News : Village Anger as BT Fault Leaves Businesses Cut Off for 24 Hours
Staffordshire, UK, March 11, 2016 -- Businesses are furious after a fault with their phone lines meant customers were unable to contact them for more than 24 hours.
Several businesses in Werrington and Milton were among those affected by the fault at an exchange in the area.
Craig Latham, landlord at the Red Cow pub in Werrington, first became aware of the problem on Tuesday afternoon.
He was left frustrated at the time it took BT to deal with the problem, and says the company failed to divert calls to a mobile phone.
Normal service was eventually restored by BT yesterday, but Craig is still angry at how long it took.
He said: "I'm really frustrated with BT. The phone were down for more than 24 hours and my partner and I called several times each.
"At first they said they could not find the fault so we requested our calls be diverted to a mobile number.
"We made four or five calls to them about it and they kept saying it had been done, but it hadn't.
"You can't contact Open Reach, you just have to contact the call centre and they make a note of it to pass on to Open Reach.
"We've also been left on hold for long periods of time – two calls lasted just over 20 minutes and a third one was half an hour, all on hold.
Craig said the pub would normally be taking phone bookings throughout the day, meaning it could have lost business as a result of the problems.
He added: "There was apparently a problem with the processor at the exchange which was causing problems for businesses in Werrington and Milton.
"I know the dentist here in Werrington was having the same issue with calls not getting through.
"I wouldn't like to quantify how much us and other businesses may have lost as a result of the phone lines being down.
"We can get 20 or 30 phone calls an hour – and there is an argument for us getting a second land line installed.
"If customers can't get through it is not good for business, and we're not going to get compensation for it.
"BT aren't going to be paying the bills at the end of the month."
Co-owner Michael Smith, aged 49, from Werrington, said: "It has been a massive problem. We are constantly taking bookings on the phone – it never stops.
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"It has just caused chaos."
Barmaid Gayle Pemberton, aged 46, from Weston Coyney, said: "They have just come back on, which is a relief.
"Business did go down, I noticed it was a lot quieter.
"If people can't book, they won't come in."
It is not known how many properties in the Werrington and Milton areas were affected by the problem.
A spokeswoman for BT apologised for the disruption caused by the fault.
She said: "Engineers have fixed the fault and all services should now be back to normal.
"We apologise for any inconvenience that was caused."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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