Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

BT has got its numbers wrong, say irate locals

Residents in north Belfast are up in arms over what they have dubbed British Telecom’s “phone book lottery”.

The Cavehill residents are furious about receiving a phone directory meant for counties Antrim, Londonderry and Tyrone.

For two years homes in and around the BT14 area of north Belfast have been receiving BT’s North phone book, instead of the Belfast book.

The blunder is affecting the homes in Shaneen Park and Shancoole Park.

Shaneen Park resident Margaret Bleakley said: “This is bureaucracy gone mad.

“A year ago I received the North phone book and assumed it was sent in error. I called BT and was told I fell within the new North boundary.

“Despite living in Belfast, paying Belfast City Council rates and having a Belfast telephone code, they refused to send me a Belfast phone book free of charge because, according to their system, I wasn’t eligible for one.

“Then a few days ago BT again sent me the North phone book. I mean, how ridiculous is it that?”

Madeleine Sowney, another Shaneen Park resident, said: “I was looking for old friends from Belfast quite recently and couldn’t find their numbers. Is it any wonder?” Stephen Mort, Mrs Sowney’s neighbour, said: “This would definitely affect older people who don’t necessarily have access to the internet.” A BT spokeswoman said: “Due to this method of compiling data, it is inevitable that wherever a phone book geographic boundary is drawn, some customers will feel they have a closer affinity with a neighbouring book due to their close proximity to it.

“Where this is the case, BT is happy to look at any individual case and make a decision based on the specific address in terms of providing an additional copy and waiving the additional £10.”

Background

BT abolished the Northern Ireland-wide phone book in 2002 and replaced it with four regional directories. Which phone book you receive depends solely on your postcode. Currently, BT offers residents in Northern Ireland their regional directory free, but charges £10 for an additional phone book from a different region.

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