Hundreds without phonelines after Carlisle fault

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Patrick Tracey
Patrick Tracey

Hundreds of Carlisle homes and businesses have been without phone lines for days - prompting a call for compensation.

The News & Star has learned the problem with Virgin Media landlines in the area may have affected up to 800 customers - with one confirming he was without a working phone line for 11 days.

Patrick Tracey, 73, has had to rely on his mobile phone - and said an engineer told him that one of the oldest local customers affected was 104.

“Virgin Media have been sending out emails three or four times a day, giving a date for when they hope the service would be restored,” said Mr Tracey, of St Edmunds Park, Carlisle.

“But they kept pushing that date back, again and again.

“They did send out an engineer and he told me that the problem wasn't with my phone line inside the house but outside.

“He said there was a major problem in the Carlisle area; and that all the phone lines in the box through which my line goes were out of action. There were at least seven other boxes affected, he said.

“When I rang them on my mobile, I got through to an Indian call centre but they couldn't really tell you anything other than what was in the emails.

“They give you the option of having an online chat with them, from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 8pm, but every time you try to do that all the operators are engaged.

"You're told to please try again later."

Mr Tracey continued: “I understand that a lot of people in Carlisle have been affected by this. We should be compensated for the loss of service.

“I pay £19 a month for my landline and it's been out of action for the last 11 days.

“People haven't been able to get in touch with me and I've incurred expenses - using my mobile phone - that I wouldn't otherwise have incurred.”

Mr Tracey's line finally began to work at about 5.30pm yesterday, but it is unclear how many other properties were back online.

A spokesman for Virgin Media told the News & Star the firm was aware that “some customers” in the Carlisle area were experiencing problems and the firm's engineers were working hard to resolve this as quickly as possible.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” he added.

Customers were this week debating the problems with landlines in Carlisle on the Virgin Media Community website.

One spoke of the repair date being repeatedly extended, commenting: "This is not acceptable."

Another customer said: "I'm in CA2, and the phone is dead. Tried calling it in: after four minutes of answering question after question I got told the queue was at least 10 minutes. Tried chat - no response at all.

"I have to say, after 20+ years with BT before moving to Virgin I had virtually no problems. Eight months into a Virgin contract and I've had 2 broadband outages and now the phone.

"I'm not enamored with the service, or lack of."

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Robin   , carlisle north Wednesday, 04 October, 2017 at 6:41PM
I have been with VM for 10 months and have had 3 Internet outages, TV faults and phone fault. Reliability is dreadful compared to my last 15 years on ADSL (1 outage) with another provider. Customer service is dreadful. I was once quoted 2 weeks for an engineer attendance to a TV & internet Fault. ( in contrast BT once turned up on a saturday 9AM for a fault logged the previous evening) Webchat is useless , website useless. Virgin Media don't care, but it's beginning to bite and customers will begin to leave.
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Philip   Little , Lowry Hill, Carlisle Wednesday, 04 October, 2017 at 11:16AM
This report is entirely accurate, Ou Virgin Media landline has been down since 12th September (22 days) ... and is still not working. I can't even get on the Virgin Media website now. Frustrating, highly inconvenient and increasingly expensive.
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Pete   Holmes , Penrith Wednesday, 04 October, 2017 at 7:08AM
Virgin have to be the worse provider in the market - we are the same moved from BT as it was going to save us a £5 a month - wish we hadn't, unreliable broadband nowhere near promised speeds, several outages and absolutely shocking customer service. Will be moving right back to BT once the contract is up, never had anything but good service from them when there has been issues - lesson learnt for trying to save a few quid a month!
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  , Tuesday, 03 October, 2017 at 9:50PM
We're only just back on this evening - after a week.
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Peter   B , Sanwix Tuesday, 03 October, 2017 at 7:31PM
PS: Now their website isn't working either ... Great ... !!
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Peter   B , Stanwix Tuesday, 03 October, 2017 at 7:28PM
Ditto -- I have also been without a land-line since Saturday when I reported it to Virgin (although who knows when it actually went off) when one of my daughters tried to phone me & said it wasn't working! I phoned Virgin Media & advised them & logged on for text updates, which means I am getting reports from Virgin of the 'repair engineer' attending a recognised fault - being further & further away now!! Was supposed to be repaired Sun, then Mon, then Tues, now Weds (so far) ... NOT HAPPY WITH VIRGIN MEDIA ... Definitely wouldn't recommend them after this!
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