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Squelch
Contributor
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Message 1 of 12

Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

Hello all,

 

I have recently had cause to deal with a rather confusing situation regarding my bill. I am on Whole Bill Direct Debit and my bill is generated on the 3rd of each month. Payment is taken 8 days or shortly after (11th)

 

In June of this year, I recieved my online bill as usual, but due to a hiccup in finances, I realised I wouldn't be able to transfer enough funds to the account from which my BT is paid in time to honour the Direct Debit. I then made a payment by Debit card for the full amount on the 10th.

 

Here is where it seems to have gone wonky. Despite the billing page confirming that the outstanding amout to be zero, the Direct Debit for the full amount was presented to my bank on the 11th. This was subsequently rejected and I was charged a penalty fee from my bank. After a call to support, I was told that the Direct Debit was presented on the 9th which is the first time it's been early (and without notice) and this was why I was charged.

 

I was advised to send details of the charges to ebilling together with evidence and other supporting information. The reply was not what I expected, and seemed to be some kind of template regarding the changing of payment dates, and confirming that BT would not be charging me a £10 dishonourable act fee because I had paid at the correct time.

 

There appears to be some kind of disconnect between the balance shown on screen and the actual amount. When the Direct Debit was presented, the balance was zero, yet the full amount was demanded. A conversation with livechat a short while ago leaves me even more confused as I was informed the Direct Dbit had been presented twice, and honoured on the second occasion. This simoply cannot be true as there was insufficient funds compounded by the charge my bank had already made. Notwithstanding, the bill had already been settled in full on the 10th.

 

The problem I have now is that due to the penalty, I have insufficient funds this month to cover the full bill. I have been offered a refund of the bank's penalty to be credited to my next bill, but unfortunately this does not help with the current shortfall. I've also incurred extra expense calling the bank's premium rate line which mysteriously does not appear on my current telephone usage.

 

I'm now in the position that I cannot feel confident that the billing page is truly reflecting the amount I will be charged.

 

Currently I am waiting for a call from a supervisor regarding this matter, but I would like to ask the community if this has been encountered before, and how it can be mitigated.

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11 REPLIES 11
Squelch
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Message 2 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

I am sad to report that I have not been contacted as promised.

 

I am still confused as to what the situation is, and how it came about. Contact with Customer Support so far has been polite, but has contained conflicting information. I'm now beginning to think that a certain amount of "interpretation" has been used by those that I have spoken to so far. Their assertions do not agree the facts as I see them, nor have they answered my requests.

 

I cannot advise my bank that an error has been made as nobody has been able to confirm this. Phrases like "You will not be charged the dishonourable act fee because you paid at the right time" seem to confirm that the bill was settled correctly, but I'm still at a loss why the Direct Debit is said to have been presented early due to the weekend on one hand, and that it was honoured on the second presentation on the other. Firstly 11th June was a Wednesday, and secondly, the DD payments could not possibly have been honoured, nor do they show on my statement. The bill was settled, confirmed on the ebilling page as £0.00 outstanding on 10th June which is the day before I should normally be debited.

 

So far, I am out of pocket for the bank charges, have spent far more time than is necessary dealing with this issue, and I've had to rob Peter to pay Paul to make sure this month's bill was covered. I also had my travel plans severely disrupted last Friday, and had to return early to finish dealing with it. A week has been wasted waiting for a satisfactory and informed response.

 

Can someone please direct me to whom I should talk to that is fully appraised on ebilling?

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Moderator
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Message 3 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

Hi Squelch,

Thanks for posting. Sorry for any confusion with the bills. I can look into this for you. Drop me an email with the details. You'll find the "contact us" form in the about me section of my profile. 

Cheers

David

Community ModeratorDaveM
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Squelch
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Message 4 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

Thank you @DavidM,

 

Contact sent as requested.

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Distinguished Sage
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Message 5 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

The forum mod team will contact your personally by email or phone normally within 3/5 working days of you mailing them and take personal ownership until resolved and give you a single point of contact in the UK
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Squelch
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Message 6 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

I thought I'd better update this subject. Firstly to inform other customers of a potential pitfall, and secondly to recount the experience.

 

After a few email exchanges with Stuart at CS, all communication apparently ceased. I was very busy with other matters at the time, and quite frankly reluctant to spend any more time than was necessary trying to resolve it. It has transpired that several calls were attempted to my home, but as I was away, they went unanswered.

 

Over the last couple of days, I have recieved a raft of notifications and other emails via my BT mail account. Some of which were certainly not present before I went away, but predated my departure. This prompted me to look in earnest for any CS responses, and to my surprise, I found them in my spam folder. I had had the foresight to use a different email account for contact with CS given the ongoing problems with BT Mail. However, for those emails to be redirected as spam when they had been working before escapes me.

 

I must apologise to Stuart for not responding, nor taking his calls - I was simply unaware. I did however, respond today with the requested information.

 

A short while later I received a call on my mobile from what I assume to be the Indian call centre. The gentleman who called did not seem to be fully aware of what had happened, and I needed to explain it all at length, yet he still insisted that becuase I had insufficent funds, this was the reason for my charges, and something about the premium rate call to my bank. I'm embarrassed to say, I could not completely understand him.

 

I'm not entirely sure, but after the telephone call, I should be expecting a credit to my bill for the bank charges, and premuim rate call. I also think that the issue will be fixed, or won't happen again.

 

The issue, and hence the title of this thread:

 

My bill is requested on the 9th of most months, and payment is taken on the 11th or shortly after depending on weekends. On the particular month in question, I paid my bill the day before the payment would normally be debited via a debit card. The billing page immediately reflected this payment, and showed a zero balance outstanding. However, and as was explained to me on the phone in a earlier conversation, the actual amount to be debited is requested before the payment date ie the 9th to be taken on the 11th. This does not account for any payments made in the interviening period, so despite being shown a zero balance, the full amount was requested the folllowing day.

 

I must say that I find this both confusing and concerning. If one form of electronic payment can be processed and reflected immediately, then why can't another? Surely a debit of £0.00 should have been requested on the 11th which was the true balance at that time. The billing page showed that nothing was owed, so it's only natural to assume that no further action was required on my part. The subsequent charges, expenses, time and disruption are enough to deal with, but what if there had been sufficient funds to pay the bill twice? Any following bills would have gone unpaid, and the inevitable snowball of charges, and unpaid accounts would follow. This can ultimately lead to credit ratings being affected through no fault on the BT customers part.

 

 

In summary, the amount shown on the billing page of your MyBT account may not be a true reflection of the account as there may be pending charges that are not shown. I have suggested that pending charges are shown, and I'd like to go further,  and request that a warning about this particular scenario should be given.

 

I'm not entirely happy, or sure about the resolution so far, but I would like to see a moderator response for the benefit of the community on this matter.

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Squelch
Contributor
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Message 7 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

Despite a refund being offered, and the CS rep telling me that the charges would be credited to my account, the last bill shows nothing of the sort.

 

I'm getting a bit disillusioned now. What with BTID security scares, BT MAIL being broken, and security issues with SmartTalk, topped off with being penalised for paying the bill early, the monthly cost of the service does not seem like good value for money.

 

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Squelch
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Message 8 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

I'm afraid I have to resurrect this topic.

 

The previous troubles were partially resolved, and I received a refund for the bank charges. The error was blamed on the Direct Debit request being allocated before the payment was due, and my direct payment not registering as settling the account. The result was that the full amount was attempted to be taken even though the bill had been settled. The problem of the billing page not reflecting the actual amount pending was promised to be fixed.

 

My latest bill has suffered from a similar problem. I checked my BT balance yesterday 13th Oct and it showed as £0.00 outstanding and would indicate that the bill had been settled. I needed to make a small online purchase via PayPal, but for some reason I was unable to log in to my bank account to verify the balance, it would be close and a matter of pennies determining the success or not. The payment was made successfully, so I assumed all was well. Today I received an email from the bank informing me that the BT bill had not been paid due to insufficient funds, and that I had been charged accordingly. 

 

The BT billing page is somewhat of a lottery with the information it presents. Payment was due on the 11th Oct and today it still clearly shows a zero balance as if it has already been paid. Checking with my bank shows that the funds were not attempted to be taken until yesterday, and indeed my small transaction did take me over the threshold and the Direct Debit was not honoured. I made my purchase decision based on the information BT supplied.

 

I find this situation to be unacceptable, and I cannot place any confidence in the online billing service. The alternative is to pay a premium for a non direct debit payment method, and it's now debatable which is going to cost less. In my last dealings with customer services, they assured me that the billing page would be fixed so that it shows the correct amount due. This clearly hasn't been done.

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Squelch
Contributor
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Message 9 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

Today the billing page is correct. It now shows that there is an outstanding balance, and the payment history does not show that a paymenty has been made whereas yesterday it showed the recent bill as paid.

 

If I hadn't taken screenshots on this occasion I could be convinced that it was all in my mind. 

 

I actually toyed with the idea of attempting to make a direct payment to "clear" the zero balance to see if the direct debit was presented again. Could one rightly say that if the bill shows as paid, then nothing is owed?  Is the billing page legally binding?

 

Has anyone else experienced this? 

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Squelch
Contributor
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Message 10 of 12

Re: Is the outstanding balance a true reflection of the account?

This is turning into an exercise in abject frustration. 

 

After a 50 minute livechat session, a supervisor will be in contact with me. 

 

I'm now in the situation where the bill is still unpaid, and it's anybodiy's guess when the money is going to be taken from my bank account. I would settle by Debit Card, but having been stung by the Direct Debit being presented again, I don't want to incur even more charges from my bank.  (see above)

 

Is it too much to ask that a Direct Debit is taken when it is said to be taken, and that if the billing page shows it has been paid, it actually has been paid? 

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