Rochdale businesses say they are “rapidly losing custom” due to a mystery shutdown of BT phone and internet lines.
Jamilla Paul Hair and Beauty, Nelson Street, and Cartridge World on Queensway are just two of the businesses which are suffering as a result of the problem, which started as far back as 29 December.
BT says that there is an ongoing investigation into the issue, the cause of which remains unclear, as more and more business and residential households come forward to say that they are also being affected, and that they are unable to properly communicate with BT.
Claire Brophy, Manager of Jamilla Paul Hair and Beauty, said: “We’ve lost so much business over this, it really is unbelievable that they have left us in this mess. January is a quiet time for any business, so it really wasn’t something we needed. We are lucky in many ways, because a lot of our customers came walking through the door instead. But what about other businesses?”
Claire has made daily phone calls to BT and was told that the problem would be fixed by the 11 January. She says having viewed the BT website it now looks like the date has been moved back to the beginning of February. She said: “It’s just not good enough. To have this problem is one thing, but to not communicate with us is another.
“We were lucky over the weekend to have a lot of people walk through the door, otherwise we’d have been losing even more business.”
Guy Sedgwick, franchise owner of Cartridge World on Kingsway, said that yesterday (Tuesday 12 January) was the first day he has been able to accept card payments since the problem started, but that his phone lines are still down. He added: “I had two lines here and it has really affected us. Thankfully I can take card payments now, but I couldn’t for over a week, it’s impossible for that not to have an impact. I’m being told the start of February, but the way things have been going, who knows”.
R B Smedley Insurance Brokers, on Maclure Road, has been off since 29 December. Laura Ridyard said: “We have called every single day since it happened, and we are just getting no help whatsoever. People can’t call the landline, and the diversion to the mobile isn’t always working. The people at BT don’t seem to be in a rush at all.”
Michael Davis, from Bamford, says residential properties are also affected. He added: “We don’t have a business here, it is just at home, but it has really been a nuisance for us. We just noticed one day that we hadn’t been receiving calls, and the BT website said it would be resolved within a few days. That was two weeks ago.”
Rochdale Town Centre Manager Mark Foxley said: “We are aware of some town centre businesses being without BT phone and broadband. Both are important tools for any business and we hope BT are doing their upmost to address this and get the businesses back on service.
“We understand some of the flood damaged premises have managed to get lines diverted to mobiles and we suggested this as a first option to pursue. We understand BT also have a compensation scheme which may be applicable and worth looking into later."
A spokesperson for Openreach, BT’s local network business said: “Following the recent disruption of the floods our engineers are working hard to restore services. It is regrettable that everyone’s services are not back to normal already and we would like to thank businesses and residents affected for their patience. We would like to assure people that we are doing everything possible to repair any outstanding faults.”
A notice on the BT website reads: “Investigations are continuing in to the cause of this outage.
“We're really sorry but we've got a problem at the moment in the Rochdale area, which means that some of our customers will be having trouble with their telephone line. We're trying to fix the problem as quickly as we can.”
Item from Rochdale Online
14 Jan 2016