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Pensioners unable to contact ill relative after broadband and phone cut off

Friday, May 15th 2015 by Dean Reilly

A 60-year-old woman and her 68-year-old partner have been left without working broadband or a landline after switching providers to keep in touch with an ill relative overseas.

Sharon Jewitt, from Brotherton, North Yorkshire, switched her broadband and landline service to the Post Office to help her stay in contact with a member of the family in Cyprus who is currently battling cancer.

However, after being initially told that her new service would be available from 10 April, Mrs Jewitt and her partner Tony Whitely are still without a working landline or broadband connection.

And if the couple wish to speak to their relative overseas, they face expensive international mobile call charges.

Mrs Jewitt’s son Gavin told Cable.co.uk that an engineer arrived five days late to connect her line. After working on the installation for a further three days, the engineer left without completing the job.

The couple have now been without a working phone or broadband since making the switch to the Post Office, a situation Mr Jewitt calls “totally unacceptable”.


He explained that his mother and her partner have had to use pay-as-you-go mobile phones for emergencies, and have topped up the handsets on several occasions after calling the Post Office for updates.

Mrs Jewitt, who in spite of ill health still volunteers part time at a local school, has also had no alternative than to use her mobile to ring her GP to arrange appointments and request prescriptions.

Mr Jewitt told Cable.co.uk: “Friends and family are unable to contact them to see how they are unless they call the mobile, which some don’t have.

“They ordered broadband so they could Skype a relative who lives in Cyprus who is suffering with cancer and cannot do this at present.”

After contacting the Post Office on three separate occasions and being promised a call back that never happened, Mrs Jewitt asked to speak to a manager. However, her son says, she was told that it could take 24 hours for a manager to become available to speak to her.

In a letter to the Post Office, Mr Jewitt asked on behalf of his mother: “Can someone please explain to me why my elderly parents are left without a working house phone, of which they use frequently, and are expected to use their own mobiles at cost to themselves?”


Earlier this week, four hours after Cable.co.uk contacted the Post Office, Mr Jewitt received an email from the broadband provider apologising for the issues the family are facing.

It explained that there was a problem with the local exchange and that work to rectify the issue was ongoing.

However, Mr Jewitt told us: ”There wasn't a fault on the line until Post Office took over as the provider.”

A Post Office spokesperson told us: “We sincerely apologise for the delay in restoring HomePhone services on this occasion. Unfortunately the problem lies with a fault on the physical line itself.

“As with the vast majority of HomePhone providers, the physical phone line [is] provided and serviced by BT Openreach who are working hard to resolve this issue.

“We are liaising with the customer to keep them updated. We fully understand their concerns and regret any inconvenience caused.”

At the time of publication, Mrs Jewitt is still without a working landline or broadband connection.

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