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BT Openreach Moves to Tackle Disputes Over Missed Engineer Appointments

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 (8:36 am) - Score 2,974

BTOpenreach, which manages access to BT’s national UK telecoms network, has this week introduced a new Disputed No Access process for all ISPs. This is designed to “repair appointments” where engineers have reported that they arrived at a home but were then unable to gain access, an account that customers sometimes dispute.

Related situations, which occasionally result in Openreach issuing an abortive visit fee, sometimes occur even when people have been waiting in for the engineer to turn up. A similar example raised its head last week when broadband provider AAISP reported that one of Openreach’s engineers was comically unable to find London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

The new Disputed No Access process, which has been under trial since May 2012, was officially introduced on Monday of this week and will be used in situations where ISPs can provide “evidence from the end user to justify” the dispute (it’s unclear what kind of “evidence” could actually be used to prove that you waited in for an engineer).

Openreach Statement

Once Openreach has received and validated the information, our agents will pick up the case and seek to reappoint based on the end user availability provided. If there are no appointment slots available for the stated times, the next best appointment will be booked, which can then be changed should it be unsuitable. If the issue does not meet the disputed no access definition it will be rejected.

Once an appointment is scheduled, Openreach will respond, by email, confirmation of the new appointment. A response will be sent within 24 hours (Monday to Friday) of the receipt of the email from the customer. For example, an email received at 14.00 on Friday will be responded to by 14.00 on Monday. The mailbox will be manned 08.00-18.00, Monday to Friday.

A new process for handling such disputes probably won’t completely resolve the problem itself, although it is a step in the right direction and should hopefully produce positive results for end-users.

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