Phone fault leaves frail Nora, 91, without care alarm

Salisbury Journal: Nora Larcombe Nora Larcombe

A FRAIL 91-year-old woman has been left without a 24-hour care alarm for four weeks while a telephone company fails to repair a fault.

Nora Larcombe’s daughter Jane Porter has been left frustrated and furious by the service given by Plusnet since her mother returned to her Bishopdown home following several months in hospital.

Mrs Porter said: “It’s just a nightmare; it has been dreadful.

Because she has just come out of hospital, my brother and I have moved in, and we’ve had to put our lives on hold. There’s no way we could leave her here on her own without an alarm.”

Mrs Porter discovered her mother’s phone line wasn’t working on February 7 and reported the problem to Plusnet. She was told it would be fixed by the time her mother got home on February 12.

It wasn’t, and despite multiple calls and emails to the company, which said the case had been prioritised due to the circumstances, the fault still hasn’t been repaired.

Mrs Porter said no one initially got back to the family until February 16, when they were told it would be fixed on February 22.

This date was then twice revised, before they were told it would be sorted out this week.

The issue still hadn’t been resolved as the Journal went to press, meaning that as well as Mrs Larcombe’s care alarm not working, doctors, occupational therapists and other services have been unable to get through to arrange follow-up care since her hospital stay.

“The thing that annoys me most is that had they been honest from the start we would have gone somewhere else and we’d have a new phone line by now,” said Mrs Porter.

“We’re just so frustrated and don’t know where to go now.

They won’t let me talk to anyone else and they don’t have the decency to make any comment back. Their advertising slogan is ‘good honest broadband from Yorkshire’.

“Well there’s nothing good or honest about the way they deal with complaints.”

A Plusnet spokesman apologised for setting “unrealistic expectations” and for the continued delay in responding.

“This case was treated with the highest priority when reported. However, the fault requires extensive repairs to be made to cabling outside Mrs Larcombe’s property, as well as approvals from local authorities to gain access to the ground and overhead cables.

“In cases like this, the further it is investigated, the more work we sometimes find is needed to make the repair.

“This means initial dates cited for a full fix may have to be pushed back.”

She said they will refund subscription charges for the time of lost service and fund a pre-paid mobile phone for Mrs Larcombe to use until her phone line is working.

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