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BT engineers - missed appointments

This topic was created by Kelly Fiveash .

Meh

BT engineers - missed appointments

Do tell us about your recent experiences with BT Openreach engineers and missed appointments.

Have you waited in all day for someone to come and repair busted broadband kit and/or connections only to discover hours later that the engineer allocated to the job is a total no-show? Do you think a pattern is emerging with BT struggling to keep up with demand, perhaps? Or, is it the case that service is simply superb? And how does the experience with BT compare with other telcos?

Fire away with your comments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

Sad to say that mine turned up more or less on time, spent less than 5 mins inside the house, simply unplugged my old modem/router without asking me which was a pain as I would have appreciated closing down my work at the time. Plugged in something to my wall socket, went off for 30 mins, no idea what for, came back and plugged in a new router and legged it.

It just worked, I got an upgrade to 70Mb download speed on my Smoothwall and simply got on with my work less than an hour later.

I know its fashionable to carp but in my case, they turned up on time, did what they were supposed to, and left.

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Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

Well they are 100,000,000 times better than ntl: (as they were known at the time I left them), but that isn't hard. Still useless though.

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Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

Not about missed appointments, but still Openreach engineers. They took down the pole without telling anyone, lost over half a day of work before before being reconnected.

However the worst thing was watching an Openreach engineer break into the backyards of my neighbours!! Put ladders up at the rear of the properties then hung over and proceeded to undo the bolted gates!!!

When challenged he said there was no answer & he needed to replace the external connection to the property. When no identification was produced I called the Police.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

"I called the Police" - and what did Sting do?

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Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

In, my case which is still ongoing, I reported a voice fault to my Telephone provider BT retail last wednesday i was given an estimated time to fix the fault of 5 days so it should of been sorted yesterday monday , but wasn't And yes i waited in all day, a complete waste of time as no Openreach engineer showed , still have no dial tone, I have contacted BT via e-mail and i was informed i may need to wait until this Friday ,as BT openreach are apparently saying that there are a lot of faults in my area,(utter non sense) The best bit is that an BTopenreach engineer is responsible for the fault in the first place ,whilst fixing/connecting other lines at the local PCP they disconnected one of the 2 wires ( D 'side Pair) leaving only the broadband service working , and this same thing has happened before,

And the BT retail (outsourced- based overseas) customer service is abysmal

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Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

Been with BT since before carrier pigeons. Always on time and I always benefit. Most recent : I complained that the external cable was coming off the wall. Result, he rerouted the master cable to a more convenient position and gave me a new router.

Worst case : we had been abroad for some three months and had stopped all outgoing calls during our absence. On arriving back, no connection, our line had been used to service another user. On complaining and on the same day, they attended and fixed it. What happened to the person using out original line I've no idea but that's another story.

Moral : BT equals Best Telecomms.

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Re: BT engineers - missed appointments

I moved home January 17th. I was told BT could not install Broadband/Telephone line until March 3rd. I accept this answer as the new house I was moving into was not connected to the exchange.

Alas I stayed in all day 3rd March. The appointment was anytime between 1pm and 6 pm but no engineer turned up. It's now March 6th. Logging on to My BT I see a notification saying "Your Broadband order is in hand with a member of our team and we will keep you updated with progress. Please continue to check online for further updates".

Can I make a claim against BT for the day I had to spend at home and miss work? How do I progress this order with BT? Now the house is connected to the exchange, is it worth me cancelling my order and seeing if Sky or TalkTalk or some other provider can install more quickly?

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Go

All fine!

We had a problem with our business lines in one of our offices last week - had no problem at all booking a BT openreach engineer and having him turn up on time.

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FAIL

Creative uses for streetview...

Our broadband was failing badly when it rained. Engineer booked after persuading BT I did know what a cable looked like and, really, honestly, there's nothing else connected to the master socket apart from the router, and the damn thing keeps dropping when the front of the house gets wet.

I work from home, and have developed a finely tuned ear for a transit van. I can open the house door before they get out of the van, normally. No show at all on the day of the visit. I was in all day, and watching for them. I even recently changed the doorbell and there's 3 sounders in the house now. Even toilet stops were conducted with extreme expedience. They simply never called.

upon phoning at 5pm, BT had the temerity to tell me that they put a card through the letter box of a "brown wooden door". Yes, we have a brown wooden door. no, we have no card. Neither does my neighbour who also has a brown wooden door. The engineer simply never turned up.

Callout booked for saturday. Never turns up. This time the excuse was that the agent hadn't booked it correctly.

Two weeks later, an engineer turns up, does a professional job and leaves. Two weeks later...

I shall be happy to see the back of them, and as soon as my contract is up then I'm off.

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Bronze badge

I used to be with BT...

...and their service was shockingly bad. They missed appointments more than once, and even used the weather as an excuse. However, I since switched to Sky for broadband and phone. When an engineer dicks about with the exchange and decides to knock off my broadband and/ or phone (it's a busy exchange and this happens a couple of times a year), Sky put in a service call with BT, and an Openreach engineer comes out to fix it. They've turned up on time, every time, and fixed the problem quickly. Same engineers, much better service.

Whether this is because their hefty deals with Sky are more important to them than their own customers, or just because they have actually improved overall, I can't say.

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@Goldmember - Re: I used to be with BT...

This goes back to the early days of opening the network... Anyone remember Mercury Communications?

Anyway, Mercury used to lease lines from BT on a massive scale. The problem for BT was that if they even looked like they were giving preference to their own faults, as opposed to ones on Mercury lines, all hell broke lose with the regulators. So when a Mercury line developed a fault it was all hands to the pumps.

I believe this is still the case today, if not worse as the local loop is now opened up.

I'm sure that if Sky/TalkTalk et al get the slightest feeling of second class treatment, they're straight to the big red phone and contacting the regulator.

The result is as a BT customer, your engineer is likely to be pulled off your job (before he arrives) and sent to deal with a Sky customer.

Oh, and yes, I had a no-show for my Infinity install. No call, nothing. Eventually phoned them as 5pm to be told "Oh, he couldn't make it today".

At least that's better than what I see in the offices where I work... Engineers installing lines and cutting off other offices down the hall. Engineers turning up to setup broadband before the line is even live at the exchange... For a communications company they really suck at communication, even internally!

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FAIL

I had an SFI come out a couple of weeks ago (totally unnecessary as my ISP and I both knew). Appt was booked for Saturday PM and was a no-show. Engineer turned up Sunday AM. When I pointed out it was booked for Sat PM he said "I know but the system told me Sun AM". Sounded like a right cock-and bull story but at least he turned up.

Unfortunately what we needed was someone from their network team since there was nothing wrong with my line or modem. Well - up till then anyway. The engineer's testing resulted in interleaving being applied and it was two weeks before the DLM relented. All this for an ongoing problem that repeats every 60 days and has done since last June.

Increased latency, sync unchanged, no packet loss. It's the network, Jim! But BT have yet to accept that.

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Headmaster

Statistics

Reg says: "the number of no-shows appears to be increasing"

BT says: "There has been no increase in the proportion of missed appointments"

This pedant says: The two statements are not necessarily conflicting. If BT is making many more appointments, but missing the same (or lesser) proportion of them, then the number of missed appointments might still be increasing.

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Trollface

Re: Statistics

That's just fiddling with semantics, and you know it.

No, the more logical conclusion is that BT is indeed missing the same or fewer appointments, but they're specifically targeting Reg readers to get your wind up...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Statistics

I don't know why someone downvoted the post above since this is the answer to the article.

No-shows could very well be increasing in actual numbers, but as the number of overall engineering visits climbs the 'proportion' of no-shows decreases.

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Boffin

Re: Statistics

It's far more likely that over-stretched BTOR engineers are being alotted an hour slot for a three hour problem, sticking around to do the job properly and missing the next two appointments. Given the rollocking they'll get for that, the simple answer is to tick the box that says "customer not home" which won't appear on the "no show" reports.

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Happy

Good Service(!)

We moved house on Thursday and had booked BT to move our line on that day. However the wires on our building had been cut and the phone point removed.

On Friday I had a terrible 30-45 minute phone call going round the automated system, then another 30 minutes with the polite call-centre operator; worst bit was when he said "without the order number we cannot proceed". I've moved house and have no broadband... how am I going to find that? Thank goodness for mobile broadband!

Anyway, next day (SATURDAY!) the BT Openreach engineer turned up and confirmed that the wire had indeed been cut. He said he was using a temporary van, so I thought he'd just bugger off. Instead he phone in and another BT Openreach engineer arrived.

We were up and running within an hour.

Summary: engineers were great, booking system was crap.

I'll let you decide whether my experience was good because they were able to charge me £99 as the fault was on my property.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good Service(!)

Same situation as me. Waited in all day on house move and found out new house had BT wires cut and was a Virgin Media house. Engineer was supposed to come but he enabled something at exchange and I received an automated text saying everything was all working !

Explained to call centre staff that it would be impossible as wire cut and raised a fault. Fixed a week later and can't fault them for fixing problem once spotted - at one point there was a cherry picker outside too!

Think its the booking system and house move process that's wrong as people don't know what to expect once they get to the new house.

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Anonymous Coward

Business visits are no better

We have a maintainance contract with BT for a Nortel phone system they installed a few years back. We booked an engineer visit to do a reconfig in early February. We were given a date of Friday the 8th of March (a pisstake in itself).

Come the day, no engineer, no call to say there wasn't one and when I finally got through to someone at 3pm to ask where our engineer was I was told "we don't have any resource to send you an engineer". Now a cynic may suggest that the local engineering office being Swansea, and the day after our appointment being an away Wales/Scotland match at Murrayfield might have something to do with it, but I couldn't possibly comment...

Now, the real fun comes on Monday. BT are now quoting a date of the 28th of APRIL for a visit, and apparently can't tell me when an engineer is free before then. And it's not like we're a small company, we do £32k's worth of business with BT a year.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah I tried to switch to fibre in january.

The openreach guy showed the first time but then couldn't fit the card in the green box so said he'd be back in about a week.

Got an appointment for 3 weeks after - No Show.

appointment the week after that - no show, but apparently because plusnet hadn't confirmed it.

Appointment the week after that got cancelled by BT with no reason - if they're doing that it may explain why their no-shows are going down officially!

I'm still on adsl.

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FAIL

Not the greatest of install experience

I've recently had BT out to install a new phone line and fibre, which in BT systems is two jobs (which I can just about accept).

Date and time were agreed and on the day I was the first appointment of the day. BT engineer does his bit and installs the line, but he can't tell me if / when the fibre will be installed so I have to wait until the end of the morning deadline (13:00) to discover that there was a problem with my fibre install and no engineer was coming.

BT engineer was trained to do fibre installs, so it wasn't a capability issue. He did say they have a new booking system, but their booking system does not help the customer at all.

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FAIL

Technically, I've seen an improved service as when I had them out for a fault about a year and a half ago they first missed the appointment, then discovered the fault was in the exchange. All I got from that was a line rental refund for the time between the two appointments.

A recent visit was to install a pluggable master socket as the property hadn't had one before - connection was working fine though so I wasn't caring when/if it got done.

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Hmmm

I waited for one that Plusnet had arranged, sat with clear view of the front door. Just as well..

I saw the van pull up. I saw him get out. He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him...

All because my wiring needed to be checked. Apparently, my wires know the difference between daytime and nighttime, and that's why it's slower in the evening... Plusnet said "not contention", I of course had to wait in.

So he got to work, everything fine. I explained it was obviously contention but plusnet assured me it wasn't. He the phoned his BT helpdesk and they said "yup, hot virtual path" and switched me to another. Problem solved. So, a good result - but was still unimpressed at the "missed you" bit. If I hadn't been watching at that minute, I'd have wasted the day.

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Re: Hmmm

"He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him..."

Experiences like yours make me think I should add another doorbell switch, but connected to the letterbox.

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Happy

Re: Hmmm

I think a 3-phase supply into the doormat would be better. Then you have an OCR setup in the letterbox to identify 'sorry you were out' cards and a link to doorbell and letterbox. The system needs a method of knowing whether you're in, then if the card goes in less than a minute after pressing the doorbell, delivery naught-person gets full voltage... Sounds like the perfect project for a Raspberry Pi.

Course you'd then need another project, some kind of robot for disposing of the corpses of delivery drivers and engineers...

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Silver badge

Re: Hmmm

"He came bounding up, never knocked, slipped a "Sorry I missed you" card through the door - carefully - and was on his way back to his van when I ran out and collared him..."

I've seen this stunt pulled a few times (usually by Royalmail and Brutish Hash). Unfortunately for the staff concerned there's a full digital CCTV system covering the doors and gates. Mentioning that such footage would get interesting media attention seems to get remarkable results.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmmm

Or mount a PIR over the door, so they don't need to press the button.

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This all assumes that you get an actual appointment. A relative reported her phone line not working on Sunday morning, and the best response she's had is that it "should be fixed by sometime Thursday". Not sure how that fits in with the SLA of a maximum of 3 working days.

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Anonymous Coward

No figures rebuttal by BT

If it were the case that no shows were going down then BT could have easily proven the case by showing hard figures as I'm sure the probably compile these on a service KPI basis. The lack of hard figures makes me think that there is truth in the allegation.

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Help them help you

I'd moved furniture, removed the dust and spiders so that when the engineer turned up...

Straight in and out.

Less than 20mins later; new cable run, new box, new router, FTTC installed tested working.

He mentioned this was an easy job, sometimes he's climbing over furniture, under beds, got knows what.

If we could all try a little to make it easier, they'd probably be late less often.

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Anonymous Coward

BT? Untruthful? NEVER!

Yet again:

* Oh, no, fewer people are complaining than ever before

And again in BT's high standards of integrity shine through; from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/2/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

* BT's "six-month free broadband"

Along with the following from http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/16/bt_asa_ruling_line_rental/

* No, we've never intercepted web traffic

* No, we've never had anything to do with DPI

* No, we'd never do something like impose bevavioural advertising trial on our customers without asking them first.

* No, it MUST be your PC

* No, we're not scamming prices.

And one can probably add "I won't come in your mouth"

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Re: BT? Untruthful? NEVER!

You missed

* No, we don't have any aluminium cables left in our network

* No, there are no paper insulated cables left in our network.

Even using a rather generaous interpretation of "BT Network" (Which apparently stops att he distribution cabs and doesn't count street distribution cables), those statements are both provably untrue.

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Unhappy

It's a joke

Openreach engineers have unsuccessfully being trying to find what is causing the fault with my broadband and telephone. 2 months ago they identified a faulty switch near the cabinet and since then no-one has been out to fix the issue, there a joke.

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Anonymous Coward

I used to work in customer service for a well known ISP. When we had missed Openreach appointments it was often our fault, not BT's.

The reason - poor software. Our appointment management system would fail to react correctly to OR's system when a booking was attempted. So on the surface it looked like an booking had been confirmed. In reality it had been rejected. In effect no appointment had been made. It often wasn't until the customer called to ask where their engineer was that it became apparent what had happened.

Now I know Openreach also miss appointments through their own incompetence. But a significant number of appointments are missed due to the ISP, at least in my experience. Of course it's very easy for the ISP to blame BT, especially as it fits into people's preconception that BT are incompetent.

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mfc

Ass Elbow

BT made a complete hash of my install too. I moved into a new build house a few months ago. Fortunately the developers had already installed a BT line as they had used it as a site office, so I assumed that the activation process would be easy. How wrong I was.

Firstly BT refused to acknowledge the existence of the phone lines - despite me providing them with the DDI numbers - and quoted a 60-day lead time. After two weeks of ultimately pointless phones calls to their engineering department there was no other option but to wait for the 60 days.

BT arranged to send a engineer on install day but predictably they didn't turn up or even attempt to call. When I finally got to speak to someone I was told that they had determined a visit wasn't required and could do all the work from the exchange. However - the phone still wasn't working. This was, I was told, due to some work in the exchange and I would get a phone call later.

24 hours later, no service, and no call-back I called again to be told there was a major fault in my local street cabinet affecting all of my neighbours. Strange, I commented, since I'd just been next door to use their broadband connection.

My gripes were now three fold: no service, an engineer no-show, and being outright lied to.

Service, of sorts, was finally delivered three days later - with broadband a massive 768Kbps with CRC errors and a further week of arguments to get a half decent service.

My compensation offer for all the phone calls, inconvenience, etc? £10. An absolute disgrace.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ass Elbow

I blame you for this!

Ok that's a little harsh, but tbh I'm pretty sure it's your own fault you wasted the first two weeks of time.

I would take a very well educated guess that the phone line that was installed originally, which you had the DDI for, was not a BT line. I say that in the sense that it was probably purchased and paid for via a third party telecoms company such as Daisy.

I know from experience that BTs accounts and line fault departments don't hold records for DDIs belonging to these third parties. I recently had to call in a fault for one of our Daisy owned lines, and found that BT had no idea what I was talking about. After working out it was a Daisy owned line, I called Daisy and a BT engineer was out the next day to fix it.

Moral of the story: don't always assume you know better than idiot on the end of the phone, because very often you'll be wasting your own time.

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mfc

Re: Ass Elbow

Nope - it was a BT line, originally installed by a BT engineer to a socket with a BT sticker, with a BT bill. No third party involved at all.

BT claimed that it was because the original postcode for the site was different from the final one. However the first line of the address did tally - so I don't see the problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Scared witless

You have scared the bejesus out of me now. I'm waiting on an engineer to come and fit infinity on Friday. This after having had three orders cancelled without so much as letting me know. I would have wasted those days sitting in if I hadn't checked online to see that everything was going ahead as agreed over the phone.

So from my end, it's not the engineers that are the sole problem, their order system is clueless, the online tracker is slow to update and sparse in it's information when an order isn't going through. I have been sent the hubs multiple times (including the delivery charge) due to the orders being cancelled their end.

As is typical with BT and the way it's all structured, one hand doesn't know that the other is picking it's nose in the car park whilst on a fag break.

Hopefully Friday will pass without incident, don't much fancy a third week in my new place with no access to cat pictures.

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Re: Scared witless

Ah i did the waiting in for an upgrade to Infinity thing twice. Each time the engineer DID come - only to discover that the box on the corner hadn't been upgraded (again) despite all their systems saying it was good to go. Still have the Infinity hub sitting in my study, but the order has been cancelled now.

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How topical

I just had a BT line installed today (for the Zen FTTC product that I have ordered). I was given an 8am to 1pm slot. The engineer arrived at 12:30pm and left about half an hour ago (3pm). Apart from the fact he went past the alloted time, I'm pretty happy. I told him exactly where I wanted the copper cable to be attached to my house, and exactly where I wanted the socket and he did exactly what I requested.

For some reason I had to get a separate appointment to do the FTTC part so I'm crossing my fingers that will go just as smoothly.

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FAIL

Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

I used to be with BT Broadband but switched to Sky after a failure in my Broadband service. The problem was more with the outsourced customer service centre than the Engineer. It took a week to get an engineer. He diagnosed it as a problem at the exchange and "bounced the server" - that worked but failed again after 4 hours. Call Centre said i'd have to wait 3 days for another home visit even though i explained (patiently at first) that it didn't need a home visit.

So I called Sky, asked who would cope with future service issues and they said "us" - so they won the business.

Oddly, when I cancelled BT, I was contacted by their UK-based contact centre...too late BT, too late...

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Re: Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

In PlusNet's defence, their UK call centres are usually helpful....

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Meh

Re: Its not the Openreach Engineers thats the problem...

Sky lied to you then. The majority of the service impacting work has to be done by BT Openreach.

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Thumb Down

BT / PlusNet shambles

I live out in the sticks. Broadband speeds in our village are very slow (1.5mb down, 0.2mb up).

I was looking at any options on the PlusNet site for speeding up my basic broadband, put my postcode into their fibre option, and they said they could install it for a 30mb broadband! I thought I would be finally able to use streaming HDTV services and game download services properly!

Arranged for the BT engineer to arrive on the PM of a given date. I took a half day off work, rushed home in case he had arrived at lunchtime.

Waited, waited.

4pm, I called PlusNet regarding the thus-far no-show.

They informed me to give it til 6pm.

Waited, waited.

At 5.30pm, the engineer called the house phone saying that he was busy on jobs in the nearest town, and that he would be down in a couple of hours.

At 8.30pm, engineer arrives but seems concerned that our village is too far from the exchange.

He takes a drive to the exchange, calls me back, explains that at 2.1 miles the signal attenuation drop would be too great, he wouldn't recommend an install and apologises.

Half-day wasted.

PlusNet then proceed to charge me for the fibre broadband they didn't install. When I query this, they set my rate back to standard broadband - which has doubled in price!

When I query this, I am informed that it was because they didn't realise I was so far from the exchange. I then proceed to tell them what to do with their broadband, and how sky's broadband offer would work out cheaper for me, they then decide to set the broadband charge to it's previous rate pre-fibre-attempt.

So, I'm stuck on 1.5mb broadband, I feel like throwing things at the TV when services are advertised with a 2mb minimum recommendation, I chased the LoveFilm guy away from the door for this reason.

The fibre DSLAM is in a hamlet of about 10 houses on a crossroads - presumably where a BT boss / local councillor lives.

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FAIL

There are a number of posts on various broadband forums that suggest that FTTC installs are routinely marked by no-shows.

What really bites is that BT will charge YOU if you break an appointment, maybe we need a level playing field whereby BT are required to pay us the same level of "fine" is they break the appointment without due notice, then we could expand that into fining BT for wrongful SFI bills. That might make them treat their customers with respect and consideration...

Of course fixing my unstable 3km (or 2.6km depending on which database you look at)line so broadband doesn't drop out at random and delivers what all the stats say it s should would be too much to ask... even after 10 years. Hmm maybe one of the pair takes a longer route! that would explain the disparity.

Fail (as my line does too often)

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You sort of can

However, you don't 'charge' Openreach, you claim compensation for consequential loss from the company you have a contract with.

Whilst this guide is for missed courier deliveries, the same principle applies here:

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/delivery-rights

You will need to go though the complaints procedure though.

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Silver badge

I haven't had a phone line for almost 3 weeks..

... Enough said. They've showed their face a couple of times, but that's about it so far.

Still waiting. No internet at home other than GPRS or possibly HSDPA in the right place is getting tedious.

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Third time lucky

I got FTTC last October. At the first attempt, two nice guys from Openretch (apparently a roving team of FTTC installers) showed up - with the wrong paperwork, and despite getting confirmation it was a BT error, they were told from higher up not to complete the installation, since a box not being ticked on the order form is something they can't fix on a same-day basis. They rebooked for later that week ... no-show: apparently, BT's ordering desk had booked the visit with too little notice for the paperwork to come through to the engineers, so nobody was sent. The following week, a local guy showed up right on time (calling first!), swapped the sockets round, hooked up and tested the new kit and went away.

BT wrote to me today to announce that FTTC's available here now. Having been using it for five months, I would certainly hope it's available...

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Anonymous Coward

Not one but two

Had our line connected yesterday by Kelly Communications, apparently a part of BT (or so the guy said) - couldn't be bothered arguing. They turned up on time with no bother at all and even managed to avoid the massive holes left by the builders how are redoing our road at the moment.

Unfortunately he wasn't able to actually do anything as our line was cut and he couldn't find the manhole as it was snowing so he went off muttering something about BT arranging another appointment.

A couple of hours later an openreach engineer knocked on the door saying "I know I've not got an appointment booked with you but I thought I'd nip in and chance you being in". He also connected something to the socket and then disappeared.

20 minutes later he came back saying that he'd fixed the issue but there was now a problem at the exchange. So he picked up all his equipment (weyhey!) and off he went saying he would see if he could get into the exchange but it didn't look likely.

I came back this morning and the phone and bb worked so whatever he did must have worked. Unfortunately he never told me his name so I can't thank him.

Perhaps it's cause I work for BT? However I doubt it as its in my g/fs name.

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