A Wearside salon owner has told of his fears a phone line blunder could lead to his business being permanently cut off.
Il-Elle Hair Design, based in Tunstall Vale, Sunderland, has been without a landline since September 1 after their phone was accidentally taken out of service.
The error came after the property above them in the two-storey building opted to change phone provider, with their line mistakenly cut off, too.
The salon has been running for 20 years, but has suffered a severe drop in takings since their phone stopped working.
Their phone provider, TalkTalk, say it may take until next Tuesday to get it up and running again, and even then, there is no guarantee they will be able to claim the same number.
Michael Stubbs, who owns the salon, has been left fearful for the future.
At the moment, we’re losing money hand over fist and last week was the quietest ever in the salonMichael Stubbs
He said: “Whenever the property upstairs decides to change providers, our phone gets cut off.
“It happened once before, but was all sorted out within a few days.
“This time, though, TalkTalk say there is nothing they can do apart from provide us with a new telephone line and a new number. We would then have to reapply for our old number, and there’s no guarantee we’d get it back.
“We’ve had this number for 20 years and the business is so reliant on the phone.
“It would be absolutely devastating if we lost that number. It’s so frustrating and ridiculous.
“At the moment, we’re losing money hand over fist and last week was the quietest ever in the salon.
“It would be very, very tough to survive more than a few weeks like this.”
Takings at the salon last week were down 50% compared to the same week a year ago.
Mr Stubbs first suspected something was wrong when he received a letter from TalkTalk telling him the company was sorry he had decided to leave them. However, he had not instigated such an action.
The work to change the phone line upstairs was carried out by BT’s Openreach.
Mr Stubbs added: “What is so frustrating is that TalkTalk seem totally not interested, and keep moving the date they expect to get us a new phone line.
“A different number would be totally useless for us.
“If that happened, we’d have to run an advertising campaign and change everything with our old number on, such as the signage outside the shop.
“It’s all added expense through no fault of our own.”
The Echo contacted TalkTalk for a comment, and they said they would respond at a later date.
A BT spokesman said: “Openreach, BT’s local network business, work on behalf of all service providers offering products and services on the BT network.
“Engineers from Openreach carry work out as and when requested on behalf of the service providers, as well as maintaining and upgrading the network.”
In the meantime, customers wishing to book an appointment at the salon can call 07846 512301.