I get home in time for the NTL man who's due between 12pm and 6pm (as booked last week), and there's a written note explaining that an NTL broadband area fault means there's nothing he can do, and that I should call NTL customer services to cancel the appointment.
I call the NTL engineer on his mobile: he says the fault won't be fixed for a month.
I call NTL customer services and, after ten minutes on hold, tell them I've been told to cancel the engineer. Also that I want compensation for the last three weeks and the coming month. They cancel the appointment and explain that they don't pay out until the problem is fixed (!), so I should call them back then. In the meantime, to find out about the fault, I should call the NTL area fault number.
I call the NTL fault hotline. I explain the problem, and the man tells me that what the engineer didn't know was that the NTL broadband fault in my area has actually now been fixed and that I should turn on my NTL modem. However, the ready light is still flashing. He tells me I need an NTL engineer to look at the NTL modem. There isn't one available till Friday. I ask if I can just have the one that I was supposed to between 12pm and 6pm today. No, he says. Even though it's only 12.30pm now? "Our apologies sir, but the ticket has been cancelled."
I have to say, their incompetence is stunning in its consistency.