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Sheringham community church without phones for 10 months due to dispute with Millenium Talk

PUBLISHED: 15:06 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:06 13 October 2017

The opening of The Lighthouse Church in 2013. Left to right,  Eryl Williams and Revd Bryan Pickard. 

The opening of The Lighthouse Church in 2013. Left to right, Eryl Williams and Revd Bryan Pickard. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A north Norfolk church is taking a phone company to court after it failed to abide by Ombudsman rules stating it had acted incorrectly.

Due to a long-running dispute with Millenium Talk, Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham has had no telephone or internet connections for 10 months.

Members of the church and the public have not been able to contact them to talk about weddings, funerals, bookings, or other day to day matters.

The Ombudsman found that Millenium Talk had transferred the church’s business telephone service over to it without authorisation.

But church treasurer Christopher Gould said: “They have completely disregarded the ruling of the Ombudsman.

“We have been advised by the consumer advice centre to pursue the company through the small claims court. This we are very likely to do.

“To be honest, we are more concerned about publicising Millenium’s business practices rather than receiving any money, and to getting our telephone line restored with its original number.”

The Ombudsman report found that Millenium Talk was told by a church member on the phone that it was not interested in changing providers and that he was not authorised to deal with any such decisions. But it still entered the church into a two-year telephone contract commitment.

The Ombudsman said: “I consider the manner of the call to have been misleading and wholly inappropriate.” 

Leah Spencer, assistant vice-president, customer service department, for Maidenhead-based Millenium Talk said: “The church has absolved themselves of any responsibility simply on the basis that we entered into a contract with a church member who happens to be in the mid-rung of the hierarchy despite him entering into a two-year binding contract with us on his own accord.

“We have bent backwards in our endeavour to iron out any creases caused while maintaining the sanctity of the contractual obligation of the client. We have tried to provide a seamless solution by expunging the early termination and additional charges that we are contractually entitled to; and simply asked them to pay for the call rental charges and usage which forms a minuscule portion of the original invoice.”

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