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Message 1 of 9

Trapped on BT Basic

I recently took over the phone line of a deceased relative through the BT Bereavement Service. It was a BT basic phone line with no broadband. As it was a takeover it remains out-of-contract so I'm not currently within my minimum contract length.  

I'm now living in the house and need broadband for work, however we're uncertain if we'll have to sell soon so i'd like to avoid a long broadband contract. BT only seem to offer 24 month packages so I attempted to switch this line to a 12 month John Lewis broadband and line rental offer, however JL said there were 'incompatible products' on the line and that i would need to ask BT to remove social telephony / BT Basic.

BT were adamant when i spoke to them that having BT Basic would not stop a working line takeover request, however JL were equally adamant that they couldn't takeover the line without action from BT. They also said they couldn't speak to BT on my behalf owing to OFCOM rules. 

I've since cancelled my JL application and tried to join Plusnet. I know they're the same company but I believed BT and thought JL were just being overzealous. Sure enough, this morning Plusnet phoned and said i couldn't switch with a BT Basic phoneline. BT would have to remove it and they are wrong to suggest they can't.

So, at the moment I'm passing messages between JL/Plusnet and BT.  JL/Plusnet saying removing BT Basic is necessary and possible, and BT saying it's unnecessary and not possible.

The only options BT have offered are:

  1. Start a new standard BT phone line with a 12 month contract. I couldn't switch to JL/Plusnet or any other provider for the duration of the contract. 
  2. Switch to BT Broadband with a 24 month contract (and about £17 higher per month than JL/Plusnet)

Can BT really block customers switching from BT basic to a broadband package from another provider?

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Message 2 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

If it’s only a phone service , presumably you can survive without it for a short period, simply cancel the BT Basic ( probably would have been simpler to do this when the original account holder passed away ) , then simply chose the provider you want to use and arrange service, most don’t consider this a new line and should not charge for an installation , especially if you take a broadband service …..

AFAIK  incompatible products shouldn’t include BTB , what is essentially just a reduced price call plan , so are you sure the incomparable product is BT Basic and not some other possibility historic idiosyncratic item still showing on your account a legacy of taking over someone else’s ‘line’ ,  plus if you took over the line , unless you too also had qualifying social benefits ( pension credit etc ) then how did you get the BT  social tariff in the first place , surely you should have taken a regular package 

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Message 3 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

Thank you for your reply. I'm executor and needed to pay off the phone bill plus needed a phone line active for relatives phoning. Keeping the existing line made sense at the time and i didn't foresee an issue occurring afterwards. 

As far as i'm aware applications to Plusnet / JL require a working line takeover so cancelling didn't seem like an option. 

You raise an interesting point: I am ineligible for a social tariff so if i just declare that to BT would they remove BT Basic and not put me on a fresh 12 month call contact? They did ask me if i was in receipt of benefits to be eligible for social broadband packages and i said no. 

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Message 4 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

I've seen this before where there's been an incompatible calling feature on the line, typically call divert from a fault being riased and the divert added free to keep vulnerable customers connected, there are other features that can also stop it.

The line shows the feature on Openreach records, orders then fail due to it, it's from an older way of doing things from years and years ago which is why they are no longer compatible with newer processes.

I've asked a passing mod to investigate, you should of also been moved from BT Basic, it was a means tested benefit plan which you're not entitled to have.

Message 5 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

Hi @greenbluepink

Welcome to the BT Community and thank you for posting!

Sorry for the problems you're having changing to a line and broadband package.  I understand you're having these issues as you're on BT Basic.  I appreciate the time you have spent up to this point trying to sort this out.

We can look into this for you from here.  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



Message 6 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

I always thought you could get some type of broadband package with BT Basic. Before this we had BT Pay&Call which worked like a BT Cellnet/O2 Pay &Go mobile hence the name. This was 2004 and the only internet service compatible was BT Openworld dial up at the time it was awful. There was no discounts back then and it was just a prepaid fixed line service. BT Basic requires you to be on certain benefits whereas Pay & Call wasn't as strict and back then this was the Inclusive service offer.
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Message 7 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic

Thank you, Robbie. I've replied to your private message with the information you asked for.
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Message 8 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic


Did the private message manage to resolve your issues? 


We are having the same problem our side. 




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Message 9 of 9

Re: Trapped on BT Basic


You would better starting your own post and that way you will get replies to your problem which you need to post

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