Angry businesses hit by phone cut-off for weeks claim BT has ‘fobbed them off’

Residents and businesses have hit out at the failings

Residents and businesses have hit out at the failings - Credit: Archant

BUSINESSES and residents left without phone and internet for three weeks have hit out at the line provider, claiming the fault has affected trade and left them “cut-off” from friends, family and customers.

Those living and working in Langley, near Hitchin, say they have been “fobbed off” by BT, which has failed to fix the fault since it was first reported three weeks ago.

The failures, which affect about 20 buildings in the Hill End Farm area of the village, where many small businesses are based, began when a car collided with a telegraph pole last month.

Residents claim they were told the problem was being sorted but are having issues getting answers from BT.

And they say they have been warned it could take up to four months before the problem is fixed.

Steve Dance is a project manager at Guardian Plumbing and Heating, one of five businesses based in The Loft, Langley End. There are 25 people who work from the office and all have been affected.

“We have five different business calls coming into one phone,” said Mr Dance.

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“We’ve had calls from our customers, asking what’s going on, are we in trouble, particularly from creditors, they’re starting to get worried.

“It’s a real problem.”

Jenny Shervell, who works from home for consultancy firm Hitchin HR, said: “We have been made promises about things happening, but it’s not been the case. Throughout, we feel we have been fobbed off.

“It is a serious problem – we don’t have a particularly good mobile signal here. We’re a bit cut-off. Local businesses are being affected.

“I work from home and it’s obviously affecting me and a number of other local small businesses up here. I feel we’re not being taken seriously.”

The faults have been reported to BT, and formal letters of complaint sent.

Residents also say they are still being charged line rental and for bills.

Elaine Rex told the Comet: “We have not had a phone line or internet from BT for three weeks, despite numerous phone calls. It’s an appalling service.

“I sent an email, but got the standard reply, ‘thanks for your email, please accept our apologies’. It’s faceless.”

Speaking today (Wednesday), a BT spokesman said: “We have been to site to arrange for the area to made safe and to assess what needs to be done to get these lines restored. Because of the location we need to work under four-way traffic lights, which we have arranged for today.

“We are hoping that as long as work progresses well we will have restored services to the nine people that have reported faults today.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused whilst this has been worked on.”