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Beginner
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Message 1 of 13

Premium Mail

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In December 2017 I contacted BT to request a Premium Mail account as I was leaving BT in January 2018. This used to be done by telephone. All good change made and PM account opened. That was until March this year I received a bill from BT requesting £106.20. This came to my correct address where I have resided since February 2014.

I contacted BT, they confirmed no outstanding debt, so I reported it to Action Fraud as a scam.

I then received a letter from Lowell Debt Collectors. So I sent them a copy of my Final "zero" bill. Lowell insisted I owed BT money so I requested a copy of the bill they were chasing.

When the copy arrived it was for Premium Mail at my old address up until the date I left BT to join Plusnet!

I wasn't aware that I had a PM account when I asked for the new account in December 2017 and it wasn't mentioned to me by BT. Or that there was an outstanding amount.

The reason I left BT was because I had been unable to access my email account during 2017 on numerous occasions. When logging in my password etc wasn't recognised and I was unable to reset. This would end up with me contacting BT and confusion but would be resolved and I was always told that BT had found the problem. I was NEVER told that there was money outstanding. After months of this repetitive problem I went to the Ombudsman. In December 2017 I was awarded £100 on compensation and all email charges to be returned. I didn't understand at the time what those charges could be as I was a Broadband customer of BT and PM is part of the package.

This latest problem I thought was resolved until Lowell continued to press for money and I was receiving different answers from BT. In desperation I again went to the Ombudsman thinking that they would link the problems I had in 2017. WELL! I am shocked by the responses from BT and the Ombudsman. I have been accused of all sorts including BT claiming that they terminated my PM account in January 2018 as a direct result of non-payment, that it is possible to have two PM accounts (different addresses) on one email address....this comment was made by the Ombudsman who stated that this has come direct from BT.

Anyway the final straw.......I had an hour long conversation with a brilliant Indian lady who confirmed no indebtedness on my PM account, that I was correct that it is not possible to have two accounts on one email address, also that £100 had been credited to a previous PM account (? is this my compensation?). So I give this information to the Ombudsman who replies that she has spoken with BT and I didn't have a conversation with PM advisor and if I did I was misinformed! Problem for BT and the Ombudsman is that I had a pin number sent to me by the BT advisor. Who's the liar????

I have again contacted BT, lovely young lady advisor who again agrees can't have two PM accounts on one email address passes me on to an Indian PM advisor who has escalated the complaint and I am supposed to be receiving a call today.

But there is a huge BUT here.......I checked my emails as far back as 2013 and found that BT had forced people to pay £1.60 back then to retain their email addresses. I have the contact email. I must have set it up in fear of losing my emails. However in 2015 this stops being collected. The Ombudsman decided that I must have done that although my bank state "no evidence of my instructions". The question therefore has to be when did BT include PM as part of their Broadband package?

I have been through absolute hell with BT and have been worried that my account was hacked etc. Today for some reason BT Yahoo Mail is not working properly either. What now?

 

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Moderator
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Message 2 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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Hi @Sunnydays

Welcome to the Community and thanks for your post!

I'm sorry for the confusion with your Premium Mail account and I appreciate the time you have spent speaking with my colleagues about this.  You can get in touch with us from here and we will get back in touch.

I have sent you a private message with instructions on how you can send us over your details and we'll look into this for you. See: Private messages

Cheers,

Robbie

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Beginner
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Message 3 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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I have sent you a private message with my details but someone needs to give correct information to the Ombudsman. I think the problem is that over the years BT has changed its packages, changes so many services and the Ombudsman is not updated. For example I was initially told by the Ombudsman that Premium Mail is for adding email addresses to my account. She didn't realise that if you leave BT you have to pay for Premium Mail if you want to keep your BT email address. She just kept saying its a separate package. I had to explain that PM is included in the Broadband package. I was also unaware that I had signed up for PM in 2013 as I had received an email from BT requesting me to do this if I wanted to retain my email address as BT were cutting down on services. I would copy this for you but at the moment my access to my email is limited and don't know why. 

I want to know who is communicating and making incorrect statements to the Ombudsman from the PM team.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 4 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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Being pedantic, email is included in a BT broadband package not Premium Mail which is perhaps one source of any confusion. Premium Mail is purely a standalone product.

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Beginner
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Message 5 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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Thank you, but it is confusing as when you have had PM (as a result of another provider)and you rejoin BT Broadband you can cancel your PM account as there is no point in continuing with Premium Mail. Loving the word "standalone" I've had that recited at me several times this week. I've learnt a lot today from another advisor and will be reporting these facts to Ofcom. BT are a bit naughty really🤔 and this grey area must be cleared up.

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Distinguished Guru
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Message 6 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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@Sunnydayswrote:

I have sent you a private message with my details but someone needs to give correct information to the Ombudsman. I think the problem is that over the years BT has changed its packages, changes so many services and the Ombudsman is not updated. For example I was initially told by the Ombudsman that Premium Mail is for adding email addresses to my account. She didn't realise that if you leave BT you have to pay for Premium Mail if you want to keep your BT email address. She just kept saying its a separate package. I had to explain that PM is included in the Broadband package. I was also unaware that I had signed up for PM in 2013 as I had received an email from BT requesting me to do this if I wanted to retain my email address as BT were cutting down on services. I would copy this for you but at the moment my access to my email is limited and don't know why. 

I want to know who is communicating and making incorrect statements to the Ombudsman from the PM team.


From the information you've given above, it's the Ombudsman that doesn't understand. They may not have actually known what they were being told (if that was the case).

Did you really sign up for PM in 2013? If so, you would have been charged a fee per month. The only reason you may have had that email is if the account was not associated with your BTBroadband account.

With regard the email, it would be worth seeing the general details - but "cutting down services" isn't correct for an associated account - it may have been for a non associated account as I said.

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 7 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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When you sign up with a BT Broadband package you can set up 11 BT email addresses associated to the broadband package.

When you cancel the BT broadband your BT email addresses are also cancelled unless you inform BT that you want to pay for BT Premium email. If you do select this service you keep the email addresses that were previously associated to your broadband package and you now pay £7.50 per month for the stand alone service. It is called stand alone because it does not need to be associated to a BT broadband package.

BT Premium email can be terminated at any time by you after having given 30 days notice.

Should you subsequently return to BT broadband you will be classed as a new customer and again be able to set up 11 email addresses.

If you were also paying for BT Premium email, the stand alone product, this would continue unless you specifically told BT that you either wanted to cease the service, at which point the BT Premium email addresses would be liable for deletion or you asked for your BT Premium email addresses to be associated to your new BT Broadband package.

As long as the number of your Premium email addresses did not exceed the 11 email addresses that your new package was entitled to this would be done. i.e if you used 4 of your new broadband email addresses you would only be able to associate 7 of your Premium email addresses to that package.

If you did associate the Premium email addresses to the new package the monthly payments would/should stop.

 

 

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Beginner
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Message 8 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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Thanks I understand all that of course. But when someone doesn't realise that they had a PM account (I moved and no bills came to new address despite redirection, odd as everything else did) and is at the time a BT Broadband customer about to leave they had to contact BT, as you say, to set up a PM account to keep the .......btinternet.com address why didn't the advisor taking the order realise that there was already a PM account on that ..........btinternet.com address? I have discovered that I had opted into a PM account late in 2013 when I changed to Talk Talk. I moved in Feb 2014 and returned to BT as Talk Talk didn't serve the new area. Payments for the PM account went out from my bank account until 2015 when they stopped being collected. This is according to my bank when I checked with them. I am totally confused as the bill that I was chased for seems to have been from May 2015 until January 2018. The claimed amount didn't add up.

I had so many mixed messages from BT advisors and despite receiving a "zero" bill from BT for the PM account the Ombudsman informed me that her contact said I still owed the money! I checked again yesterday and was told by PM advisor absolutely I do not owe a penny! 

Can I say that this Premium Mail situation is so complex and I see it becoming something like PIP in the future. When I opened the PM account in 2018 I was not informed at any stage that should I rejoin BT Broadband I could cancel and save myself £5.00 (now £7.50) per month.

I never did have an answer from BT despite the Ombudsman's Decision that BT had to inform me what had been the problem with my email service in 2017 when on several occasions over several months I was unable to access my emails due to my password not being recognised. Resetting could only be accomplished by contacting a BT advisor. Again I was never advised that there was an outstanding bill but I was advised that my old home address would be updated. 

I still don't understand why the person who took my order in December 2017 when I knew I would be leaving BT in the January of 2018 did not advise me that there was an outstanding amount on my PM address? Does anyone know?

NB users BT could therefore be collecting several PM charges from you. One name to one email address but how many actual postal addresses. 

 

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Distinguished Sage
Distinguished Sage
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Message 9 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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I can not speak for or answer for BT but the onus is on the customer to request and subsequently cancel BT Premium email. You can imagine the problems if BT automatically signed you up to the service at £7.50 per month or just cancelled it once started and deleted the email accounts.

I would suspect that when you contacted BT about email access problems, the person you spoke to would not have access to your billing account and would be none the wiser if it was clear or in debt.

I do not see the Premium email as being complex or like PIP. I do however see BTs billing system in general being over complicated and difficult to understand when, why and what is billed for and what is discounted.

I would suggest that you wait until a moderator contacts you and you can talk through every thing with him and hopefully you will reach the correct solution to the problem.

 

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Beginner
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Message 10 of 13

Re: Premium Mail

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Thank you for your reply and yes a moderator contacted me this afternoon.

My reply to your comment:-

"I can not speak for or answer for BT but the onus is on the customer to request and subsequently cancel BT Premium email. You can imagine the problems if BT automatically signed you up to the service at £7.50 per month or just cancelled it once started and deleted the email accounts."

I think you possibly know what I am suggesting but I will explain:-

When a customer leaves BT Broadband in order to protect their email address they open a Premium Mail account. In my circumstance that was by telephone. ( as that was the only way it could be done in December 2017. ) At no point was it explained to me that should I rejoin BT Broadband I could/should cancel my PM account as my email address is part of the Broadband package together with 11 (?) available addresses.

If that customer then returns to BT Broadband I suggest that the BT sales person could ask whether the returning customer has a PM account and remind them that they may prefer to cancel it.

As it stands there are BT Broadband customers out there paying for PM Mail accounts as well as paying for their Broadband account unnecessarily as the onus is on the customer who may not recall or be aware of that facility. 

Hope that makes sense. Seems a logical solution and not complicated at all. Although it means less cash for BT!

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