‘Maddening’ delays by BT angers customers


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Months of waiting, endless phone calls and failed connection attempts have prompted frustrated customers in Sidmouth to voice their anger at BT.

Residents in the new Mill Gardens homes have criticised the communications giant for giving them the ‘run-around’ after lengthy delays in installing phone and broadband connections.

One customer told the Herald the most frustrating thing is the lack of explanation from BT staff - and likened it to pre-privatisation days of waiting months for a phone line.

Problems began for Gail and Philip Goldsmith when they moved into their Mill Gardens home in July.

Having agreed a package with BT prior to the move and sent out change of address cards with the new number, the couple expected to be connected on July 24.

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An engineer came to their house, but told them it was not possible to connect them and a long line of correspondence with the company began.

Gail eventually resorted to threatening the company with legal action for ‘mis-selling’ fibre-optic broadband, which it turns out cannot be provided in the development area.

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It was not until September 29 when a working phone service was installed and the couple finally received a broadband connection on October 9.

Gail said: “If they had said on July 24 that we might not have it until October, that would be maddening enough, but to be told every few days it will be there – it is just so frustrating.

“It was only through talking to other people who have had the same problem that I realised it was a nightmare for many.”

Linda Williams, also of Mill Gardens, experienced similar problems and said, despite being a BT customer for many years, the company repeatedly failed to connect her phone and internet when she moved house.

She said: “Trying to get through to BT by phone was awful. When I did get through to the call centre, the staff were unfailingly polite but could not explain why no engineer had come or make a swift appointment.”

BT spokesman Jason Mann issued an apology for the delays.

He said: “Fibre broadband is not yet available in this area. The job required a great deal of work to the local network, including the installation of new cables.

“Our advisers provide as much information for the customer as they can, but when a great deal of work is needed, such as in this case, it can be difficult for them to say with certainty at the outset when service will be provided.”

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