AN ARCHITECT and politician has slammed his provider for poor data protection after a complete stranger was allowed to cancel his phone and internet service.
Talk Talk called who they thought was Martin Blencowe to discuss his service change-over after he moved house to Foxglove Avenue, Uttoxeter, in late September.
However, the firm had dialled the town councillor’s mobile number incorrectly and were unknowingly speaking to a complete stranger, who cancelled the account.
Councillor Mr Blencowe, who is also chairman of the borough council planning committee, said he had potentially lost business and been unable to respond to constituents’ concerns for weeks.
He said: “This caused numerous work problems and meant I couldn’t respond to council emails.
“I apologise to anyone who has tried to contact me regarding council matters but it has clearly been out of my hands.
“The really worrying thing is data protection. How on earth was a phone call to someone who clearly wasn’t me been allowed to advance to the point where a contract cancellation was invoked?
“What security questions were asked and, indeed, what other data may have been released in the opposite direction?
“These are matters I’ll be taking up as soon as I can make time to contact Talk Talk’s head office. In the meantime, I’m having to play catch-up.”
Councillor Blencowe was unable to order his line change until days before his move due to ‘local difficulties with the exchange of contracts’.
He said: “It was accepted that, although annoying, Talk Talk could not arrange the change-over in less than a couple of weeks.
“I work from home and totally rely on phone and broadband connections to deal with my professional and council matters.
“For the two weeks I was without landline and broadband, I notified all those I could and put in place interim arrangements with an assurance we’d be back online by October 10.”
When the allotted date came and went, Councillor Blencowe embarked on a one-hour-and-45-minute phone call, during which Talk Talk’s gaff was revealed.
Councillor Blencowe said: “I have since called the number they did and the man on the other end of the phone essentially said ‘nothing to do with me mate’.
“Talk Talk said it was the number they had for me on the system but I’d previously received texts from them and, when I questioned them on this, I was told they’d recorded my number on two different systems.”
Councillor Blencowe’s landline number and internet connection was restored a week later.
Talk Talk were unable to respond to the Post and Times’ request for a comment before its publication deadline.