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Compensation paid after 'shoddy workmanship' blamed for phone disruption in Sheffield

Peter and Margaret Wolstenholme.
Peter and Margaret Wolstenholme.

A telecommunications company has paid out compensation after residents blasted 'shoddy workmanship' which caused disruption to scores of phone lines in Sheffield.

As many as 50 people are believed to have been affected in the Junction Road and June Road area of Woodhouse after engineers for Openreach, a division of BT, carried out work on their street in mid January.

One of the electrical boxes.

One of the electrical boxes.

One disgruntled resident Peter Wolstenholme, aged 82, has been paid £36.66 compensation by his service provider TalkTalk as a gesture of goodwill, even though he said they were not at fault for the problems.

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He urged others to seek compensation from BT after telling how many residents received calls from people dialing the wrong number while others were unable to make calls to friends and relatives for up to a week.

The great-grandfather-of-seven blamed 'shoddy workmanship' and added: "They are quick to take your money but slow to admit they have caused a problem.

Junction Road, Woodhouse.

Junction Road, Woodhouse.

"I answered a land line call by a gentleman who apologised for miss-dialing. Within a few minutes two calls from the same source suggested a system fault.

"Then, I dialed our daughter and the call was answered by a lady from a different number from the one I dialed who said the local system was chaotic due to work on cables."

Mr Wolstenholme claimed that he spoke to two BT engineers on site who told him the problem arose when contractors were doing work to install superfast fibre optic broadband cables. He added that a neighbour told him up to 50 telephone lines had been affected.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: "We provided Mr Wolstenholme with £6.66 as compensation for the duration of his concern, along with £30 as a gesture of goodwill. Mr Wolstenholme accepted this as resolution."

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A spokesperson for Openreach said: "We are very sorry for the loss of service experienced by customers in the Woodhouse area earlier this month. Engineers working on the roll out of superfast broadband in the vicinity accidentally damaged a small number of customer connections which were repaired as quickly as possible.

"Any customers wishing to claim compensation should contact their service provider.”

A BT spokesperson said: "The network is owned and maintained by Openreach, not BT. Any claims for compensation must be made by customers via their services providers e.g. Talk Talk, BT, Sky etc who will have individual service agreements, with both their customers and with Openreach as the provider of the network."