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Can " BT " do this ?

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I have just switched my Telephone from BT, to Virgin Media, I have two telephone lines with BT so have not closed the account, just cancelled the telephone line at " my flat " ( the other line is at my mothers bungalow of which I am keeping ) I do not owe them money, today I received a bill through from them for £11.00

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You will have agreed to this over the phone. If you genuinely don't recall this then you can ask for a copy of the call - they will no doubt have a copy. However they can charge you up to £10 for this, which just further increases the amount you owe them!


Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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I had a similar problem with BT and contracts a while back. I was informed that they do not have to state that you are entering into an agreement (which they frequently forget to say) and as soon as you activate your account then you are liable for a year.

 

I was basically told that I should automatically know that I am entering into a contract even though they don't bother to tell you.

 

You can try and complain to the company.

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You appear to confuse what a CCA is - it is not a 'contract' but a requirement for those arrangements that require credit. With BT this is a service NOT a credit contract so this would be pointless.

 

IF BT's records show you agreed to their insidious 'rolling' contract, the chances are you or someone there did, because on the face of it it looks innocuous enough. It's free and instead of only fetting free calls at weekends, you get them every evening and weekend. This then turns sour if you decide to leave outwith the 12 month lock-in.

 

You don;lt have to sign anything, it could be agreed on the phone with a sales agent who may have called out of the blue. Even if it wasn't you who agreed it, BT will state that the person who asked for the service claimed they were acting under the authority of the bill payer, so fighting this will be a huge task - worth it if you feel strongly about it, but in the scale of things, probably not worth the battle.

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Can they not move the unlimited calls package to your mothers phone?


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

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I did ask them to transfer the unlimited calls to my mothers account, but they said they can not do this, which I think is rather odd, I may just call there bluff, and ask for a copy of the conversation, also I can not recall being told ( THIS CALL MAY BE RECORDED ) as it was a call centre in India or somewhere like India, I thought they had to inform you they may record your conversation, I think they are being really unreasonable in not allowing the contract to be moved to my mothers account

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Not odd - the commitment is not called a 'lock in' for nothing. She could have her own lock in for the same 'benefit'.

 

There's no 'bluff' to call - the conversation is recorded for their benefit, not yours. (You can always record your own anyway). So requests for copies, if they still exist are rarely (if ever) made available.

 

Finally BT do not need to tell you for each and every call you make to them that the call will be recorded. It has been company policy for well over 10 years, and as such there is a full expectation from callers that their interactions WILL be recorded (or 'may') so as it is there for their protection, don;t expect this to benefit you in any meaningful way. The only way to reject it is to providse your own recording to refute their claim. However of the many complaints BT get about this (the rolling contract lock-in) in the bulk of cases investigated, the customer WAS told, but either didn't understand the commitment, or forgot about it shortly after.

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I think this is the one where:

 

1) You have to cancel the contract before it expires otherwise it auto renews

 

(Just did this and the confirmation letter is filed away)

 

2) You need to call back after it has expired to tell them you want line rental only going forward otherwise you will still get additional charges.

 

(Note at the side of my computer reminding me to do this the day after it expires)

 

The BT employee I spoke to seemed very unwilling to release me from this contracts’ vice like grip even though I had nothing to gain and money to lose by staying in it.

 

I can imagine this policy must cause a lot of complaints, and more to point much ill will towards BT. They write and tell you when the contract is about to expire but not everyone reads their post as carefully as I do. If you forget to cancel in time you then have to remember to do it in 12 months time!

 

I *hope* I have extracted myself from this but it has left me with a bitter distrust of BT and I would be very unwilling to commit to anything with them in the future.

 

I cannot believe this will not harm their customer retention long term.

Edited by zazen.warrior

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If you forget to cancel in time you then have to remember to do it in 12 months time!

 

A rolling contract after the minimum term only needs the notice period to cancel (30 days) you don't roll into another 12 month term :)

 

 

Back to the OP's problem... are you out of minimum term at your mothers? If so can you cancel your mothers, then move the one from your house to her house?


If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

If you can't donate, please use the Internet Search boxes on the CAG pages - these will generate a small but regular income for the site

 

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I cannot believe this will not harm their customer retention long term.

 

They're all at it - to a greater and lesser extent.... along with charging you if you don't pay by DD or want a paper bill sent out - for this, they are all singing from the same hymn sheet... and it stinks!

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Hi

 

I just had the same problem with BT. We moved house in September 2007 and found that this precipitated a new contract until end of August 2008. When I tried to get a MAC code and transfer recently they told me that the contract had automatically renewed for a further 18 months since I had not cancelled. I asked them when I agreed to this and where the T&C's were? The moron on the other end of the phone told me that they would have been sent and if I wished to cancel I would have to pay the remainder of the contract in full.

 

I contacted Trading Standards and copied them into a formal complaint to BT. I then got these responses from BT:

----------------

 

From: Samantha Vickers

 

I have checked your account and I can see that your broadband was re-contracted, but I am unable to find a reason for this. Your broadband contract does not renew itself like some of our phone packages. I am so sorry for any incorrect information you have been given, please accept my apologies for this, and also for any inconvenience BT may have caused. I have removed your broadband contract. This doesn't mean your service will stop, you will continue on the same package you currently have but without any remaining term.

 

If there is anything else I can help with please let me know.

 

Once again please accept my apologies for the problems you have experienced with BT recently.

 

Thank you for contacting BT.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Samantha Vickers

---------------------------------

Then:

 

Thank you for your e-mail.

 

You are no loner in any contract with BT. If you wish to move your service to another supplier you would normally use a MAC. This is a code which allows you to change broadband suppliers seamlessly. You can still keep your email address with BT once you have changed suppliers, you would need to sign up for premium mail which costs £1.47 per month. You can sign up at BT Yahoo! Premium Mail gives you more space for sending, receiving and storing large files and pictures.

 

If you would consider staying with BT I can reduce your current package down to just £15.16 per month including VAT. You are a valued BT customer and I am so sorry for the problems you have encountered recently.

 

Thank you for contacting BT.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Samantha Vickers

--------------------------

 

So one person says it has renewed, go away then suddendly there is no contract! Interesting et?? Then they half their fees to keep me for one year (I have this in writing so no problem there).

 

So complain and involve TS.

 

Good luck!

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I just looked at the first letter and it states:

 

'Once the contract is renewed, you won't be able to cancel it before the next renewal date without incurring termination charges. If you decide to end your contract within the 12 month minimum term, you will incur a single charge of £7.50 for each month left of the minimum term.’

 

I hope you are right but there is nothing in the letter about 30 days notice.

Edited by zazen.warrior

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I just looked at the first letter and it states:

 

'Once the contract is renewed, you won't be able to cancel it before the next renewal date without incurring termination charges. If you decide to end your contract within the 12 month minimum term, you will incur a single charge of £7.50 for each month left of the minimum term.’

 

I hope you are right but there is nothing in the letter about 30 days here.

 

Well Samantha says, " Your broadband contract does not renew itself like some of our phone packages". So not so sure about that?

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The confusuin here is there are TWO contracts for service, the basic line, and an ADSL (Broadband) add-on. It is ONLY the basic line that is nade to auto-renew, once the BB minimum term has been completed, you can stay or go, giving the required 30 days notice.

 

Some people have been caught the other way, taking out a 12 month mnimum contract for phone line, and 18 months for BB, but needing to quit after 14 months. The phone line is ceased with no penalty, but because the ADSL line needs this, becuase the service is terminated, BB disappears too - and the customer is hit with the balance of the minimum term for the broadband element only.

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The confusuin here is there are TWO contracts for service, the basic line, and an ADSL (Broadband) add-on. It is ONLY the basic line that is nade to auto-renew, once the BB minimum term has been completed, you can stay or go, giving the required 30 days notice.

 

Some people have been caught the other way, taking out a 12 month mnimum contract for phone line, and 18 months for BB, but needing to quit after 14 months. The phone line is ceased with no penalty, but because the ADSL line needs this, becuase the service is terminated, BB disappears too - and the customer is hit with the balance of the minimum term for the broadband element only.

 

I think this is the bit (in red) that interests Trading Standards. Such automatic renewals are unfair contracts, they do not exist in normal business practice so why should they apply to consumers?

 

BT are a fly-by-night organisation and they will be challenged on this since they purposefully fail and avoid to inform people of contractual terms when selling products or "post contract".

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Unfortunately not. Just because some people have been caught does NOT mean there is any illegality ot shady practice. More often than not they just do not understand what their commitment is. This isn't an issue for Trading Standards (indeed, if anything ever is!).

 

How do you leap to the conclusion that they are unfair, when the whole point of the lock-in is balanced with free calls every weeknight? I refuse to accept the lock-in, so I only get my free calls at weekends. BT's publicity in this matter is fault-free. You also have to ask yourself, what do people expect for 'nothing'? There will be a quid pro quo somewhere - so the secret is to look out for the downside, not accept the upside and then complain when it doesn;t meet with your expectations.

 

As to your last paragraph - I have to object most strongly to your assertion. If you think BT is 'fly by night' I can point you to a good many other telco's that a worse... much worse. They have not failled in any marketing or advertising material I have ever seen to point out the rolling contract scheme. It's there - in the small print - but it is there. It becomes a contract term only on acceptance - if the customer accepts the free evening calls package, then the rolling contract will apply.

 

If the customer fails to notice the strings, they must be going through life falling into similar situations with all sorts of suppliers - are we to bame everyone but the people who don't pay attention to their commitments?

 

If is sounds too good, it probably is. My folks told me this and they were right. I won't have a mobile phone contract either - I'm not having my financial details passed on to unconnected third parties, its none of their business what I do. Some folk mind, others don't - that's the way commerce works.

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Unfortunately not. Just because some people have been caught does NOT mean there is any illegality ot shady practice. More often than not they just do not understand what their commitment is. This isn't an issue for Trading Standards (indeed, if anything ever is!).

 

How do you leap to the conclusion that they are unfair, when the whole point of the lock-in is balanced with free calls every weeknight? I refuse to accept the lock-in, so I only get my free calls at weekends. BT's publicity in this matter is fault-free. You also have to ask yourself, what do people expect for 'nothing'? There will be a quid pro quo somewhere - so the secret is to look out for the downside, not accept the upside and then complain when it doesn;t meet with your expectations.

 

As to your last paragraph - I have to object most strongly to your assertion. If you think BT is 'fly by night' I can point you to a good many other telco's that a worse... much worse. They have not failled in any marketing or advertising material I have ever seen to point out the rolling contract scheme. It's there - in the small print - but it is there. It becomes a contract term only on acceptance - if the customer accepts the free evening calls package, then the rolling contract will apply.

 

If the customer fails to notice the strings, they must be going through life falling into similar situations with all sorts of suppliers - are we to bame everyone but the people who don't pay attention to their commitments?

 

If is sounds too good, it probably is. My folks told me this and they were right. I won't have a mobile phone contract either - I'm not having my financial details passed on to unconnected third parties, its none of their business what I do. Some folk mind, others don't - that's the way commerce works.

 

You will note that my comments were related to BT Broadband.

I have re-produced my response from BT which only achieved any result when TS became involved. West Lothian Trading Standards are excellent. Let's look at the facts in my case:

1. I moved house in September 2007. I was not told my BT broadband contract automatically renewed on moving house so I was locked in for another year. I accepted this but let BT know I wanted to move suppliers.

2. BT also moved my account from a separate monthly (in advance) bill to then be included with my telephone; they then charged me 3 months in advance and a penalty for not paying by direct debit. Paying by direct debit would have actually given them even more of my money in advance! How can that be reasonable?

3. At the end of my extra year, they then automatically renew my broadband contract for 18 months despite knowing I wanted to end and move supplier.

4. They refused to give me a MAC code and I was passed around several departments, mostly in India where I was told that I would have to pay the remainder of the 18 month contract. I was then told I would have to call back on a weekday to get the MAC code since it could not be generated.

5. I requested a copy of the agreement that I was contracted to and was told this had been sent in September 2008 which I did not receive.

6. It was only when TS became involved did BT suddenly admitting that there was no contract and that I was free to move without any penalty.

I have worked in sales and customer services for 20 years. When I said BT was a "fly-by-night" organisation I was being kind. If they had not confirmed that I was not in a broadband contract I would have happily issued a writ against them.

Every person I know has had problems with BT. A lawyer friend had some wiring work done recently and received a bill three times the estimate, he issued a writ and it was reduced to the original amount.

 

The reason BT is in such a mess is for a reason, they are one of the worst organisations we have in this country. If you work for BT you have my sympathy.

Edited by MARTIN3030
Edited-please keep to facts that can be established as truth.

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01. You were not 'told' you had a new contract when you moved? Why didn't you expect a new contract. Was it the same account number? If it was, I could understand the confusion, but consumer contracts are based on the premises they serve, they don't 'transfer'.

02. BT offer their customers many ways to handle their accounts - Quarterly, monthly, budget scheme. ALL telcos now charge for non-DD and if you want a bill. It's a scunner, but you act as if you're being singled out - we're all hit. If there was an alternative firm, I'd be with them, but there isn't.

03. Broadband cannot 'renew' unless you accept additional services based on a reprovision. You simply complete your minimum term, and the contract runs on until YOU cancel.

04. Incompetence is allowed by OFCOM. (Doesn't excuse it, but there you go).

05. Yiou may not have recieved it but how is this important? The T&C's are the same for everyone and are publised online. You can read them 24x7. Ig you mean you're actual 'agreement' these are very seldom sent for Internet or ebusiness sales.

06. You talk about contracts - were were covered by a contract. Did you mean a minimum term?

 

And no - I don't work for BT. As a motif, 'Buzby' was an employee of Post Office Telephones - no connection with British Telecom at all.

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01. You were not 'told' you had a new contract when you moved? Why didn't you expect a new contract. Was it the same account number? If it was, I could understand the confusion, but consumer contracts are based on the premises they serve, they don't 'transfer'.

 

I was not told I had a new contract, as such why should I ask? Surely the supplier has a duty of care to inform me that I am entering into a new contract with them. It was a new account number since it was a new address. I did not ask for a new account number but was told it was automatic on moving house. I went along with it.

 

02. BT offer their customers many ways to handle their accounts - Quarterly, monthly, budget scheme. ALL telcos now charge for non-DD and if you want a bill. It's a scunner, but you act as if you're being singled out - we're all hit. If there was an alternative firm, I'd be with them, but there isn't.

 

This was not an option for me according to BT. My broadband was incorporated into my telephone account on moving house which meant I had to pay 3 months in advance rather than one. I prefer not to pay by DD, if I did for BT then they would be getting advance DD payments on a bill that consists of £90 broadband charges (>50% of the total) that is a forward 3 month charge. Hence they would be getting paid twice in advance!!

 

03. Broadband cannot 'renew' unless you accept additional services based on a reprovision. You simply complete your minimum term, and the contract runs on until YOU cancel.

 

This is what I thought. But as expained in above and as confirmed by Ms Vickers, "I have checked your account and I can see that your broadband was re-contracted, but I am unable to find a reason for this. Your broadband contract does not renew itself like some of our phone packages. I am so sorry for any incorrect information you have been given, please accept my apologies for this, and also for any inconvenience BT may have caused. I have removed your broadband contract. This doesn't mean your service will stop, you will continue on the same package you currently have but without any remaining term". Hence your statement may be what should happen but did not happen in my case and presumably many others.

 

04. Incompetence is allowed by OFCOM. (Doesn't excuse it, but there you go).

 

I guess so............

 

05. Yiou may not have recieved it but how is this important? The T&C's are the same for everyone and are publised online. You can read them 24x7. Ig you mean you're actual 'agreement' these are very seldom sent for Internet or ebusiness sales.

 

As in any commercial transaction the seller is required to include all terms and conditions and ensure that the buyer is aware of such T&C's - otherwise they will have problems with enforcement. This is covered well in CAG!

 

06. You talk about contracts - were were covered by a contract. Did you mean a minimum term?

 

Please read my post, I was told I was in a contract for one year that was established on moving house. The "contract" was then automatically renewed for a further 18 months.

 

And no - I don't work for BT. As a motif, 'Buzby' was an employee of Post Office Telephones - no connection with British Telecom at all.

 

I am pleased to hear that. I am able to substantiate all the statements that I have made about BT.

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In order;

A chicken and egg situation. As to why dhould 'you' - it is you as the customer that has the obligation to find these things out. I would expect if it came to court they would apply logic that would state since you already had a contract of service, should at least expect to be covered by one (or another) on moving.

 

It do not believe in 'amalgamating' services - for example f you have n issue with a supplier that escalates into a disput, all it takes is one code and your are effectivly cut off from the world, even your mobile (in some cases). For services to be amalgamated to be worthwhile there has to be a level of synergy, but what you describe appears simply to be two disparate services lumped together, causing the anomalies you describe. I cannot follow the logic of the billing you describe without sight of the run of bills that let to them, but even so a complaint to thec correspondence section in Durham often fixes these problems caused by otherwise willing (but unable Indian call centre workers).

 

BT have abbounced they are brining their Customer faccing Indian call centres back to the UK - whilst they get Brownie points for this - it just shouldn;t have happened in the first place.

 

Since BT concur that BB does not 'renew' in the sense of a phone line, the fact Mr V cannot find a reason is immaterial. The error was not yours, so you should be compensated for it due to whatever your loss is over this issue - and I'd make sure you pursue them as at the very least you'd be due 1 quarter's 'free' broadband in compensation.

 

There's a difference in making statements of fact, and declarations of potential ctiminality. The latter may be 'fair comment' from your actual experience, but they have bigger pockets than you and if minded, could make this a serious issue for yorself and CAG.

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I don't really have any more to say other than I have substantiated my comments in relation to BT. The fact that so many customers leave them and the fact that their business model is in a mess does not really point to a business that endorses good customer service. QED.

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No argument from me on that score, apart from the observation there's not much to choose between them all.

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The reason BT is in such a mess is for a reason, they are one of the worst organisations we have in this country. If you work for BT you have my sympathy

 

haha thanks, . . . . I work for BT but not trained on the landline or the broadband so cannot contribute much to this as I work in BT vision. however let me know if you need me to check anything as in processes etc as I can look it up on our local intranet and information centre.


I am a consumer helping other consumers. Together we can and will make a differance. Please double check any information or advise I may give as I like yourself am learning as I go along in life.

1) give a small donation to this site to keep it going because without this forum I would know nothing.

2) Use your experience to help somone else on another thread.

 

Please do not PM me, my mail address is my username at this site address . I will not under any circumstances give out advise or help through mail, only on the open forum, however feel free to mail me to point me towards your thread and general talk etc.

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I today received a reply to my request to BT about the alleged contract I agreed to over the phone, it is as follows.

 

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your subject access request, dated 10/08/09. in order for BT to comply with a subject access request, we need to be satisfied as to the identity of the requestor and be provided with enough information, to enable us to fulfil the request. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, bt is also entitled to charge a fee of £10, when dealing with these requests. therefore, as you have not provided us with enough information we are unable to proceed. please see the following check list and re-submit your request to the correspondence address below.

 

HAVE YOU ENCLOSED A CHEQUE FOR £10 MADE PAYABLE TO BT plc?

HAVE YOU PROVIDED THE RELEVANT ACCOUNT NUMBER/S?

HAVE YOU PROVIDED THE RELEVANT TELEPHONE NUMBER/S

HAVE YOU PROVIDED THE RELEVANT ADDRESS/S?

HAVE YOU PROVIDED THE DATE AND TIME IF REQUESTING A CALL RECORDING? ( see also note below )

If your account has a password please ensure it is quoted in your request.

If you have any information such as reference numbers, dates and times of contact then please include them in your request

 

BT does record some calls for Quality and Training purposes, however, not all calls are recorded. Calls are only held for a short period of time. If you want a call recording it is essential that you provide the information requested above otherwise we will not be able to proceed with your request.

 

Once we have received all the relevant information and the fee we will be happy to proceed with your request. we will then provide you with the information withing the 40 day deadline, in compliance with the terms of the Data Protection Act

 

 

( DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I GO FROM HERE :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused: )

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Er, why not provide them with something to prove you are the account holder? They have a requirement to request this, otherwise anyone could request a SAR and get all the juicy details about you they are not entitled to.

 

Once you prove you are the account holder (and they outline the items thy'd like - which doesn't seem too onerous) your request will be processed.

 

Incidentally, your contract isn;t 'alleged', but 'virtual'. If you use their service, you've agreed to their terms of service. Most firms work this way.

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