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To think that BT are scum for charging me £22 for an accidental late payment?

(9 Posts)
Upwind Wed 29-Oct-08 14:25:38

Due to pregnancy- brain I must not have put through my online payment to BT correctly in August. I then received a phone call from an aggressive woman from a BT call centre demanding payment. I said I was sure I had paid. She insisted I had not and demanded to know when the payment would be made. I said I would need to check my bank account as I was certain the payment had been made.

I checked my bank account and found I had not actually made the payment so did so immediately. The next day I received a bill reminder letter and another letter stating there would be a £7.50 charge for late payment. Fair enough I thought, I made a mistake. Then we had a voicemail stating that our line had been reconnected, though we had not been aware of it ever being disconnected and use it constantly.

This month's bill shows payment charges of £22. After many attempts to get through to BT today I finally spoke to somebody who explained that this is

£10 because our outgoing calls were momentarily barred last month (though our calls are not through them)
£7.50 as a late payment charge and
£4.50 as a handling charge for the late payment

I can make the payment but I am really angry about this. If I was in real financial difficulties the last thing I would need is an aggressive phone call and £22 of charges for a simple mistake.

Upwind Wed 29-Oct-08 14:27:42

I've just realised that doesn't even add up to £22, the handling charge for the late payment must be £3.50

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 29-Oct-08 14:37:05

YES THEY ARE SCUM.
I just moved house but have to keep nipping back to old house (no-one in it yet!) to use phone and internet.
Why?
Because bt want £260 from us for no good reason and we haven't got that at the moment.
We are with Tiscali for phone and internet. Ludicrously cheap package that they don't offer any more. New house had no phone for 5 years or so but the wires are there. BT say they have to reconnect us at the exchange to put a phone in. To do that we have to pay them £120 to tinker with something at the exchange. Tiscali can't do this.
Before they will do this however we have to sign up as a 'returning customer' to BT and sign up a 12 month contract for line rental. Which will be another £144. If however after 3 months we want to cancel it, we can, and pay a cancellation charge of £75ish.
I want to stay with TIscali cos I have a lot of relatives abroad and ALL my calls are included with my internet for a very low charge which BT cannot possibly match.

So I have to 'suck up' this charge and still pay Tiscali so that I can keep my internet etc.

I am disgusted with them too and the ombudsman hasn't replied to my letter.

Upwind Wed 29-Oct-08 14:46:25

Arrrgh! We had to pay all that last year and are now moving again (joys of private renting).

I completely forgot to check if the new flat has an active connection. If it does I will not be using BT, I don't care if they are the cheapest, I never want to deal with their IVR system again.

pumpkinbumpkin Wed 29-Oct-08 22:07:55

Before I get jumped on, I too have had problems with BT and I work for them, including being cut off for no reason. The reason they charge you to tinker with something in the exchange is a bit more than that, they have to reconnect you in the exchange and they have to re connect and fault the line from the exchange to the property, in addition to this they will replace the socket if it is an old type one. As there hasn't been a line in the property for 5 years its likely the line does not exist in whole between the house and the exchange. I believe BT are obliged spend up to £1000 to connect you to the network but will only recoup a proportion of that charge, ie the £120. Tiscali will be able to move you over but it will still cost £120 as openreach carry out the work on their behalf, and even though openreach is a BT group company it is against the law for them to be tied into BT or to favour BT, they have to offer the same products on the same level for the same price to any and all communications providors on a level playing field, they willingly do this and believe me if anyone breaks this rule the full weight of BT's over zealous disciplinary procedure is thrown behind the witchunt, a lot of comunications providors don't seem to like doing this, possibly as it costs less just to have a customer converted over from a BT line in the exchange to their own equipment. Infact it is so much cheaper that openreach must lose money in terms of paying a person to do the job, getting them to that exchange and paying for materials to do the job as I believe the cost to a communications providor may be less than 3rd of an engineers hourly rate to do the job and more than likely will take him longer than a 3rd of an hour. Much more cost effective for someone like Tiscali to say they can't have a new line set up, only convert from BT, so the customer ends up paying all the money to BT and thinking new company are great.

Looking at the £120, you might not agree but it is reasonable for BT to recoup some of the money they shell out to connect you to the network, especially when more than likely you will bugger off to another providor 3 months later. Why should they spend £1000 to connect you without getting a penny other than 3 months line rental then you swan off to a competitor. It used to make me laugh when customers used to complain that BT charged them to fit another socket in the house but wouldn't blink twice about paying for an electrician to fit more mains sockets, or a plumber to fit a new washing machine connection point in the garage.
I would maybe ring Tiscali and ask why they can't take up openreaches services and have the line fitted for you, then you wouldn't have to take up a BT contract you don't want only to have to pay a cancellation fee to get out of it. I don't know for certain but last time I faced this bill there was a new type socket in the house so I phoned them up and asked them not to charge me as the line was already existing, they didn't charge me but I was already an existing BT customer.

Tryharder Wed 29-Oct-08 22:19:13

I had a BT landline for many years but was hardly making any phone calls (was using mobile and work phone blush) - just needed phone for people to ring me iyswim.

Someone told me about a low user tariff so I duly rang up. The bloke asked me if I had a mobile phone. I said "yes" He said, well you can't have the low user tariff then its only for people without mobiles and he actually sniggered. I was so incensed I cancelled the contract the same day.

Can't you refuse to pay their ridiculous charges? Call Watchdog!

Upwind Thu 30-Oct-08 08:45:26

I've emailed BT asking for clarification of their policy/procedures and how they came to charge me so much for a late payment. I'll give them a couple of weeks to respond and then probably take it further.

babypringle Thu 30-Oct-08 09:01:13

BT are total scum - when my dad died we advised them that the phone and broadband account needed to be changed into my mum's name. so the next day they cut off the broadband on the grounds that they could not have a contract with a dead person. They then sent my mother a bill for £200 for the remaining period on the broadband contract. My mother would have been happy to continue with the contract, it was their decision. When we disputed this the india-based call centres were useless and it all escalated to BT claiming that the bill was now £1000 + and sending baliffs around. So be careful - if one person says they are waiving the £22 try to get it in writing, or at least have the full name and location of that person because internal communication is rubbish and someone else will probably reinstate the charge.
Sorry, rant over. I hate BT and will never use their service again.

pamelat Thu 30-Oct-08 09:35:29

We have a BT line and phone, which we pay for, but we only want it because of broadband. Most of the time we dont even plug the phone in (maybe 2 days a year we bother)

I hate that we still have to pay for it. As soon as NTL or Virgin or whoever are in the area we will leave BT.

In my experience they have treated us arrogantly each time we have needed their advice.

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