Here is a story which would probably be quite amusing, were my life a sitcom…
Friday, 28th August: My internet has been dropping out randomly for a few days. Fed up with constantly losing connection when I’m trying to get things done, I go to the website for my provider, and begin an online chat with one of their tech support people. The tech support person has me go and check my phone to see if it is working ok. I come back to the screen and confirm that yes, my phone line is working perfectly. The tech support person ends the online chat.
Monday, 31st August: My internet has been dropping out for half an hour at a time, several times per day all weekend. I am far from amused. I call my provider. They have me unscrew the front panel on my wall socket, and plug the filter that connects to my router directly into the “test socket” behind the front panel. That should apparently resolve the issue; if it doesn’t, I should call back.
Tuesday, 1st September: The test socket has not resolved the problem. My internet goes down when I am trying to catch up on all the work I didn’t do last week, while my internet wasn’t working. I call up and speak to someone who asks me some questions before telling me she will book for an engineer to come out. Next Wednesday, 9th September. I struggle to keep my cool while I tell the person I know it’s not her fault and it’s not her job, but this is really not acceptable in any way. I hang up the phone and email my contact at the company. I have been a brand ambassador for this company for the past year and not had a single problem with them. She passes my email on to someone else, and they contact me to say an engineer will be with me on Friday.
Friday, 4th September: I arrange for someone else to collect S from nursery because an engineer is coming some time between 3 and 6pm. He arrives at 5pm. He’s not in a great mood. Without checking much of anything, he unplugs my router and puts a new one in. He tells me this will solve all of my problems, and proves it to me by switching the TV on and going to BBC iPlayer – which does indeed work. He tells me that things will work better if I just don’t keep the land line plugged in when I’m not using it – completely missing the point that I pay for a bloody phone line, and that phone is used for incoming calls. He leaves; within an hour, the internet has dropped out again. I give him the benefit of the doubt; perhaps it’ll take a while to calm down or something (engineers always say that don’t they)
Monday 7th September: I give in and email the person at my provider’s office; she apologises and says she’ll send a BT engineer. She reminds me for the umpteenth time that if the engineer finds that the fault is with my equipment and not theirs, I will be charged £65.
Tuesday, 8th September: A friend who knows what he’s talking about visits. He logs into the router diagnostics on my pc (something nobody at my provider or BT has managed to do) and shows me that look, when the internet drops out it’s the ADSL that is failing. The link between my devices and the router is fine; the problem is with the router getting a broadband connection outside of the building.
A BT Openreach engineer arrives. He tests the line and tells me it’s performing fine, but he’ll go down to the exchange box and have a look. He’s gone for an hour, during which time I have no broadband. When he returns, he tells me there was a small problem with the wire which he has fixed, but it wouldn’t have been causing this problem. He tells me he has been sent to test the physical copper line between the exchange and my house – a problem with this line is usually identified by hearing a crackling noise when using the phone. I tell him I’m lost for words, since my provider knew the phone line was not crackling. I tell him what my friend has told me earlier in the day. The engineer apologises, telling me he can’t test the broadband on the line, and that I will need to go back to my provider and request a broadband visit. The internet connection improves slightly; now it’s only dropping out a couple of times per day.
Friday, 11th September: My contact with my provider tells me she will request another engineer visit if I will tell her my availability. I give her dates and then she comes back and says she’s had a note from BT to say that actually, they need to dig up the road so there’s going to be a delay. Even I, the lowly customer, know that if you can check the physical integrity of a phone line without digging up the road, you can sort out a broadband problem on that line without digging up the road: it’s a question of looking in the green cabinet on the end of my block. I can see the bloody cabinet from my living room window.
My day becomes more odd later in the day, when a BT engineer knocks my door saying he’s been sent to dig up the road. I look at the job notes he has and see that actually, his job is meant for the new building behind my flat. I have no idea why he’s been given my address and not there. On Friday afternoon, he digs a hole outside my front door, and then goes home.
Saturday, 12th September: Another BT engineer knocks the door and tells me he’s been sent to test my line. I laugh and let him in. I tell him about the hole outside and he says “you are kidding me.” This engineer requested permission from the local council to dig a hole in the road several months ago, so that he could put phone lines in to the new property out the back. When the council dragged their heels in granting permission, he and a colleague came up with a workaround that involved a lot of work and messing around for them. The hole outside is not required, either by me or the new build. We chat about how ridiulous it is that BT seemingly cannot tell the difference between my flat and a new building at the back of my property. The engineer tests my line, because he’s here now and has to do something. He tells me there’s no problem with the physical line and confirms my suspicion that they would not dig up a road to test a broadband connection.
I email my contact at the company to explain this. After all, I have a contract with my provider, and they have a contract with BT. If they are trying to get BT to fix a problem, and BT are so inept as to confuse two jobs because they have similar addresses, perhaps my provider would want to have a word. The response I get basically tells me that she has no access to BT’s records; she can only provide me with the information she receives.
Meanwhile, my broadband stops dropping out – but now every device I use on wifi has intermitent trouble obtaining an IP address from the router and is therefore unable to connect to the internet. The only way I can resolve this and get my device connected is to restart the router – at which point it’s hit and miss which of my devices will be able to connect. Brilliant.
The hole outside my front door remains open all weekend, and all day Monday. Nothing is done with it. Early on Tuesday morning (pre 7am), the BT engineer returns and fills the hole in.
Wednesday, 16th September: A call from someone at my provider. He is checking up on the issue. We go through what has happened so far. He tells me that the engineer who visited on Saturday did find a fault, and he fixed it. I confirm that since Saturday, I have not noticed the broadband dropping out – but I’ve also not been here much. We discuss my issues with devices connecting to the router, and he suggests I change the channel of my router. He seems surprised when I know how to do this.
I change the channel on my router; it makes no difference whatsoever.
I bang my head against the desk until it is a bloody mess. My mobile continues to attempt to connect to my router.
Please note: there is no point to this post. I have written it purely because I am so completely astounded at the ineptitude of these companies. My contract expires soon. I’m off.