Phone companies bad service

  Migwell 00:38 30 Oct 2011

A couple of years ago I had an intermittent problem with noise on my phone line, crackling and screeching noises I reported this to TalkTalk who passed it onto BT to investigate. Upshot was that an engineer arrived at my home who came in took off the front plate of the NT5 socket and plugged in his own handset listened for a couple of seconds and said that it was my extensions which were causing the problem and pulled the wires from the back of the face plate and then plugged the face plate back in, then left. I was billed £90 for that. I reconnected the extensions and had no further problems for a couple of weeks when a bit of noise crept back in. I then Pulled the extension wires off and the noise stayed, so I phoned TalkTalk and told them what had happened and that the engineer had not cured the problem by removing the wires to the extensions and that I should have further investigations done and a refund. I was told that at the time the engineer had reported that what he had done had cured the problem and that it was down to my wiring I would not be getting a refund. Time has gone by and now the noise has returned to a level far worse than it was in the first place. My internet has slowed down to at best 1.4meg when I should get up to 24mb this cutback is due to the equipment at the exchange trying to give me a more stable internet service as a result of the noise on the line. Then I am told that even at best my line is only capable of 5.5mb which I used to get about three years ago. I was told to do tests which included connecting my router into the test socket without a filter, still only 1.4mb at best then plug a hard wired phone (not a cordless into the test socket without any filter and of course all my extensions were disconnected. Still have the noise which they can hear while I am talking to them, they offer an engineer to visit me BUT there is a chance that I will be billed £ 130 for a call out now. I have told them all what went on before and complained about the possible charge, but unless I agree to this they will do nothing. I have since told them that as a result of the threat of a charge I will just put up with the noise which sometimes means that when talking to someone you need to dial again to get a quieter line. I wish that Virgin would come onto our estate and put in cable but they will not as they will not pay for running a cable under the Tyneside Metro crossing to get to our part of the estate, so I am caught between a rock and a hard place. Further to this others on our estate including a neighbour have noise problems on their phone lines. Good old BT neither wonder they get a bad name for service.

  beeuuem 01:47 30 Oct 2011

I do sympathise. I've twice had problems with noise on the line and the subsequent BB speed and stability trouble. The most recent was only a few weeks ago - the record was 259 router resets in a 12 hours. The 'threat' of a call out charge is unnerving - I spent most of my life in telecommunications and still thought twice about calling out a technician even though the noise was normally obvious. To be fair, even though there was no noticeable noise at the time the Openreach technician called, he changed the master socket, on the grounds that these have components which can deteriorate and cause noise. Although there are still times when the line is a little noisy stability has returned to my BB connection which was my primary concern- no resets in the last 15 days. You could try a quiet line test - dial 17070 and select option 2 - from the test jack of the master socket. See click here which gives further useful tips e.g. testing/changing the microfilters.

  beeuuem 01:50 30 Oct 2011

PS I omitted to mention that my fault was reported to my land line provider - O2 - and no charge was made.

  Aitchbee 06:04 30 Oct 2011

When I worked with BT as an underground cable engineer, noisy faults were almost always rectified by giving the subscriber a new pair of wires from the exchange to outside the premises.The actual faulty cable pair would be marked as 'bad', and be out of use until the cause of the noise was investigated further and rectified.When that repair was done, that 'bad' line would become 'good' again, and put back in to use for another subscriber.Noisy and 'over-hearing' faults were hard to locate, sometimes.

  spuds 14:23 30 Oct 2011

I have had very similar problems with Talk Talk, and you have three routes of possible satisfaction to your claims.

(1) Insist that Talk Talk escalate your problems to an higher level, which will provide you with a direct contact to a person who will deal with you personally.

(2) Contact Talk Talk's ombudsman service, and get them involved.

(3) Also perhaps contact Ofcom and report your complaint. Ofcom will not take the issues up with you direct, but they will file your complaint for combined action. At present Ofcom are trying to work with Talk Talk on the many complaints that they are receiving. Personally, I think that Ofcom should do the job that they were intended to do, and not cause even more concerns for the public.

Regarding the intermittent noise on the line, then this might be a simple problem of water getting into connections (I found this out, when a neighbour was having the same problems of myself. BT OpenReach stated no problems, then eventually found the problem 3 junction cabinets away?).

Regarding call-out charges. Talk Talk (at the beginning) are very quick in telling you, that you must pay. In my case the charge was £99.00 which I negotiated down to £23.99. On arrival their engineer tried to inform me the charge would be £49.00, and I was to sign that was the price I would agree on, before he started work. I refused, and he eventually accepted that I would pay £23.99 if the fault was at my end. I paid nothing, because the engineer found one of the faults immediately with the router and Talk Talk's profile set-up. The engineer could not do anything, except to report back to Talk Talk and ask their technical staff to take over in sorting out the problems.

Mine is a very long story, which eventually took over 4+ months to resolve to an amicable medium. In that time it involved many checks and test, some daily, by BT, Talk Talk and myself. Equipment at the exchange was replaced as was the items from the exchange to my home. Talk Talk and BT have both finally agreed that there is a problem, but its one of those problems that doesn't show itself all that often, but they will keep their eye on it?.

What I would suggest (if you want to go that far?) that you do is a variety of tests, for speed, line connection tracing and profiles yourself. Talk Talk can provide the www's for these. There are a number of other well respected links for testing your service. You could try Jack Dinns for speed and tracing line problems.

If you want a very long read on the subject, then have a look at

If you bother to read all the above, then you might stand a chance of getting some satisfaction and results. Transferring to another supplier, excluding cable would perhaps not change much for you?.

  lotvic 15:05 30 Oct 2011

Been through almost same rigmarole for last 2 years, tried 3 different phones, and routers (from talktalk). Anyway BB now is more or less stable on these settings on router: CHAP : AUTOCONNECT : ADLS2 (instead of ALL)

I only get 2 or 3 disconnects and authorisations now in a 24hour period I'm still on profile 15 though as that's the most stable on my noisy line.

The best way to get a 2nd level engineer is to ring 0870 087 8777 and patiently go through the steps (again...) incident Ticket numbers are only open for 7 days so you have to contact them again to say 'not fixed' within that to keep your ticket open. If you don't then you have to start again from scratch.

  spuds 15:57 30 Oct 2011

With reference to lotvic's last comment, if you 'request' that your issues want moving to the higher level complaints management team, then you will not have the problem of dealing with a 'go through that again' situation. You will have a direct contact with a person allocated to your case, via telephone (normal office hours) or email.

You could also try Dido Harding, the CEO of Talk Talk UK. But don't put high hopes on trying to resolve issues from that section!.

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