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Phone fiasco is driving us all round the twist; DISCONNECTED: Terminally ill man stressed out by landline battle.

Byline: By Kerry Beadling

TERMINALLY ill John Butcher says he is being "driven round the twist" by a phone wrangle which has been going on for weeks.

Mr Butcher, aged 61, of Sylvan Drive, Green Lane, Coventry, cancelled his telephone and broadband contract with BT in December to switch to TalkTalk.

The former shipping manager for Courtaulds, who lives with partner Ann, aged 68, who had to give up teaching when she went deaf, says swapping contracts would have saved him more than pounds 100 a month. But far from enjoying cheaper calls, Mr Butcher says the whole thing has been a nightmare.

He has had seven operations after a tumour was first discovered in his nose in November 2005, which then spread to his brain and lungs, and said he needed to phone the hospital every day.

The phone fiasco began when TalkTalk connected the phone on December 14, the same day BT disconnected it.

But problems started when it came to sorting out the line rental part of the contract, which has to be bought from BT Wholesale, a separate department of the rest of BT.

BT mistakenly told TalkTalk a service was still on the line that belonged to Mr Butcher, when in fact it belonged to a previous owner, so TalkTalk disconnected the line on January 3 without calling him.

He claims TalkTalk told him he would have to reconnect with BT first to sort out the problem - but BT cannot reconnect him because TalkTalk still has a reservation on the line to install the phone and broadband.

Mr Butcher says despite weeks of fruitless - and expensive - phone calls from his mobile to both companies he is still without a landline.

He said: "I've spent more than 20 hours on my mobile trying to resolve this. The main problem I have is with TalkTalk because every time you call you speak to a different person so you have to explain it again."

He said his partner was crying every day because of all the stress, adding: "Because of my tumour I'm supposed to call the hospital every day to fix up operations and consultations and this is driving us round the twist."

Ann's daughter Alison Pearce, aged 38, of Earlsdon, Coventry, has also been on the phone trying to sort the problem out.

A BT spokeswoman confirmed the company had cleared the phone line - but when the Coventry Telegraph tried to get through to TalkTalk no-one was available to comment.

CAPTION(S):

FRUSTRATED EFFORTS... John and Ann Butcher and Ann's daughter Alison Pearce have all been badly affected by the saga.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 26, 2007
Words:435
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