Hey PP, how's it going?
Both this idea and the one via PM are much appreciated. Will give some serious thought to both. May also give CAB a ring as you suggested in an earlier post.
Oh, i didn't mention that we did ring the bank back after speaking to BT and they gave us a customer support number to ring on Monday.
You said: "Glad to see that the DD guarantee worked." so was I... but did it? If the company involved can immediately demand the money back with threats of debt-collectors etc then isn't the DDG totally worthless? Now I'm a bit calmer I'm thinking/hoping this isn't the case and BT is just trying to bully their way through. We'll see i suppose.
If you or anyone else know of any cases where any companies (but particulary BT) have tried to circumvent the DDG in this way, I'd love to hear of them (successful or not).
Apologies - I've just done some of the research on the DDG that I should have done before this last post. As far as I can tell, all it does is transfer any disputed money from the company's account back to yours. That's it. Completely useless really. It offers no protection WHATSOEVER from people wrongly taking money from you.
So, the question is... what does?
Please correct me if I've misunderstood this (again).
When I said that the DDG worked, I meant only in the sense that you have got your money back. If the dispute continues, this puts you in the driving seat in the sense that the company will now have to prove that you owe them money rather than just sit back and leave you to take recovery action. There's a lot of truth in the old saying that possession is nine points of the law.
Being the one holding the disputed money does not automatically mean that you are in the right though, any more than it meant that BT were in the right when they had it. From the details you have given, I'd say most people would take your side, but alas that doesn't stop them pursuing the matter if they believe there is a debt. You will still have to deal with that. There's no absolute guarantee that you will win, though I hope that you're in a rather better position now that the company has been forced to make the running.
We've already identified some ways of handling the matter. I would add that, if you hear from any debt recovery firm just tell them clearly that the debt is in dispute. They are then legally obliged to leave you alone while that process continues.
I'm no lawyer but it seems to me that the crux of this is simple. Had the matter been fully dealt with at the right time, no debt would have accrued. The alleged debt has arisen solely because BT benefitted from DD payments that were not appropriate. That is no debt at all.
PS. I had it in my head that you had contacted the forum moderators (BT Care Team) as suggested by KB in message 2, but having read through the thread once more I'm not sure. If you didn't, it might well be worth seeing if they can cut the whole thing short.
I'm with Barclays and when you use the DDG they refund you the amount and then chase it from the company involved - this happened to me when I found a company had been taken money from my account even though I had cancelled the subscription.
While a payment/debt is in dispute with the originating company they are not allowed to refer this to a debt collector, nor are they allowed to mark you credit file as a bad payer. Orange tried doing this when they tried charging me nearly to £300 for leaving them even though I had paid to end a contract early.
If you haven't already try speaking to the forum moderators as they are always more than helpful
Sorry PP - didn't mean to sound ungrateful. Was a bit down as I thought it meant that BT would just grab the money straight back again via a DCA. I now understand from what you and WalkerX say (plus most of the day spent reading) that this isn't the case.
You make many good (and cheering) points and I agree that we're in a much better position now. Many thanks for the time/effort you've put into helping us.
No, I haven't contacted the mods yet but will probably do so tomorrow after we've heard what BT and the banks support people have to say. Will also bear in mind other ideas/options mentioned.
Thanks again to you both - will keep you updated.
You didn't sound ungrateful. The more I look at this the more I think BT are being very silly. Given that the equipment was returned and they acknowledge that the contract (if there was one) expired years ago, what do they think their bill is for ?
Hopefully you'll soon be able to report that the mods got it sorted.
No call from BT today... not much of a shock really...
What _was_ slightly startling was to receive another four - yes, four - bills exactly the same as the two we got on saturday, demanding £2295.86 (each).
All getting a bit bizarre. Is it feelings of guilt about all the years without any bills? Someone in Billing dept with a sense of humour? Some strange corporate spasm? Who knows...
Doesn't do much to support their claim that there's no problem with their billing system anyway.
I hadn't contacted them then but have now just done so.
We had yet more bills for the £2295.86 during the week. Yesterday we received 7 of them, making a total of 19 in 8 days. All identical except the billing dates vary slightly (even among those received on the same day). The codes on the Bank Giro Credit part varies too so they're individual demands rather than one printed many times by mistake. Anyone else think this is harassment?
No other contact from BT - would particularly like a retraction of the threat made to us to sell the "debt" to a DCA. Not only was/is it upsetting but i'm pretty sure it's illegal too.
All we basically want from BT is for them to admit their error (in writing) and stop hassling us for money they never had any right to.
Hopefully the mods will get it sorted and bring the matter to an end. There's no guarantee though that you won't have to take it further, in which case the mounting evidence of BT's incompetence will be useful.