Hasta La Muerte, Motherfucker

Archive for the category “BT”

Reducing Caller Spam

When I moved to the current place, I got a new phone number – not surprising, as I was in a new area, and a new (to me) house.  As always, I registered that number with TPS and so on, and made sure it was ex-directory.  I usually only use landline phones for broadband purposes – although it turns out I also use it here for some calls, as the mobile coverage inside the house is shockingly bad.  So I have a phone landline, and a phone connected to it.

Unbeknownst to me, the number I got had obviously been owned by someone else before me, and that person was the type of fucking moron who’d sign up for all kinds of promotions, and ran up all kinds of debts.  So right from Day One I was getting a couple of calls a week looking for the previous occupant. (Well, the previous owner of that phone number – it wasn’t a name connected to the house at all)  And because they were for a previous person, it turns out that TPS doesn’t really apply.  (Which is an interesting, and fucking annoying, loophole)

Even so, I re-registered with TPS, and put a spam-calls block on the line. (Which was absolutely useless, and so came off again) It was only a couple of calls a week, and usually while I was out at work. *shrug*

Over the last two years though, it got worse.  The phone’s call log would get filled up in the course of a week, all with “Number Withheld” and “International” numbers, along with the ones who didn’t conceal their numbers, who left messages and blocked up everything else.  I used a couple of other number-blocking services, none of which did much good.  Hell, if I were cynical I’d say they were the ones who sold the number on and spread it ever further. Not that I’ll ever know for sure, one way or the other.

Late last year, the situation was ridiculous. We’d gone from a couple of calls a week right up to filling the phone’s call log every day.  Nothing was working to prevent the calls, and it was just getting stupid.

So I bit the bullet, and changed my phone number. I explained to BT why I was doing it – in the hope that they now blacklist that number completely (although I doubt it, they’ll just have farmed it off on some other unsuspecting sap) – and got a new number allocated to me. Same set-up, it’s ex-d, and registered with TPS.

The big difference though, is that in the three months since I got it changed, I haven’t received a single solitary spam call. My phone call log stays blank (as I said, I don’t use it that often) and it’s lovely.

Sometimes these extreme measures are the ones we need to take. I wish I’d done this one two years ago…

Connectivity – Fixed (For Now)

Last weekend, as I said here, my internet connection started to go really bad (again).  I know what causes it, it’s just one of those things that’s a pain in the bum when it happens.

As usual, I got in touch with BT – this time through the online fault-reporting process.  Despite knowing what the problem is, there’s nothing in the process that lets you bypass it – and trying to get through it by using the phone and talking to badly-trained customer service lifeforms is even worse.

So we go through the usual farce of (in no particular order)

  • Have you checked all the extensions? Yes. (I don’t have any, but sure, I’ve checked them if it makes you happy)
  • Have you tried the connection with another phone? Yes. (I don’t have a spare phone just for this, and I know what the problem is)
  • Have you disconnected everything else? Does the problem still exist? Yes, of course it bloody does. The problem’s in your master socket.
  • Do you realise that if we find the problem is on your side (don’t worry, we won’t) then you’ll be charged £130 on your next bill?  Yes, I do realise it. (You’ve been here seven times all told in five years, all for the same problem, and I’ve never been charged, so it’s a fair bet that it won’t happen this time.)

And once we were through that, the engineer was booked for Wednesday morning, between 8am and 1pm.

He turned up, 8.10 – a good sign. Agreed with my diagnosis, and had a better look at the hole in the wall where the cable comes in. (Which the other engineers should have done, but well, we’ll gloss over that)  The silicone sealant was perished, and there was no drip-drop (as he called it) outside – basically, a small curve in the cable before it goes into the house, so that the lowest point for water is below the hole. Between those two things, he could easily see why water would be coming in – particularly in strong storms, which is what’s always been the precursor to the problem.  So, replaced silicone sealant, and he pulled enough cable through to enable a small drip-drop.

As well as that, he agreed to move the master socket further up the wall – basically, if this new one gets water damage, it’s likely that my concerns are going to be about far more than just my internet going down!

All told, it took about an hour to do the work – and of course I didn’t get charged, because the problem was with the master socket. As expected.

Only time will tell if it’s completely fixed (hence why I’m writing about it here, as a reference point in case of future problems) but as we’ve now gone for belt, braces, and piece-of-string methods in one visit, I’m hoping there won’t be any further recurrence of the problem…


Fixing Things

So far, this year has involved a number of customer service clusterfucks, some of which I’ve mentioned on here, and it looks like a number of those issues are now on the way to being sorted, thankfully.

That list includes

  • The Cat boots – successfully returned to manufacturer, and a replacement pair are (apparently) on the way
  • The Credit Card company – seems to be sorted, with outstanding issues rectified.
  • My Accountants – this has been something that’s been ongoing for a year or more, where they’re just ridiculously slack and uncommunicative. If it weren’t for the fact that they’ve been free (for the last 18 months!) then I’d have moved on well before now.
    The free stuff is a story of its own, but basically when I complained to director level at the end of 2015, they told me I wouldn’t be charged until they’d fixed the issues.  Eighteen months later, the issues are still there, although having had some productive conversations with the Operations Director, I think they’re turning the corner at last!
  • BT – Hopefully, that’ll be sorted today. The engineer is due between 8am and 1pm, and fingers crossed things will be sorted.

There’s a couple of other things coming up that so far seem positive, but I’m waiting for them to come through properly before I write about them.

All told though, yeah, it’s all feeling a bit more fixed and positive.


Yet again, my home broadband connection has gone to pot over the weekend.

It’s an ongoing problem – basically, there’s a leak in the outdoors part of my connection, so when it rains heavily, water gets in, and corrodes the connections in the master socket.  I start to know it’s going to be bad when any phone call I make (not that I make many on the landline, but still) starts to get crackly.  After a while, it then gets bad enough that the next ingress of water breaks things properly, and leaves my modem/router dropping the connection and reconnecting on an all-too-frequent basis.

In the five-and-a-bit years I’ve been in this house, I’ve had four master sockets. Now soon to be a fifth.

BT refuse to believe that this is the problem – this has been going on for ages, and they’ve done line checks etc., but won’t replace the outside part of the connection, for some reason.

So we go through the farce of doing fault-tracking, “We can’t find anything” and then booking an engineer to come out.  Every time, I get told “If it’s a problem past the master socket (i.e. with my own wiring) then it’ll cost £129.99 on your next bill”.  It won’t be with my wiring, because I’ve got precisely one socket, and one connector/splitter (also supplied by BT) on it.

Everything else will be fine, it’ll just be corroded connections in the master socket. Again.

This time, I’m going to aim to get the engineer to reinstall the master socket, but do so higher up the wall (so water doesn’t get in, as it can’t climb cables) or on a longer cable inside the house, so I can put it on a shelf or whatever, and again, let gravity deal with the problem.

The engineer’s coming out on Wednesday morning, so we’ll see what happens from there. It’d be nice (and really quite novel!) to have it sorted properly this time. But only time will tell whether that’ll happen or not.

Connected? Maybe

Following on from the last couple of posts about my connection, the guy from BT came out today and all seems to be well.

A new master socket appears to have fixed things – which is better than I was expecting. I’d kind of thought it was likely to be a replacement cable, but thankfully that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Of course, time will tell – if we get another weekend of vile weather and the connection starts dropping again, then we’ll be back to Square One.

Connected? Revisited

Back at the start of March, I was having issues with my Broadband connection, which BT was doing a fantastic job of avoiding. Because it would’ve cost me significant amounts of money to take the day off and wait for BT to chuff about investigating. Besides, while the weather’s been fine it hasn’t been that much of a problem.

So I’d postponed the appointment, BT had promised to make it again – and hadn’t. Quelle surprise.

Last week it got worse again – ‘coincidentally’ after it had pissed down with rain – so I got back on to BT. We went through all the rigmarole again, including dealing with similar levels of understanding (or lack thereof) from the first-level support people. It amazes me just how effing dumb their script is, and how incapable they are of deviating from it when they’ve already been given the relevant information.

Still, one conversation with the supervisor/manager later we got progress, and my line being monitored (again) for 24 hours by second-line support.

They’ve called today, and confirmed that (yet again) my line is shit. This time, because I’m working from home, there’s an engineer coming out on Thursday to fix it. There’s still been all the bollocks about “If it’s a fault inside the house you’re liable for it”, but I’m pretty damn sure it’ll turn out to be an external issue. Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough.

And after that I suspect I shall be having words with them about why it’s taken five months to fix a problem that (I predict) required no access at all to my house.


Since before Christmas, my broadband connection has been pretty flaky, occasionally cutting out completely and so on. I reported it to BT at the time, and they did fuck-all. (Imagine my surprise at that one)

Last weekend, it suddenly got much, much worse – no connection at all for most of Saturday and the router descending into an endless cycle of attempting to reconnect. Sunday started in the same vein, so I called BT’s fault department again. Twice. (The first person tried to transfer the call, fucked it up, and disconnected instead. Slow handclaps)

They ended up escalating it to the ‘second tier’, who would investigate and call me the following day. As that was a Monday, I asked them to make my mobile my primary contact, as I’d be at work, not available on the home number. You’d think that would be pretty easy/sensible, but it took them three attempts.

Yesterday, I got the first call. Yes, the line’s fucked, but they can’t tell where. It could be inside the house (we’ll gloss over the fact that when there is a line, the connection is fine, and all the in-house equipment works well with no issues) or on the line itself. So they’ll need to send an engineer.

How’s tomorrow?

No, I’m at work. How’s about a weekend?

We don’t do engineer visits for this kind of thing on a weekend.

OK, so I’ve got to take time off from work in order for this to be checked at BT’s convenience. Who do I invoice for my time?

Oh, we don’t do that. We won’t pay for your time. You also need to be aware that if the problem turns out to be with your equipment, or something like corrosion of BT equipment, you’ll be charged £130

So this could be an expensive proposition.  (And how much do we want to bet, fellow cynics, that the issue is ‘corrosion’, and thus makes me liable?)

I asked at that point for a call back from a supervisor, because I wasn’t happy with the entire thing. They promised to call me back between 12 noon and 1pm.

The call didn’t happen. I got home, and found a message on the landline at 4pm saying “I tried calling you back, but you weren’t available”. No shit, you fucking moron, I was at work – as it said on the fucking ticket.  I called them back, and we’re now in the land of official complaints. Again.

On a more positive note, a random check on BT’s page last night showed that my exchange should be getting Fibre (and BT Infinity) this month. Which may just make things worth sticking with BT…

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