Telecoms firm error left me £140 in the red

Jim Gaskell
Jim Gaskell

A WIGAN grandad who was forced to spend £140 using his mobile after his land line was accidentally cut off has won a compensation battle with his phone company.

Jim Gaskell, of Worsley Mesnes, was left out on a limb when a BT Openreach engineer arrived on March 10 to install a Talk Talk TV, phone and internet package which did not connect properly and left him without a phone line.

I asked them to compensate us but was told that if we joined we would get a month’s free subscription but we could not wait to get away from the service

Jim Gaskell

When a series of botched attempts to arrange repairs failed, the 65-year-old was left with no option but to use his mobile, which is on an expensive tariff.

That landed Mr Gaskell with the hefty bill, which he demanded TalkTalk pay. TalkTalk initially refused but after the Wigan Evening Post intervened, the provider agreed to pay the £140 back.

Mr Gaskell said: “We had been with Virgin Media for 30 years but we got a leaflet about Talk Talk offering a cheaper deal so we decided to change over.

“An engineer from BT Openreach came to connect us but he cut the wire for Virgin and then connected the wires back up. When he had gone we realised the phone line was dead and we could not make any calls or receive any. I phoned Talk Talk and I was told they would send an engineer out as top priority.

“But no-one came out – I have had countless texts saying an engineer will come out on a certain date and then it gets cancelled.

“We have had to make calls on our mobile phones, which has cost us about £70 each.

“I asked them to compensate us but was told that if we joined we would get a month’s free subscription but we could not wait to get away from the service. But thanks to the Evening Post TalkTalk has now apologised and agreed to pay the bill. I am relieved it has all been sorted.”

Both TalkTalk and BT have apologised after their botched work was raised by the Evening Post.

A spokesman from TalkTalk said: “We are sorry we could not get Mr Gaskell’s service up and running. This appears to be the result of a mistake made by the BT Openreach engineer who attempted to carry out the installation. We are investigating what happened and will raise the matter with BT Openreach. We have apologised and repaid Mr Gaskell’s mobile phone charges.”

A BT spokesman speaking on behalf of Openreach said: “It is regrettable when this type of fault is not sorted out immediately. We take this complaint seriously.”