Larne pensioner’s chip shop phone line mix-up

Mr Gibson Wharry. INLT-32-703-con
Mr Gibson Wharry. INLT-32-703-con

Retired telecommunications installation engineer Gibson Wharry Sr, who lives in Craigyhill bungalows, was among hundreds of local residents and businesses whose phone and internet services were cut off on Thursday July 27.

At the time, a BT spokesperson said that the company received around 400 fault reports, with a total of eight BT telecommunications cabinets impacted.

She stated that the areas affected were in and around The Roddens, Main Street, Glynn Road, Curran Road, Ballymena Road, Upper Cairncastle Road, Fleet Street, Linn Road and Mill Road.

However, despite the company stating that the service was fully restored on July 27, Mr Wharry’s line was only fully restored on August 31, leaving him without phone and internet for a week and a half.

Prior to this, his phone line was incorrectly restored so that he received calls intended for the Hill Stop Chip Shop, while the takeaway’s customers were unable to get through to the business.

“This house is my family home but I was left feeling isolated,” revealed 73-year-old Mr Wharry.

“I was getting all the calls which were meant for the Hill Stop Chip Shop which was a big incovenience, and I’m sure the business lost a lot of trade.

“I know of one other person who was also receiving calls meant for the Hill Stop Chip Shop. In repairing the original fault, they created another one.

“No-one wanted to take responsibility. I am very angry about the inefficiency of the whole thing,” he explained.

Mr Wharry, who spent two decades installing telephone exchanges, is now worried that he will be left to foot the chip shop’s bill for the period where the two lines were crossed.

“I have checked my account and there are a few numbers on it which I haven’t called,” he commented.

Meanwhile, co-owner and manageress of the Hill Stop Chip Shop Angela Agnew described the incident as a “big inconvenience” which resulted in a loss of trade.

A BT spokesperson commented: “BT engineers worked around the clock to restore service to all of the customers affected.

“The repair work was complex and coupled with adverse weather conditions repair timescales were impacted. The work has been completed and BT is conducting a full investigation into the cause.

“Any outstanding queries relating to the incident should be directed to the customer’s own service provider,” the spokesperson said.