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Standard User Pegleg
(newbie) Mon 24-Sep-12 12:25:09
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PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[link to this post]
 
Hi folks,

I'm looking for a little advice as I feel I am between a rock and a hard place.

Back in May we decided to switch our Broadband over to Sky from Eclipse Internet (whom we have had many years good service with). We chose to do this based on cheaper prices and because we already had the Phone and TV services with them.

Having switched many times in the past I knew it had to be carried out using a Migration Authority Code. I duly requested this and the code given was provided to Sky during the signing up process.

Shortly after my broadband went live with Sky I received my final bill from Eclipse, but the amount they took from my account was the final month payment but with an extra £30.

When I contacted Eclipse the explanation was that Sky had not used the MAC, but in effect 'hijacked' the line, forcing BT to make a PSTN cease at the exchange, which incurs costs of £30. That amount was then debited from our account to pay the fee.

I was not happy with this and phoned Sky, who stated that the MAC code wasn't needed. I asked them about the cease and they denied such a thing took place, stating that nothing needed changing at the exchange. They told me that I should refuse to pay the amount and take it up with Eclipse.

Eclipse tell me that Sky try this on all the time, they are notorious for it, and that the charge still stands. They suggest that Sky should be responsible for redeeming the amount because they have not gone through the correct channels. I asked Eclipse for Proof of the cease so that I had something to use to support a dispute with Sky. They told me that they couldn't provide any document but proof was provided in an email that was sent by Eclipse when BT ceased the circuit. That email is below:

"Dear Sir,

Our suppliers have advised us that a change to your telephone service or account details for your line has prompted their systems to generate a broadband circuit cease request (PSTN Cease).

Common reasons for this include:

Cancelling the phone line because it is no longer required or you are moving property
Moving your telephony provider away from BT to a 3rd party provider
Making a change to your BT phone account, e.g. the bill payer has changed
A long-standing fault with your telephony service
The phone line was suspended/stopped by BT for payment reasons

IUnfortunately we are unable to stop this cease request with the suppliers because there is a direct link to your telephony service which is a contract between you and your phone provider. Sadly we cannot discuss this with our supplier due to data protection

We appreciate you may not have been aware of any changes occurring which may have caused this, however because of this activity your broadband connection was ceased and as a result we have cancelled the service on our systems, taking our standard 30 days notice from when the cease completed.

Because the service has had to be cancelled any early termination fee applicable (depending on the contract status for the service) will apply. Due to the nature of the cease we have had to add the broadband cease charge of £25.00 + VAT which is passed on from our suppliers when a broadband connection is ceased".

I offered to email this to Sky as proof, but the customer service adviser told me he 'didn't have an email address'. He also again stated that Sky were innocent, no line was ceased and the amount should never have been charged.

At the end of my tether being bounced between both companies I decided to take matters in to my own hands and seek indemnity at the bank. We put in a claim for the £30 which was successful and the money was reclaimed. However, a fortnight on from this we started receiving emails from Eclipse saying that we still owed them the amount and that it would be passed on to the legal team. I answered with full explanation of why I refused to pay and told them that I had lodged the indemnity claim and had the money redeemed by the bank, so they should not be pursuing me. I did not receive any response to this email and two weeks later I receive a letter form a Debt Collection Agency giving me 10 days to pay or action will be taken.

I rang Eclipse who basically just told me it was out of their hands and that I should make the payment.

So my quesitons are... do I have a leg to stand on? Should I press Sky to cough up with the money (even though I cannot prove what Eclipse say is true). Do I have any protection form the bank? Should I go to an Ombudsman? Would I get anywhere contacting BT for proof of the cease? Or should I just drop my principles and pay up?

I would really appreciate your advice on this.

Thanks for reading,
Pegleg
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Mon 24-Sep-12 12:43:58
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: Pegleg] [link to this post]
 
A move from SMPF (BT Wholesale based service) to full LLU which is Sky/TalkTalk does not require a MAC, but you did the correct thing by requesting one.

With a migration from SMPF to full LLU, the move while resulting in a cease of the old PSTN/ADSL services should not generate a cease charge from Openreach or BT Wholesale.

MIllions of moves like yours have happened in the last 5 years, and there has NOT been millions of cease fees raised, because they should not. I suspect Eclipse is raising the cease fee incorrectly, rather than having been charged already by its supplier.

Migrations are not to meant to result in cease fees - end of.

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) Mon 24-Sep-12 13:16:44
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by MrSaffron:
A move from SMPF (BT Wholesale based service)
Did OP have this? He said he already had his Phone with Sky.

Does that a diff bearing on your views?

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 19 Meg WBC


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Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 24-Sep-12 13:26:59
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: Pegleg] [link to this post]
 
You have no protection or indemnity from your bank. All that they did at your request is action a Chargeback, which results in your "creditor" not being paid. Hence the subsequent claims from Eclipse and the Debt Collection Agency.

The save further complications you would be well advised to pay the claim now "without prejudice" and/or "under protest" and find some way to claim it back from the liable party of whom I'm unsure or even if you have a valid claim as you may be liable under this "reason":
Moving your telephony provider away from BT to a 3rd party provider


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 19 Meg WBC
Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Mon 24-Sep-12 16:00:40
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: Pegleg] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Pegleg:
When I contacted Eclipse the explanation was that Sky had not used the MAC, but in effect 'hijacked' the line, forcing BT to make a PSTN cease at the exchange, which incurs costs of £30. That amount was then debited from our account to pay the fee.
The £30 is a broadband cease charge, caused by the line being moved from (BT Openreach) Wholesale Line Rental with Sky to LLU phone with Sky. It isn't a charge for the PSTN cease itself, even though one occurred.

It is possible the PSTN cease took place shortly before the broadband was moved. Thus generating a broadband cease for which Eclipse may have been charged. If Sky submitted the correct order then they should not have been.
I was not happy with this and phoned Sky, who stated that the MAC code wasn't needed.
Technically correct, but as MrSaffron says it is important to have requested and received on, plus submitting it if possible. Precisely because this sort of problem is not uncommon.
I asked them about the cease and they denied such a thing took place, stating that nothing needed changing at the exchange.
Utter drivel. That could mean that they therefore submitted the wrong sort of order. (I expect the requirement when taking the line and the broadband from one or two suppliers, which is the norm, is different from taking just the broadband from one, when the line is already with them on WLR3).

In particular! A move of broadband to an LLU supplier, either MPF or SMPF, involves the line from you, carrying both phone and broadband, to route to the LLU DSLAM rather than the BT Wholesale one it was previously on. The broadband and phone circuits are in all cases separated at the DSLAM and then routed as appropriate to their backhaul.

So your line was disconnected from a BT Wholesale DSLAM/MSAN and connected to the Sky one. Fact. Then everything was jumpered up by the engineers to route both your broadband and phone into the Sky LLU backhaul.
They told me that I should refuse to pay the amount and take it up with Eclipse.
In my view the fault could be either of them. There are two possibilities.

1) Eclipse were notified of a broadband cease so charged you, without first checking they had been charged by Openreach. If Sky followed the correct procedures then Openreach will not have issued such a charge.

2) Sky did not follow the correct procedures so a charge on Eclipse was raised.

You need to ascertain from Eclipse whether or not they were in fact charged. If they were not, then it's up to them to cancel the charge to you.

If they were charged, I believe legally you have to pay them, and seek redress from Sky.

My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk
Domains,website and mail hosting - Tsohost. Connection - Plusnet Extra Fibre (FTTC). Sync ~ 56.0/13.9Mbps @ 600m.

"Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant." - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn.
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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Mon 24-Sep-12 18:59:12
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
Not really, as that means it was Sky WLR for the old phone service. But it does increase possibility that Sky messed up as when they notified themselves about the user transferring PSTN service.

Eclipse should dispute the charge with their supplier at this stage, which would be BT Wholesale

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 Pegleg
(newbie) Tue 25-Sep-12 12:47:50
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Thank you so much for all your replies. Some of the technical acronyms are over my head, but I get the general idea. I will eat humble pie and pay up the debt collectors to get them off my back, but rest assured I'm going to take up the issue with Sky as I am majorly disappointed that they should be allowed to hijack my line at the exchange without warning me of the potential knock-on effects (of which I'm sure they were fully aware).

The problem we have as consumers is that we are arguing with old hands who get away with this sort of thing all the time, and who are we to argue with the experts?

When Eclipse told me that Sky do this all the time and the scenario is common and familiar to them, I told them that something should be in place to prevent any comeback on Eclipse in such an instance, i.e. proof that will place the responsibility squarely in Sky's lap, such as an official document from BT (showing the cease took place). This could then be forwarded to the customer in such an instance to argue the case. Eclipse said that there is no such proof that they can provide (I can't remember the reason why). So that now leaves it as my word against Sky, and they are obviously not going to admit it. I don't hold out much hope of consumer justice on this one.
Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Tue 25-Sep-12 12:58:36
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: Pegleg] [link to this post]
 
Its Eclipse wrongly charging you, not Sky. There's no other way to move to Sky


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Standard User Bob_s2
(member) Tue 25-Sep-12 13:02:45
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: BatBoy] [link to this post]
 
Chances are you may end up paying it . All you can do is keepchasing Eclipse. You could take them tothe small claims court but it is a lot of hasle for a small amount.This is what companies rely on for small amounts. There is no easy way of remedying disputes
Standard User yarwell
(sensei) Tue 25-Sep-12 13:47:39
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Re: PSTN Cease Fee Dispute [Eclipse to Sky]


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
A quick Google for "BT Wholesale cease charge Sky" finds several cases of people being charged. "Unsolicited cease" appears to be the cause :-

SECTION 44. WHOLESALE BROADBAND SERVICES
Part 3. Broadband Ancillary Charges
SUB PART 2.0 : BROADBAND ASYMMETRIC ANCILLARY CHARGES
END USER CEASE CHARGES
General Description
Cease charges will apply when a BT Wholesale ADSL End User service is terminated or replaced by a non-BT Wholesale ADSL End User service (cease and re-provide). A cease charge will be raised under the following circumstances:
· The Service Provider raises a cease order.
· The Service Provider asks BT Wholesale to raise a cease order on their behalf.
· Openreach issue an unsolicited cease because the PSTN service has been
terminated
.

A cease charge will not be raised in the following circumstances:
· The End User line has been migrated to another ADSL service provider using the
published migration process.
· The End User line has been migrated to an LLU operator (either SMPF or MPF)
using the published migration process.
· When End User service is migrated to another BT Wholesale ADSL service and /
or to another Communications Provider (CP) where a MAC code is used.

End User Cease Charge: £24.74 (exc VAT)
Operative Date: 01-04-2010

--

Phil

MaxDSL - goes as fast as it can and doesn't read the line checker first.

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