I haven’t got a phone at the moment. A landline I mean. I still have a mobile. You see I recently moved house and…
(WHAT?? You mean Shuggie who has lived in the same flat for nearly 7 years, who hates change, who has at times wondered if he’s agoraphobic he so likes his routine and his ‘safe place’, has moved?
Yup and as you can guess there are many many things I could write about to do with the new house. But let’s talk phones.)
…and I rang BT to take over the phone line. I need to be with BT because I want to stay with Virgin as my ISP for broadband. However the previous *tenant* in my new house was with a different provider – Bulldog – and haven’t cancelled their account. Did I mention this is now MY house? as in I bought it? Anyway the only contact information I have is an address for the previous *owner*. I have no address for the previous tenant and no phone number for anyone. Just after Christmas I forwarded a bunch of mail via previous owner with a letter asking them to a) give me the forwarding address for the ex-tenant and b) ask the ex-tenant to cancel their phone account.So far I’ve had no response.
By the way, the phone has a dial tone but if you ring anywhere it tells you that the line is prohibited from making outgoing calls except to Bulldog Customer Service. I tried ringing that – using the phoneline. My logic was that hopefully they could tell that I was using that line and possibly allow me to cancel the account. Unfortunately it rings, takes you through the menu options and then cuts off.
What I’ve done instead is to ring BT a couple of times – since they can check whether the “marker” is still on the line. I was going to write another letter but haven’t done so yet. Anyway the couple of times I’ve called BT the account was still there.
So today I rang BT again and asked them if this could just go on and on and what could I do? They advised me to speak to Bulldog as they claim that they cannot do anything at all, regardless of how long it goes on if Bulldog own the line.
So I rang Bulldog. There was no menu option for my situation (or even an “everything else”) so I just choose the first one. I spoke to a gentleman with an Indian accent who informed me that his system was down and could only give general advice. I explained my situation and he told me there was nothing he could do while his systems were down and I should ring back in 15 minutes or tomorrow.
“But you can do something if the system comes back?” I asked sceptically.
I thanked him and rang off. I dutifully rang back 13 minutes later and this time spoke to an Indian-accented lady (looks like Bulldog’s callcentre is not in the UK). I explained my situation and by now the system was indeed back up. She took my details and gave me a fax number. She told me I need to Fax a copy of a proof of ownership of my house to the number and this will start the “Gone Away” process which will lead to the cancelling of the account and me being able to take it over. She told me to include a short covering letter and what to put into it. She was very helpful.
The only problem is that the “Gone Away” process takes time – 15 working days from the day they receive my fax (which is looking like Monday now). 3 weeks! Add to that the 7 working days BT quoted for a new line. Add to that the 15 working days that Virgin quote to transfer an ADSL connection (and I’ve heard horror stories of it being much much longer) and it could be 2 months before I’m back online.
I’m hoping some of these times are maximums (or averages) and it could be shorter. Though I suspect the “Gone Away” one might be fixed. I guess in that 15 days they’ll try to contact the ex-tenant.
All of which means I may look into getting my mobile sorted for modem access. I’ve found it can do GPRS (which is dial-up equivalent speeds) previously it was only doing whatever the one before GPRS is called (which was ancient dial-up speeds v.slow but fast enough for web browsing if you mainly read text sites). I’ve connected the phone to the laptop, I’ve successfully dialed. I’ve even been able to browse O2’s website using it. But not any others. Which makes me think I need to call them and get them to ‘switch me on’