With Openreach able to raise a charge to the communications provider who actually retails the service to the consumer for those times when an engineer arrives at a property to find no-one home even though an appointment had been booked, it seems only fair that those people who have sat at home all day and this charge is raised have a formal method for disputing this and can get a new appointment booked for as soon as possible.
The no-show or just being carded is an increasing problem with goods delivery, but thankfully is relatively rare with telephone and broadband appointments. The volume of problems led Openreach to run a trial for a Disputed No Access process, which as of Monday 15th October is a live process.
"A dispute whereby Openreach considers a booked appointment has resulted in a No Access, however the customer believes that the engineer did not visit the site within the appointment slot and has evidence from the end user to justify it.
In cases where the "Disputed No Access" definition is met, for provision or repair appointments, customers should send an email to the dedicated inbox, containing a minimum set of information, as set out below, in order to be accepted."Openreach definition of a Disputed No Access scenario
The aim of disputing this missed appointment is to avoid being charged, as it is not uncommon for the no-access to property charge to be raised, and also attempt to re-arrange a new appointment within 5 workings days (Monday to Friday, Saturday can be requested but is not guaranteed).
If ever experience this problem, or a simple missed appointment when you were actually in the property, the first port of call should be your provider, if it was a broadband visit then the broadband provider, and for a phone line issue the people you pay your voice line rental to. The communications providers should all have been informed of the new process, but as always these changes can take weeks to trickle down into call centres, and sometimes the problem is actually a mis-communication between Openreach and the communications provider.
The next step we would like to see is a formalised system of financial penalty on Openreach for the times when provision or fault appointments are not met. For many millions of people annual leave is a precious resource and there are others who actually lose money sitting at home waiting for an engineer.