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Standard User PaulJames19
(newbie) Wed 18-Dec-13 10:45:36
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Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


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I ended my contract with BT Broadband in March 2012 to go with Sky. I had a 10GB limit and had to pay £5 for every extra 5GB I used - I never went beyond 15GB so that was fine. When my final bill came I was horrified to find that somehow my broadband usage had tripled in that final month. I therefore had to pay an extra £20 making the bill £51 when for the previous 3 years or so it never went beyond £30.

I didn't do anything different to what I normally did. No downloads of movies or anything, just checking emails and websites.

I phoned up to find out what was going on but all I was told is that was my broadband usage. I asked for a report to be made which I was told would be done. I then forgot about it, waiting for more correspondence. None came.

Now last week, over 20 months later, I received a final notice to pay the bill. I phoned again to find out what was going on. They said a test had been made and nothing was wrong. They hadn't informed me of this until now. I asked for a manager who wasn't available. They said he would call me back that day but he never did.

In the meantime I've had a notice saying a debt collection agency will be used unless I pay.

Anyone had this experience before? Is there an explanation? Just seems very fishy to me...

Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere, I haven't found anything similar.

Edited by PaulJames19 (Wed 18-Dec-13 14:46:10)

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 18-Dec-13 10:58:31
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: PaulJames19] [link to this post]
 
I assume you mean 10GB, as BT has not has a fixed line broadband limit as small as 10MB

10GB is not that much, and a lot depends on how many hours you day your are going to websites and the size of the pages and images on them. Also web pages can be doing small update checks even when you are doing nothing. This can all add up.

As its 20 months since the affair you won't have access to your browser history to cross check if it was a quieter than usual month. To get a bill for an extra 5 * 5GB does sound like a lot of usage though.

Others have disputed the usage monitoring in the past, and generally BT roll-over when its an existing customer, or people just upgrade to the unlimited package.

time to seek some independent advice on your legal position if you are going to continue to dispute the charge.

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 18-Dec-13 13:05:46
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: PaulJames19] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by PaulJames19:
I then forgot about it, waiting for more correspondence.
Not wise! Hence the debt collection agency. Best to pay up under protest and then dispute charge.

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 20 Meg WBC


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Standard User johnjburness
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Wed 18-Dec-13 14:35:22
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
In reply to a post by PaulJames19:
I then forgot about it, waiting for more correspondence.
Not wise! Hence the debt collection agency. Best to pay up under protest and then dispute charge.

As much as I would like to disagree with this advice, I think it is probably the ONLY solution!

Don't forget, Telecoms Bills are regarded as Credit Agreements & this can easily appear as a Black-Mark on your Credit Rating - REGARDLESS of whether you are in the right or not!!

Regards,
John
Standard User PaulJames19
(newbie) Wed 18-Dec-13 14:42:05
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
Yeah, like I'd get my money back then!

No, I meant I was waiting for more correspondence from BT as promised. I didn't receive anything, only their word (which I've only just found out about) that their 'test' proved that my broadband usage was correct. I haven't seen any documentation that says this is correct, just an adviser on the phone.

When I asked to get a written report she refused.
Standard User PaulJames19
(newbie) Wed 18-Dec-13 14:49:55
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Yes, I've edited it now to make more sense. I never used more than 15GB a month in the 3+ years I had it. When I did go over the 10GB limit by a couple of GB I was happy to pay the £5 charge. The final bill stated I used over 30GB which I had never done before (or since).

Just all seems very convenient as it was my last bill before I left them for Sky.
Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Wed 18-Dec-13 14:54:15
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: PaulJames19] [link to this post]
 
Your word against theirs. As said by MrS (I think) you need to get legal advice that this forum cannot categorically provide. You are in dispute with BT and need proper advice on your rights and on the implications of not paying the bill.

Try CAB. If you can't get the advice from CAB then it would almost certainly be cheaper to pay the bill than to ask a solicitor.
Standard User PaulJames19
(newbie) Wed 18-Dec-13 15:03:15
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
I paid it when I got the threat of the debt collectors. I'm not looking for legal advice on here. I just wondered if anyone else on the forum had heard of something similar? I will be pursuing it further.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Wed 18-Dec-13 15:44:11
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: PaulJames19] [link to this post]
 
We have had people still in contract dispute the charges, and had them changed, but given it is so long since the fact then things are a lot more complicated.

No evidence of a large campaign to gain extra money from people by charging more when they leave.

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 18-Dec-13 20:00:49
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Re: Are BT ripping me off with my final broadband bill?


[re: PaulJames19] [link to this post]
 
I think you have to ask whether this is worth pursuing.

In essence, this is a straightforward contractual dispute - BT allege that the charges are due under the contract in existence at the time, whilst you claim they are not. The time limit for legal action based on contract is 6 years (section 5 Limitation Act 1980) so the matter is far from being statute barred, but I would argue that, if you eventually reached the point where court was the only option, taking court action based on these facts is disproportionate considering the court fees would be £25 (assuming any claim is filed online).


Any dispute will revolve around proof of the usage in the last month. BT will have the RADIUS accounting information showing the usage, which you have found no reason to dispute in any other month. You appear to have no evidence to support your dispute other than the recorded usage being out of line with previous months. In support of their figures, BT could well argue that you'd used an extra 15-20GB that month (hence the additional £20), which is hardly that heavy on an ADSL line, and could well produce statistics on complaints received each month in relation to usage to show there's no evidence of a widespread malfunction in the accounting data for that month.

Ask yourself - on the balance of probabilities (the civil standard of proof), would a judge be more likely to believe BT's contention that the data is accurate, or yours that it is not?


You have no right to demand particular review measures be taken unless your contract granted you those rights. BT appear to have checked the data at the time, satisfied themselves that nothing is wrong, but failed to contact you to let you know about this. That is bad customer service, but does not undermine BT's position from a contractual point of view.


Ultimately, I can't see any point in taking this any further. There are really no lessons that can be learned with the time that has elapsed, and you seem to have no evidence that rebuts BT's contention that the usage figures are accurate. Unless you stated that you were paying whilst continuing to dispute the sum owed, your payment indicates you agree the bill is accurate.

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