They are at it again! Just occasionally our favorite telco try and charge us for "special" engineers. Our main gripe now is the time it takes to get past their hard sell and get them to fix a fault.
They try and push their "special" engineers almost to the point of refusing to fix a fault, and it often takes half an hour arguing to get past that. Even so, occasionally, they charge.
What is even sillier now is they just can't cope if we dispute the charges they do make!
We dispute on the basis we did not order the "special" engineers. Simple. And the contract lets us withhold the money, which we do. But they have a whole department for disputing the clear code for the visit - i.e. whether it is £0 or £144 for the engineer visit depending on what he found. We're not disputing the clear code at all, we're disputing that we ordered the service. So it is a waste of time talking to that department.
But they can't cope with the money staying unpaid. They keep insisting that we have to talk to this other department. They fail to understand that in fact they just have to show somehow that we ordered the service or remove it from the bill. We have said we're happy for the amount to stay in dispute until erased under the Limitations Act in 6 years.
What is more fun is that if ever it gets to court or arbitration we are in the rare situation of being able to prove a negative. Well, not quite, but demonstrate one anyway. We put notes on faults saying we are not ordering their "special" engineering service. We say so on the [recorded] calls to them. We even have an automated system that responds when their system thanks us for booking a "special" engineer saying they are mistaken and not to go ahead with any chargeable service. We we can demonstrate that before, during and after the supposed booking we made it clear we were not ordering the service!
No idea how it will end this time but we are sticking to our guns, and trying to get ISPA involved now as well.
We have said that we'll faff about with their clear code dispute team if they like. It won't change the dispute anyway. And that we'll only charge £144 per item for up to 2 hours work which we are sure they will consider a fair rate for our time.
What is a concern is that for new services (FTTC) they are trying to charge for reporting faults that they clear as "right when tested", even if they did not test at the delivery point, or did not test for long enough to see the fault, or tested and showed the sync below threshold. We think they will try and make this apply to normal broadband in the future! In fact they charge for both reporting and for clearing such faults - scary...
What can I say?