Haddenham pensioner takes BT to court over broadband service

A10 WEEK 34'MCBH'rd'Bob Hammond problems with BT
A10 WEEK 34'MCBH'rd'Bob Hammond problems with BT

IN a true David versus Goliath battle, plucky writer Robert Hammond took on BT in court in a dispute over his broadband and telephone line.

However, unlike the biblical David, Robert didn’t walk away the outright winner.

Mr Hammond, of Haddenham, claimed for £1,000 compensation from BT after the company left him without a landline and broadband for more than 35 days – but he only received £190 in total.

He said: “I believe they took me on recklessly as they didn’t have an engineer in Haddenham who was able to do the work.

“They have degraded me, they couldn’t care less. It was only when I said I would take them to court that they bothered to reply to me.”

Mr Hammond, who is a BT shareholder, is retired but has been working on several novels.

He said he works four hours a day and claimed £5 for every working hour he was without internet access.

He also claimed £10 for each day he didn’t have a landline, and for the cost of mobile phone calls and special delivery letters to BT.

“BT are incredibly rude and unpleasant to people. They are contemptuous of their customers,” said the 76 year old. “They acted like cowboys, not what you would expect of such a large organisation.

“They never came to see me, I just got three texts from them. They just wanted to sign me up, they knew they didn’t have anyone in Haddenham who could do the job.”

Representing BT, Lisa Wright said that Mr Hammond’s broadband contract was for personal use so he could not claim for business losses.

She also said that as he didn’t get an hourly rate he could not claim £5 per hour for loss of earnings.

Passing judgement, Deputy District Judge Richard Case said he sympathised with Mr Hammond’s plight and queried why BT needed such a long, complicated contract for their broadband service. But he did not award the full compensation claim as there was no evidence that Mr Hammond had lost out on earnings of £5 per hour.

BT was found liable for Mr Hammond’s mobile phone and postal costs and for his court fees amounting to £190 in total. After the hearing Mr Hammond said: “If people get any letters from BT they should stuff them in the bin and don’t get involved with them. I’m not the only person in Haddenham who has had problems with them.”