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BT billed me £70.65 for not making a call

By Chris Dawson July 23, 2013 - 6:05 pm

I’m totally disillusioned with BT holding me hostage. I don’t really want or need a BT land line as I have unlimited minutes on my mobile. However I have to have a land line so that I can have broadband Internet (which isn’t with BT).

I’ve been paying my BT bill for years and rarely pick up the handset, It’s normally sales calls if the phone rings – almost without fail illegal spam calls as I’m registered with the TPS.

This month instead of paying my BT bill I did what I should have done many quarters ago and had a look at what I’m being charged for.

BT Bill

£0.00 Call charges

First the good news. The bill happily states “You didn’t make any calls on this line” with a line item of “£0.00”. So how the heck can BT issue a bill for £70.65? Here’s what they ripped me off for.

£46.35 Line Rental

I’ve been on an “Unlimited Weekend Plan” for years. The reason I’m on this plan is that BT claim it’s the cheapest contract they have. I don’t want to make calls on the line so it makes sense to be on the cheapest plan. This part of the bill I can’t dispute, but I only keep the line because I want broadband Internet.

£4.80 Friends and Family Mobile Rip Off

I was on BT’s old “Unlimited Weekend Plan and inclusive Friends & Family Mobile – 12 month renewable contract deal” which is no longer available to new subscribers. The cost was £15.45 per month. Along with the Unlimited weekend plan I received inclusive Friends & Family Mobile (normally £1.60 a month).

Apparently when the year was up I didn’t renew the contract and as I’m out of contract BT unkindly and underhandedly switched me to Unlimited Weekend Calls – Standard 12 Month contract. That meant they unbeknown to me started adding on an additional £4.80 per month to my bill.

I never wanted friends and family. I certainly never wanted to pay for it. I wanted the cheapest contract available and instead BT added on extras. I’m not alone in this either, a quick search on the Internet revealed a ton of unhappy people who BT are merrily billing this charge who, like me, used to have it for free.

£7.50 Unfair late payment charge

I’ve been hit with £7.50 for paying my bill late. The current bill arrived today (23rd July) and I’ll get another £7.50 late payment charge if it’s not paid by the 29th of July. Yes, that’s just six days (days, not even working days) to pay your bill without being ripped off.

It’s worth noting that the actual Bill Date is the 19th of July, so I should have had 10 days to pay. However BT only allow 10 days from the date of the bill to receive payment regardless of how long they take to notify you of what you owe. If you’re on holiday the week your BT bill arrives then they’re going to gouge an extra £7.50 out of you.

£6.00 Payment processing Fee

If you don’t want to pay by direct debit and have BT steal money in advance from your bank account as they stack up extra charges on your bill and for calls that you don’t want to make and won’t make, then they’ll charge you for paying by debit card. The alternative is to set up a direct debit and let the greedy privatised company take whatever they feel like from your bank account in advance, based on your last bill, and fight to get it back later.

£6.00 Minimum call commitment charge Rip Off

My BT bill states:

“The minimum call commitment has not been met. Make 2 or more chargeable or inclusive calls per month to avoid future charges”.

Unbelievably BT are charging me £6.00 because I didn’t make any calls. They don’t care that I could have made a zillion calls at weekends for free, they’re still hitting my with a charge. This is outrageous – I don’t know any other consumer facing company that charges you for not wanting to use their service.

I don’t want to make any calls. The one and only reason for having the line is for Broadband, which is what I told them when they put me on the cheapest contract before they changed me to a contract plus extras after 12 months.

BT Rip off charges

After ringing up to complain BT reluctantly agreed to credit three quarters worth of £6.00s for the minimum call commitment.

BT also agreed to credit £4.80 for a quarters worth of Friend and Family Mobile and said that the credit would appear on my next bill. Bearing in mind that this is billed in advance they want me to pay for something I don’t want, hang onto my money for a quarter, and then knock it off my next bill. If I paid the bill less the £4.80 they’d cut my line off for non-payment.

It was only after speaking to the BT rep’s manager’s manager that they saw sense and agreed to let me pay the bill less the £4.80, leave it as a debit on my account until it was balanced out by the credit in three months time.

Why deal with such a greedy company?

I don’t want to deal with BT but they have me over a barrel. They quite happily want to charge me £70 a quarter so that I can have broadband. Don’t get me wrong I realise I’m blackmailed into a corner and if I want reliable fast Internet I have to pay £46.35 a quarter for nothing more than a rotting piece of copper buried in the ground. I don’t like this but I don’t object to it. What I do object to is when the £46.35 bill turns into a £70.65 bill which to me appears to be pure profiteering on the part of BT.

I totally accept that I should be checking my bills. I’m glad I took the time to review this bill and found out just how much BT were gouging out of me. If you’ve not looked over your own phone bill then take the time to do so and see how much is bleeding out of your bank account into the BT shareholder’s coffers.

  • JD
    4 years ago

    I have BT Broadband but I don’t pay 1p to BT for ‘line rental’.

    I pay someone else £13.67 + vat per month for ‘Home Phone’ inc. line rental which because I also have a mobile phone, Gas & Electricity with the same outfit gives me free phone calls to (nearly) all landline numbers in the UK and 10 other countries worldwide (inc. Spain).

    I can put you in touch with someone to give you a quote on request.

    Shop around!

  • Ross
    4 years ago

    The £6 minimum call charge was the one that sent me elsewhere. I now get occasional calls from BT asking me to return, one salesman recently told me that they no longer have the minimum call charge. Obviously a lie.
    There are other companies supplying line rental. Quite possibly your broadband supplier.
    Get ye to Moneysavingexpert – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/phones/home-phone-calls

  • Adam
    4 years ago

    You are aware that you’re not in any way over a barrel aren’t you?

    Yes you have to pay for a phone line (otherwise your broadband’s going to look pretty stupid not having any copper to leave the exchange on) but you don’t have to do that through BT. You can go with any service provider that’ll have you.

    Go forth and shop around, You’ll be much happier for it (and so will BT, less customers means less regulation, their charges are strictly regulated because they still have the lions share of the customers)

  • mw
    4 years ago

    I too had a poor exdperience with BT. They refused to acknowledge their failure in providing a service I was satisfied with, so I left. I went for a cable company that has nothing to do with BT in any way shape or form. Not even line rental via a 3rd party and it costs me less per month and gave me more including TV (no it’s not Sky as they operate through a BT line). BT bombarded me with letters and promotional material asking me to re-join them. Each one was sent back through return to sender as “unwanted marketing material (crap) amend your details” which I believe the Royal Mail charged them for and they had to employ somebody to find and then remove me from their marketing database each time the letter arrived back. Small victory for me, but nervertheless a victory at their expense.
    There are options out there. Just look around for them, but ask the key question of a potential supplier if and how they are connected to BT. I don’t live in a large city so it is possible wherever you are if you look hard enough.
    I will never re-join such a greedy company as BT or Orange/EE (which was another I ditched for the same reason).

  • Rob
    4 years ago

    I think you’ve been paying way over the odds for far too long Chris. If you want landline for broadband, you’ll always have to pay line rental, but this can be done through your broadband provider.

    We recently moved our broadband + phone + TV service from Talk Talk to Sky, and have never paid £70 just for the use for the use of the phone line. We get the package for less than that price. We do use the landline though.

  • Toby
    4 years ago

    So glad we have Virgin Media & a Fibre line into our building with a 100mb connection without the need for a phone line.

    We looked at BT as they have a telegraph pole in our car park & they wanted £500 to install a new line from it & a 5yr contract agreement.

    I would look at your options & even satellite broadband would be cheaper

  • Virgin Media serves this area (and we get mailshots as if we could get their service) but not the few streets around me. Before I moved here, I had used BT for line rental (but only for the minimum rental term, 18 months, since they installed the line for free) and then switched supplier to Primus, recommended on the MoneySavingExpert web site.

    Until recently I was paying about 9 pounds a month (for just line rental, as they offer different packages including NO “included calls”, and I use 1899.com for the {infrequent} call from my landline, such as to friends in USA and elsewhere from 1p per minute – UK calls are 5p whether 10 minutes or 10 hours – it’s 5p connection and 0p/min!). Primus has just DROPPED my monthly rental to 5.99… the broadband service I use isn’t BT and isn’t Primus, and costs me less than a tenner a month!

    Hopefully I will be switching to fibre once the nearby cabinet is enabled… it should have been last September but Openreach delayed and delayed and it’s due ‘any time soon’.

    I feel sorry for anyone paying OTT for their landline, if the telco firms all charge around 15 quid, most consumers will think that’s just “the going rate” but clearly some can offer it cheaper…

  • Richard
    4 years ago

    Never deal with anything that has “British” in the title – it is a ripoff charter

    British Gas
    British Telecoms
    British Airways

    etc etc

  • 4 years ago

    There are numerous Landline Calls + Broadband available. So there should be no problem finding another. However they are not all good reliable companies.

    Like you Chris D I have my Broadband with a different supplier to my Landline. I have never ever had a problem with the Broadband(Sky) but my Landline and calls is with a company called xln. They are truly awful.

    Their most stupid action was to “fry” my computer when they started to muck around with my Broadband(which they do not supply). When challenged their answer was that the Broadband Supplier(Sky) had done something on the line at the very instant that they(xln) were mucking around with my phone (twice).

    So not only are they total clowns but never ever give an honest answer. This was just the worst of their stupidities but there have been several others. Certainly if asked to recommend a Phone/Broadband Supplier I would only recommend xln to my very worst enemy(and then probably only under protest).

  • WildWill
    4 years ago

    I use Google Voice, So my line is 100% free!

    • elvis
      4 years ago

      Ummm, but you need an internet connection to use google voice so you must have a line rental to have internet?????

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