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I know this may seem trivial compared to what some people are facing, but I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice about standing up to BT.

 

I always pay my bill on time, in full through online banking. I get charged what I would say is a 'punitive fee' for doing that - the £5.67 alleged processing fee. Irritating, but I refuse to be forced into DD's as my income is paid in randomly, so I try and keep DD's to a minimum and use online banking instead.

 

The March bill I paid on time as usual, and (this could be down to my bad eyesight!) I paid £153.23 instead of £155.23. A £2.00 shortfall. The first I knew was on getting the May bill and they have charged me £7.50 for a late payment ('To avoid paying this charge in future, see the back of the first page for how to set up a Direct Debit') - for the £2.00!!

 

I am furious, on principle. The late payment of £2.00 has not cost them anything, as this is the first they have mentioned it - and this is the next bill anyway which they would have sent. They did not send a red bill for the £2.00, at which point I would have paid it. This charge, in my mind, is unfair and clearly punitive, and clearly another pressure to get signed up for DD. Whilst it is 'only' £7.50 I feel there is wider principle here (and that is also what it costs me to get to work, so it has a direct comparison for me which makes it seem worse!).

 

What would happen if I refused to pay it? Before I contact them, is there a best way to approach this with them? I would prefer to email, but it seems to be either a postal address (which would involve sending recorded delivery etc) or phone. But I just wondered if anyone else had had any experience of this?

 

Thankyou in advance!! I am so angry!

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The BT complaints code is located HERE so follow that and try to get your complaint escalated at every opportunity. Make your complaint in writing (letter or email) so that you have a record of what has been said.

 

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Thank you!

 

I shall chase this up - I just think it is too easy to just pay these relatively small charges and let it go, but how many £7.50's are they extorting from people for no real valid reason at even more profit to themselves?

 

Barbara.

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Put the blame squarely on BT's shoulders for not making their bills clear enough and for not having systems in place to identify people who might have made an honest mistake and failing to contact the customer informing them of the error ... that or not charge £7.50 in those cases

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Yes I will. Thanks for that. Just writing the letter now, asking for a breakdown of what the £7.50 charge consists of as well. As they didn't contact me. And to inform them that I am paying the bill minus the £7.50. My eyesight is terrible, and I know it was that, I misread the 5 as a 3 when I was doing my online payment. It could just have easily been the other way round - perhaps we should start demanding interest when we are in credit to these companies! But you are right, their systems have no human element, and are not clear at all.

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In that case ask for bills in large print as you are unable to read the ones that they send. You could also say that in the circumstances the charge is discriminatory towards people disabled by poor eyesight and that you wish to raise a formal complaint that they are discriminating against people with poor vision.

 

I think that their bills say that large print versions are available but that probably isn't in large enough print for them to be able to read.

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I will. Its that default position they all seem to take that everyone is out to avoid paying something, or are dishonest and there is no such thing as a genuine mistake. I should ask them for large print bills - I'll see how they respond to this, otherwise I may well just be transferring to somewhere else. They include all sorts of details which are too small to read, or, over long and complicated which I have trouble concentrating on - again, partly due to my poor eyesight.

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I take a default position that large companies are out to make as much money as possible to pay the board's inflated salaries & bonuses and to a lesser extent shareholder's dividends so that they will attempt to squeeze as much as possible from every customer whether it is due or not ...

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