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Steve Mac

Was I too Late Leaving BT? Do I Have To Pay The Penalty?

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Hello. Hopefully someone will be able to tell me if I will have to pay BT nearly £100 for the privelige of saying goodbye.

 

I recently changed from BT's Unlimited Anytime plan to the Post Office Homephone. I had been on this plan for a couple of years before I decided to change to the P.O. after taking advice from Martin Lewis' site.

 

Towards the end of my latest contract term BT sent me a letter saying that I would continue to stay on the plan, and I would start a new twelve month contract unless I told them otherwise by 17th June (the date my contract ended).

 

Unfortunately due to a bout of illness in my house (two sons and then my wife all fell ill within a two week period, so my mind wasn't on my phone line, as you could imagine), I didn't get round to cancelling the contract before the 17th. I applied to the P.O. and informed BT of my intention to leave them via their website on the 24th June.

 

At the end of BT's letter they state "Once your contract is renewed, you won't be able to cancel it before the next renewal date without incurring termination charges. If you do decide to end you contract within the 12-month minimum term, you will incur a single charge of £8.00 for each month left of the minimum term."

Interestingly in the small print on the back of this letter there is this sentence: "Nothing in this publication forms part of any contract".

 

Today I received a new letter from BT saying that they estimate that I will need to pay £89.07 in termination charges, and that my final bill will show the exact amount when it arrives.

 

So, was I too late? Do I not get a cooling off period on the new contract? If I have to cough up then fair enough, but I'd rather not, obviously!

 

Any help or advice would be much apreciated.

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Yes. ypu're too late - as you need to give notice BEFORE the anniversary date. To be fair on BT, they did inform you at the start, and again at renewal. Whilst you may have a valid reason for not doing it in time, this won't make much difference as the calendar is king.

 

Similarly, you're not entitle to cooling off on an old contract, all that changes was the reimposition of a rolling term lock in, the contract was unchanged. Do remember, the quid pro quo for this was you got free evening calls for agreeing to the lock in. If you took only free weekend calls, then the lock in would not apply, and 30 days notice would have been sifficient. It is a carrot and stick approach, you took the benefit, and now have to pay the price. Incidentally, MSE do repeatedly warn about thew early termination problems and warn repeatedly, so even if they recommented switching to the PO, there is little else you can to.

 

OFCOM have stated recently that they are limiting these lock ins to £5pm for any unused commitment, so you've actually already benefited from the new reduction, and have saved quite a bit on the full monthly cost they would have charged you previously.

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