Cut cable causes some disruption in Richmond

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 12:00 22/06/2013

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A cut telecommunications cable meant some Richmond retailers had to deal with unreliable eftpos connections, disrupted alarm systems and customer frustration.

A Transfield crew working for telecommunications company Chorus has been working on installing ultra-fast broadband at various sites on Queen St. The workers were based opposite Richmond Mall on Friday.

Chorus representative Anna Skelten could not say for sure whether the Transfield team were behind the eftpos outage, but she said a copper cable was damaged on Queen St by what seemed to be a drill on Wednesday afternoon.

The cable was temporarily repaired before workers could fix it permanently on Friday morning, and the patch-up also required a card to be re-set.

"Everybody should have been up and running by 11.15," she said.

Richmond Paper Plus manager Grant Christall said his branch's eftpos system had been offline continuously since Wednesday afternoon until 12.15pm on Friday. Its retail machines could handle some transactions offline, but because the machines administrated by New Zealand Post were down, the store could not offer motor vehicle registration, Vodafone or Kiwibank services.

He said he had been told eftpos would be back online at 7pm, but communication from Chorus had not been good.

"These are a lot of services that our customers vitally need," he said. "No-one seems to know anything that's happening."

Mr Christall estimated several thousand dollars' worth of custom had been lost due to turning customers away, lamenting that the personal cost to those who were unable to do their banking or renew their registration was "quite high".

The telecommunications failure also affected Richmond Paper Plus' alarm system. Queen St store Hobby Central had its alarm system set off at 5am yesterday, which owner Peter Hay said was linked to a break in telecommunications between the system and its provider.

"That's definitely to do with those guys digging around outside."

Richmond Pak'n Save manager Mark Brokenshire said the eftpos failure caused "chaos" when it affected his store. The supermarket was able to continue operating its machines by switching to a cellular back-up system, but the back-up was slower and did not work well with the newer chip-style cards.

He said some customers grew frustrated at the queues and abandoned their trolleys in the store, but said the store's eftpos systems were back online on Thursday.

Queen St Fruit and Vege owner Joan Robinson said her store and the nearby Swiss Bakery and Cafe both lost their eftpos facilities about lunchtime on Thursday. The failure lasted about half an hour.

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"Some people are really good, they go away to the money machine and come back, but others will walk out," she said.

"They don't come back."

- The Nelson Mail

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