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Our view on SFI charges

This page explains our point of view and the stance we have taken with BT on SFI visits and charges. I don’t doubt that some will disagree with our point of view to some extent. Much of this page is opinion and should be taken as such. I hope it is helpful and I am happy to answer any questions. We don’t dislike BT – we wish to work in partnership with BT. In many areas (especially technical) we work well with BT. However, on occasion, we are at odds with BT and SFI charges is one of those cases. We hope this will eventually be resolved one way or another. We are happy to talk to BT further if they wish.

Please bear in mind that a lot of faults are clear cut and not an issue. The tricky ones are those that are intermittent or show no fault on BT testing.

Why is BT SFI a broken concept?

The best way to explain this is an analogy. Imagine you rent a tumble drier (or if you prefer consider you bought it and it is under warranty). If it breaks a man comes out and fixes it – no charge. Simple.

Now, it would not be that unreasonable for them to say “If we come out and find the tumble drier is fine but the problem was in fact a fault in your washing machine, say not spinning the water out, which is why the tumble drier could not work, we’ll charge a callout fee”. That would not be too bad, though £160 would be a huge call out fee.

Now imagine they say “There is no call out fee, but the service company we use (part of our company) only offer us combined washing machine and tumble drier check visits, so that is all we can offer you”… Not too bad, but there is more: “If they don’t find a fault then there is a charge of £160 for checking the washing machine – no it’s not a call out fee, it’s specifically for the work done on the washing machine”. And no amount of “I did not get the washing machine from you, I don’t want it checked, I just want the tumble drier sorted” helps you.

Well, that is exactly how BT are running SFI. They make SFI a new service which checks wiring and router as well as the broadband service. They have no option for having it without these extra checks. They charge specifically for the activity beyond the NTE (i.e. these extra checks). They only spend 2 hours on the issue so may well not find an intermittant fault (and so will charge). Comments?


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