BT and their billing system

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by davidflies, Sep 16, 2010.

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  1. davidflies

    davidflies War Hero Book Reviewer

    Last year I converted 2 telephone lines from domestic to business, and also two broadband connections. The reason was a BT saleswoman rang and said it would be a lot cheaper.

    Two things happened:
    1) the bills did not go down - but they haven't gone above what I was paying so I have to be thankful for that!
    2) although they started charging for the business line rentals and broadband charges, they did not cancel the domestic line rentals and broadband charges.

    The result is that I have been paying 8 bills instead of 4. As soon as this was noticed I started the saga of the telephone calls - since November 2009! The deal was in September 2009.

    Actions taken: 9 very very long (two well over 1 hour) telephone calls to BT accounts - two calls got through to UK, the rest to India. In all cases except one told that domestic billing cannot see business billing and vice versa.
    After much steam I have been told on three separate occasions that they have worked out that BT owes me £144.00, £156.00 or over £300.00. Also been told that the original domestic accounts have been closed.

    Needless to say the pig is fuelled and on the runway.

    Then, yesterday, having been told all of this again and that I would get £150+ within 10 days, I got a letter from a debt collection agency telling me to pay £60+ on one of the dead domestic accounts, followed by a demanding telephone call for said amount. You can imagine my response to the sweet little girl who rang me -but I was polite.

    Sorry to be so long-winded but I have had to go through this so many times it has become second nature - but has anyone else come across a similar situation and solved it to their satisfaction?

    The pig is airborne. Does anyone fancy a contract on BT accounts department in the UK?
  2. I had a few problems with BT, and there is a thread on here somewhere about it, I hate BT. And went straight to the top!

    I used one of the email addresses listed and got everything sorted out, very quickly! If you contact the lady below as she works as the Assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive, and in Executive Level Complaints.

    I hope this helps.

  3. BT are utterly useless at times. They phoned me up the other day - I was only at home to take the call because I was very poorly, and the conversation did nothing to improve my humour - saying, "Since you rent the line from us, but don't use us as your service provider, what if we offered you a really great deal to come back to us?"

    I had to explain to the charming young man (at least he wasn't some Indian bint trying to convince me that her name was Annabel or Jessica... that really peeves me) that BT WERE my service provider. He did not believe me, and was even trying to get me to dig out a recent bill. I very politely declined, invited him to look it up in their records himself, and went back to bed.
  4. DavidFlies,

    As Stilts has said, get your compliant in to the Executive Complaints department, give them all the details you have and ask them to confirm how they are going to resolve the issues.
    Issues that you need resolved are as follows:

    Confirmation that you were not missold the business lines in the first place, if you were told it would be cheaper, they must be able to prove that it is cheaper.

    Proper cancellation of the domestic accounts. This will be difficult as it seems they have passed to "debt" to a collection agency.

    Reimbursement of all monies owed.

    Proper resolution of your Credit rating with all three credit agencies.

    Notification by BT to the Debt collection agency (copied to you) that they were in error and you do not have a debt to repay.

    Once all this has been sorted to your satisfaction, raise the issue of compensation. If they try to raise the issue before you are happy, tell them to sort it first. You may get a call from the Business or domestic billing team asking if you are happy, tell them you are not happy and will only deal with the complaint manager assigned to you.

    As a guide, I had problems getting my broadband switched on which took them a month to resolve. I was given 4 months free line rental (one month for the lack of broadband and a goodwill gesture of three), and a bottle of Champagne.

    Be polite and stick to the facts. Once I got through to the Executive Level complaints team, everything was much easier, they do all the inter departmental investigations and calls and keep you up to date with progress.

    Good luck

  5. BT are in terminal decline. They've never really broken the ties with their civil service roots and they simply can't survive in today's ferociously competitive marketplace. They're trying to keep the company afloat by cost cutting and they've now cut to the point where they don't have enough staff with adequate skills to run their company on a day to day basis.

    Be very careful if BT phone you up out of the blue and offer you a deal. They're losing 300,000 customers a month. BT are desperate to stop this haemorrhage and very often these deals stop you cancelling your contract for an extended period.

    I accepted an offer over the phone for free evening and weekend calls. The barsteward on the phone "forgot" to mention that accepting the offer meant I was stuck with BT for at least 12 months. I only found this out when I tried to change phone supplier.

    As others have said, talking to the hard of thinking in the call centres is worse than useless. If they wont solve your problem while you're on the phone point out that you'll contact Ian Livingstone, the CEO of BT. His contact details are readily available via Google.

    If you are still having problems, the Data Protection Act is your friend. Threaten to make a Subject Access Request for all personal data that BT hold. They'll have to extract full details of every call that you have made in the past 6 months. Digging out that contract that you signed 20 years ago when you had your BT line installed is no mean feat either. Best of all, they'll have to have a team in India listen to thousands of hours of recorded call centre gibberish to isolate your conversation and provide you with relevant recordings.

    A full SAR costs thousands of pounds and the most that they can charge you is £10. If they fail to provide your data, the company can be prosecuted and the directors can find themselves with embarrassing criminal records. They will not argue about a disputed bill when faced with a threat like that.
  6. davidflies

    davidflies War Hero Book Reviewer

    To all of you my sincere thanks.

    I emailed the livingston chap, but added for copy the editors of the Telegraph, Times, Guardian and Independent, plus Dave Cameron and his liberal side-kick, plus the Minister of Defence (we reprint for the services) and my local MP.

    38 minutes later (I kid you not) phone call from BT in UK - how can they help me resolve the problem? Very helpful, almost apologetic - but progress for the first time in real terms because I now have a name and a man in the UK to yell at if I don't get my money soon. He also took details of the debt agency and promised to call them off!

    So once more my thanks for such immediate and practical help which has helped my temper cool and seems to have produced some positive reaction from BT!

    And I love the idea of the SAR - I might spend £10 of the money I get from them on just that - for the glee of it!

    I will post any further result when it happens.
  7. It's clear that some posters here know more about this sort of thing than I do, so may I take the liberty of asking a personally motivated question and saving myself hours on hold listening to "Four Seasons"?

    I've got a BT contract, billed quarterly at £12.79 per month for telephone (line rental + "Unlimited Weekend Plan"), £19.99 per month for broadband ("BT Total Broadband Option 2") and a variable amount for calls made. I don't think that I've agreed to anything that locks me to BT for ever.

    If I change to one of these phone+broadband+TV deals that are always being advertised, will I still have to pay BT the £12.79 (or something similar) for line rental?

    Is anyone particularly satisfied with the non-BT package that they are using?


    Colonel Ranter
  8. Depends whether or not you're "in contract". I think with BT it's usually 12 months from start of sevice.
    If you're in contract to BT you can leave them but they'll charge you the balance of all standing charges until the end of the contracted period.
    Once you're out of contract you can leave at will.
  9. If you change to another supplier like Sky, you retain the BT wire into your house. I think you pay Sky and Sky pay BT for the line rental.

    The only real alternative that I know of is Virgin Cable. If you've got cable running up your street, you can get Virgin to run a spur into your house and your BT line becomes redundant.

    Virgin can give you broadband, TV and phone over the wire they put in. The TV isn't as good as Sky and the phone doesn't cost much less than BT.

    Virgin broadband goes up to 50 meg though and at that speed you can download telly and movies faster than you can watch them. I took their broadband offering and bought an internet phone from Siemens. The phone looks just like an ordinary, cordless phone except the box can plug into the Internet as well as into a normal BT phone socket.

    I then signed up with an internet phone company called Sipgate. They provide a pay as you go service. You top up your account with a credit card and UK calls are a penny a minute at all times. Calls to other Sipgate users anywhere in the world are free. There's no line rental or anything else to pay.

    Like most people, I get a load of free minutes on my mobile phone and I tend to use them for most of my phone calls. I found that I was typically making less than £5 of calls per quarter on my land line and somehow getting billed by BT for over £100. Since switching to Sipgate, I've spent less than £2 in the past year and people can still call me at home without paying for a call to a mobile.

    BT are doomed.
  10. My last experience of BT was when I moved back into my house after a rebuild, had been on Virgin but they couldn't reconnect until after Christmas (it was early December). Phoned BT to see if they could do it quicker, would have switched to them if they could.

    I asked the chap on the phone if they could do the job before the holiday and his reply was (freely) "*laugh* hold on just a minute, we will have to determine first whether or not you're a suitable customer for our service."

    Phone down, waited for Virgin.

    I think they think they still have a telecoms monopoly.
  11. davidflies

    davidflies War Hero Book Reviewer

    The saga continues. Today I got an email confirming that the two domestic accounts were now closed and that I was owed a total of about £114. In the post I got a final demand on one of the two closed domestic accounts telling me I owe them £12.93 and if I don't pay they will stick the debt collectors on my neck.
    Can this be a business?
  12. Yes this is the only way. I too had serious problems with them and their bloody billing and after months of being screwed around I called the Chairman of BT. It took me several days but I managed it. After talking the the Chairmans PA (Rupert(!)) It was sorted. A few weeks later I got a couple of hundred quid in compensation.
  13. davidflies

    davidflies War Hero Book Reviewer

    I have just fired off another email to above female and have been a trifle more stroppy than so far - including mentioning solicitors - as I am a member of the FSB I get legal advice for free - but I'm not telling BT that!
    Will post any updates as they happen.
    Can I point my shotgun at debt collectors?
  14. i have been on the phone all day to BT in India, so IBT! I was told two weeks ago there was a fault on my line so they dug up the street, nothing was actually wrong as far as i was concerned. Then the bill came though. I had taken out Vision TV, phone and broadband with them in March 10 and they sent me a home hub thing. Turns out the 'phone' i thought i was using was actually an internet phone as i had been paying huge rates! I was even paying line rental on a phone line that i wasnt using. After several phone calls i worked out that your call gets answered quicker if you select to take part in their survey.

    END RESULT: The engineer said my hub was faulty and they are sending me a new one and repaying all the charges on the internet phone since march but im not holding my breath.
  15. davidflies

    davidflies War Hero Book Reviewer

    The sagas are never ending - and I got an email today asking me to come beck to BT! I never left it's just that they don't know I'm here even though I pay them about £200 a month!