Considerations Regarding Telephone Faults In The UK
Why do UK telephone companies say there will be a charge if the fault on your phone line was caused by your own equipment or wiring?
Surely, the line rental covers a fault on the phone line, right?
Well, not exactly...
'I live in the UK, I've never heard of Open Reach...'
If your UK telephone line ever had a fault and an engineer was called out, no matter who your telephone provider is, it's going to be Open Reach who came out.
Open Reach will have a contract with your telephone provider which will stipulate certain standards of service. (i.e. Things that they will handle and things that they will not.) For example, one stipulation is that faults have to be raised to the provider, you cannot raise a fault directly with Open Reach.
'Fair enough, it still doesn't explain why I could be charged for a fault on my line...'
Well, most independent telephone companies rents the telephone line on the UK telephone network - they don't physically own the exchange or the telegraph pole that runs into your house.
However, they do have an agreement with the network supplier and Open Reach that any faults that happen within the UK phone network which affect customers need to be resolved within a certain amount of time. (A residential line is usually 72 working hours, business lines may have a shorter response time but may pay a premium for this service).
'Again, the charge?'
When the fault is outside the remit of Open Reach, then there will be a charge involved. While no company guarantees a fault free line, Open Reach can place charges if an engineer is sent to investigate a fault on a phone line and it turns out to be...
a) caused by customer's or someone else's negligence that the customer could have prevented. For example, if someone at the property physically cut or damaged the phone line into the house.
b) no fault was found on the line. Open Reach's remit stops up to the Master Socket within your house. If there are no issues with your Master Socket via your Test Socket, they may consider there to be no fault on your line. (This is usually related to the point below.)
c) something that was nothing to do with Open Reach equipment or their service but work was done inside the property to make the line example, if a SKY box is connected to the phone line and is making the phone line fuzzy or engaged all the time. (Yes, an Open Reach engineer unplugging that SKY box counts as work done by Open Reach engineer.)
d) if you miss a visit - If an Open Reach engineer visit has been booked with yourself, do not miss it. If you have to cancel the visit, it's best to give the telephone provider 48 working hours notice.