IN WHAT could be a UK record, a North-East man was left on hold to BT for more than 14 hours.

Paul Donovan’s epic call to the communications giant comes close to being one of the longest hold-times ever recorded.

The carer from Crook, County Durham, called BT at 7.57pm on Saturday, August 1, initiating an almost farcical series of events that saw the 26-year-old retire to bed before getting up next morning to find he was still on hold - 14 hours and 31 minutes later.

BT say their call centre was closed when Mr Donovan initiated a futile attempt to cancel various services from the telecoms giant over the phone.

However, Mr Donovan insists there was no announcement saying the department was closed, just a pre-recorded message telling him his call would be dealt with.

He said: “I’ve had an on-going dispute with them since joining them last year.

“I phoned to cancel and was on the phone for 45 minutes before they said someone would phone me back.

“They didn’t, so I phoned their cancellation department and was on hold for an hour, then another hour, then a bit longer and a bit longer.

“My phone has unlimited minutes so I decided to just leave it to see how long it would go on for.

“I kept thinking surely someone will pick up but I went to bed and when I got up the next morning, I was still on hold.

“I hung up as I knew by then nobody would answer - I couldn’t believe it and when I called them again, they didn’t believe me either.

“I reckon it must be one of the longest hold-times ever.”

Mr Donovan is not far off – the longest hold-time ever appears to be 15 hours, 40 minutes and one second - the result of a phone call from Australian Andrew Kahn to Qantas Airways.

A spokesman for BT could not explain why Mr Donovan had not received a message telling him the department was closed.

He said: “Our main customer services number (0800 800 150) is open Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am - 6pm.

“Customers calling outside of those hours receive a recorded message advising them that the office is closed.”

Luckily, Mr Donovan was not exposed to 14 hours of hold music, though he could have listened to Greensleeves more than 200 times in that space of time.