Vunerable person 85 years old without phone line after plusnets internal error disconnected her
on 28-10-2020 9:19 PM - last edited on 28-10-2020 9:37 PM by Strat
2 Pinfold Street
My mother is an 85 year old Plusnet customer and is totally reliant on her telephone as her only form of communication. She is a vulnerable person and has a medical alert system that is totally reliant on a telephone line being in operation. She is also resident in Wilmslow, Cheshire while I reside near Brighton in Sussex.
When I attempted to ring my mother at approximately 6pm on 27th October I got a disconnect signal. I made several further attempts to contact her by phone and due to the hour I decided to try again the following morning. On ringing this morning I heard 3 audible pips then silence. I therefore asked my mother’s neighbour (who kindly keeps an eye on her for me) to check the line. When he picked the telephone up he heard a dial tone, but when he attempted to dial a number he had an audible message saying the line had been disconnected. This means my vulnerable mother had been without a telephone line since some time before 6pm on 27th October and should she have had a fall during this period her emergency alert system would have been unable to call out. I telephoned your customer service line this afternoon to be told the problem would be dealt with and I would receive a call back later today. I received no such call.
When I called your customer service line back again tonight at about 5pm I was informed there was an internal issue and could I ask my mother’s neighbour to go to her house to help sort it out, which was massively inconvenient for the neighbour as he had visitors. Nevertheless he kindly spoke to the customer helpline and was told that there had been an external request from another telecom's company to transfer the line out, and therefore Plusnet had disconnected my mother’s line. The neighbour was unable to complete the call and I had to call back and pick up where he had left off. I was then told that there was no transfer request made and that an internal error had caused the disconnection, but the matter could be resolved and my mother could be reconnected quicker if I was prepared to pay the sum of £69.99 as a reconnection fee, even though this was Plusnet’s error. I was also advised that a direct debit would be set up and taken from my account and then payment arrangements resolved some time in the future.
I am massively concerned that a company with as good a reputation as you have would ask me to pay ANY monies for my vulnerable mother to remain connected to a service she was already paying for.
I later received a text message from Plusnet telling me that my service, which I presume means my mother’s service, would be reconnected tomorrow, 29th October, meaning that she has been without a phone line for 3 days. The message also informed me that the phone number has been changed. This was after my specifically asking if she could keep the same phone number and being advised that she could. So now my mother, who has had the same phone number for the past 25 years, risks having to lose all her contacts such as the doctor, the hospital, solicitor, friends and family, some of whom she will be unable to contact. Surely after such a heinous mistake she should be given her original number back? My mother, again a vulnerable 85 year old , had a bad fall in April and the hospital, doctors and others are now going to be unable to contact her because they have no idea that her number has been taken away and she should not be in the position of having to ring them all to advise them that she has a different phone number. I have no idea what to say. I am absolutely distraught that you can treat one of your vulnerable customers in such a fashion and ask me for money to put it right, as well as leaving her without a telephone service, due to NO FAULT of her own for 3 days and I wonder how long she would have been in this position f I had not made it my habit to ring her regularly to check how she is.
The least resolve I ask for is that my mother is given her original phone number back and beside her telephone connection, she is also reconnected to the internet without further issue. I have made a point of asking my wife to kindly type this as a letter as without being threatening, if I am unable to exact a suitable resolve I will escalate this complaint to Ofcom as I feel my mother has been treated extremely badly. I am emailing this letter as well as sending in the mail as a hard copy in the hope this matter will be resolved in a timely manner.
My address is as above and I request copies of all email communication to be sent here, and I trust you will address the distress you have caused me as well as the inconvenience to myself, my mother and her kind neighbour.
R. Maher, BSc, Dip Eng
Moderator's note by Dick (Strat): Personal information (address) removed from a public forum (to an area that staff can see).
Re: Vunerable person 85 years old without phone line after plusnets internal error disconnected her
Hi @raoulmaher, thanks for getting in touch
I'm really sorry to hear of the poor experience encountered with your Mother's account. Would you be able to private message her account details and we can look into this further.