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Any telephone engineers out there? I need your intuition on this please...

(12 Posts)
tearinghairout Thu 01-Oct-09 18:35:14

My mum has had a funny noise on her phone line for 6 months or so. It's a 'woo woo' noise, like the sound you used to get when you left a phone off the hook. It comes on for a few minutes & then usually goes, it's not loud at my end but is loud at hers.

BT have given her a new number, and she's bought a new handset. They have sent an engineer out 4 times. He has checked the line and taken out old wiring froma junction box up the road. None of this has made the slightest diffrence, and now they say they've given up. She faces a hefty bill because it's 'not their fault'.

She is 88 and lives in an old house that's been converted into flats. One of the guys upstairs got a computer about the time this started. Mum says he put in a DIY phone line. BT haven't checked inside his flat, but say it couldn't be connected to the noise.

So, what do you think?

Ideas needed, it's driving her nuts!

Hassled Thu 01-Oct-09 22:37:27

I wish I knew. Can you really put in a DIY phone line? It has to be connected to a provider somewhere. Anyway - interested bump.

tearinghairout Fri 02-Oct-09 17:34:52

Well, that's what Mum said. Given her total ignorance of computers hmm... I think she meant he sort of cobbled it to his existing phone line. Perhaps it was just that he had some sort of box thingy that he plugged in. Dunno... probably totally legit. Clutching at straws here.

But thanks for your interest smile

rebl Fri 02-Oct-09 17:41:39

Humm, I don't have the answer but I can totally sympathise with the hefty bill because of BT saying its not their fault. Our phone line keeps just cutting out, sporadically. I can hear the person but they can't hear me. We've had this now for 5 years. Its got worse recently and I called them and they came out, changed a load of old wiring etc and its still happening so now they're saying I will need to pay a call out fee for them to come again because they've done all they can and its not their fault and that they will have to check other things thats not theirs. Not sure what all that means other than a big bill!

tearinghairout Fri 02-Oct-09 22:21:53

Golly, you must be so frustrated, five years! Little things like this that you just can't get rid of can make you feel as if you're going round the twist. I just know that there must be an engineer out there who would have come across this kind of thing before... fingers crossed for us both!

rebl Sat 03-Oct-09 18:51:14

I've all but given up and just call the person back and its fine. I'm not paying a call out fee for something that I'm sure is their problem and at the end of the day is sporadic and unless it happens when they're here they're not going to fix I think.

There must be someone out there who knows.

Eaglebird Sat 03-Oct-09 22:40:02

I have a telecomms background (not with BT though)and I suspect there is an intermittent cable fault somewhere between your mother's house & the BT exchange.
It sounds like her line is intermittently in contact with someone else's line, and that other line has a fault or a call-diversion on it.

When I had a fault with my BT line a few years ago (the fault was due to a faulty drop-wire from the telegraph pole to my house), my line was intermittently dead. BT set up a temporary call-diversion on my line while they fixed the fault so that all calls would be diverted to my mobile.
When I lifted up my handset, I could sometimes hear a siren-type noise, which is the tone used to indicate an active call-divert.
Some exchanges, when they detect that a caller has left their phone off hook, or if there is a short-circuit on the line, will send out a similar siren-type noise.

As your mother hasn't had her calls diverted, and hasn't left her phone off hook, and the fact that the siren-type noise is intermittent, this sounds like her line is intermittently in contact with another line.
I'd get back in touch with BT, and ask to speak to someone in the complaints section. Tell them what I have mentioned above, and ask them to get an engineer to physically test the line from the exchange to the house with a megger (a meter used to test the insulation resistance of cables).

Good luck. I know what a nightmare it can be dealing with BT

tearinghairout Sun 04-Oct-09 12:01:35

Wow, a result! I had given up hope of any engineers/DPs out there - thanks Eaglebird, will do as you suggest & will let you know.

IWantToLiveOnAFarm Sun 04-Oct-09 13:43:22

Have you told them it started when computer guy set up his thing?

tearinghairout Thu 08-Oct-09 11:57:30

OK, update - I spoke to the engineer. No luck, he did hear the noise but couldn't do anything. Suggested I re-report it as a fault so that they can check it from the exchange. did that, spoke to a bloke who sounded like arobot, said they'd 'done all they could' at the exchange end, and did I want the engineer to come out again. I said that would be pointless, but agreed since it seemed the only way forward, & booke an appointment.

Rang the landlord to keep him in the loop and tell him what Eaglebird said. He said he's got an electrician friend who has a bit of telecoms experience who would come over & check the guy's flat, plus all the other electricals to make sure there was nothing interfering with Mum's line.

So, rang back BT & got a non-robot bloke with abit of common sense at last. He said the electrician was a good idea, check for electric fields being created etc & exclude possibility of it being something inside the house. Also he said don't stop complaining to BT, otherwise they'll think the problem's gone away. Not to worry about incurring a massive bill, if they know the fault is there & it's not in the house, must be up to them to fix and they will get there eventually. On thething about checking the cable, he said it very hard to unravel & check ever inch of miles of cables, but to keep at it & the fault would be found eventually.

So, that's where we are now - waiting for the electrician to fit us in. So, thanks peeps, the message to rebl is, keep on at it, the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Thanks for your advice Eaglebird.

GrendelsMum Fri 09-Oct-09 08:10:51

Do you by any chance have a Twitter account? I've heard that BT check Twitter for tweets about their service and get back to people who complain very speedily. You could tweet and link to this thread, for example?

We found with BT that once you get to the main complaints office, they are really, really on the ball, but that you have to put an actual complaint in to them for this. (It was really very funny - they cut our phone off, and we don't get any mobile reception, which of course meant we couldn't phone them to follow up about the phone problem...) However, we did eventually get 6 months free line rental and a large box of chocolates, so we felt very chuffed. (Large box of chocolates arrives in the Grendel caverns - DH admits to thinking 'but they hate us, it's probably all poisoned' - but we eat them anyway, and get even more excited when we realise there is a ^second layer^! BT sent us an unpoisoned box of chocolates with ^two layers^)

tearinghairout Fri 09-Oct-09 21:59:58

Twitter? No. I find MN addiction enough for one lifetime. Might consider it for a large box of chocs though...

Wait a minute - are you seriously saying that they pay people to sit around monitoring Twitter all day? Sounds like a thought-up-on-the-spot excuse for someone in some BT office somewhere - "Yes, I know what it looks like but Management have asked me to monitor Twitter"

BTW I did thingy at school, you know, with Grendel & his Ma, and I loved it, Hrothgar & all that stuff. I'm sure my ds would too, what with all the gory stuff, if he didn't think it was Shakespeare grin

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