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Forscher
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 1 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

I have a similar problem to one raised in a post on 25/03/2019 by Charkibble, which was taken up by a Moderator (John C2). 
 
I am a pensioner.
 
For many years, I had a BT landline phone number, under a BT package comprising line rental and a phone calls plan.
 
Several years ago, I signed up to an Orange broadband package, including a phone calls plan. I kept the same phone number, but the land line rental remained with BT.
 
EE later took over the supply and billing of my Orange broadband package.
 
I have recently realised that BT have continued billing me, not just for the landline rental, but also for their phone calls plan.
 
EE's and BT's bills both relate to the same landline phone number. The EE bills itemise the calls made on that number.  The BT bills show no calls were made. 
 
I have asked BT for compensation. They say:
(a) It's not their fault. Orange/EE never notified them that they had taken over the billing for calls.
(b) They are prepared only to make a "goodwill" payment representing the equivalent of a few months of overpayment.
 
It appears that BT wishes to keep most the of money taken by them for years for a service they did not provide.
 
Is there any point in my escalating this internally within BT? Am I likely to get anywhere?
 
 
 
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11 REPLIES 11
-Richie-
Guru
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Message 2 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

If BT are providng the landline, I'd expect they provide the calls unless you have what's known as CPS (Carrier pre-select)

What calls are BT charging you for ? is it an addon for a calling plan (unlimited evening/weekend calls) or actual itemised calls ?

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Forscher
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 3 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

Thanks for swift response.

BT have been charging for a package consisting of landline with calls plan with unlimited minutes.

The calls are not itemised.

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-Richie-
Guru
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Message 4 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

It definitely sounds like you have CPS but you'd need a BT employee to confirm it, it's not something customers can see, CPS is where you pay one provider for the line rental and another for calls, also if the addon is incorrect ask for BT to remove it.

Ultimately it's on you to notify BT of any mistakes on the bill, you would of have had price change notifications over the years that your call charges and calling plan would increase in costs, that should of made you question why it would apply to you.

If you're unhappy with the refund offer made, you can ask for your complaint to be escalated, BT have a complaints code of practise which can be seen at Customer Complaints Code of Practice 


However the terms and conditions do state :
e. If you genuinely think we’ve made a mistake on your bill, tell us straight away. We won't suspend or end a service while we look into the matter. You must pay the amount you agree that you owe.

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Forscher
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 5 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

Thank you.

Regarding CPS, I'm unlikely to get any confirmation from BT employees. Those I've spoken to had never heard of an arrangement where the landline is left with BT but the calls are billed by another company.

They were baffled, when I phoned to clarify my account and on later calls, to see on BT's system that the calls were being billed by EE. 

Despite this, I was told that Orange/EE had never notified BT.

Are you able to:
(a) shed any light on the procedure that would have been gone through to set up a CPS [or similar] arrangement?
(b) to clarify whether there is any way that Orange could have taken over the billing of calls under such an arrangement without this being evident to BT?

 

 

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iniltous
Guru
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Message 6 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

Are you still billed by ‘ Orange’ as that company doesn’t even exists anymore, AFAIR, it became T Mobile then EE ( which is a BT brand anyway ).

It was quite common, many years ago,  for broadband to be provided on a SMPF ( shared metallic path facility ) basis, where line rental stayed with one company ( BT in your case ) and broadband provided by another ( Orange in your case ), calls could other be made via CPS ( carrier pre select  ) and if you had CPS , if you entered 1280 before the number , billed by the line rental provider , or calls stayed with the landline provider , as CPS wasn’t compulsory with SMPF broadband, some offered it , some didn’t, and those that offered it didn’t necessarily insist it was taken , but optional ( therefore it was your decision to use it and therefore advise BT if the BT calls plan wasn’t needed)

SMPF and CPS are now , and have been for many years , hardly used, and  not available to new customers so very few ‘legacy’ consumers are on them, and there is no single answer to how company’s that offered it in the past them dealt with ‘legacy’ customers on those products…for example , a company with SMPF customers that became exclusively MPF providers ( Talk Talk and Sky are the biggest 2 MPF providers that were originally SMPF providers  ) don’t allow SMPF at all, and either converted their SMPF customers to MPF customers ( those that agreed to the change ) , or sold the SMPF off to other company’s that still offered SMPF, or cancelled those customers that wanted to remain on ‘BT’ line rental, and told them to arrange broadband with someone else.

No doubt, in the past you were asked what you wanted to do, presumably you elected not move away from BT line rental .

Calls are ‘complicated’ , if your BT line rental plan had inclusive calls , but you had CPS , you were wasting money immediately  , but that was your choice , as calls are automatically billed by the CPS provider , if you had ( for example ) a BT Evenings and Weekends calls plan for £5 ( or whatever ) you were spending £5 for nothing and should have been on the Evenings only ( or whatever BT rental plan that didn’t have a standing charge for calls) , but it was you that needed to act , not BT , as with CPS it was still possible for you to use BT for calls using the 1280 override, therefore the  BT ‘plan’ still had value , and you could have used it if you wanted.

Nowadays, BT call plans are PAYG ( no cost unless calls made ) , 700 mins,  and Unlimited ( both those carry a charge ) , when BT mapped legacy call packages onto these new ones , you would have been moved onto the closest match , but were written to by BT , and given the option to change the plan if the one allocated by them wasn’t the most suitable, but you had to take one of the ‘new’ packages, if you didn’t automatically get PAYG then you needed to get it changed to that option, but again your choice.

In your case PAYG is the one to go for if calls were going to be billed by Orange ( EE ) anyway, but if you were on a paid for plan with BT then the mapping would probably put you on 700mins or Unlimited, even though your calls are billed by Orange (EE)  you should have done something then, but another opportunity missed , again it was your action needed, in all cases you could still dial 1280 and take advantage of the inclusive calls that are available with BT, so it’s not like it’s impossible for you to use BT for calls.

To sum up, IMHO , you don’t really have a case , any ‘refund’ would be a ‘good will’ payment , the only argument you could make is if you were paying ( for example ) £5 for E&WE calls to BT but never used them because of the CPS on the line , BT should have noticed, but you always had the option to prefix 1280 in front of any number called and ‘BT’ would carry that call, and as with everything not just ‘telecommunications’ it’s your responsibility to be on the appropriate plan.

Unfortunately for you,  that was something you should have realised when you took Orange ‘calls’ as part of the broadband offer, many years , probably decades ago, and more recently when the old BT calls packages were replaced, TBH if you have been offered anything at all, take it .

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Forscher
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 7 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

Thank you for your detailed and comprehensive explanation.

I confirm that my broadband and calls are currently billed by EE.

I am not clear as to the detailed history in my case, but am not convinced that I was given all the information and options you mention. I do not believe, for instance, that the option to prefix 1280 in front of any number called was ever drawn to my attention.

Be that as it may, and whatever I could or should have done or realised, it seems clear from your very helpful explanation that BT has been charging for a calls plan which I did not utilise. In fact, it was impossible for me to utilise it, because BT and Orange/EE had set matters up between them in such a way that the billing for the calls was done by Orange/EE.

I notice that a similar problem [under the heading "Two lines, same landline number"] was posted on 25/03/2019 by "Charkibbles", concerning the billing by both BT and TT for calls on the same landline number.

One of the responses was by Distinguished Guru Andy N, who stated "years of rental payments should be returned by BT or TT".
A Moderator [John C2] also responded. I have cut and pasted the link below:

https://community.bt.com/t5/Home-phone-including-Digital/Two-lines-same-landline-number/td-p/1932882...

 

 

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-Richie-
Guru
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Message 8 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS


@Forscherwrote:

I am not clear as to the detailed history in my case, but am not convinced that I was given all the information and options you mention. I do not believe, for instance, that the option to prefix 1280 in front of any number called was ever drawn to my attention.


The prefix isn't required, there was a time it was needed but right now you don't, It was just like a 'calling card number' but now you can make calls normally and EE will bill you as they provide the calls element, BT are paid for the line rental.


@Forscherwrote:

explanation that BT has been charging for a calls plan which I did not utilise. In fact, it was impossible for me to utilise it, because BT and Orange/EE had set matters up between them in such a way that the billing for the calls was done by Orange/EE.


At some stage you asked BT for unlimited minutes as an addon, so it was added when really it shouldn't of been requested, as you have a BT line the addon is compatible, if your calls were billed by another communicationm provider why ask for it ? the default calling plan back then was either no inclusive calls or free weekend calls.


@Forscherwrote:

I notice that a similar problem [under the heading "Two lines, same landline number"] was posted on 25/03/2019 by "Charkibbles", concerning the billing by both BT and TT for calls on the same landline number.

One of the responses was by Distinguished Guru Andy N, who stated "years of rental payments should be returned by BT or TT".
A Moderator [John C2] also responded. I have cut and pasted the link below:

https://community.bt.com/t5/Home-phone-including-Digital/Two-lines-same-landline-number/td-p/1932882...


That thread is something unrelated to your scenario, that customer was billed for the same line rental by 2 providers incorrectly because of a failed switch of providers.
You're correctly billed by BT for line rental and correctly billed for calls by EE, your issue is you added a calling plan when you can't benefit from it, an addon will be added when requested and remain active until you inform BT you no longer require it and 30 days notice is typically required.


Who is at fault is the question, utimately you asked for a calling plan addon you can't benefit from, the BT systems allowed that order to complete but that is understandble as the addon is for a for service which BT were providing, Carrier pre-select was such a rare scenerio years ago so I can understand why the system isn't designed to check compatibility, most CPS customers would be aware they have 1 provider for the line and 1 provider for the calls and should know which provider to ask for required addons.
I mentioned you would of had numerous notices about the price of the calling plan price changing, why not query it then ?
BT would of sent you bills every month/quarter, they show how many calls you made, which would be zero so why not query it back then ?
BT bill would have 'unlimited minutes' and the EE bill would have 'unlimited minutes' if you'd read them you'd see that you are paying twice for the same addon.

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iniltous
Guru
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Message 9 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

I’m afraid your assertion that it was impossible for you to make calls with BT is wrong , all you had to do was dial  1280 before the phone number, the call would then appear on the BT landline bill and not the Orange (EE) bill, and if it were an ‘included’ call, there wouldn’t be a charge for it.
The other case isn’t the same as yours, obviously no one should pay two providers for the rental of one line, one should stop charging and the other start when the customer switches provider, that’s why it isn’t really comparable,  it’s best to consider line rental separate from the calls , and if you never intend to make calls with BT  , you needed to be on the appropriate zero included calls plan .

The prefixing of 1280 to override CPS , these days will hardly be remembered, but the way the industry is set up (and has pretty much always been) the  company you are leaving or removing service from , so in your case BT ,  are not allowed to contact you at the time , as that’s seen as anti competitive behaviour by the regulator , about the only ‘contact’ allowed is when switching provider you get a ‘sorry to see you go’ letter , and that was in response to customers being slammed ( moved without consent ) when the consumer only knew after the event and bills started to arrive from the ‘new’ company , so that’s more recent than when CPS was popular, the 1280 prefix , if it were required for you to be individually advised, was probably something Orange should have advised you about  , but even if they didn’t , it doesn’t negate the fact it was available .

Because , back in the day, the way these CPS deals were sold to punters was on a price per minute basis, so ( for arguments sake ) Orange could say all calls , local and national at any time  are 5p/min where as BT was 10p/min local, even more national  , so Orange obviously cheaper , unless of course you had BT Evenings and Weekends which was £3 a month,  a call at these times with Orange would actually be the expensive option at 5p instead of 0p per minute, obvious the cheaper option would be to prefix E&WE calls with 1280 and get then onto BT and use the ‘inclusive’ or free calls that came with BT, again depending on if enough calls made justified the £3 a month ‘fee’, if the amount of calls didn’t justify the £3/month , then ‘Evenings only’ or whatever the zero cost option was called was what you needed to advise BT you wanted to be on.

If someone without these ‘complications’ had an inclusive calls option on their bill , and went on holiday or entered hospital or something like, they don’t get the call plan fee refunded , simply because they didn’t use it, or were unable to use it, obviously in your case this ‘fee’ stretches over probably many years , so a relatively small amount per month could be a significant total, but it’s not like the included calls in the BT call plan were not available to you, it’s just that you didn’t make use them, if you didn’t know how to access them once you were on CPS , that’s not really BT’s problem, and if it were the zero cost option you needed to be on, it’s up to you to tell BT to move you onto that plan.

If BT had called you once they knew you were moving to Orange , even if it were to educate you on using 1280 , they are open to the accusation of offering inducements to stop you moving to Orange at all,  and if you did stay with BT, the regulator would hit them hard once Orange advise that BT obviously broke the rules , that why its never been done,  BT didn’t have to advise you individually how to use 1280 it was published elsewhere , may even have been on the BT landline bill documents, and I would suggest it was relatively widely known when CPS was a commonly used thing.

In my case , AFAIR, I was on ‘free’ evenings and weekends with BT , that suited me, they then made that a chargeable plan (£3 a month ) and the ‘free’ plan became ‘Evenings’ only, I moved to Evenings when they advised me ( and are now on the PAYG option as I never make calls on the landline ) if you were also on that plan, and  you didn’t respond the change , you would start to be charged £3 for something originally ‘free’ perhaps because you were CPS you didn’t think it applied to you , that’s simply unfortunate because it did.

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Forscher
Aspiring Contributor
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Message 10 of 12

Re: SAME LANDLINE PHONE NUMBER, TWO BILLS FOR CALLS

Richie, I did not "add on" unlimited minutes to my BT package!

BT failed to take them off when Orange took over the billing of the calls. 

Having said that, I must thank you for your detailed and helpful advice.

I will consider it in detail and decide where to go from here.

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