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'EE cut off my mobile and took 24 days to fix it – now they’re at it again'

Friday, August 7th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A businessman's mobile phone has been cut off for more than a whole month so far this year.

Ken Bentley said he has been cut off for at least 36 days in total so far – on the latest occasion for over two weeks.

The self-employed director and writer of theatre and audio plays said the loss of income from being cut off for more than 12 days is “potentially enormous” and his ability to function has “almost completely ground to a halt”.

Mr Bentley, 45, started the year with no signal after his phone was cut off on 27 December. It was fixed on 20 January but cut off again on 22 July and has still not been reconnected.

The incidents mean he has been cut off for a total of 36 days so far this year, not including the days at the end of last year that he couldn't use his phone.

Mr Bentley, from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, was originally with Orange and was moved to EE when he upgraded to 4G in December.

During the upgrade his phone, which was on the same account along with his partner's, was mistakenly disconnected.

“It took them 24 days to reconnect my phone,” he told Cable.co.uk.

“During a busy work period I had to find time to make 15 phone calls over 24 days chasing the issue, each time speaking to someone new, and each time having to explain the issue from scratch.”

After he was finally reconnected on 20 January, Mr Bentley was given six months half-price line rental for both phones by way of compensation.

But six months later, on 22 July, his phone was mysteriously cut off again.

'Ground to a halt'

“I’m self-employed and I’ve had the same phone number all my working life," said Mr Bentley.

"It’s the number everybody I’ve ever worked with uses to contact me, and all the work I’ve ever been given has been by word of mouth – by people calling me on my mobile.

“These days a lot of the work I do is conducted by email, yet I’m only rarely at my desk in front of a computer so my phone is my point of contact, and a quick response is what helps clients and colleagues feel reassured that I’m contactable and working on the project at hand.

Mr Bentley said it is difficult to calculate how much income he may have lost through being cut off, but in the past one call to his mobile had generated seven years of work and more than £100,000.

"Have I missed another such call? Who knows.

“For me – and for anybody self-employed or freelance – the loss of income as a result of being cut off for days is potentially enormous.”

His personal life is also affected, he said, from being unable to check train times online to not being able to text his partner.

“None of it is life-threatening stuff. But the longer this goes on, that’s the sort of thing that starts to worry me. What if there’s an emergency and people need me urgently, at work or at home?

“My ability to function has almost completely ground to a halt.”

Mr Bentley said he has been told by EE that he can’t move his number to a new network until the issue is resolved.

“The thing that really annoys me is why, in 2015, they can’t just reconnect a phone?

“Does it really take 17 days for one of the biggest telecommunications service providers in the UK to work out why a phone connection isn’t working and to fix it?

“If it took me this long to react in my job I’d be fired. Instantly.”

Cable.co.uk contacted EE for a comment but one had not been provided by the time of publication. As this story was published, EE had told Mr Bentley they were still investigating and had reduced his bill to zero this month, saying he will not have to pay until the issue is resolved.

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