Widow’s relief to be back in the modern world

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AN ELDERLY widow, who says her phone provider was switched without her consent, is relieved – after being disconnected for months and threatened with legal action – to finally have a working phone line.

Doreen Adcook, 81, lived in her house in Mooreland Drive, Great Barton, with the same BT phone line for more than 30 years when her internet provider, Tiscali, was bought out by Talk Talk.

In July, the grandmother of six phoned Talk Talk to inquire about packages that could combine her internet and phone line.

Within weeks of making the inquiry, her account with BT had been cancelled and her direct debit details transferred to Talk Talk despite, she says, not asking them to change.

Next she says her phone line became crossed with a woman’s who lives in Ixworth, with each receiving the other person’s calls.

This continued until August 12 when Doreen was disconnected altogether. She was left without a phone line until November 22.

“I had nothing, no means of communication,” she said.

Despite never wanting to open an account with Talk Talk, Doreen received letters telling her that she owed the company money.

Between October 22 and November 8 she received a final demand notice, an overdue account notice and a notice of legal proceedings.

She said: “It was a complete shock. I have never owed anyone a penny in my life – if I didn’t have the money for something I wouldn’t buy it. I lost sleep over it and I was shaking – I don’t need all that at my age.”

Two weeks ago, Doreen’s internet was reinstalled and she now has a working phone line, although she has had to change her phone number. She has combined the two services through BT and hopes to put all of the trouble with Talk Talk behind her.

A spokeswoman for Talk Talk said: “We’re very sorry to hear about the problems Mrs Adcook had been experiencing. We are currently investigating the matter and will be speaking with Mrs Adcook to ensure the situation has been resolved to her satisfaction.”

In a letter to Mrs Adcook Talk Talk refers to a ‘technical issue’ with her phone line, her account which ‘failed to fully cancel’ in their billing system and her removal from Debt Collection Agency Records.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, has been investigating Talk Talk over complaints of incorrect billing and the mis-selling of fixed-line telephone services.