A blunder by engineers has left nearly 350 homes and businesses in West Bromwich without a phone line or internet connection for around a week, it has emerged.
BT engineers accidentally cut the line on Sunday, with businesses claiming they are being left them thousands of pounds out of pocket each day the line remains out of use.
Firms say they are missing out on calls from customers and they cannot process credit or debit card payments.
Surjit Hayer is the owner of Airport Travel Ltd in High Street and chairman of the local traders association, he said: “Not having a phone line is costing us thousands of pounds a day.
“We’ve not been told anything by BT. It is only through us ringing them up on a daily basis that we know what’s going on.”
His business usually takes around 500 calls a day but has been limited to taking all their calls on a single mobile phone.
He added: “It’s really affecting our business because people can’t get through to us, but we want people to know, that although we can’t answer the phone, it is business as usual for all the shops affected.”
Surinder Mehmi, director at CM Electrical Wholesalers in Bull Street, said: “Having looked at my takings for this week and comparing them to last week, I would say we are around £15,000 down. It’s a joke really, we rely upon our phone line to talk to clients, but more importantly we also need it so that people can pay by card. We have had to tell people to come back with money, but they never comeback.”
Sita Soni, owner of Super Sound and Light also on Bull Street, added: “Business has been terrible since the lines went down. people haven’t been able to contact us. We live in a digital age and rely upon the telephones and internet to run our business and talk to clients.”
BT is working to fix the problem.
Chris Orum, spokesman for BT said 348 faults had been reported by customers since Sunday.
He added: “Engineers recovering a redundant cable inadvertently damaged a live cable in High Street, West Bromwich. We currently have around 300 faults. We are now working as quickly as we can to renew a 30-metre section and reconnect the lines.
"This is time consuming work and engineers will be working 12 hour days right through the weekend.”