Updated Punters calling the Reading branch of Carphone Warehouse (CPW) to find out the status of their phone repairs are being routed to a socket with no phone attached and charged for the privilege of listening to it fail to ring.
After several months of trying to get through one punter got so annoyed he went down to the store to find out what was going on; only to be told that the phones were never wired in and no one was ever going to answer his call.
The number is an 0870 number, which once offered local billing for calls made anywhere in the country. Though calling rates have dropped and many people are getting free national calls, 0870 has remained the same price, meaning to most people it's now more expensive than a normal call. This also means the company receiving the call may receive a termination fee of up to half the call costs.
The punter concerned put together a video documenting his attempts to contact CPW, and suggesting a conspiracy to collect termination fees from customers, though to us this smacks of incompetence rather than conspiracy.
The incompetence theory is borne out by our own attempts to get an explanation from Carphone Warehouse, without success. ®
Carphone Warehouse got back to us with the following statement: "We regret to confirm that the line the customer was being connected to was not provisioned correctly. As soon as the matter was brought to our attention we instructed engineers and are working to rectify the problem as a matter of urgency. We apologise to the customer for the inconvenience caused and would like to refund any call charges that he incurred."
So that's all right then.