We realised recently that my mother has been charged line rental by both BT and TalkTalk for years. TalkTalk are charging for the calls and advised us it’s BT’s error and we should contact them immediately.
Spoke to BT (Esther) who registered an enquiry and promised to call back Wednesday 19th October between 2.00 and 4.00pm with the answer, no call!
How can we get this sorted out?
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does your mother have broadband as well or just phone?
Broadband and phone supplied by TalkTalk.
BT previously supplied landline only and still charge an Anytime package with no line usage shown, all calls are itemised on TalkTalks bill.
TalkTalk provide broadband and calls which are itemised on their bill, BT just continue to charge for an Anytime call package with no usage shown.
Is the same phone number on both the BT bill and the TT bill ?,
If your mother previously had BT service for landline and TT for broadband and calls ( a system called line share, SMPF ) and at some point TT asked your mother to switch landline from BT to TT ( so everything would be on the TT ) then TT are responsible for serving notice to BT and your mother should have got a final BT bill ,TT should have pointed this out at the time.
Can she recall ever getting this letter from TT and how she responded, many decided not to switch line rental to TT and decided to stay with what they had , it wasn’t compulsory, TT couldn’t just switch customers off BT line rental, so if your mother never said ‘Yes’ to switching line rental, then it’s TT charging line rental when they shouldn’t be , if she did switch to TT line rental , then it could be TT didn’t advise BT of this , or BT didn’t act on that instruction…that would be the crux of the issue.
Depending on what your mother did ( or can recall doing ) will have to be known before attributing ‘fault’ , TBH , irrespective of what TT say , there is no way to know yet who is in error .
Just because the BT bill doesn’t show any usage doesn’t necessarily indicate a BT error , years ago , many people used TT for calls and BT for line rental so the BT bill never showed any usage, the calls were charged for by TT , this is now a rare legacy system but is still used, so stating BT should have noticed line rental was being paid but no calls were charged for isn’t a valid reason , having BT Unlimited calls in this situation is a waste of money as it would never be used , if someone using TT for calls , subsequently signed up-to BT for calls then BT would be the call carrier not TT.
TBH , at the moment it’s impossible to know who is supplying her phone service , you could try dialling 150 or 154 , if ‘BT’ answer then BT are correctly charging line rental , if TT answer then it’s TT ( but TBH I don’t know if 150/154 is also a TT customer service number ) …it used to be ( but again may not still be the case ) that dialing 17070 on TT and BT both get an announcement
‘This circuit is defined as 01*********, if on BT it continues with ‘Openreach line test services’ ….TT just cuts off , you could also try that.
If genuinely on BT line rental paying for an BT Anytime calls plan , but calls are with TT ( probably the original situation) , is obviously bonkers , if all the calls are sent over TT network and charged for by TT , but that’s a different issue , and something the consumer should be noticing and doing something about …it’s like renting anything but not using it , it’s upto the ‘renter’ to appreciate they are paying rental for something but not in a position to use it…like if someone rented a house , but lived somewhere else, it’s not the landlord job to ask ‘are you still living here’ .
Thanks for your thorough and very helpful reply!
The same phone number is on both TT and BT bills. We just called 150 from the landline and it answers BT.
Its very confusing, TT say instruct BT to close the account as it’s their line, mum is concerned by doing that she will lose her phone service completely.
She doesn’t recall receiving a termination letter from BT, the Broadband with TT goes back years which my late father set up. I agree it should have been spotted by her years ago, all we want to do now is out it right and avoid unnecessary bills going forward.
Do you think she’s safe instructing BT to terminate the phone contract with them now without losing the line?
It really depends what you want , if you are ‘happy’ to pay BT for line rental ( and the evidence suggests you are connected to ‘BT’ telephony equipment in the exchange so that is correct ) but don’t want to pay for Unlimited Calls , probably paying £12-17 a month because you cannot access it, that should be easy , either via the BT on line account or by calling BT and change to the PAYG calls plan, which only charges if calls are made with BT , this would still mean you are paying BT for line rental, but wouldn’t pay the fee for Unlimited Calls .
You would continue to pay TT for broadband and calls , you may also be paying them ‘line rental’ even though you shouldn’t be, or it could just be the way the TT bill is presented and you are only paying line rental once to BT , and some sort of charge for broadband access and calls with TT.
Other options are more complex, you are correct to be wary of just cancelling, if you call BT to cancel , it’s possible that the phone service would stop , the broadband ( if it is line share ) would cease as a consequence of the BT line being ceased and probably the phone number would be ‘lost’ ….if it’s your preference you could ask TT to move your BT line rental to them , ( like what was very common 10-15 years ago ) but they apparently believe that they already have your line rental account ( but calling 150 couldn’t be answered by BT customer service if that were the case ) so they may not progress this request, if you can get that done , and they managed to keep the phone number , dialing 150 would either go to TT customer service or not be answered at all ( NU tone ) and you would no longer get a BT bill…this is something you would have to try to explain to TT.
As already stated, initially providers like TT didn’t offer ‘line rental’ at all , they started out with phone calls , you could request that any calls made didn’t go over BT network but TT , so two bills , BT line rental and a separate TT calls bill , then broadband was offered , again calls and broadband on the TT bill , BT line rental…..when TT started offering line rental ( years ago ) , they asked their calls/broadband customers to switch from BT line rental, most did and they had no further bills from BT , those that didn’t reply , or said ‘No’ stayed on BT…..how TT presents the TT bill to these legacy customers is unknown and how much is charged is obviously not known to a BT customer ( like me ) but it’s possible the bill appears to include line rental but doesn’t , it may even be more expensive to have line rental with BT and broadband and calls with TT than everything with TT to ‘encourage’ people to move line rental to TT from BT, so just because the amount paid to TT for line share is the same as TT with line rental doesn’t necessarily prove anything.
Because it’s legacy products , and probably tiny numbers still on it , the TT reps may not be too familiar with it, as said it’s called SMPF , shared metallic path facility.
Sounds like they're still on carrier pre select, an old thread here mentions it as well https://community.bt.com/t5/Home-phone-including-Digital/Need-to-remove-Carrier-Pre-Select/td-p/1985...
Thanks very much indeed, it’s a legacy line rental with BT … it appears TT didn’t take or charge the line rental.
it’s a relief to know that two line rentals haven’t been charged after all so now we just need to tidy up whether to switch the line rental to TT or change BT line rental to PAYG.
Thanks very much again for your time and input.