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“Call handlers in India just seem to read from a scroll and not understand what you’re explaining” - Brampton, near Aylsham, couple’s epic wait for a BT phone

PUBLISHED: 07:30 27 March 2014

Jonathan and Rita Spinks, from Brampton, are having problems getting their phone line installed.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Jonathan and Rita Spinks, from Brampton, are having problems getting their phone line installed. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Communications giant BT has spent more than nine months repeatedly failing to connect a short length of cable - leaving a north Norfolk family without an urgently-needed phone in their new home.

In a saga of farcical proportions the firm’s own communications have failed so dismally that through summer, autumn, winter and spring it has mistakenly sent a stream of engineers to help Jonathan and Rita Spinks - none of whom has been the right man for the job.

The Spinks say they have spent countless, fruitless hours on the phone to BT call handlers in India and they have now referred the matter to the communications ombudsman.

And the couple claim it was far less hassle getting their new house built on Marsham Road, Brampton, near Aylsham, than trying to arrange a new phone and broadband connection through BT.

After a reporter contacted BT this week the firm apologised, promised to “urgently investigate” and get the work done.

The saga began last June when the family, including children Robert, 21, and Jessica, 19, moved from their cramped home elsewhere in Brampton, into the spacious new house they have had built.

Mr Spinks, 48, under instruction from BT, ran ducting and a phone cable from the new house to their property boundary. It then needed Openreach, BT’s infrastructure arm, to take it a further 12 feet and connect it to a roadside BT box.

Mrs Spinks, 46, stayed in on many occasions to be there for agreed appointment times but when engineers turned up, they always expected to be connecting the phone in the house, not the cable in the road - and went away again.

“I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to phone up about it,” said Mrs Spinks. “I always get someone in India. Once, after an hour, she tried to transfer me, I got cut off and had to ring back. I was on for another hour and a half and it still didn’t get sorted. They just seem to read from a scroll and not understand what you’re explaining.”

Meanwhile the couple, who own Brampton MoT Centre, say they fear they could be losing vital custom as their business phone is often blocked while they are trying to contact BT.

Last Friday engineers arrived, unannounced, and finally ran the cable up to the BT box but the Spinks still do not know whether it has been connected internally, or when and if their phone will be installed.

“I think BT are absolutely useless,” said Mrs Spinks. “No wonder the country’s in the state it is with companies like that. It’s been quicker getting our house built.”

A BT spokesman said it appeared that a previous order had been mistakenly closed, causing delays. He added: “We will urgently investigate and will be in contact with Mr and Mrs Spinks to fully update them, discuss the whole issue and apologise directly.”

Further engineering works should be completed next week and all the work would be finished “as quickly as possible.”

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