So here's how it goes...
A couple of months ago, I gave my 77-year-old Mum a Macbook so that she could get online and use the internet a bit.
It needed to be the cheapest option as of course she's on a pension an can't afford to pay much for it.
Now, her billing date for reference is the 23rd of each month.
On the 17th June, she received an email stating that she had used 7Gb of her 10Gb download allowance. With only 6 days to to go until the billing date rollover though, that didn't seem like much of a problem.
Imagine her surprise to receive an email in July which told her that in her June billing period she'd managed to get through a massive 20Gb of download, 13Gb of which can only have occurred in the six days between 17th June and 23rd June. Her internet activity had not changed in that period.
Though she wasn't charged for the excess usage on that occasion being as it was her first month, the threat of £1 per Gb over her limit was enough to scare her off the net except for the barest essentials.
What's even more surprising is that BT have been able to tell us that in the whole of July, Mum has only used 5.5Gb of her allowance and during that period she watched the entirety of Wimbledon on iPlayer! (That was prior to the threats arriving.)
After the arrival of the threatening email, I phoned BT on her behalf. A manager was due to phone me back. Days later, I'd heard nothing.
I phoned again and again accepted that a manager would phone me back. Still no response within days.
This morning I phoned again and refused to get off the line until I spoke to a manager, and eventually I did.
His best response was... get this... to try to sell us an upgrade!!!!!!!!!!!! He also "advised" that there was no way to cancel the service (even after only two months) without a ludicrous charge. Apparently there is no-one anywhere within BT with the authority to take that decision. (Ian Livingston (The Boss): you're apparently not as powerful as you thought.)
That is not the solution BT! You are providing a low cost service that is specifically attractive to those on limited incomes, yet you fail to allow those users to know precisely what they have used. In the event that download limits are exceeded you send emails threatening them with cost far and above what they can afford. And all along, you know at any given time exactly what users have used - information which you make it VERY difficult to obtain.
Given the number of threads on the BT forums regarding the provision of a download monitor, you really would think BT would understand the weight of dissatisfaction that is out here, yet the best solution BT can provide is that quoted here from Admin Kelly:
Thanks for the additional feedback on this issue. We have a posted a couple of times on other threads and I would like to reiterate our position which is as follows:
* To monitor your usage, you can use a search engine to find and download an online-usage meter; search for 'internet usage meter'. You may wish to try several until you find one that meets your needs.
I challenge anyone (and hope someone can rise to it) to point me in the direction of a freeware download monitor that is Mac compatible.
Almost every other ISP out there provides a download monitor. Given the amount of time that this has been going on, and the number of threads regarding this issue, you would think that BT would have done something about it. They've certainly had time.
Or maybe they see a commercial advantage in beligerently hiding download stats from users so they can feel justified in subsquently charging for over usage.
Unfortunately, my poor old Mum is tied into paying for something that she's terrified of using for another 14 months. And BT refuse to solve the issue.
BT, you disgust me.
Your Mums Broadband usage is monitored from the first day to the last day of the month.
This applies to all BT Broadband Users.
@Owlie - Thanks! I've looked everywhere for just that thing. I'll feed back on how it works out.
@DS - BT need to inform their staff better then. Neither the three phone monkeys, nor the manager I spoke to, nor even the two tech support people I also spoke to mentioned that it didn't run from billing date to billing date.
I know how you feel. It was only up until recently that I thought I knew that it was set by the billing date.
The reason - BT told me so and it was a Forum Mod that corrected the mis information!!
Phone monkeys!! And you wonder why you don't get a positive response when you phone up with that attitude? It seems as though you feel that whatever happens, it's someone elses responsibility and i don't know how from the above any of this relates to the title of this thread 'BT Bullies Grannies'. Apart from the fact that you/your mum have an issue with BT and she may coincidentally have grandchildren, i don't know how this is anything other than shock value to be honest. If your mum is going to exceed the usage allowances on a regular basis then she does need a higher package, so the manager that you spoke to was obviously trying to advise you on the best course of action. As regards to the contract being only a couple of months in and you having to pay a cancellation fee, i don't really get this. At what point would you not expect to? Would you also expect to pay less the less time you have been in the contract? Every contract i've ever seen, the early termination charges always decrease throughout the term. If you want this problem resolved all that needs to happen is either a) your mum reduces her usage or b) she upgrades her package. If you want a monitor then it's not everyone elses responsibility to provide you one.
Bullied, I feel your pain. A lot of these "Aspiring contributors" seem nothing more than Bt staff defending themselves on forums.
I've had a lot of problems in the past with BT i've been lied to several times, contracts have been broken, I came to the forums with this information and apparantly BT is within their right to break contract agreements, according to some "aspiring contributors" that is. Don't beleive a word they say.
Bt is just a terrible money grabbing syndicate that strived under the pretenses of "giving people good internet".
I think BT have an opportunity here.
We really can't expect most people, young or old, to realize that streams like iPlayer will quickly eat up their allowance at about 100KB/s (6MB/min, 360MB/hr), to have sourced a useful metering solution in anticipation and tutored themselves on bits and Bytes (and how they differ) to avoid surcharges. Nearly every pensioner knows an electric fire uses more electricity than a light bulb but there isn't an obvious analogy for '1's and '0's.
Subscribers could use a well designed meter to help them identify economies (for those on a tight budget like me) or upgrades for those who need a little more capacity. This could be a useful marketing tool for BT.
If iPlayer was used to watch Wimbledon fortnight then I'm not surprised she went over limit - but, hey, how's a girl to know?
In my home we use around 2-4gb a day and yes every month we go over our 100gb usage.
I just wanted to say the email in my experience is either sent extreamly late or its sent on time and BT make up that you went over the usage. For example, 4days before new month we got our 80gb warning. Stoped using our broadband (yes turned of modem everything) and used our cousins connection (they live couple doors away) then when new month starts we connected the modem up and check the email to see we went over 100gb. So the email must have been sent late.
Just a thought.
If you're just carrying out general browsing and don't need a fast connection, why don't you connect to a Fon hotspot (even your own) as this does NOT count towards your BB usage allowance.