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BT cheek - Business Users beware...


trickyjoe7777
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BT Lock-In Campaignbtlogo.jpg

 

We’ve recently been made aware that BT is, as of February 20th, offering call divert with business line rental, whilst at the same time locking in customers for 12 months with a “new” contract.

 

As we understand, this is an opt-out offer, where existing customers have to take action to NOT be included in this offer. BT’s notification can be found by following this link.

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Residential customers have the same with a twist - a 12 month rolling commintment for free weekend calls. It auto-renews every 12 mnoths, and the lock-in is to prevent customers from switching without penalty.

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Residential customers have the same with a twist - a 12 month rolling commintment for free weekend calls. It auto-renews every 12 mnoths, and the lock-in is to prevent customers from switching without penalty.

 

Is this legal not giving the customer a chance not to renew after 12 months?

Just some guy. I try to help, but all advice is my opinion.

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Everything is 'legal' unless a court decides otherwise. BT say that every year they will write to the customer advising them of their ongoing 'great offer' of "free calls" giving them the opportunity to opt out (and pay for them) in return, the 12 month lock-in would cease.

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Simply write straight away to BT (by recorded delivery of course) saying that:

 

a) any future variations, changes or modifications of the terms and conditions must bear your signature to be binding and legal and that if the service (or ay part thereof) is renewed/continues to be provided hereafter without your written acceptance of same, under your signature, that it will, henceforward, be regarded as being provided free and gratis.

 

b) that you do not accept, in principle, a cancellation fee to be binding or legally payable if the contract is "renewed" without your written acceptance, under your signature, of all terms and conditions relating to that "renewal".

 

c) that continuation of direct debit payments by you must not be construed as your agreement to any terms and conditions and/or renewals unless said terms and conditions relating to cancellation fees are accompanied by written agreement from you bearing your signature.

 

Ensure that this letter is correctly addressed, dated and bears your signature.

 

I actually think that this letter (or a similar one) should be sent by everyone with a BT account (likewise for Virgin and other telecom providers) as this will (I argue) bring these shifty and deceitful ways to an abrupt halt.

 

Knowing how BT operate, these letters will be ignored. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter and the recorded delivery receipt in a safe place for future use/reference. Make sure you do keep the recorded delivery receipt safe, as BT will lose the letter if it suits them to ensure that it is lost or not received.

 

Shoestring

 

PS, the principle here is that you too can vary a contract. It is not something BT or any other party has a sole right to. A contract is simply an agreement between two or more parties -- the operative word being agreement not a diktat.

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Sorry, but that's not going to work.

(a) It is tem changing their Terms & Conditions, they do not need your permission OR signature to amend, change, modify or rescind. Your ability to end the contract remains, the rest of your comment I don't understand.

(b) Your acceptance is immaterial - these are the terms of business, you either accept them or terminate. It is not reasonable to expect upwards of 6 million customers to modify these terms on-the-fly.

© They could not be construed as anything, other than a payment of the BT account.

 

As to your last point - the 'agreement' is the customer acceding to the suppliers terms, it does not provide a route for negotiation. Invariably any variation to terms requires the agreement and signature of a director, and that won't be forthcoming.

 

Nice idea - but not a real-world one, I'm afraid.

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Hi Buzby, Really?

 

Could you kindly cite the law or section of the law that supports what you say please? I'm not being sarky here but I am interested in carefully parsing what is written.

 

If you say that varying specific terms of business are not acceptable without your explicit understanding - as detailed in a writing - then that can be considered as de facto termination if they disagree with this/these provisions. It is then down to them to make you specifically aware and not sneak it in behind your back. Aleratively they can terminate the service as you have said you disagree with certain variations etc. Contract law is a two-way street.

 

Your acceptance of the terms & conditions of business surely is the whole point and can not simply be immaterial. The assumption that you accept said terms cannot be held valid if you have written to them stating that you refuse to agree to certain terms, as the "assumption of acceptance" has been voided. In writing.

 

On the other point that the expectations of 6 million customers is unreasonable, so is an assumption that you will automatically agree to any modifications or variations they may make in the future without making you explicitly aware of same. For example, under your scenario there is nothing to stop BT placing a fine print clause stating that they will inherit your Estate upon your death, or that that they have become the Executors of said estate. Ditto your accruing pension -- at the time it converts to payment, it will be paid directly to BT.

 

While these are far-fetched examples, the underlying principle is the same. Just because directors are busy people doesn't elevate them above you in the eyes of the law.

 

Shoestring

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Can you break this down a little further - as we may be talking at cross purposes . You service with a supplier is based on you accepting HIS terms, not him accepting yours. Therefore, if a change in a term is to your disadvantage, then you can certainly attempt to have it modified in your case but they are neither obligated or required to accede to your request.

 

Here's an example. I wanted to hire a carped shampooer in B&Q (Rug Doctor), the firms T& Cs say that I will be credit checked (leaving a footprint) and agree to my details being passed to third parties. Under the Data Protection Act, my right to opt out is allowed, but I have to write to the company's head office to do so. That said, this only affects my data being passed to 3rd parties, NOT my being credit checked.

 

Contacting the firm, I explain I am not purchasing anything on credit, simply renting a shampooer for the weekend at £30. They say ALL renters are credit checked, and if I don't like it, don't rent.

 

I didn't.

 

As for your (may I say fanciful) adverse BT T&Cs, they can easily be challenged as being an 'Unfair Term' and discounted. However the dividing line between what it reasonable and what isn't is pretty broad. If BT want to impose a 12 month rolling contract (say in 2010) and give free UK calls, then they can. Providing you are told about it, and have an opportunity to depart before it kicks in, that's not unfair.

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Providing you are told about it, and have an opportunity to depart before it kicks in, that's not unfair.

 

That, of course, is the key point. Being "told about it" can take many forms. Sneaky and deceitful forms. My concern is that the spin shouting about the free UK calls will be loud and in your face...whereas the lock-in to a further 12 month period contract will not be - indeed, I fear it will be eclipsed from easy view and shunted away to some small print corner.

 

Moreover, that an unfair term can be discounted is exactly my point. It can be discounted in the manner I stated earlier in this thread. The point here is that if BT think that is acceptable (and the do) to engage in sharp practice then there is nothing in law that forbids the customer from also engaging in some tricks. What's good for the goose...

 

Your example of the carpet cleaner is a completely different matter, as it is hiring equipment for a stated period not attempting to roll, modify or change an ongoing contract.

 

What I am trying to do here is to alter the current mode of thinking of big business that it is okay (giggle) to stiff customers any which way (because they're stupid and, besides, are too busy to check) in order to inflate profits and so engineer a nice little year end earner in the form of multi-million pound bonuses and profit shares, payable to those those busy directors you mentioned.

 

Most of us are busy. But most of us can't rush out and order some in-house lawyer functionary to find trick ways of deceiving our customers into paying more than is fair or reasonable --- and then using our clout, muscle and contacts to inhibit/bully/coerce anyone who tries to dight what we have done.

 

I, therefore, think it is high time that us people started challenging business every step of the way and finding creative solutions to making business become responsive to our requirements. Historically, bloodying the nose of a bully is the fastest way of bringing said bully to a screaming and tearful halt.

 

Because if we don't do it now, I fear, in a decade or so, we'll be completely buggered and left only able to tug our forelock as our betters, steal our pig, **** on our hut and thrash us at their whim.:shock:

 

Shoestring

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I'm doing this with Virgin Media, but it's an uphill struggle and with no guarantee of success. Incidentally, the ASA have refused a complaint about BTs advertising of this offer (free calls, but no mention of the catch) accepting that they would not be expected to publicise the downside, and you can see their point. Referring as they did to 'see terms and conditions' satisfied their concern.

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I'm sympathetic and wish you good luck. I'm beginning to sound like Mulder in the X Files, I'm afraid, with his "trust no one" motif, but by now we should all be aware that no businessman should be trusted in the slightest. Our trust is their passport to their continuing profits and our continuing losses. We need to take the time to fact check and double check before proceeding.

 

The latest BBC article about the expected OFT ruling on unfair charges, suggests that not making a customer explicitly aware of a contract roll or extension is regarded as unfair and therefore unlawful...

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