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BT Refusing to cancel contract


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Hi all

 

I was planing to switch service providers so called BT to organise a line, I checked with them the cancellation policy and they said anytime before it the service is running. They arranged for my service to start on the 05/06/07. They refused to cancel on the 04/06/07 stating that because the engineer had already done work I could not cancel and that I needed to cancel 24 hours before, the letter they sent me says you will be connected on the 5th and if you want to cancel your order before we provide you with your srvices please call us on the number above (received this on the 5th mind you). Phoned my provider and they said BT are taking my line today and they are not sure if they can stop it, BT taking the line against my will. I believe this is a breach of personal, BT and coolling off standard contract conditions. Can anyone help, Its cost me time and money and I also think they should pay as they make us pay. Some details bellow.

 

My current service provider convinced me to stay with some financial incentive. I then tried to phone BT, they never answer their phone and when they did they could not trace my account with my post code or name. On the 04/06/07 I thought I must get through today or I will end up with a contractural problem. So I phoned and phoned and waited and waited after 1 and a bit hours managed to speak to someone and after being passed around country to country and person to person, they looked and looked and couldnt find my account and told me it didnt exist, they were persistant though and finally found my account and came back with the refusal to cancel on the above grounds. I have an email sent to them at 9.30amon the 4th asking to cancel and various complaints made during the day about them not answering the phone and refusing to cancel, I yesterday also sent a letter to OFCOM, my current service provider and BT (registered mail) about the matter. OFCOM say they dont deal with individuals, I would like to know what they do, since BT and others think they can do what they want. Consumers are at the merci of all the service providers and government and they supervisery bodies seem to just let this go on and on. How can companies not answer phones for more than 5 minutes, its a disgrace never mind the other stuff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I got a letter and bill from BT the letter says that my provider has informed them that I do not wish to procedd with the order and the bill is for the full year of the contract that was cancelled. Any ideas on how to deal with this?

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If you agreed to a contract and BT begain to fulfil that contract, you need to check the wording to see what rights you have to cancel.

 

If you have to give them 24 hours notice, and you didn't, then I'm afraid there isn't much that can be done, unless the contract is unfair.

 

If you were prevented from cancelling through their error, I would write down EXACTLY when you called, who you spoke to, and what was said (they couldn't locate your account, therefore couldn't cancel it) and present this to BT.

 

If you make it clear (and can prove) that BT were responsible for you not being able to cancel in time, then hopefully it will get resolved.

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The trouble is you really can't play brinkmanship in this way. You make a purchase decision and you expect the supplier to give you service on the agreed date. To do this they may well need to process work at the exchange or street cabinets to ensure service is provided on the agreed date. Since you would be equally upset if the service did not commence on the agreed date (assuming you hadn't tried to cancel) they would be in a no-win situation.

 

Sorry, but I think BT are within their rights, and you are due to pay therm for the work they did on your behalf, and your contractual agreement for service. In the end, it would be easier and cost effective to let the installation take place.

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Whilst I appreciate your time in giving an opinion, Buzby, I am not sure what you mean, I phone BT, they tell me that untill the service is up an running I can cancel, they tell me that the date will be the 5th of June when they will book an enginneer in, I phone on the 4th and they have changed the date? and its my fault they have brought the date forward of the start of a contract? I have it in writing from them that they will connect me on the 5th and cancelled on the 4th. Thats not brinkmanship its a contractural arrangement. I also think I have rights under other parts of the law to cancel.

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Jampot, I was told of these conditions on the phone. and the conditions I agreed to were that I could cancel before the service starts and that the date for the start was agreed by me to be the 5th, I tried to cancel on the 4th. I did not agree to any other contractural condictions and was not informed of any, does that mean that I have agreed to them anyway you think?

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No - you misunderstand. You state that BT 'tell you' that you can cancel up to when the service is proved. Where does it say this, and do you have it in writing? I've already explained BT have to do work to ensure your line is active on the contracted date, and as work often takes place in preparation for service before this date, I'd be interested to see any documentation from BT in the manner you describe, as works invariably commences before the customer receives service.

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Did they recieve written notification of the cancellation by the 4th, or it will be hard to prove that you spoke to someone to cancel.

 

I have just won a battle aginst BT and while its not the same situation I know how they battle. They lost because they could not prove something had been verbally stated (even thought they record calls). In your case you have to prove that something was verbally stated in your defense.

 

Paul

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Paul, Would you not agree that if BT did any work (based on your instructions) then you would be liable for the work undertaken? If this was rejected, we will get to the stage - as with some suppliers - you are told you have 7 days in which to cancel your instructions. However in reality, they actually do NOTHING until 7 days have gone bay... in 'case' the customer changes his mind. I'd like to be treated like an adult, and stand by by a commitment I had made for service getting it provided within a reasonable time-frame, instead of the order not processing because they think we can't know our own minds? Oh, congrats on reaching 1,000!

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Paul, Would you not agree that if BT did any work (based on your instructions) then you would be liable for the work undertaken? If this was rejected, we will get to the stage - as with some suppliers - you are told you have 7 days in which to cancel your instructions. However in reality, they actually do NOTHING until 7 days have gone bay... in 'case' the customer changes his mind. I'd like to be treated like an adult, and stand by by a commitment I had made for service getting it provided within a reasonable time-frame, instead of the order not processing because they think we can't know our own minds? Oh, congrats on reaching 1,000!

 

Yes I agree that things have to be done in preparation, I make design projects and a customer will want something for next week, but my works starts now so its ready for next week. If they cancel they have to pay for any work ive done up till they cancel.

 

And Thanks & bugger, I was looking out for the 1000 and bloody missed it!!

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Jampot, I was told of these conditions on the phone. and the conditions I agreed to were that I could cancel before the service starts and that the date for the start was agreed by me to be the 5th, I tried to cancel on the 4th. I did not agree to any other contractural condictions and was not informed of any, does that mean that I have agreed to them anyway you think?

 

If you can prove that this was said, then you have a pretty watertight case. Unfortunately, I don't think you will be in a position to prove it, unless you recorded the call.

 

You *may* get someone at BT to listen to the call, transcribe it for you, and if it backs up what you say, you'll have a case.

 

It would cost you £10 to send a S.A.R to BT - use the template on this site, adapted to make sure you refer SPECIFICALLY (but not exclusively) to transcripts of recorded calls, or audio copies of the calls themselves.

 

If I was you, find someone at BT prepared to listen. Tell them that you will be sending a S.A.R in, UNLESS they listen to the call themselves and settle the matter. If they listen and STILL tell you that wasn't what was said, you can still send your £10 to be sure. If they listen and agree, they'll hopefully sort it out.

 

Good luck, though... you're relying on a verbal contract which is ultimately going to be very difficult to enforce.

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Good luck, though... you're relying on a verbal contract which is ultimately going to be very difficult to enforce.

 

BT couldn't even prove that they said something to me, so I doubt they will have anything that will help you and go against them..

 

Plus they are a Pain in the ... to deal with a complaint as well

 

Paul

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Pkea and Buzby, firstly thanks to you both for taking the time. Pkea after not being able to get through on the phone I sent an email before 12am the deadline they used for refusing to cancel. Buzby I will transcribe the letter on this thread on Monday and you can see the wording for youself. Also Buzby and Pkea, I understood contract law meant that the person who is wishing to enforce the contract must prove or show that the contract exists and what the bassis of it is, otherwise I could just phone a random number and alledge that the person who answered the phone had agreed to give me 1000 pounds in return for my advice on life and then tell them to prove that they had not agreed, I find it ludicrous to suggest that I have to prove that BT had agreed the conditions on the phone. It simply does not make sense. Also Buzby and Pkea, they arranged with me that the engineer would come out to do the work on the 5th, and this was the pre-installation process they told me would be done, so as far as what work I was told would need to be done, I did attempt to cancel before this date was arranged. I am not sure of the cooling off contractural obligations of BT, does anyone know how this affects this case?

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Buzby the BT letter is as follows

 

Dear Mr

As agreed, bla bla bla

 

You will be connected to the BT network on 5 June 2007, provided you Telephone Operator has made you telephone number available to BT bla bla bla

 

If you have any questions a=or want to cancel your order before we provide you with the service please call us on the number above.

 

Our residential service willo be provided under the terms and conditions which you can see at Welcome to bt.com. If you would bla bla bla.

 

Yours sincerely

Jilian Lewis

Managing Director Consuimer

 

How do you interpret this, also I received this after the 4th of June when the contract was due to start.

 

Jampot, I do not know if the contract regulated by the Distance Selling Regulations, if it is does that mean that I can use cooling off period contract rights?

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When was this letter dated?

did you recieve any corrspondance prior to this letter regarding the connection? or did you agree to any T&C's when initiating the connection?

 

Paul

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The letter was dated 30/05/07 and this was the first correspondence I received, it was received on the 5/06/07. Also I sent a recorded delivery letter to BT on the 4th with screenprints of all emails sent to them through there site, inlcuding the pre 12am (04/06/06) cancellation. This also sent to Ofcom, and my other provider also informed on the 04/06/07 and blocked BT from taking the line, so they never actually initiated the service at all.

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Sorry forgot, the only things I agreed to were that I could cancel up and till the service was running and that the enginneer would be coming on the 05/06/07.

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My first reading came back with your interpretation, but in reading it again, it doesn't actually state that you could have walked away prior to the commencement date without penalty, it only refers to the T&Cs, which will probably provide this clarification. I don't think the date issue is relevant, as job orders often move fast, with the paperwork catching up later.

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www.bt.com/pricing/reservice/conditions

 

Relevant extracts

 

BT RESIDENTIAL STANDARD TERMS

 

Your rights to cancel your agreement and return equipment

12. You may cancel your agreement with us before we have provided the service, unless the service terms say otherwise. If you do so, we will not charge you.

BT Telephony Services service terms

Ending your agreement for the service

 

6. You may end your agreement for the service without paying a charge for doing so if the price you pay for the service increases by more than the rate of inflation. If you ask us to we will also pay you back any extra charges you have paid as a result of the increase. However, you must let us know within seven days of receiving your bill that:

you want to end the agreement; and

you want a refund.

Ending the agreement

19. You may end your agreement for the service without paying a charge if the price you pay for the service increases by more than the rate of inflation. If you ask us to, we will also pay you back any extra charges you have paid as a result of the increase. However, you must let us know within seven days of us telling you about the increase that:

you want to end the agreement; and

you want a refund.

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Buzby

Besides the contract terms and conditions I dont understand why you feel that the terms I agreed on the phone, that until service starts I can cancel dont run above a letter sent to me that I havent signed and that arrived on start date, and why I should have to prove it. BT need to show tha there is a contract for me, as I said before.

 

"I understood contract law meant that the person who is wishing to enforce the contract must prove or show that the contract exists and what the bassis of it is, otherwise I could just phone a random number and alledge that the person who answered the phone had agreed to give me 1000 pounds in return for my advice on life and then tell them to prove that they had not agreed, I find it ludicrous to suggest that I have to prove that BT had agreed the conditions on the phone. It simply does not make sense. "

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Dear Mr ----

 

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your BT account.

 

I sincerely apologise if this bill has caused any confusion. Upon

checking your account I can advise that the account has been canceled and

BT will no longer charging for services on this line.

 

I can advise you to ignore this bill as it was generated and sent in

error. The amount has been canceled by my colleague on the 12/06/07

unfortunately they were unable to contact you on this date to advise you of

this however a letter has been posted advising you of the actions they

took and this should arrive shortly.

 

Once again accept my apologies for all the problems encountered with BT

recently and I would once more like to assure you that you do not have

any outstanding balance owing.

 

Thank you for contacting BT.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

eContact Customer Service

 

So as you can see BT did not agree that this was "brinkmanship' and I am not sure if they took a softer approach or agreed contracturally more with the arguments that I put to them than the Consumer Action Group communitty who responded. Whilst i appreciate all your time, I am surprised at the negative responses I got, sugggesting i should pay 12 months service for a service I never received and was entitled to cancel I felt.

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