How to Report Telephone System Faults for Your Business

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A functional landline is key when it comes to ensuring your business can receive and make calls with high-quality audio. When phone faults do occur, you might face disruption or complete loss of service. Your customers might struggle to get in touch with you, which could lead to a loss of revenue and damage your relationship with potential clients.

The quicker you report a telephone system fault, the quicker you can get back to connecting with your customers and receiving or making important calls.

If you’ve ever faced landline faults, or want to arm yourself with the know-how to deal with faults quickly, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we take you through everything you need to know about reporting faults with your telephone system.

Finding the right phone system is key to preventing faults, take a look at our guide to the best business VoIP providers to find one suited to your business.

What are landline faults?

There are several landline faults you may face, these include:

  • Line noise: you or your customers might experience any number of unwanted noises or disturbances over the line. This could include buzzing, beeps, or static.
  • No dial tone – you might pick up your phone and fail to hear a dial tone, this is a sign that your phone connection is broken. This means customers won’t be able to call you.
  • Dropped calls – your calls might randomly drop, causing frustration and inconvenience for both you and your customers.
  • Inconsistent communication – the phone line may only work intermittently, while working fine at other times, or not work at all. This can be frustrating for both you and your customers as they’re unable to reliably get in touch with your business.
  • Wiring problems – your phone lines could be damaged or loose, meaning your phone line is no longer reliable or consistent.
  • Equipment issues – the problem may lie with the hardware itself, which will make it difficult to make, receive, or answer calls.

How to identify a landline fault

Before you contact your provider, there are a number of ways to identify the issue, ensuring it can be dealt with quicker.

  • Check for a dial tone – Pick up your phone and check if there is a dial tone. If there isn’t, it could mean there is a problem with the connection or phone line.
  • Connect to different jacks – if you have multiple phone jacks on your premises, test them out by connecting your lines to them. If the fault remains, it suggests there could be a fault in the wiring of the physical phone line.
  • Call from another landline – call your number from another landline. If there are issues, it could mean there is a problem with your landline service.
  • Test call quality – check for any disturbances or noises on the line that could affect call quality. If you hear faint noises, buzzing, or static, this indicates a fault.

Below is a list of changes that could be causing the fault:

  • Extreme weather – weather conditions, such as lightning and heavy rain, can cause faults with phone lines as they can damage any exposed wiring.
  • Power failure – a power failure could temporarily cause a landline fault.  In this instance, phone lines usually return to normal once the power comes back.
  • Line interference – other electronic devices could cause interference over the phone line. It could be affecting the stability and quality of the connection.
  • Provider issues – your phone line might be affected by the provider due to maintenance work or issues with the network or software.

How to report landline faults

If the fault turns out to be with your landline itself, here is how to report the fault:

Be prepared

Carry out a few tests as outlined above to see if you can find where the fault lies. Check your provider’s website to see if there are any troubleshooting guides to try and fix the issue yourself.

If the fault is persistent, document its frequency and any other necessary information regarding it.

Contact your service provider

Track down the right department. This can typically be done by looking at your provider’s website or by googling your service provider followed by the word ‘fault’.

Some providers may have a dedicated online portal for this, or even a live chat feature. However, most will have a contact number for you to call.

Provide Essential Details

Ensure you have all the necessary details ready, including your name, address, and account details. This will ensure your provider can identify you quickly.

If you’ve been documenting the issue, or have pictures or screenshots of faulty software, this is a good time to provide them. You may also need to provide additional information about any changes you’ve recently made, or if there has been any extreme weather in the area.

Explain the Issue Clearly

By this point, you’ve probably tested the line a few times and can provide clarity regarding the issue. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for your provider to provide a fix.

If you’ve followed any troubleshooting steps, explain them and the outcome.

Regular fault might make you want to change landline providers, and if that’s the case, we have a guide for that.

Troubleshooting Tips for Landline Faults

Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot any landline faults that occur.

Do Basic Checks

First, try to get to the route of the problem yourself:

  • Unplug all equipment and reboot all systems
  • Check to see if the manufacturer or service provider has a FAQs page on their website.

Isolate Internal Issues

There are usually many questions regarding troubleshooting, which are usually coupled with step-by-step guides on how to fix the problem(s).

Analogue Phones – try using a known ‘working’ phone handset from another extension and test if it works. This will help identify whether your problem is the phone or the socket/line. If your phone is still under warranty, you can return it to the manufacturer. If it’s a faulty socket, take note of the socket number and contact your telephone service provider.

Digital Phones – most suppliers have UK-based customer support. Contact them for help or suggestions

Types of telephone faults include: no dial tone, bell not ringing, a permanent engaged tone, number unobtainable, an exchange select service fault, cutting off, and noise.

Once you’ve determined what kind of problem you have, find out whether the phone system supplier can send out a technician or an Openreach engineer to fix it. If costs are a concern, or if you don’t have a business phone plan that covers maintenance and support, then make sure to find out what the engineer call-out fees are.

Understand external line faults

To troubleshoot landline faults caused by external line issues, follow these steps:

  1. Verify Internal Equipment: Confirm that the fault is not due to equipment within your premises.
  2. Recognise Signs: Look for signs such as no dial tone, crossed lines, excessive noise, or intermittent connectivity.
  3. Report to Service Provider: Contact your landline service provider and provide details of the problem.
  4. Provider Investigation: Your service provider will investigate the external network to find the fault.
  5. Stay Updated: Maintain communication with the provider for progress updates and estimated repair time.
  6. Follow Up: If the issue continues, follow up with your provider to ensure a timely resolution.

The Importance of Timely Resolution

Most VoIP providers offer an uptime guarantee of 99%, which means you should only face downtime of up to 8 hours, 45 minutes, and 36 seconds in a year.

If your phone system is down for longer than this, you can ask from a number of solutions:

  • Compensation – you can request a refund for the time period during which the line was faulty.
  • Upgrade – you can ask for your contract to be upgraded at no extra charge to compensate for the loss or disruption of service.
  • Dedicated support – requesting an account manager or priority support can help prevent extended loss of service or disruption in the future

The obligations of a service provider to fix landline faults will vary by provider. However, service providers are generally obliged to:

  • Offer a timely response – your provider should respond to your concern or query in a timely manner.
  • Troubleshooting – the provider is responsible for promptly beginning the troubleshooting to find and fix the fault. This could  include remotely testing the phone line, checking the network, or sending an engineer.
  • Repair – once the fault has been found, your provider is responsible for repairing the phone line.
  • Consistent communication – your provider should keep you updated throughout the investigation.
  • Compensation – depending on the severity of the fault, your provider may offer you compensation, which could come in the form of a discount, credit, or a refund.

If your phone line is experiencing a fault, your business can very quickly face a loss of revenue, affect customer loyalty, and customer experience.

How To Avoid Landline Faults

A good way to avoid landline faults is to choose a provider that provides a 99% uptime guarantee. Based on our research, RingCentral and 8×8 are two providers that offer an uptime guarantee of 99.99%.

You should also consider using a VoIP phone system as it runs over the internet and doesn’t rely on the PSTN network which will be switched off by December 2025. So, it’s a good time to invest in a VoIP system which won’t be affected by the cut off.

It’s not possible to foresee every potential fault, but there are a few ways to mitigate the likelihood of a fault:

  • Maintenance – carry out regular maintenance on your landline by checking wiring, hardware, and sockets.
  • Prevent damage – keep your wiring out from underfoot,  and ensure it isn’t exposed to harsh weather conditions.
  • Reduce interference – keep your wiring away from interference from appliances, routers, and fluorescent lights.
  • Periodic testing – carry out regular tests to ensure the line works correctly.

Landline faults can pose several challenges for businesses by disrupting communication, hampering customer interactions, and affecting the overall business. You might experience revenue loss, missed opportunities, and customer dissatisfaction.

To prevent these issues, you should carry out regular maintenance of your landlines, protect your lines from harsh weather conditions, and ensure you know how to reach your provider if something goes wrong. Choosing the right provider is key to resolving these issues quickly as some providers offer a downtime guarantee – such as those that use VoIP as you’ll avoid being affected by the PSTN network being switched off. A well-rated VoIP system is RingCentral, which offers a 99.999% uptime SLA. This means your business will only face up to 8.76 hours of downtime a year.

To compare RingCentral against other providers, you can use our free comparison quote tool. With a few details about your business and needs, we can match you with trusted providers that will contact you with obligation-free quotes.

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Can I get compensation for a landline fault?
Yes, typically you will be able to get compensation for a landline fault that hasn’t been fixed within two working days.
How can I prevent future landline faults from occurring?
Finding a reliable provider that guarantees minimum downtime is key to preventing faults. Some faults may be inevitable due to external factors such as bad weather, so finding a provider that will fix the fault swiftly will prevent the fault from affecting your business.

You can find these providers through research and looking at reviews, based on our expert research, we recommend Ring Central and 8×8, as both providers have an uptime SLA of 99.999%, which means you’ll only face a total of 8.76 hours of downtime in a year.

What is the typical response time for resolving landline faults?
The typical response time will depend based on factors such as the severity of the issue or the time and say you reach out to your provider. However, providers have a service legal agreement (SLA) in place which outlines the timeframe they have to deal with and resolve an issue, which is typically within two working days.
Will I incur any charges for reporting a landline fault?
You shouldn’t incur any charges for reporting a fault as this is deemed a standard part of the service from your provider.
Are there any alternative communication methods available during a landline fault?
Yes, you have a few options available to you if there is a landline fault:
  • Mobile phones: a mobile phone is a solid backup, in case, something goes wrong with your landline, as they are portable and easy to use.
  • VoIP: VoIP communication allows for voice calls to be made over the internet. As long as the fault hasn’t affected your internet service, you should be able to make and receive calls.
  • Social media: in the absence of a landline, leverage your business’s social media presence to maintain a presence with customers and give them an alternative way to get in touch.
Written by:
Aimee profile image
Aimee is Expert Market’s resident telephone systems and point of sale go-to. If she’s not writing about business products, you’ll find her daydreaming about dog walking on Dorset beaches.