Telephone chaos as Heath and Reach landlines left engaged while villagers claim engineer flicked ‘wrong switch’

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Numerous Heath and Reach villagers were unable to use their landlines yesterday, after they claim an engineer accidentally flicked a wrong switch.

During the morning (Thursday, December 6) residents reported that their landlines were down, with businesses missing out on calls from customers and families being informed that their phones had said they were ‘engaged’ when people had tried to ring them.

Villagers told the LBO that they made calls to BT but say they were all baffled to be given the same advice - that there must be a problem with their individual phone/s and that the company could “send an engineer” round for £85.

However, it has now been claimed that one customer was informed by BT that an engineer had flicked an incorrect switch and that it had led to all the landlines being engaged.

Hazel Markland, 45, claimed: “It was down yesterday and it’s been chaos here!

“I phoned the providers who told me: ‘There’s nothing wrong with your line. We want to check your phone but you need to book an engineer’ - and then if you do that they will charge £85!

“Obviously, when you look on Facebook there’s person after person after person who has the same problem.

“I was also in the hairdresser’s and for business it’s really bad; it just showed that their landline was busy.

“However, someone has said they were told by BT that a previous engineer had left a button down, which meant the numbers in the village registered as engaged.”

Luckily, Hazel says this morning (Friday) the issue was resolved, but that residents are still confused and claim BT should have realised there was a wider problem afoot and not put it down to individual telephones.

They also say customers with other providers were affected and it has not yet been confirmed whether the alleged engineer was from BT or where the rumoured mistake took place.

The LBO has approached BT for a comment.