Overview: if an appointment for an OpenReach engineer is missed or cut-short, despite the OpenReach engineer attending, then a missed appointment fee is incurred. This article explains some of the reasons why a charge may be levied, and the process to dispute such charges.

Site contact: A common reason for a missed appointment is that the nominated site contact was not alert during the entire appointment slot, failing to notice the OpenReach engineer attempting to knock on the door or ring the bell. The nominated site contact must:

  • Be onsite for the entire duration of the appointment
  • Be expecting the OpenReach engineer
  • Be familiar with where the wall socket is located at the premises (or where work is to be carried out), in order to have the engineer accompany them to it
  • Be contactable by mobile phone (preferred), or landline
  • Be alert to other possible side or rear entrances that an engineer, not familiar with the property, may arrive at

Access: The owner or landlord must allow the engineer access to all areas of the property where they may need to test or install cabling or equipment. If the engineer asks if they can drill through a wall, for example, and clear 100% approval cannot be provided, the visit will be classed as "aborted". Full details of the OpenReach access requirements can be found in this article about RAMS (https://internetservices.freshdesk.com/en/support/solutions/articles/5000828807-openreach-rams-risk-assessment-and-method-statement-)

Other: Other common reasons given to engineers which result in missed appointment fees:

  • "Sorry, I just work here - I don't know anything about an OpenReach visit"
  • "I'm just a tradesman doing a job - I can let you in but I can't accompany you"
  • Site contact could not hear door bell or knocking on the door
    • possibly due to being in a different area of the property
    • possibly due to noise, such as work taking place
    • possibly because the bell does not work
  • Site contact was not "in" the property, perhaps instead sat in a vehicle outside the property
  • Site contact asks if the engineer could "call back in a minute" , because it was not convenient

Dispute process

If the site contact is adamant that they were onsite for the duration of the visit, and would have been able to clearly hear an engineer knocking (or ringing bell), then they can sign a witness statement which will be forwarded to OpenReach. This is a legally binding document. The engineer’s manager will formally discuss the matter with the engineer, and it could result in consequences for them. If the engineer does not agree with the signed witness statement then the matter could eventually be referred to a neutral 3rd-party dispute resolution service, where a decision will be made. During this process the fees are payable. If the decision is in favour of the site contact, then a full refund will be issued.

Template statement: the site contact should fill in and return a signed copy – a photo taken with a mobile phone is acceptable.

[start of template]

I, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [full name], was the nominated site contact on _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [date] for the AM (08:00-13:00) / PM (13:00-18:00) [delete as appropriate] OpenReach appointment at the following address:

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

[insert address above, with postcode]

I was contactable via telephone on number _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [phone number]. Further, I was aware of my responsibility to look out for a visiting OpenReach engineer and was ready to direct him to the location where the work was to be carried out. I was onsite for the full duration of the appointment and would have heard the engineer knock or ring the bell, but I heard nothing; there was no noise within the property that would have prevented me from hearing. I stand by the truthfullness this statement even if it results in consequences for the engineer. I can be contacted be any 3rd-party dispute resolution service if the engineer refutes my statement.

Signed on     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ [date signed]

Signed:         _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  [signature]

[end of template]