Telephone problems mastered

BT master socket, next to a double power socket.

Jesus said “You cannot be the slave of two masters!” (Matthew 6:24). BT said exactly the same this morning when they discovered that someone had tried to wire a second master socket to our original master socket.

At 08:30 a BT OpenReach engineer turned up at the door — not the cheeriest engineer that I’ve ever met — and got to work testing our master phone socket in the hallway.

Open(Reach) investigation

A few minutes later he asked if we’d installed our own Sky TV box. “No,” said I, “Why?” He showed me that someone had wired an extension socket into the back of the master socket, and that it was done in such a terrible way that it was clear to him that it hadn’t been done by a qualified BT engineer.

We assured him that we’d only been living here for five months, we didn’t have Sky TV, hadn’t been poking screwdrivers and wires into the back of the master socket, and that all we had connected was a telephone, the router and an answering machine.


It turns out that the problem was our answering machine. It turns out that the problem was our answering machine because whoever had wired in that rogue extension socket had wired in another master socket (at least that’s what I think he muttered) and that it had short-circuited our telephone line and completely knackered our answering machine in the process.

So now we have a phone line again, but no answering machine (other than the invisible BT 1571 service in the sky … but not Sky, because, as I’ve already established, we don’t have that).

We’ll just have to wait now to see whether we’re charged the £110+ call-out charge plus £99 per hour for someone else’s poor telephone wiring. But if we are and it goes any way towards solving our poor broadband connections — and allowing me to blog about something else for a change!! — then it will be money well spent.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

2 thoughts on “Telephone problems mastered”

  1. well if you done as you were told and removed the front plate and connected a corded phone you wouldnt of seen that the extention was causing the fault and not of been charged

  2. Thanks Ross for your comment.

    I did as I was told: I removed the front plate and connected a corded phone and it didn’t fix the problem at all.

    The rogue extension socket, you see, was wired in FROM THE BACK of the master socket not mounted on the front as an ordinary extension socket might be.

    There was no way for me to know that there was anything wired in to the master socket that should not have been there, what with my not being a telecoms engineer.

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