FED-UP mobile phone users in Verwood have blasted EE after they were left with no signal for two weeks.
Business owners found they could not operate in the busy sales period and residents, many of whom rely on their mobiles as they don’t have landlines, were forced to get in their cars to get enough signal to contact anyone.
The problem is thought to have affected scores of people from Christmas Eve until the beginning of this week, with angry customers complaining of being told varying stories by the communications giant’s staff. T-Mobile and Three network users have also been affected.
Many say the company denied all knowledge of a fault and instead made them spend up to an hour on the phone to its technical help department, switching their phones off and on and expressing surprise those steps had not worked.
Others were told one of the town’s three masts was being upgraded, while others were told it was being downgraded. Others were told it was simply broken and being repaired.
Now the company is facing a mass exodus of Verwood-based customers after failing to address the problem in time. Many people have told the Journal they have had signal problems for up to ten months in the town, but the two-week blackout had finally prompted them to try to cancel their contracts.
However, even then people say they are having problems and that the company is telling them they must pay their full contract, which is often hundreds of pounds, despite failing to provide the promised service.
Some customers have been offered between £10 and £30 off their bills, but most say this is not enough to persuade them to stay.
EE customer Sally Langton said: “I phoned back after being cut off, and they had absolutely no recollection of my call and told me there was no way could I leave my contract early without paying £120.19.
“I’ve had intermittent service since February, most of the time no service and only 2G – this is all about cost-cutting.
“I have cancelled, but I am refusing to pay the cancellation fee and will see them in court if needs be. They do not make a note of anything on your account . . . each time I rang, they had no note of my previous call.
“There’s no point in staying with them, it is not going to get better... everyone should cancel and stop their direct debits.”
Frustrated customers took to Facebook to share stories, to try and work out what was going on.
Sandra Attrill said: “My signal has been poor for months but over Christmas and New Year non-existent because of the mast problems – very difficult when you run your business via your mobile.”
And Rhonda Felton said: “My busiest time of the year and no signal. I’ve been constantly on the phone to Orange/EE by landline, costing me a fortune.”
The signal finally returned on Monday, after the Journal contacted EE’s press team.
An EE spokesman said: “On January 6 an engineer was able to access the site and replace the necessary equipment to resolve a technical fault. Full service has been resumed and we apologise for the inconvenience.”