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Special Faults Investigation price risen to £144
Wednesday 04 April 2007 16:53:06 by Andrew Ferguson

From the 1st April 2007 the cost of getting a BT engineer to visit your property to fix a fault that is of your own making has increased from £58.75 to £169.20 (£50 and £144 excluding VAT).

The BT Wholesale website in its Service Provider Price List for IPStream services has the full details.

Subpart 13 IPstream Broadband Special Faults Investigation ADSL & SDSL Operative Date 01-04--2007(ADSL) and 01-06-2007 (SDSL)

13.1 Description Operative Date 01-04--2007(ADSL) and 01-06-2007 (SDSL)
IPstream Service Delivery

Broadband Special Faults Investigation is an optional service which permits customers to request a visit by an engineer to End User premises for the purpose of resolving certain Broadband faults. Where BT provides maintenance of any non-BT Network equipment (including wiring) beyond the End User NTE a charge will apply.

Extract from BT Wholesale IPstream price list

This charge was previously levied under Section 44 Part 3 as part of the Abortive Visit Charge at £50+VAT. The abortive visit charge still applies to a number of situations which are:

  • When a BT Engineer attends an incorrect address as provided by the Customer.
  • When the site for installation does not meet the criteria as defined by BT as requirements for installing the service e.g. minimum space requirements, availability of power etc.
  • When a BT Engineer arrives to carry out the installation at the address provided by the Customer, but the End User no longer wants the installation completed.
  • When the End User has not agreed to a maintenance visit at the appointed time as agreed between BT and the Customer.
  • When entry is refused to the End User address, or no access can be gained, at the appointed time, as agreed between BT and the Customer.

It should be pointed out that this Special Faults Investigation (SFI) charge does not refer to the BT Wholesale SFI teams who investigate things such as external RF interface or noise arising from other devices in the vicinity of a telephone or ADSL line.

Obviously increased charges to the consumers are never welcome, but this does reinforce the need for people to carry out some self diagnostics before requesting an engineer visit via their broadband provider. Most service providers do go through a check list to ensure users will not have to suffer the fee; for example, trying the ADSL modem at the test socket that is part of the BT master socket, or borrowing a friends hardware to ensure that the fault is not with the ADSL kit.

One problem is that fault finding for ADSL services can be somewhat technical and make use of lots of acronyms and terms people are not used to. Describing a problem over the telephone to someone who has only had basic support training can sometimes be difficult. This is where forums like our own at become very useful. One thing that can often help is to take a picture of your problematic hardware/telephone wiring or a screen shot from your PC to help others understand the issue.


Posted by shaunhw over 10 years ago
Daylight robbery IMHO.

Considering the number of BT engineers in any particular area at any one time, one hundred and seventy quid for a service call, is nothing short of absolute extortion.

Even a doctor wouldn't charge that much, on a private scheme I bet.
Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago
Is there a genuine reason for this 288% increase?

Or is it just BT fat cats wanting to hike up their bonuses knowing that Ofcom will bury their heads in the sand as per usual.

Posted by rsharma over 10 years ago
Three things that I must mention.

The article refers to End User and customer. People should be aware that customer in the above wording in fact refers to the ISP since the document is aimed at them.

The other I would like to know is how much the End User or Customer (ISP) can claim in cases where the BT engineer fails to turn up. It's all well and good that BT can charge a cost but in many cases the engineers don't turn up on the appointed day or time so there should be commensurate compensation payable.
Posted by rsharma over 10 years ago
We also need to remember than from May there will also be a cease charge levied in cases where the consumer instead of migrating decides to cancel their ADSL because they are moving home, to an LLU or cable provider or don't need the internet connection.
Posted by fenlandbroadband over 10 years ago
Absoloute disgrace and I feel Ofcom should investigate this issue and prevent it happening.

What's more, exactly WHO does the billing here, and who gets billed? Do BT bill the ISP, or do BT bill the Broadband account holder?
Posted by rsharma over 10 years ago
I think any ISP that doesn't run through the diagnostics with the End User first and instead chooses to pass the fault directly to BT should be liable for the costs. Therefore, I presume, BT will send the bill to the ISP, since they are their customer after all, and the ISP will need to recoup it from their customer.

Hopefully unscrupulous ISPs will not be allowed to get away charging the customer for a fault they should have been able to diagnose before sending off to BT and thereby allocating an engineer to visit the premises.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
LOL Now what did i mention a day or so ago... Ah yeah thats right BT milking customers and ISPs. Opps they did it again, I say again, so glad my broadband wont be with BT (aka Blabbering Twits) in a few days.
BT decreasing prices!!! Well yeah just as long as you dont dare move ISP or dare have anything wrong with your phone line.. I didnt even mention back then their new £5 charge if you dont pay them by direct debit did i, yep BT well done nice price decreases for everyone, im sure.
Posted by rsharma over 10 years ago
"dare have anything wrong with your phone line"

There is no cost to the customer for faults on the telephone line if it's external to their internal wiring or equipment. That remains the responsibility of BT and free to the End User.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
The point is BT not long ago were giving it all the big talk about how they are going to reduce costs of services. Well yes for bandwidth etc they may well have done (though its by pennies rather then pounds). This new news, the news from a day or so ago (re:cancellation fee) and their new £5 direct debit charges is not what i would call reducing costs. Id call it pulling a blair... Or in English recouping loss through almost stealth like pricing.
Posted by Somerset over 10 years ago
The key words from Andrew are 'to fix a fault that is of your own making'.

And it's nothing to do with who you get your broadband from.
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
another point, at least now the service providers may actually start telling their customers that bt are actually coming round to repair the line , after having made an appointment.Oh and i forgot end users might now actually start staying in for the appointments aswell wouldnt thatbe nice, 2 slots am and pm easy isnt it , now you have a good financial reason not to just dissappear out and do whatever instead , of keeping the appointment you made .
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
Finally ,heres a little food for your thought , most bt engineers arent broadband trained anyway and are only there to get the pair back up again.Thats why you have isp , next time you are passing a bt engineer dont look at him and scoff your 1337 smug ideals why not look at the plant that hes surrounded by, atleast then you'll know why your lines crap
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
aslo dont forget you have to pay for all the organised crime style parking tickets handed out each day in, say london to the tune of £10000 a day, should bt foot the bill for bulldog???
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
oh and the practice of the isp telling end users that bt are to blame should stop also .
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
and finally the thing you have all missed , the engineers are from openreach which is separate.With
recent changes none of you will be customers of openreach,therefore all get charged accordingly if its bt retail , bt wholesale ,bulldog sky , opal telecom or anyone else for that matter
Posted by clixs29 over 10 years ago
ok one last thing to clear up,throw in the mix concerning missed appointments, its common practice to give engineers multiple jobs , but this translates as excessive amounts to engineers , like 4 to 5 am appts because the culture within the control who hand out work is to sling it all out regardless of whether the engineer has any chance to make appt ,because the culture is once its with the engineer all support ceasesand hes on his own , to look they are doing a good job all they have to do is dish out all the work
Posted by chrysalis over 10 years ago
Its extornonate and I think deliberate, clearly BT isnt happy with the number of callouts and have set this as a detterant. But end of the day if there is a problem with the line a callout will be needed.

It wouldnt be as bad if the engineers had better training out of all the ones I had they appeared to know their stuff regarding voice but only basic on adsl and were trained to just do simple basic tests on a laptop.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
I agree entirely chrysalis, paying a premium price if you get premium results would not be a problem, however my experience of a few years ago, just like yours also involved an engineer that knew nothing about ADSL. In this day and age that really is not acceptable, especially if the company concerned is going to charge whoever £169.20 for the privledge.
Posted by rickw over 10 years ago
It's not just ADSL callouts. I had a duff socket at the BT boundary so thought a BT engineer should replace it.
A 15 minute call cost £189 to fit a new socket. After complaining this was reduced.
Posted by caldew1 over 10 years ago
Yeh i agree with all coments BT. are a company thats out for profit, bring back the good old days i say,BT , YOUR NOTHING BUT RIP OFF B*STeRDS
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