‘Turmoil’ as village business left without phones


Owners of a village business have been left in ‘turmoil’ after being without internet and phone lines for almost a month.

Watson Cars, in Five Oaks, lost both services on January 30 after a fault was reported with underground cables in the area.

Caroline Brown, of Watson Cars, said she had been told by BT that roadworks carried out to install cables at a solar farm in the village had been the reason behind the loss.

However, when approached by the County Times a spokesman for BT said the works were not to blame and the cables had been damaged by ‘general wear and tear’.

Caroline said: “Car sales in the 21st century is an internet based business.

“Our security has been compromised, our customers need to be able to reach us via telephone or email, all of our systems are online and our card payment machine relies on a working telephone line.

“We have been left in an embarrassingly unprofessional state and most importantly we have lost revenue due to this debacle.

“I have actually had customers walk out of the door because we are unable to take payment.”

She said the company has been able to complete some transactions over the last month but only by customers withdrawing money from the bank or by electronic transfer.

“Frustratingly, no-one wants to help us get our services restored,” Caroline added.

“We are a young couple who have relentlessly spent years building up our business, trying to make an honest living in an already challenging industry.

“In the last month we have had to watch our business failing due to no fault of our own.

“I am in absolute turmoil and all of this is made all the more stressful by the fact I am seven months pregnant.”

BT confirmed works were underway to fix the problem.

A spokesman said: “Faulty underground cables have affected some residents in Horsham Road, Five Oaks.

“Openreach engineers are replacing around 50 metres of underground cabling and unblocking underground ducts.

“Traffic management is also required for the engineers to carry the work out safely.

“The repair work is very complex and time-consuming and Openreach engineers are working as fast as they can to restore service as soon as possible.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

The network provider added it could not confirm when the works would be completed or when the business’ internet and phone lines would be back online.

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