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BT - Random billing dates and charging for 'free gift'

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Sorry but needed to rant a bit about this one.:-x:-x:-x


Have just written a complaint to BT after they put the phone down on me the other day. Easier to just post it here rather than explain, but basically we went back to them as they worked out cheaper for calls back in March, and they said we would get a free phone as well. Having regularly taken DD payments around the 1st, they suddenly in November tried to take out a double payment on the 10th, which failed due to lack of funds. Result = bank closing account, just before xmas paycheck. BT say they can produce bills any day of the month, they get round the DD gurantee by charging 10 days later (hence 10 days notice of a date change). Fair enough I guess if they actually notfied me.


Also now having looked at this bill it seems they've been charging me 'equipment rental' every month for the free phone. Adn they just changed back to my old address (moved out over a year ago, every other bill has or new address).


Here is the general gist of my complaint message -


A couple of days ago I received a letter from my bank to say that a direct debit requested by yourselves on the 10th November had failed and as a result they are closing my bank account.


Despite being on online billing the last email I received was on the 12th June regarding a missed payment. I called yourselves on the 21st November to find out more information and was told that bills are not generated on any set date - they can be prodcued on any day of the month. The payment would then be requested 10 days later, thus keeping to the direct debit guarantee of giving 10 days notice of a payment date change (just every single month in your case).


However since the 12th June I have receieved no emails from yourselves, and subsequently was unaware of this situaion - as the payments have bene coming out between the 1st and 5th of the month I assumed this would always be the case, as it is with every single other company I pay by direct debit. The payment on the 10th failed because it was asssumed that all bills had already been paid and money left over was use dto purchase Christmas presents and so on for my family.


Having now looked at this billl on line it seems not only an I being charged double the usual amount - regrading some change to your payment system - I am also being charged equipment rental for a 4500 phoen that was a FREE GIFT for returning to BT in March. I would like to point out it took a lot of telephone calls and 3 months of arguments to prove to yourselevs you had made this offer, despite hard copy evidence to prove it in the form of, ironically, an email sent by yourselves. It turned out the phone didn't work anyway but you refuse to acknowledge this fact and are now charging me for this phone.


At the start of my call on the 21st Novemeber I was asked to press 1 or 2 to indicate whether I would like to take part in a survey, I choose 2 for no. Afte the phonecall with the quite frankly unhelpful man in your call centre I was called to take part in th esurvey. I decided having been asked if I was happy with the service to make a complaint. However when I started to explain my situation the man hung up th ephone on me. Hence I am writing this message.


As my bank account will soon be closed, probably just before I am due to be paid, I shall have no more money for the foreseeable future to either fund Christmas for my family or pay your bill, as you seem unable to explain to me how to pay the bill without a Direct Debit in place. If you are able to send me a Giro slip and I am able to get hold of my wages I will make every attempt to pay the bill (minus the charges for my free gift).


I also require a full explanation of the billing process that I can provide to my bank in the hope that they might reconsider the decision to close my account if they are aware of the situation that you have put me in.


As an additional point, you appear to have gone back to using my previous address at xxxxxxxxxxx, I have lived at my new address, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, for over a year now. I know you have the new address because that is where you eventually sent my free phone so I have no idea why it has changed back again.

If you found this post useful please click on the scales above.


Egg - £400 - Prelim sent. On hold.

Mint - On the list Est £800

GE Capital - On the list (3 accounts!) Est £4000


MBNA - £545 Prelim sent 13/11/2006

LBA sent 1/12/2006

£350 partial payment received 18/12/2006.

Full settlement received 20/1/07


NatWest - Est £4000 not incl interest

Data Protection Act Sent 10/1/07

Statements received 24/1/07

Prelim sent 3/2/07

Full Settlement received 22/2/07


The contents of this post are the sole opinions of The Cornflake and not necessarily the opinions of any other members of this group. They do not constitute sound legal or financial advice and if in doubt you are advised to seek advice from a qualified professional

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I think the secret here is to avoid Direct Debits. If you don't have enough in your account to be 'flexible', it is a horrendous risk to take - especially as YOU get blamed for doing nothing. Whilst you can argue with them regarding incorrect charges and date shifting, your real issue is with the DD system - and I'd ensure you cancel them all, and pay by other means. It might cost slightly more, but at least you remain in control.

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Quite a lot of people have had problems sorted using these contact details:-



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.


923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE



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