BT dubbed ‘pathetic’ over Harpenden phone mix-ups

RESIDENTS who have been plagued by faulty phone lines have criticised BT’s “pathetic” response over the Christmas period.

People living in the West Common area of Harpenden lost their phone lines on Christmas Eve when two underground cables were damaged by flooding and some are still affected after a mix-up has seen some households reconnected to the wrong lines.

Despite repeated calls for action over the festive period, BT informed customers that their landlines would not be up and running until Friday, December 30.

When lines were reinstated last Friday, Paul Richardson, who lives in The Uplands, found his landline had been reconnected to the wrong household. Anybody calling his number now goes through to his neighbour’s house at number 34 and his neighbour’s calls are ringing at his house, number 46.

Paul said: “What happened initially is not BT’s fault and we understand they have no control over the flooding. But their response has been pathetically flawed.

“Not being able to provide any engineering support over the Christmas period, particularly when the company who provide our house alarm were able to come out, is not good enough.”

Paul said he had logged several complaints with BT about the standard of repairs and had been told that the recent error, which has seen his line switched with his neighbour’s, would not be fixed until this Friday at around 5pm.

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The alarm on their home is linked to the phone and after being told his landline was up and running, Paul called out the alarm company – who had already come out to ensure the alarm would function regardless of the loss of line – and had it reconnected to the phone.

He added: “We’re just waiting for the alarm to go off now.

”It’s extremely inconvenient. We are the main point of contact for my elderly father and this further twist has added to the inconvenience. We now have no broadband and haven’t for some time.”

BT said they had received 77 reported faults from residents in the area associated with the problem.

A spokesperson said: “Engineers have been working to clear the faults and replace a section of cabling to restore services to the majority of residents affected as quickly as possible. We currently have five faults left to clear.

“Clearly we would like to apologise to residents affected for any inconvenience caused by this incident; jointing of lines in situations such as this can be a complex and deeply technical task.”