Trouble on line costs vital trade for a Castle Combe firm
8:00am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Latest News
A Castle Combe firm says it may have lost thousands of pounds because of problems with its BT phone line.
Wiltshire Wood Recycling says it has had intermittent problems since it started in 2006, because its phone line underground was affected by heavy rain.
In the latest incident, the business was out of contact for ten days before an engineer visited. The fault has now been fixed.
New managing director Andy Barnett said the problem also meant it only had sporadic internet access and whenever there was a downpour it would lose contact with the outside world.
He said: “It’s normally just cut off for a couple of hours to a couple of days max; it’s never been down that long before. We even had a caller ask if we had closed down because she’d been unable to get hold of us for so long. She thought we’d packed up and gone. It’s very damaging.”
Mr Barnett estimates the firm could have lost up to £4,000, five per cent of its gross annual turnover of about £80,000.
“It’s a big hit we can’t afford to take,” he said.
After being contacted by the Gazette, BT apologised for the ongoing problem and dispatched a specialist engineer last Wednesday.
Mr Burnett said: “They found the fault. The pole was in a junction box filled with water. It’s all back up and running since then, it’s just a shame they didn’t get it fixed sooner. We’ve spent all week on the phone apologising to customers.”
The social enterprise removes waste wood from businesses, which it then makes into items like furniture and sells to the public. Staff had been unable to receive instructions to collect wood, or to let people know its goods were ready for collection. And poor reception in the village meant it was unable to do business by mobile phone.
Mr Burnett said: “You just can’t get a signal on a mobile here usually, so it’s Catch 22.”
Outgoing managing director Ed Brand said: “We hope customers will understand this is not our fault. We are a small business that prides itself on good customer relations.”
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