Landline ‘pinched’ without her permission. . . has the same thing happened to YOU?
THE COMMUNICATIONS WATCHDOG Ofcom is investigating the ‘theft’ of farmer Fiona Skeen’s BT business telephone number after her plight was highlighted by The Clarion.
We contacted Ofcom with details of our original story published on March 30 and added:
“Mrs Skeen of Berryhill Farm, Berwick upon Tweed, insists the landline the family farm has had for 50 years has been ‘stolen’ by an unauthorised arrangement between a company called Club Communications and BT.
“She has contacted both companies, mystified as to why her landline and broadband signals were turned off. The best BT has offered is a ‘temporary’ new telephone number which means she has broadband back but her contact with 50 years’ worth of friends and customers is lost while her old telephone number appears to be unused.
“Can Ofcom do anything to find a solution?”
Ofcom’s reply? “We’re looking into this, and will get back to you asap.”
My privileged access to a contact in Ofcom’s media department came through an email from former Fleet Street deputy editor and (fortunately!) Clarion reader John Smyth who suggested that Fiona was either a victim of a commission-hungry salesman or of a firm “pretending to be Club Comms”.
He added: “There are several outfits like this, buying broadband/phone access at wholesale prices from big operators such as BT and passing on some savings to personal and business customers.
“I had a minor hassle when I switched to Plusnet and they changed my phone number. The idea is that you leave it them to arrange the transfer with your existing broadband/phone provider [e.g. BT] to make the process easier.
“There is no way Club Comms should switch Fiona without authority. That’s known as ‘slamming’.
“In my case, Plusnet subsequently arranged with BT to restore my original number. Problem solved.”
Back at Berryhill, Fiona said: “The first I knew was when BT sent me an email saying ‘Sorry you are leaving’. I immediately phoned and said ‘No, I’m not!’ At that point I was told it was Plusnet who had lodged a formal request to take over my line. BT claim that they tried to stop the takeover but Openreach transferred it, anyway.
“BT then gave me a personal case worker together with a direct phone number, which has at least made things easier (no call centres to go through).
“When the case worker contacted Openreach they claimed it was Club Communications; now three weeks later they have told him its EE.
“You can understand both his and my total confusion.”
If the same, or something similar, has happened to you click on this link. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/how-to-report-a-complaint/changing-provider
I should hope PlusNet did the decent thing: they are a BT company; BT has spent a good deal of time and effort ensuring that they maintain a monopoly in the telecommunications market.