I had not realised this was quite the official stance before, but it was confirmed today.

If a BT SFI (Special Faults Investigation) engineer goes out for a broadband fault, and tests the line to SIN349 (which is a standard for the quality of the copper pair for voice), then even if he goes on and fixes a reported broadband issue, the visit will be charged by BT (Wholesale).

So that means the engineer found and fixed a broadband issue in the broadband service we buy and yet they charge for fixing it, and that is, it seems, official BT policy to do so.

They have pushed SFI step by step over the years getting more and more outrageous, but this is really pushing too far. They offer no other choice to fix a fault in the service we buy apart from booking an SFI engineer visit. It used to be that if they found and fixed the issue they did not charge, but now they will actually charge for that engineer to fix a broadband fault, even though we have paid for a working broadband service already.

Just to be crystal clear here - if there is an issue with the broadband, as opposed to the phone line itself (i.e. line meets SIN349), BT have no way for us to get that fixed other than an SFI engineer, for which they will charge in that case. They have no option to actually fix the broadband fault otherwise.

I don't think that would get past a judge somehow!

Hopefully we can work with BT to resolve this broken policy - we are working on that, and it may be a chance for our Wholesale Broadband Buyers Forum to get started.

What are other ISPs doing about being charged to fix a fault?


  1. Dear Mr Kennard,

    As you are aware, you have had some problems with your electricity supply recently. You maintained that your house had no electricity supply even when our internal tests said the local power station was running within standard parameters.

    Therefore, we sent an engineer to your house, and we tested the electric cable. Our (industry standard) test indicated it was made out of known metals, and was capable of carrying electric current. Therefore, as is policy, we charged you £150 for your engineer visit, as this (industry standard) test showed could not possibly be a problem caused by us or our service.

    Two weeks later, we found that your local substation had a fault which prevented power from reaching your house and when that issue resolved, power was restored to your location.

    Despite your protests, I am afraid we still need to be paid for the initial visit. We have a strict policy of robbing people blind for no good reason and this needs to be adhered to despite common sense.

    Thank you for your continued custom with British Power. (even though you have no real choice to go elsewhere)

    Kind Regards,

    Mr A. Bureaucrat

  2. Surely there must be some legislation that prevents them charging to fix a fault (or to look at it another way not supplying the service as described) - or does that sort of thing only apply to B2C contracts as opposed to B2B?

  3. If BT are insistent on this, then why not take a single charge to Small Claims and go from there?

  4. Replies
    1. Still arguing with BT every day. Still disputes discussed by lawyers. Still not change in the stupidity of the way BT do this all.

  5. Suggest you talk to your CP as all they pay Openreach for is SMPF/MPF or POTS/PSTN to SIN 349 , everything else is gravy for the ISP as they DO NOT PAY EXTRA FOR THE ADSL SERVICE OVER THE LOCAL LOOP they just hope it will be ok .

    1. Missing the point I think. I don't care what BTW or TT pay openreach for. We pay BTW and TT for working "broadband" and it is their job to provide that.


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