a complaint to:

Jillian G Lewis – Customer Service Director
BT plc
Correspondence Centre
DURHAM
DH98 1BT

I’ll see if I get any response.

Update: 3rd March

Over 9 weeks later and no response.

Update: 17th March

Over 11 weeks later, and I’ve just had a message on the answering machine saying “this is a courtesy call regarding your letter” and “you will be contacted within 10 days”

Question: why not just contact me? Sounds like an NHS style fudge, so they can say they responded within 12 weeks.

Update: 17th May

Well, it’s now two months since I got the message saying that someone would contact me within 10 days and almost five months since I originally wrote to BT. I’m still waiting.

*This use of the word engineer is very annoying and the reason that real engineers have lost their status in this country. The man who comes to fix your phone or television is not an engineer, he is a repairman, or a technician. He may be highly skilled in his job but he does not actually engineer anything. The person who actually designs the telephone systems or television is an engineer. You would not refer to a nurse as a doctor. In other European countries, you are not even allowed to call yourself an engineer without proper credentials.

12 Comments

IanNovember 27th, 2007 at 14:16
Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.9 on Windows Windows XP

Well, it’s now November 2007 and BT still haven’t bothered replying.

JaneApril 3rd, 2008 at 22:31
Using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox 2.0.0.13 on Windows Windows XP

I have an even worse BT tale. I notified them I was moving and they informed me what my new number would be, I was moving from one end of the country to the other. I notified everyone of my new number.

When I moved in the phone didnt ring when people called me. So I rang BT and complained. They said after I’d given them my number, thats not the number I was ringing from. I said it was. They checked. It wasn’t. They’d given me another number and not bothered to tell me. I was awaiting calls from prospective employers who all had the ‘new number’. Doh! I rang Customer Services and said I wanted the number they had assigned me, after being advised by an Engineer. They said it would take 2 weeks to change the number, but I couldnt have the original number they’d given me as it was already assigned. I said ‘yes to me’. But they wouldnt let me have it. So I stayed with the number I was left with. Now the new number was a 6 digit number, but the number I ended up with was a 5 digit number.

With this 5 digit number I can’t receive calls anymore from my friends in the States. They get invalid number errors when they try to call me.

I recently applied for a job working at home, did the months training and when it came to logging into their servers, yes, you’ve guessed it, my phone number came up invalid.

Now I’m really up the river without a paddle. Do I change my number, which means I would have to tell my ISP and change my broadband as well, all of which will take at least a month, and probably lose the job into the bargain, or do I keep the 5 digit number, sign on the dole and look for another job.

BT want shutting down!!!!

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