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Message 1 of 7

Grave issues with BT

I am writing on behalf of my Grandfather who is 80 years old. 


I have recently come to stay after my Grandmother had a serious opperation. I use my grandparents wifi, mainly to stream videos or for gaming. I tend not to pry into their affairs but of course did ask if the internet package was unlimited, I was told, and can now confirm in no uncertain terms, that it was/is.


I was helping my Grandfather with his filing and noticed a BT bill for over £65.00, which I found odd as they rarely use the phone, are ridged with the 59 minute and evening and weekend call thing (which having a mobile i dont understand anyway) so, worried it was my internet usage i asked to check the bills contents.


I found that the calls etc were indeed miniscule, (less than £15) it turned out that the bulk of the payment was £51.49 for bt infinity 2. 


Here i should provide some background, several years ago my brother helped them set up the internet and was the standard unlimited broadband package so it couldnt be over used when we were around for the holidays and because they live in the country there was no fibre. 


There is now fibre, granted, up to an ABSOLUTE maximum, in ideal conditions (within our postcode) of 43MB (thats what the BT technical team say, in reality it seems to rarely peak above 20MB. My Grandfather is a modest man, he has an old car, tools older than I am and he would be most happy if nothing in the world ever changed. If asked he would simply say what he has is more than enough for him. 


So I had two issues with BT after reading this, firstly why place my Grandfather on any infinity package taking into account he has no idea about wifi, HDTV, Gaming, Streaming, ODTV etc. He has one computer, wired into the homehub, on which he browses the internet and reads his two emails a week. There is no possible way, in a million years he would have said, please can i have the fastest possible service. He may however, after several minutes of badgering have said, "okay then if thats what you think i need." ( we wont go into, just yet, how unlawful that transaction is under the sale of goods act. 


But lets give BT the benefit of the doubt, they wanted him to be able to read those emails in lightning quick time and browse the daily mail webpage super(fibre)fast. 


So, BT Infinity, speeds up to, {let me check the website} 52 MB, yes, up to 52 MB which unless i need to return to school and slap my maths teacher, 9MB higher than the theorhetical maximum available to this postcode and at least 20 MB faster than the actual working maximum. 


Now I have to ask the question, why if you know you have a product up to 52 MB, your own tests show that he can never achieve even that, would you place him on a package of up to 76MB which is £10 dearer from which he receives absolutely no extra benefit?


Now the unlawful act under the sale of goods act S14, implied terms about quality or fitness SS2A and SS3, becomes criminal, Fraud Act (06) S2 and S3. 


Furthermore, if it turns out it is a company policy to engage in pressure sales of unsuitable products to people who dont need them then S12 of the Fraud Act comes into play and the managers, Gavin Patterson and even Sir Michael Rake become criminally liable. 


I contacted the BT Live chat service today, along with my Grandfather to talk this out, Obviously they are in the foreign business centres ( not being racist simply pointing out the practical issues of explaining UK law to a non UK citizen) They said that he agreed to the contract so its his fault (their words). They didnt quite grasp the idea that under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 my Grandfather is entiteled to a refund (price reduction under S19) and or voiding the entire contract. ( I gave up after trying to explain S19.)


During these chats I investigated the issue further, checking BT T&Cs, previous bills etc etc and it goes back at least three years which is a problem.


So, I am left with little options really due to the nature of the issue, the only real option is to issue a notice of intended claim under the CPR for the breaches of the last two contracts, ask for (and if not provided obtain a Court order for) full disclosure of all records held by BT relating to my Grandfather and the provision of services to this house going back five years and then pursue a claim through the Courts. 


The alternative is to exhaust the BT complaints and Ombudsmans appeal process butit is unlikely either will put in the time to actually investigate this matter seriously. 


Obviously a concurrent option is the criminal element which now i have identified it I may have  no option but to pursue just to avoid it being claimed I am blackmailing BT. 


I estimate a civil claim will involve around 60-80 hours of work to get to issue of proceedings and 150 hours of work to get to trial due to the extent of ducumentation that will need to be reviewed. (three of the 5 years definately) at the LiP rate thats costs, granted to BT, of 150 x £19 = £2850.00 plus a £15pm reduction over three years totalling £514 plus the completely unneccessary fees involved in connecting fibre ( I imagine a couple of hundred pounds) and general damages for in my words "mugging my grandad off" or as its more acceptably known, defrauding him. 


So, do I pursue the ridiculous complaints process for a few months for a payment to my grandfather of about a grand or do I jump right in with the civil claim meaning BT will be liable for the actual breach, costs, damages, aggravated damages and interest at 8% over three years. ( probably about £5000.00 or more)


My head says, well they were just trying their luck, it was probably the result of some unrelaistic sales target or some poorly incentivised program to encourage sales staff to make more sales so ask for the £1000.00 and give them a chance to come to their senses and pay up. 


On the other hand theres a part of me that thinks ill just waste three or more months of my life and i might as well go straight for the litigation (now being able to say I tried ADR and BT just ignored the issue and as they had committed criminal offences it was in the interests of justice not to pursue ADR further) I dont really want to be spending 150 hours trawling through BT bills and maintenance reports and drafting legal documents I'd rather be volunteering at the Zoo but My Granddad who has worked hard for 30 years as a civil servant building and reparing Navy Ships is now out of pocket because some large business decided to ignore a few key consumer laws in order to increase profits to pay to its knighted Chairman a bigger salary. 


For those of you that have cottoned on, yes, this is a final attempt at ADR I can show the Court. 

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Message 2 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

I'm purely a BT Customer as are the vast majority of individuals on this Forum although there a small number of moderators who are BT employees and may be able to assist with your query where your BT chat approach failed.


You are asking for advice in certain parts of your query but then in other parts you propose more stringent  actions.


Assuming a moderator will pick up your query I would suggest in the first instance you just provide the basic information to help them check out the details, such as asking when the "disputed" contract for bt infinity 2 was set up and whether the records show if it was BT who instigated the request to upgrade to the fibre or whether it was by your grandfather.




Aspiring Expert
Message 3 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

Think you should get legal advice before embarking on any action.
Message 4 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

Many thanks for your comments which are warmly received. 


The idea of the post was to gauge opinions, share the experience and discuss the possible solutions i hope this clarifies the purpose. 





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Aspiring Expert
Message 5 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

In general, the ombudsman, courts like to see that you have gone through the complaints procedure before going to them


In all honesty I don’t think your reading of the law is correct. One way forward might be for you talk to the trading standards consumer line to get some sense of what is possible and what is not


I’ve also got to say that it won’t be you taking the action - it will be your grandfather. I think you need to be sure that all the time and effort that you suggest it is going to take will have a positive outcome. Otherwise you could be putting an 80 year old through quite a bit of hassle for nothing



Message 6 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

Thanks Neil, 


Out of curiosity, is your assessment of my interpretation of the law based on experience or opinion? I have obtained advice from a CILEx qualified legal professional, granted I may not have referenced the law correctly but she seemed to think there were grounds under each heading. 


In relation to my Grandfather and legal proceedings, I can pretty much do most of it for him and then hire him a solicitor for key elements of the case, such as representation at court. 


I have also taken your advice and contacted Consumer services.


As a general update to the thread:


Consumer services agree that the contract is likely to be invalid under legislation but their primary concern was that my grandfather may not have had relative capacity in terms of the specific contract. Personally I always thought capacity was somthing related to individuals of serious neurological conditions etc but you learn something new every day. They have suggested I obtain copies of the contract and the calls from BT to determine whether my it was clear from the call whether my grandfather understood what he was being told. The could not comment on the criminal elements. 

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Aspiring Expert
Message 7 of 7

Re: Grave issues with BT

It’s going to take quite a bit of money to pay a solicitor for the amount of time you are likely to need . And you (your grandfather) will have to pay up front. I say, again, that you will need to be pretty sure of winning. And, even though you will be doing a lot of the work, your grandfather will still have to be involved (and willing)


My view is a bit of experience and personal opinion. I do agree about capacity and I (like consumer services) wouldn’t want to comment on the criminal side although I would express surprise that, if there was a case, this hasn’t been bought to law before


Personally, I think you should go through the BT procedure first (particularly as advised by trading standards)  If you then do want to go the way of the courts then I’d spend money on a solicitor (not a legal executive or paralegal)  for advice on your chances of success

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