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TalkTalk leaves mother of three disabled children without a phone for six weeks

Tuesday, July 21st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

A mother of three disabled children was left without a landline or broadband for six weeks after a “simple” home move.

Catherine Halliday was left struggling to contact her children’s doctors and hospitals, as well as complete everyday tasks like claiming benefits or shopping online.

It took the 27-year-old six weeks to eventually get her phone and broadband connected at her new address.

But despite the stress she had gone through and the extra cash she had spent using her mobile, TalkTalk offered her just £13.50 compensation.

“I had been with TalkTalk for quite a while and I was meant to have a simple home move,” Miss Halliday, from Sheerness, Kent, told Cable.co.uk.

“I moved literally round the corner, and wanted to upgrade to fibre-optic broadband as well.

“They said it was very simple and it would be set up the day after I moved.”

It wasn’t set up, and didn’t get resolved for another six weeks.

And in the meantime, the mum-of-three was forced to rely on her “temperamental” mobile, relatives’ and friends’ internet connections, or public wi-fi.

Her daughter Tiffany, three, and one-year-old twins Alfie and Maxwell, all suffer from suspected Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which can cause joint hyper-mobility and means their joints often dislocate.

Tiffany has also been diagnosed with a heart and bowel conditions and Max has suspected hearing difficulties. All three children also have severe laryngolmalacia – a softening of the larynx which affects their breathing – and the boys have feeding tubes.

“With three disabled children, having a phone is pretty vital, even the internet to a point,” Miss Halliday said. “We go for surgery after surgery after surgery."

'Going round in circles'

"I had to sort out things like doctors appointments, hospitals, benefits. Some of the doctors we have communicate via email, as do therapists.”

Without a phone, she was forced to rely on her mobile which does not always have a signal, meaning she sometimes had to walk to a nearby Tesco or friend’s house to use wi-fi.

She also struggled with things like doing online grocery shopping, which she relies on because of how difficult it is to get out to the supermarket while caring for her three children.

“Before, we lived pretty much opposite Aldi, now it’s more difficult.

“To be honest, just getting out the front door is a struggle sometimes.”

She tried to contact TalkTalk several times, to no avail, and it was only six weeks later that they finally connected her.

“They just kept on either fobbing me off or telling me that it would be sorted and just to be patient. But it was mostly just, ‘oh, we’re already looking into this’.

“During that time, I spent a lot of extra money on my mobile on calls, texts and data.

“They said they’d offer me compensation but they offered £13.50.

She said TalkTalk told her the amount was originally £25 but they had deducted money Miss Halliday owed, although she was never sure whether it was for her fibre upgrade or something else.

She tried phoning them to discuss the amount, but was just “going round in circles”, so ended up giving up.

“I’ve had too much else going on to keep trying to phone them,” added Miss Halliday, who is also trying to raise money to make a sensory room for the children.

“I just wanted a fair amount of compensation for all the stress and extra money I spent.”

A TalkTalk spokesperson said: “We are sorry it took longer than usual to get a service up and running at Ms Halliday’s new home.

"This was because of delays planning and implementing the installation. We have apologised and provided a goodwill gesture.”

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