The disturbing saga of Fiona Skeen’s ‘stolen landline number’ (to read it CLICK HERE) and her battle with BT has provoked an extraordinarily similar story from reader HARRY WILSON. In his own words. . .
Many thanks for publicising the almost unbelievable saga of BT and Fiona Skeen. Not quite as bad, but perhaps equally annoying, was what BT did to us when we moved to Northumberland almost exactly seven years ago.
We had bought our bungalow in the village of Bowsden with a BT landline already installed but were given a ‘new’ number, 01289 388 543, by BT. Quite easy to remember, and naturally we put it on our letterhead and passed it around our friends and business contacts.
Then the problems started: a few calls at first but as our first Christmas approached, several callers every day were asking us for “the same-sized gammon joint which we had last year”. We even had a call from DEFRA advising us of a planned inspection of our premises!
BT had given us the number which had previously belonged to Piperfield Pork, a Lowick farm which had gone out of business.
After many phone calls to various levels of the BT organisation, we were finally offered a new number but by then the number they had originally given us was already well-known amongst our friends and business contacts and the demise of Piperfield Pork was becoming better known so we decided that it was better to put up with the number and accept there would be the odd misdirected call.
During our many complaint calls to BT we expressed our surprise that they would re-allocate a previously used business number as this would inevitably lead to misdirected calls from previous contacts who had the number in their records.
I can confirm that BT do this all the time. When my wife and I moved into a rented house in Cheshire in 2009, they insisted on changing the previous tenants’ phone number (which they did not want to retain as they were leaving the area) for one that had until very recently been used by a local catering equipment hire company, which was duly listed in all the relevant trade directories. The calls asking to order tables, chairs, glasses etc had just about died down by the time we moved out five years later …