We had managed to previously get them to agree that they would not charge for an engineer unless it is proved that the cause of a fault is the end user equipment. We are generally happy with such a system because where there is proof given to us we can use that to justifiably charge our customer who will have claimed to checked/replaced his equipment as part of the process. (Obviously if we screwed up in the process, that is our cost).
It seems, once again, that things are not working well, possibly because we have a long list of outstanding disputes over SFI charges, and oddly TRC (Time Related Charges) too.
Once again it is "won't send an engineer unless you agree possible charges", and once again it is "charges is engineer fails to find fault in BT network". This last point is subtly (but importantly) different from "proving it is end user equipment at fault" as they are often reasons to "not find a fault in BT network" even when one exists (incompetence or bad luck or intermittent fault).
Just like we had with BT all those years ago, with Talk Talk, "SFI" (Special Faults Investigation) is a product they sell us to investigate a fault. As such we can choose not to buy such a product - why would we - we have investigated the fault ourselves already and found it to be in the network which we pay Talk Talk for already. All we want is the fault fixed, not some private investigator (SFI) to investigate it for us.
Of course this means essentially Talk Talk refuse to fix the fault, and we get deadlock again.
Their latest is that this is the industry wide processes. Of course I don't give a shit about that! For a start we have a contract with Talk Talk for a broadband service and we expect it to be fixed if there is a fault. It is no concern of ours if TT have engaged the services of some company that seems hell bent on ripping off the whole industry (just my opinion). But importantly the industry wide process is that every ISP disputes these crazy charges so much that BT have to create special processes on top of normal billing systems to manage the number of disputes (another industry wide process).
This really has to be sorted somehow.
Just to be clear (and this is where the lawyers reading may like to comment, unofficially). We consider it that the supplier has to provide a working service and repair faults if not working. We do accept that we have some role to play, checking the equipment, and eliminating it as the cause of the apparent fault. We recognise that if we fail to do what is agreed, and do not check the equipment, we should be liable for the wasted engineer visit that may ensue, as a pre-agreed penalty for a breach of contract. What we do not wish to do is purchase a new investigation service or pay for fault repair, or more importantly - pay if an engineer is unable to find a fault that exists.
It is quite unacceptable for the whole SFI system to encourage poor performance of engineers; to encourage the failure to find a fault.
So, once again, we are at a deadlock, until someone blinks. Only we have done this before and won the argument many times before. Let's see how it goes.
The real challenge is picking the fights that will not impact end users - they should not suffer from this, but if we do not fight it simply means us paying more and charging end users more. It is better to have a system that actually fixes faults and to work with BT and TT to do so.
P.S. We have offered to help Talk Talk break up this industry wide