MASTER SOCKETS

Your service provider  assumes everybody has a current style master socket installed. This is not necesarrily the case. When you are trying to report a fault they will always ask you to go to your master socket and remove the front. ONLY DO THIS IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING SOCKETS.

CURRENT MASTER SOCKETS IN USE

                   AS USED BY ALL SERVICES PROVIDED VIA OPEN REACH

The socket shown top left is the first of the recent range of master sockets designed to enable the customer to perform a self diagnostic check on their line fault. The two screws are the only ones that concern you, but be warned they are very short and easily lost. Once removed the lower section can be withdrawn to reveal the 'test socket', as shown in picture bottom middle. Your provider is obliged to provide a working service to that point. Be careful, any wiring used to provide for any extensions you may have will be attached to the piece you need to remove and the wires can easily pop out if pulled too hard. 

The socket shown middle top is a later version of the one we have discussed above. On this one you simply squeeze the sides and pull forward. Once again the test socket will be revealed. Less to worry about on this one since extension wiring is attached elsewhere.

Top right and bottom left are what we call 'centrally filtered' sockets. With these sockets your router can only plug in directly at this point. (NO FILTER)

A telephone can be plugged into the designated socket and any extensions you may have do not need to be filtered. Removal of front is same procedure, remove two screws for the older type and squeeze the side for the newer version to reveal the test socket.   

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Plug a known working phone into the test socket. If it now works but didn't before then the fault is within your home. If it still doesn't work the fault is within the network and your provider must arrange for Open Reach to get it fixed. We advise you to leave the socket dismantled until the fault is cleared. Just in case there is a second fault within your home. If there is you can worry about it later. Just don't leave yourself in a position where you could be blamed for the fault and charged for the visit. If it's your broadband that's playing up and the line appears OK you'll need to plug your router in via the test socket (If you have a centrally filtered socket you'll need a stand alone filter to connect) Once again, if the broadband then starts working the fault is within your home, if not the provider must provide the fix.

FAULTY ROUTER?

If you're still in contract your provider will probably send a new one free of charge. If you're out of contract they'll want to charge for it. Often they'll then try to you into a new 18 month contract in exchange for a 'free router'. If you do take up their offer be sure to ensure you're getting the best and latest deal on offer. We carry stocks of most common routers at very reasonable prices. 

WHAT ELSE MAY THEY TRY AND CHARGE ME FOR?

Before fixing an appointment your provider will describe a whole host of reasons you may be charged for the visit. Some are reasonable enough - if you've accidentally cut a cable with the hedge trimmer or your builder has dug up and damaged an underground cable on your land you'd expect to be charged (although we'd hope you'd call us first!). As for overhead cables damaged by trees on your land we're not so sure. If they chose to run a cable through the tree then who's to blame? Put simply, if the tree was there first then how can it be your fault? 

TELL ME ABOUT CARE PHONES

A few things to consider if you're going to get a CarePhone installed. Normally the provider will arrange the installation. Some of the people who turn up seem to know what they're doing and others clearly don't whilst others think they do and still don't. That said, some seem to be volunteers so we won't say too much more. Two main things to consider - firstly should you need to call for help the call centre will reply over the loudspeaker. Consider locating the base unit in the room in which you spend most of your time. That way, you'll be able to communicate and avoid the need to send someone round to check on you unncessarily. Second, the device should plug into your line in place of your phone and then the phone plugs into the back of the device. The reason for this is simple. Take the following example. Imagine you're  on the phone, trip and fall, and the phone goes flying but is still switched on to the call. You manage to press the alarm button and your device is triggered to call for help. If the phone line is engaged your emergency call cannot be made. If the device is installed correctly the call will automatically be cut off and the emergency call will be made. We've seen far too many cases where these devices have not been installed correctly. Please ensure you check it's working as it should once it's installed. One day you may be very glad you did. Lastly, for goodness sake, hang the push button round your neck and not the door handle or a coat hook.