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Zen - failed OpenReach appointment, rude responses

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
Hello,

We decided to switch to Zen as FTTP was provisioned on our street recently. Multiple other properties have had OpenReach appointments done, and a survey was done to show how the fibre could enter the property. This becomes relevant later.

On the day of the appointment, we were told that the sub-contractor for OpenReach could not lift an iron grate to fit the fibre from the street to the ONT on the outside of the house. This should have been flagged in the aformentioned survey, and was not an issue for a different Openreach contractor that fitted a cable to a house 2 doors down, the week previous to our appointment.

We then proceeded to have zero contact from Zen. We have called a number of times, only to be told the next time they can speak to OpenReach is Wednesday 28th, leaving us without internet for a week.

We work for NHS Digital, and as such, work from home, so we are having to tether at an expense to complete our jobs. Zen has offered no compensation or remedy to help us, and the call centre staff have been rude and not helpful to us, saying phrases akin to "that's how it is" and "there is nothing we can do". A failed appointment doesn't count as a missed appointment, and as such - no compensation has been offered.

We were trying to leave Virgin Media and get a better experience from a new ISP, but right now, Zen have fallen far below our standards. I understand that they are at the whim of Openreach to some regard, but this isn't acceptable service in my eyes, especially as others have had little to no trouble with installation.

Thanks,

Phillip
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
Let me know how that goes, as I'll be interesting if they've quietly dropped the policy.
 

Brumski

Regular Member
This wouldn't be the first time I've seen someone express disappointment in Zen of late. What used to be a historically good and well-regarded ISP seems to have suffered during the COVID period (not making excuses for them, just an observation)
 
I was with them for four years, until very recently - a period over which customer service standards did drop, unfortunately. Specifically with regard to contact / communications. That part is just as important to us as speed - perhaps even more so.
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
I've never been with Zen but there's been a fair few complaints about Zen with fairly similar stories about installs not going to plan. I wonder if they need a few more people working proactively on the install team.
 

father_ted

Casual Member
On the day of the appointment, we were told that the sub-contractor for OpenReach could not lift an iron grate...

Do you refer here to a 'manhole' cover, presumably in the footpath outside your house?

These can serve multiple houses - I presume your complaint is because the same 'footway box' serves your neighbour who was connected without incident?

Having been through similar shenanigans last year with a simple copper line provision I feel your pain, the system of communication between Openreach and ISP is completely inadequate when things go wrong. And you have hit the nail on the head - there is no consequence when a connection attempt is marked as 'failed'.

It's hard to design a compensation regime that covers this, because it's a procedure designed to cover factors outside Openreach's control, like a building site putting a fence around a box they need to access, or the police having closed the road. It's quite right that they shouldn't be on the hook in those situations.

However, being unable to open a footway box should in my view attract compensation. Openreach own it and have the opportunity to maintain it.

FYI the ONT is the electronic item that goes inside your house, has a power supply and converts the optical fibre signal to electrical Ethernet for your router. The box on the outside of the house is, in most new installs, a Customer Splice Point, where an external grade fibre cable is spliced to a short internal cable which enters your property and connects to the ONT.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of Zen but the issue here is that once Openreach set a date for updating the ISP or to do work the ISP cannot do anything more than wait.

It sounds like Zen have been a little less transparent in this case but regardless of what they do or say @PhilMacdonald isn't going to get the resolution wanted/required and nobody wants to tell there customer that 'they can't do anything' because the customer expectsi that they would be able to.

Let's just say if I went to Zen and they told me they had about as much power/effort to deal with an issue as TalkTalk/Sky which was like 30-50% less in cost then I would likely cancel the order.
 

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
Okay, may have got some terminology wrong. We are waiting for the outside box and the internal modem at the moment, as we just have a copper line to the house.

Most houses on the street are under concrete in the pavement covers, so the contractor brought with him tools to lift that type.

Ours is under a rectangular shaped cast iron one in the road, as the pavement runs out past our house, which needs different equipment to lift.
 

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of Zen but the issue here is that once Openreach set a date for updating the ISP or to do work the ISP cannot do anything more than wait.

It sounds like Zen have been a little less transparent in this case but regardless of what they do or say @PhilMacdonald isn't going to get the resolution wanted/required and nobody wants to tell there customer that 'they can't do anything' because the customer expectsi that they would be able to.

Let's just say if I went to Zen and they told me they had about as much power/effort to deal with an issue as TalkTalk/Sky which was like 30-50% less in cost then I would likely cancel the order.
Completely agreed. I realist most ISPs are powerless vs Openreach, I'm just not sure why we aren't being offered compensation, or Zen sticking to the charter and providing the 4G access in the meantime.

We've been following instructions from Zen to call when asked, and they have then responded with "well we can't do anything until Openreach get back to us, why did you call".

It's just not clear communication, and not sticking to what they say in their charter.
 

Brumski

Regular Member
Ours is under a rectangular shaped cast iron one in the road, as the pavement runs out past our house, which needs different equipment to lift.

Most "UG" engineers will carry a lid-lifter, metal pole and a GDU - that's it.

The cast iron lids require a heavy lifter. While none of this is your problem, and probably not even interesting, it's something that should have been communicated properly within Openreach.
 

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
Indeed. It makes me wonder, as a customer, when they did the line survey, why this information isn't surfaced to Openreach once the appointment is made. It doesn't make a lot of sense.
 

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
For transparency, a Zen rep responded on this forum and we have an open complaint about this matter, will update RE: customer charter and what responses we get from Zen.

Appreciate all of your help with the terminology and experiences with Openreach, it's helped me to understand what's failed in the process.
 

PhilMacdonald

Casual Member
We've just received this response (for reference, the appointment is 2 days later than originally re-arranged, probably due to sourcing the lifter):

Good Morning,

Thank you for your email. I have been following up with Openreach this morning and can see from the notes on their system that they are aware of the need for a heavy lifter, and they are in the process of allocating this to the job. They suggest that the engineer will attend with this equipment on 30/04/2021 between 1pm and 6pm to complete this. I will be continuing to monitor this to ensure the correct equipment is there with the engineer to get this completed for you.

I am sorry that this experience has been poor, this is not what we expect from our agents and we expect that when you provide them with additional information that they pass this onto Openreach to ensure there are no further delays. I will be raising this with the head of provisioning to ensure that we live up to the levels of customer experience that we pride ourselves on and to prevent the poor experiences.

Coming onto the customer charter, I am so sorry that no one has offered to send you a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot device, I have raised this request to get this out to you as quickly as possible and will let you know once this has been dispatched. In terms of the compensation, as it mentions we are part of the auto-compensation scheme which your order is eligible for and this will be reviewed once the service is live as it is based upon the delays that are faced with the order. I understand that on this occasion the service has not been to the standard that we expect, and I will do my best to improve this and to ensure that this is raised as feedback to the relevant managers and team leaders to help improve the service that we are offering.

I do understand how important it is to have the connection to the internet, especially now with working from home and I am so sorry that these issues and delays are making that incredibly difficult. As I mention I will get the 4G hotspot to you which will work as a temporary measure to keep you connected​

Thanks for raising the charter, that will help us when that device arrives. It's still a little below standard as no additional compensation was offered for the rude service, but I'll take what I can get and hope we have a new FTTP line on Friday.
 
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