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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, April 18, 2024


Local retailers were stumped again Wednesday morning in their attempts to use 1-800 lines to run credit card transactions. Residents also had problems making long-distance calls, and for several hours none of the V.I. Telephone Corp.'s numbers worked.
The various telecommunications firms serving the territory blamed one another for the problems.
Claudia LaBorde, spokesperson for AT&T, said she thought Vitelco was having problems with the 800 lines. "They called me this morning to see if we could help them through Puerto Rico Telephone," LaBorde said.
Katrina White-Comissiong, public relations director for Vitelco, said the problem was with AT&T and Puerto Rico Telephone.
"AT&T called us today and asked if we could help them," Comissiong said.
Carolyn Stokes, spokesperson at Sprint, one of the long-distance carriers that services the territory, said, "We had some problems earlier in the week, but we thought they had been solved."
Stokes said she was unable to reach Vitelco to find out what the problem was.
Amy Ballas, manager of "Going Seanile," a retail store on the waterfront, confirmed she
had problems putting through credit card charges all morning.
"It's the one day we are busy," Ballas said. "People are lined up and no one really has cash. It's really frustrating."
Tom Brunt, owner of MSI building supplies, said, "It's a disaster for the community and the territory. We've been trying to call out all day. We can't conduct our business. It is totally incomprehensible that this could happen after the assurances we were given that come March, Vitelco would not have these problems any more."
Brunt added, "They need to communicate with the public about what is going on. We need a schedule of when they are going to be working on the system."
A similar situation at Christmas time caused island retailers to lose substantial sales and spawned a meeting between Vitelco and
the Chamber of Commerce.
At that time Vitelco said the ongoing problems would be solved by the installation of a new switch, which was slated for the end of March 1999.
Comissiong told St. Thomas Source on Wednesday afternoon that she would be issuing a press release, but as of Thursday morning, nothing had been sent.

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