Andy’s Autofix Ltd in Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, left without telephone line for more than 50 days due to BT fault
A garage has been left without a telephone line for more than 50 days due to a technical fault and is expecting to lose thousands of pounds.
Andy’s Autofix Ltd, in Norton near Bury St Edmunds, received a text from telecoms giant BT to say ‘sorry you are leaving us’ - despite owner Andy Burt never requesting to leave.
The small garage is run by three technicians and prides itself for being a rural community garage that caters to the older generation who cannot easily access the internet.
BT has stated the issue started as the garage owner tried to cancel his order and move to a different provider – and as BT no longer sells landline services as new orders in Norton, the only option was to reconnect the business through the company’s digital services.
Mr Burt believes the business’ telephone number is a lifeline for those of the ‘pen and paper’ generation and on Wednesday, November 22 that lifeline was taken away as the phone line went dead.
He said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare. We were initially told it was going to 72 hours to fix the issue.
“The number is so important to us and it’s honestly how all of our regular customers get in touch – I reckon we've lost around £20,000 of revenue which has already taken away any chance of making a profit this year.
“Having all this happen over Christmas has been really hard. I’ve had to have any calls come through to my personal number while I’m supposed to be off spending time with my children.
“We’re still none the wiser with what is actually going on. You’re just passed from department to department because no one knows how to fix this and no one wants to take any accountability.”
After numerous calls with BT, the provider told Mr Burt that his business’ number had been ‘slammed’ which is when another source tries to take over the number without going through any security questions.
Mr Burt said his customers had begun to ask if the garage, which has been going for 17 years, had closed due to the issue.
After being contacted by the Bury Free Press, BT has stated it was due to recover the business’ landline number on Monday, January 22 – however, Mr Burt has made the decision to cancel his order and move to a different provider.
A BT spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the issues that Mr Burt has faced.
“The issue arose after an order was placed by the customer to move to a different service provider. Although this order was subsequently cancelled, the transfer had already taken place which resulted in the loss of Mr Burt’s existing landline number.
“Mr Burt has chosen to cancel his order with us and move his services to another provider. We are working with him to transfer his services to the new provider."
Mr Burt added: “I’m just feeling so frustrated with BT. So many of the call handlers say they will get to the bottom of the issue and help – but they never do.
“It’s really upsetting when people are relying on you, especially older people who want us to have a look at their car, it’s horrible when they start thinking we're closed.
“We just don't want to let our customers down for an issue with have nothing to do with.”
BT has waived the cancellation charges which would normally apply.
For the time being, Andy’s Autofix Ltd can be reached on 07493 767734.