MOST JOURNALISTS will tell you that the very best stories often start with a call for help. The story I am about to outline I headline ‘The Saga of the Stolen Phone Number’.
James Skeen and Son is the family company which has farmed Berryhill near Etal in Northumberland for four generations to my certain knowledge. They have also traded using the same British Telecom landline number since 1968:
Now, according to Fiona Skeen and her son Graham, who farm the land following the death of Fiona’s husband David, that number has been STOLEN. Or has ‘gone missing’ in an extraordinary situation which arose when a representative from a company identifying itself as Club Communications called Berryhill to offer ‘a better deal’ than BT.
Fiona is adamant that she did not accede to the offer and was therefore astonished when she received a letter from BT on February 13 “regretting that you have chosen to take your broadband and landline service away from BT”. She telephoned BT the following day away to insist she had done no such thing. Nevertheless, after the statutory 14-day ‘cooling off period’ her broadband and landline were switched off on February 27.
BT told Fiona they would investigate and an Openreach engineer checked her line at the BT automatic exchange in Crookham and said he would report to BT that her number – which she had, by now, ‘lost’ – showed some service irregularity.
Meanwhile, BT gave Berryhill a ‘temporary’ number (01890 820687, if you’re a friend or customer of Fiona’s and want to contact her).
What happens when you call the old number? I asked Fiona.
“It just rings out endlessly,” she said. “It’s so frustrating, I don’t know what to do.”
While The Clarion attempts to get some answers from BT and Club Communications, YOU can help.
If you or someone you know recently acquired the landline number
or call Fiona Skeen on 01890 820687
Since beginning enquiries, I have discovered two similar cases involving lost or misplaced BT landline numbers, Meanwhile, details of other problems would be appreciated.