So I just called BT customer services to cancel my BT TV package because I’m out of contract and since I only have the BT TV service to watch football and since the football season is over there isn’t any point in paying for it during the off season. And I shall soon be switching my broadband and landline over to Vodafone Gigafast - I’m just waiting for my street to be cabled - so there’s no point in renewing my BT contract.
I was told by the BT customer service agent that if I wished to cancel my BT TV service I would need to give BT 30 days notice (pretty sure that’s wrong!) and that I would need to return the YouView box to BT (almost certainly wrong!). When I explained to the CS agent that since I was out of contract the YouView box was mine and therefore I did not need to return it she said that she had an on screen message saying that I would definitely need to return the box. She then said she would need to check with her manager and after being on hold for a few minutes I was cut off. A few minutes later she called me back on my mobile and asked me to confirm my details, which I did, and I was then cut off again!
I then called BT customer services again and spoke to someone who was clearly more knowledgeable. He apologised and said that the previous customer service agent hadn’t changed anything on my account and he would cancel my BT TV package with immediate effect and that I would not need to return my YouView box.
I’ve now received an automated email, however, from BT explaining how to return my YouView box and that BT will be sending a pre-paid returns bag to me. So count me as completely and utterly confused! Am I correct in thinking that the email is incorrect and that I don’t need to return my YouView box but I will lose access to recordings from subscription channels after my BT TV subscription is cancelled?
If so why are BT misleading customers into believing that they need to return their YouView box? This has been going on for years, evidently - and I just wonder how many BT customers have been conned into returning equipment that legally they own and have no obligation to return to BT and what is more they could continue to use all the functions of the YouView box with the exception of access to subscription channels.
Also worth noting as an aside that the first customer service agent told me that I only had a weekend and evening call package (wrong!) when in fact I have the anytime call package and when I asked for the anytime call package to be removed I was told that if I did that or indeed if I made any other change to my broadband or call package it would initiate a new contract (wrong again!). In the end after speaking the with the second CS agent I decided on balance to keep the anytime call package but I’m still shocked that a CS agent could mislead a customer so badly.
As this help page
says Bt will send you a returns bag if you were a BT Tv customer and you inform them you are leaving..
That is BT adhereing to their responsibilities under the Electrical waste regulations.
In your case as you intend to continue to use the Youview box you would not wish to send the box back for recycling.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to return a perfectly good PVR? Even if they no longer wanted to use it (which is unlikely) YouView boxes typically fetch upwards of £50 second hand on eBay. I cannot think of any other scenario where after having bought and paid for a consumer electronics device the company that sold it to you contacts you to ask if you’d like to send it back to them. The idea is quite patently absurd.
If BT are doing this purely to meet electrical waste regulations (and I very much doubt that is the case) then they ought to make the following explicitly clear in their email -
A: the customer owns the YouView box, it is theirs to do with as they please, and returning it to BT is optional
B: the customer can continue to use the YouView box as a perfectly good digital video recorder. The only thing that will cease to work are the BT subscription channels (and any recordings from those channels) and the BT TV app. All other functions remain intact.
C: that the option to return the equipment is being offered only so that BT adheres to electrical waste regulations.
That BT don’t mention any of the above in their email is telling. The wording of the email reads like a demand not an optional choice and there is no mention at all of adherence to electrical waste regulations or recycling etc. The email is egregiously misleading and I suspect deliberately so, in order to obfuscate people rather than enlighten them. I’ve half a mind to report it to ofcom and Marin Lewis’ money saving expert website.
I think - not 100% sure - with TalkTalk that if they replace your box after the first period ( 12 or 18months) of your contract then you MUST return it or be charged.
Not a great surprise given that TalkTalk along with Plusnet are the only other YouView providers. If anything the fact that TalkTalk do the same just adds weight to the argument that YouView providers would rather their customers remain oblivious to the fact that it is the customer that owns the YouView box, and therefore they have no obligation to return it and that they can continue their YouView box as a perfectly good PVR.
If this really is about environmental impact then by far the best way to reduce environmental impact is reuse. It’s rather odd then that BT don’t mention to their customers that they can continue using their their YouView box or that it is theirs to do with as they wish should they wish to re-sell it.
I am sorry for any confusion surrounding when to return the equipment to us.
I've checked our current emails that we send for stopping your TV service.
The below will appear on the email currently with the title of "About the services you're stopping"
Sending your kit back to us
Please send back your TV boxIf you're not using your TV box, help us recycle it by sending it back for free. We'll send you a returns bag and we'll be in touch with instructions on how to do that. Here's where you can find out more about returns.
The second email is the follow up with the instructions on how you can return it. It has the title of 'How to return your kit'.
If you have seen out your contact then it will belong to you. We have a sticky thread here on our Community that helps explain what you can do with the Youview+ box if you were to leave.