I've been a BT customer for years but there is a problem in its billing cycle.
My Advance Line Rental - which I alway spay to save money - runs October to October.
Last March, after more than 150 broadband outages (some up to 8 hours long), BT Executive Level Complaints put us on a 12 new month because they said it enabled them to offer us a reduced price as compensation for the outages and failure to resolve them over three months. This put our broaddband package on a March to March cycle.
I rang up today to pay this October's ALR and was told that if in March 2019 we decided to leave BT we would forfeit the unused 6 months line rental. In other words over £100 paid in advance would be lost.
Now we're not planning to leave BT. The outages have more or less stopped so the servic eis much better now. But we would like at the end of each boradband contract to be free to exercise the right to move supplier if, for example, the outages returned.
By having two annual cycles (boradband starting in March and ALR in October) our account is out of synch. This is not because of our actions or requests but because BT re-contracted us in March as compensation.
BT say they can't get our account so that ALR and broadband package coincide. This locks us into BT as we would always if we left in the future be leaving one contract or the other and lose out financially.
So BT effectively has us locked in as cusotmers - not what the freedom to choose service provider is meant to look like.
I just spoke to a realy helpful person who suggested we re-contract for broadband in October and then our package and ALR would line up. That sounded like the perfect solution. She went away to check and came back to tell me that it wouldn't work.
Broadband packages are for 18 months. ALR for 12 months. So they only coincide start / end dates every three years.
It looks like BT has found a way to penalise customers (by either retaining unused ALR or putting a penalty on leaving a contract early) which ensures that a BT customer's choice to choose supplier is limited to every three years.
BT's Line Rental Saver is not so much anti-competitive as poor value, having been reduced since its introduction to the equivalent of less than £1.42 a month. If you think it's worth the pitfalls but want some insurance against loss in the event of cancelling BT services, you could delay renewal until the month in which your package discount ends in order to keep LRS coordinated. With minimum package periods of 18 months now routine though, that would mean 12 months on and 6 months off, reducing the overall value of LRS to the even less life-changing level of 70p a month every other year.
-- You can click the thumbs up icon below this message if you think it was helpful.