A HAWICK farmer is counting the cost after a dodgy phone line left him £4,000 out of pocket on a livestock deal.
Neil Hamilton, who farms at Earlside, is claiming that an erratic and unreliable British Telecom line is not only costing his business money, but is preventing his children from completing homework, him checking on his elderly parents and could even be life-threatening in emergency situations.
Speaking this week, Mr Hamilton said that the mobile phone signal in the valley is poor and that a land line is essential.
“This is a very frustrating situation and one which has been ongoing for the last four or five years.” he said. “ We can go long periods of time without a working phone line. We had no phone for nine days at the start of 2014 and despite numerous visits from BT engineers the problem still exists.”
And further outlining his frustration with the situation, he added: “For almost 40 days last year there was no line at all. Folk try to phone me, they hear the dialling tone but I hear nothing at the other end.”
Mr Hamilton explained that a livestock buyer had attempted to contact him to buy 100 lambs and by the time he did get through, the price had dropped £40 per head.
He went on: “BT have even claimed in the past not to have received reports that the line was down when my neighbours have reported the faults. Lots of farming business is conducted online and by telephone nowadays, and this just can’t go on.”
The Hawick News contacted BT and press officer Anna Steven stated: “We can see from current records that Mr Hamilton had a number of issues with faults on his residential line last year and now has a fault which was reported on January 6.
“Engineers have completed some repairs but the line was still testing faulty.
“Further repairs to overhead cable damage between two nearby poles are now planned. Mr Hamilton may be able to claim actual financial loss – claim forms need to be supported by evidence of the loss – but he won’t be able to claim for business losses on a residential line.”
But giving an assurance of assistance, they added: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience and will investigate further with a view to getting this resolved as quickly as possible.”