Just discovered today that we've been charged £37.73 a month for the last 5 years for mobile phones we don't have. Didn't realise sooner as the broadband is in my name but is paid through my mothers bank account (via direct debit) and she thought the extra charge was something to do with this. Turns out the charge is actually for 2 mobiles she recieved unsolicited and sent back to BT.
The (very helpful) guy on the phone today agreed that we're not using them and that the contract expired years ago but says they were never cancelled. He said we should be hearing from his manager within a few days but also said that due to the amount involved, we should take this to "chairman" level ourselves through this website. However, now that I look at it, there seems to be about a zillion different paths through the "Contact Us" thing so could someone suggest the best place to actually start?
So, we've paid out over £2000 for something we've never (or perhaps briefly - difficult to remember that far back) used, didn't want in the first place and have never received a bill for. Anyone any ideas on how best to proceed as the impression we were given today was that we would somehow have to _prove_ this is not our fault?
In view of the complicated issue, and to avoid you going round in circles, it would be better if you asked one of the BT Care Team to look into it for you.
You will need to be patient, as they are very busy, but will take ownership of the issue, and try to reach a satifactory conclusion.
If you would like to contact one of the UK based BT Care Team who moderate this forum, they should be able to help you.
They can be contacted using this link BT Care Team
They normally respond by phone or e-mail, within three working days, however you should get an immediate confirmation, with a tracking number.
The Direct Debit Guarantee states, "If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit, by the organisation or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society." So on the face of it the position is that the organisation (BT) made a mistake and you are entitled to a refund from the bank. We do have a personal responsibility to monitor our affairs though, and the law being what it is a loophole may have been established due to the length of time the payments have been allowed to carry on.
The advice you got on the phone is silly. The adviser should either have undertaken to have his manager look at the matter or told you to contact BT elsewhere, not both. If I was you I would leave it a few days to see what transpires from your phone call, if anything, but meanwhile go to the bank. The bank may just honour the DD Guarantee as it stands and refund the money.
If it turns out not to be that simple it's a question of where next. The response you get from the bank may help you to decide whether to use the Financial Ombudsman Service, but it might be as well to get some professional advice from Citizens Advice first. On the other hand, if you prefer to seek reimbursement from BT the moderators of this forum might be able to help. They are a team of BT troubleshooters with a fine record of problem solving and can be contacted here: Contact BT Forum Mods.
If it was me I would seek a refund from the bank. If they refused, I would ask for a written explanation of how their refusal complied with the DD Guarantee then consider my options on the basis of that.
[Edit: KB's suggestion to contact the moderators first came while I was writing this and having a cuppa.]
Thanks very much. As suggested, we'll wait a while to see if anything useful happens from what's already started. We spoke to the bank on the same afternoon as the calls to BT and they're sending some forms for Direct Debit Guarantee claim. Much appreciate the other thoughts/suggestions - will bear them in mind in case things go badly (or just don't go anywhere).
I understand you point about personal responsibilty but as:
1) We cancelled the phones.
2) Have received no bills or other comms from BT regarding them since then.
3) The charges for the mobiles and the broadband are listed exactly the same on the bank statements.
4) The bills for broadband came to me but bank statements went to my mother.
I don't think it's that surprising that we missed what was happening? Also, if money is taken wrongly then it is just wrong - regardless of when the person (victim) it's taken from becomes aware of it?
Thanks again to you both for your help.
Please don't think I was telling you off! I mentioned personal reponsibility simply because it occurred to me that this might be used as a way to limit the DD Guarantee. There may be some relevant info with the forms the bank has sent you.
Best of luck with it. It might be helpful for others if you can let us know how it goes.
pottyperson: Understood 🙂 and yes, will post progress.
Jonny: Good advice but seriously doubt we have kept anything from that long ago.
Well, we got the form from the bank but it has just two boxes in which to fill in details of the individual payments you're disputing. We have around 60 so will have to call them later to see what's best to do.
We also just recieved our first communication from BT on the matter... a bill. Seriously. Services charges on the mobiles, £37.70 for this month to be taken by Direct Debit on the 30th. So, despite all the assurances on the phone last week that the money wrongly taken so far would be looked into, that they were now cancelled and no further payments taken, the only work they seem to have done is send a piece of paper telling us they want more money.
Really don't know what to say...
Ok, so here's an update (and plea for more help) on what's been happening since my last post.
A few days after the bill I mentioned came, we recieved another one for £20-something as "Final payment" on the account. These two bills are the ONLY we have had from BT for the mobiles.
We rang BT to ask why they were still taking money from us and to check on progress on the money they owed us. After being passed around for a while we eventually spoke to a "manager". She conceded that we hadn't used the phones as far back as her records went but could not access info further back, including the initial contract we're supposed to have made with them or the cancellation. Everything was apparently "archived". When pressed to get someone to de-archive the info so we could have copies to send to the bank, it turned out the they weren't actually archived at all but destroyed. Hmmm...
She was adamant that we had been getting monthly bills and that it was all basically our fault. The impression given was that because they'd had this money for so long it had somehow become rightfully thiers. We pointed out that if we had been getting the bills, we would have done something about it sooner as there was absolutely no advantage to us to be paying for something we don't have. She had no answer to this except to insist we were to blame but as a "goodwill" gesture they would give us back 6 months worth. We politely declined this offer. She promised someone above her would ring us the following wednesday.... they didn't.
So, we rang the bank for help with the DD Guarantee form they had sent us and they said not to worry about it too much, fill in what we could and explain the rest in a covering letter. We did.
I've often had harsh things to say about banks (mainly the gambling types) but they - Barclays in this case - seemed to have got straight on it as when we went to the cashpoint last week we saw there was @£2000 more than usual.
Success! We have our money back - everything's sorted.
Until today. We got two almost identical bill saying
Payment of £2,295.86 for account number xxxxxxxxx
Our records show that payment for the above bill has not yet been recived.
Unless we receive immediate payment, we will have no alternative but to suspend your service.
bla bla bla
We rang the bank to see if there had been some mistake. They said no, everything's fine, it's your money and there's nothing BT can do about it.
We rang BT and had pretty much the same discussion with this manager as with the previous one except that he agreed it would be pretty weird for us to be paying all this money if we'd been aware of it. He also said the previous manager had made a note that we had accepted the 6 month offer. This is most definately not true. Yet another manager is supposed to be calling on Monday. We'll see.
Most importantly though, they threatened that if we did not send them the £2,295.86 then a debt collection agency would be involved. My mother is now very upset and worried that large men are going to appear at the door and start carrying off her posessions.
Can any of you please help and explain exactly where we stand here and what best to do?
Glad to see that the DD guarantee worked. Maybe it's worth investing a bit of the refund in some legal advice, or at least tell BT that's what you are going to do when (if) they call you on Monday.
I'm sending you a private message with another suggestion.