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Big brother text caused big bother

PUBLISHED: 23:00 04 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:54 02 March 2010

WHO goes? You decide.

When Gary Renfro took up Channel 4's challenge to vote a contestant off Big Brother, little did he know it would be him who would be unable to escape the show's grasp.

WHO goes? You decide.

When Gary Renfro took up Channel 4's challenge to vote a contestant off Big Brother, little did he know it would be him who would be unable to escape the show's grasp.

Mr Renfro, of Ireland Road, Ipswich, has today been promised compensation after being plagued with more than 1,000 messages from the television programme's text service.

The problem resulted in the entire national text system jamming.

After replying to the famous "who goes?" catchphrase, Mr Renfro was sent confirmation text messages for the next 24 hours – as regularly as every eight seconds.

The 27-year-old sent a text to vote contestant Mary off the show after being prompted by his reality television-addict fiancée Gemma Sallows.

He said: "Gemma and I sent a text from each of our phones at just after midnight on Thursday

"We both received a confirmation text message but mine didn't stop. At first it kept going off every four to eight seconds.

"I switched it off overnight as it would have kept us awake but when I switched it on in the morning there was a backlog and it just wouldn't stop.

"At one point it was 165 every 30 or 40 minutes.

"I called Vodafone who I have my phone with after I got about 500 and they told be to send a reply saying "stop". I did but it made no difference and they kept coming until about 11.30pm that night.

"It was a huge inconvenience as it interrupted and held up texts I actually wanted.

"I certainly won't be voting again."

Mr Renfro works for EDF Energy and was forced to switch his telephone to silent mode so not to disrupt colleagues.

BT run the text service and has assured Mr Renfro they will reimburse him for the charges incurred each time a message was received – thought to be about 30p a time. It has also promised compensation.

Big Brother admitted a problem between Mr Renfro's telephone and the text service jammed the voting system on Thursday.

A spokesman said: "We are having technical issues with the text voting. BT are investigating the problem at the moment, during which time we have temporarily suspended all text voting.

"All those who have been affected by this technical problem will be contacted by a representative from our service provider and fully refunded and compensated.

"Phone and Interactive TV voting is not affected."

However, neither Big Brother nor Channel 4 have issued a statement or contacted Mr Renfro to apologise.

Do you think text voting is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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