I have a dial tone but cannot make calls, what should I do? 

Problems with your phone line can be caused by a number of issues and may not be due to a fault on the telephone network. There are a number of checks that you can perform which may lead to you solving the problem yourself, saving you time, frustration or an unnecessary visit from an engineer.

  • Are you dialling the correct number?

    Check online that the number you are dialling is correct or call BT Directory Enquiries on 118 500.
  • Do you have Call Barring active on your line?

    Using certain call barring codes can restrict the types of calls you can make. For more information on the call barring codes available and their purpose, please see Using Call Barring.
  • Do you make your phone calls with another service provider?

    Prefix the number you are dialling with 1280 (calls via 1280 will be charged at normal BT call rates). If the call connects, the problem’s not with BT’s network, but that of your service provider. You'll need to contact them to report the problem.
  • Has your line been restricted by BT for a billing reason?

    Please ensure any outstanding phone bills are paid as soon as possible, then get in touch. You'll find our contact details by clicking on the 'Contact us' link on this page. If your telephone service is with another supplier, you'll need to contact them.
  • Does this problem apply to all of your phones or just one?

    If the problem only happens with one phone, it’s unlikely that there’s a fault with the phone line and the phone itself is likely to be faulty.

    If you rent your phone from BT, please contact BT and we will arrange for a new phone to be delivered to you. You can also buy telephones from us online at BT Business Direct.
  • Have you tested your phone equipment?

    To test your phone equipment:

    1. Unplug all phones and equipment from all telephone sockets, including faxes, PCs, modems, satellite television digiboxes, extension leads, adapters and double adapters, so that there isn't anything left plugged in. If you have broadband, don't forget to unplug all of your micro-filters and your ADSL modem or router from the sockets, as these may affect your phone line.

    Note: If you have an old style phone that cannot be unplugged, please get in touch. Find our contact details by clicking the 'Contact us' link on this page.

    2. Plug a working corded phone (not cordless) into the main phone socket. The main socket is usually found where the phone line enters the premises. Check for the problem again by using the working phone.

    If you can make calls at the main socket, your phone line and extension wiring are likely to be OK. The problem is likely to be in one of your pieces of equipment.

    Make test calls with each piece of equipment, one at a time. If a piece of equipment is causing the dial-out problem, unplug this piece of equipment and keep it unplugged.

    Refer to the product manual supplied with the piece of equipment or contact the supplier.

    3. If the problem persists at the main socket, you should now test the extension wiring. If your main socket looks like following, with a horizontal bar across the front template, carefully unscrew the 2 small screws. 


    The bottom half of the faceplate should slide out. On the right hand side is a test socket. This connects you directly to the telephone line and bypasses any extension wiring you may have:


    Plug the corded phone into the test socket as above. Make test calls and check for the line ringing once and stopping or not ringing at all.

    Note: If your main socket does not have a horizontal bar across the front and looks like this do not unscrew the face plate, get in touch. You'll find our contact details by clicking on the 'Contact us' link on this page.


    If you can dial out at the test socket, it’s likely that your internal wiring is faulty. You now have the choice of repairing the wiring yourself or contacting a telephone maintainer, who is likely to charge you unless the wiring is covered by a warranty.

    If you can’t dial out at the test socket, it’s likely that there is a fault with the phone line and you'll need to report this to your telephone service provider.

You can identify, fix, report and track faults online at the Repair Centre or get in touch by clicking on the 'Contact us' link on this page.


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