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France Telecom - English Speaking Telephone - Engaged - waiting 45 minutes.....

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Is anyone else having the same difficulties as me?

I started ringing them last night from the UK.  Closed at 17:00 (FST), so no problem, called today.

Started at 09:00 (UK) and got the a male voice in both English and French telling me that all the lines were engaged.  Kept trying for a hour about every 10 to 20 minutes.  Finally got a female voice (at 14:00 UK) telling me "Welcome to F.T.Orange English Speaking Line, but all the lines were engaged"  Kept trying this for an hour.  Finally got through - 30 mintes hanging on the phone with a recorded announcement in English telling me they'll speak to me soon.  After 30 minutes I got a French ringing tone, a long silent pause and then a French voice telling me the same thing.  After 45 minutes of holding on a French number from the UK, I got the dreaded silence again.  This kept on for 2 minutes.  I gave up and hung up.

So, is it normal to wait 30 minutes before being diverted to a French voice?

Is it heavily engaged all the time?

Does anyone have an email address that they accept in English?

All I want to do is setup a Direct Debit on my bill, rather than having to write a cheque and risk getting cut-off.


Any advice (as always) will be received with glee!


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Just call into your nearest France Telecom shop and you will be able to sort it out there. Don't forget to take a RIB from your cheque book with you.  Even if you only speak a small amount of French they will help you out - and it's always much easier face to face.

You can't set up a prélevement (direct debit) over the telephone in France anyway, in the same way that you can in the UK. Even if you get through to the FT helpline they will have to send the papers out to you to sign and return so it will take longer.

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Certainly agree that the only way is to go to your local FT office. I had a problem with my original fixed line installation and I wanted them to come out again. The number that the engineer gave me just put me through to 1014 then they said I needed some other number etc etc. I was also told that they wouldnt accept an English mobile no as a contact number (I have been here 3 weeks and changing my mobile hasnt been my priority).

When I went to the FT office they were extremely helpful. My French is pretty good I suppose which helps but even so they arranged everything and suggested I give them my English mobile no as contact (grrrr - yes the French are no different, left hand and right hand etc etc).

I now have a new line, telephone and Internet.

Any future problems I am jumping in the car to the FT office. There doesnt seem to be a better way.

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Thanks for the info and that was very quick.  I am not back at the Flat until later this month and then it is over the weekend, so the forms  from FT maybe the best away around this.  But does it normally take 45 minutes to get nowhere?

Again, thanks for the very quick response.



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We got a new phone line (from  pole to house) connected and direct debit set up over the phone with the FT English helpline  back in June.  No problems whatsoever. I rang the helpline dead on 8am UK time and got through straight away.
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Rang bang on 9:00.  FT - All lines engaged. Tried again and was in hold for 8 minutes.  Got htrough and after 10 minutes, they have set up my direct debit.  All they wanted was my IBAN, not my RIB, which surpirsed me.  They are now sending to me in London a form I need to sign and send to my French Bank.

Thank you all for your advice.

One piece of information I did gleem, is that they are a very, very small team.  The lady I spoke to said that sometimes there maybe only 2 people working at any one time, up to a maximum of 5. 


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