CITY centre businesses were left stranded on Tuesday morning when their phone lines went down.
Firms on Bridge Street and Watergate Street were unable to take calls, use the internet or process card transactions until the problem was repaired at about 2pm.
A spokeswoman for the Bridge Street branch of holiday operator Thomas Cook said: “BT said they had cut the phone line last night so when we went to work this morning it was all dead.
“We couldn’t do chip and pin, or look up on the internet for holidays. We had to redirect customers to our other store in Chester until the system came back at 2.05pm.”
Harriet Howse, who works in the Principality Building Society, said: “Our branch was closed until 2pm, there was nothing we could do during the morning. Staff at the West Bromwich Building Society had to go home for the day.
“We have taken customers’ phone numbers down and are calling them now the lines are back.”
A spokesman for Maya jewellers, said: “We had to use a fallback old-fashioned swipe card device to accept cards, but it requires a 10-minute wait for authorisation. Not surprisingly, people preferred to pay with cash instead.
“If this had happened on a Saturday it would have been much worse.”
Staff member Laura Passmore, of hairdressers Soul Hair, Watergate Street, said: “It had a huge impact this morning as people couldn’t pay by card, they had to go out to get cash.
“All credit to BT for sorting it out quickly, but it was a big inconvenience today.”
Emma Tennant, BT senior media relations manager, said: “A fault occurred in the early hours of Tuesday after contractors working for us accidentally cut through a cable located on St John Street, Chester.
“They began work to repair this immediately with the jointing finished on Wednesday morning.”