BT Increase Abortive Visit Charges

Article posted on Tuesday, 03-Apr-2007 20:19 PM

The PlusNet UserGroup have been informed today that BT have increased the charge for engineer visits when the cause is faulty End User Equipment from £50+Vat (£58.75) to a whopping £144+VAT (£169.20). By End User Equipment, BT means everything from the master socket including extension wiring and routers/modems (commonly known as CPE in BT terminology). These new charges came into effect on 1st April 07 for ADSL lines and will come into effect on 1st June 07 for SDSL lines.

What are BT doing to justify this increased charge?

BTW have made some changes to their fault handling process aimed at reducing the amount of delay that customers see in resolution of their fault. If their initial diagnostics do not indicate a fault, they will clear the fault back to the provider, and should the problem still exist after retesting, the next action will be to immediately appoint an engineer. This sounds good in theory but removes a layer of diagnostics performed for example at the local exchange: BT appear to have placed a lot of trust in their remote testing tools with this move.

Why are BT making this change?

A lot of providers historically raised a large proportion of faults straight through to BT without doing any troubleshooting themselves. This obviously meant more work for BT of which a high percentage wasn't actually their responsibility - e.g. configuration error, broken filters etc. Plusnet on the other hand have always been ranked highly for their first line testing and may not be enamoured with this lowest common denominator approach. It will mean more work, and extra vigilance to avoid unnecessary charges being levied on the User!

It is unfortunate that BT appear to be trying to make more money from the poor customer, especially as experience shows that some faults are declared by BT engineers as being in the customers equipment rather than on the BT network, when in fact the opposite is true. We hope that BT will not be charging more customers unnecessarily because of this.
So be patient with the CSC guys when they insist on going through some apparently obvious checks with you as a User – ultimately they are trying to save you some money.

Also it is now more important than ever for the customer to ensure that any possible fault is not caused by their own equipment and/or extension wiring. Some quick checks that can be made are to unplug everything except the ADSL router/Modem and to plug that into the master socket (use the test socket behind the front faceplate on modern master sockets. Also if the router/modem is suspect then purchasing a cheap temporary replacement to test with would worthwhile if borrowing one is not an option (PCWorld charge £30 for a USB modem and it is possible to get one for even less online).

If any customer is struggling with this testing then they can post in the UserGroup Forums where there are many knowledgeable users who can advise. If you live near some then they may be willing to help out in person or lend you a modem for testing. Other hints and tips are also available from PUG member Kitz website - link and also in the UserTools tutorials - 'Troubleshooting'.
Article last edited on Monday, 21-Jan-2008 20:53 PM