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By Ian Dipple Friday 13 December 2013 Updated: 13/12 09:29
A BUSINESSWOMAN has hit out at BT after being left for three weeks without a phone line following a move into the new Church Hill shopping centre.
Zoe Gardner described the situation as an ‘absolute joke’ and said she would be seeking compensation from the firm.
Cutting Edge hair salon, owned by Mrs Gardner, was the first business to move into the newly built shopping unit, constructed on the old centre car park, on November 18 but had to begin trading without a phone line despite a promise it would be up and running in time.
She was told the issue would be resolved but despite several engineers being sent to the site the problem persisted and the salon has been relying on diverted calls to a mobile number.
“We couldn’t get a signal, we were having to go out into the car park to take calls, it’s an absolute joke,” she said.
“It caused us a number of issues people were leaving voice messages we couldn’t get hold of or just couldn’t get through.”
The phone line was finally set up last Thursday (December 5) but to add insult to injury BT then billed her for £60 for the phone divert service, however they have now waived the demand.
Other businesses on site have also been affected by the delay and as a result McColl’s newsagent has now confirmed they will not be moving into the new centre until mid-January at the earliest. The new shopping centre development was due to be finished by the end of October but was pushed back for various reasons and was due to be officially opened in January, to allow work to build homes on the opposite side of the road to start.
A spokeswoman for BT Openreach, responsible for the telephone network, said: “The engineering work to connect premises in the new shopping centre was extremely involved.
“Contractors working for Openreach had to install 53 metres of new ducting and around 600 metres of new underground cable and other equipment.
“During the course of the work contractors encountered a number of blockages which led to unforeseeable delays for which Openreach is very sorry. All services are now up and running.”
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