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Fault knocks out Sidmouth cafe phones for two months

06:30 03 April 2014


Where's My Line? Jill Harris of the Coastal Coffee Lounge has been without a BT phone line for two months. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7377-13-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on Photo Orders


The owner of a bustling Sidmouth café is angry she has been losing business for two months because of the very company that should keep her connected.

The phone line at Coastal Coffee Lounge went down at the start of February, but Jill Harris said she has been ‘passed from pillar to post’ trying to get it restored.

She used to work for BT, but said the customer service it used to be known for has slipped – as she has been told she must still foot the bill.

“When I worked for BT its customer service was the top in the world,” said Jill. “One person would deal with each customer – now you get passed from pillar to post speaking to someone new each time.”

She first realised something was wrong when she tried to phone the café on February 5 and found the number unobtainable.

The café owner of two years contacted BT and was told she had been disconnected.

She managed to get the calls redirected, but they go to her Exminster home, and she has been racking up £100-a-month mobile phone bills calling suppliers.

“It’s been going on for weeks and weeks. I’m a strong person but this almost brought me to tears,” she said. “There’s no words to describe how I feel.”

A BT spokesman said: “This is not a problem of BT’s making. It appears that another service provider took over the line, then when it realised its mistake, cut it off. We understand her frustration and want to restore any customer’s service as soon as possible. I’m sorry it has taken so long.”

He was unable to provide a full explanation by the time the Herald went to press, but gave his assurance that Jill would be contacted and the service restored as soon as possible.


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