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Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 24-Oct-13 16:49:53
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
They're risking a breach of the requirement in Regulation 8 of The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2334) to provide information in a written or other durable form about the information itemised in Regulation 7
Only if you interpret the action of pre-registering by consumer to be either an acceptance of BT's offer or an offer in response to BT's invitation to treat, i.e. to be a constituent element of making a contract. That is still a moot point!

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

Edited by XRaySpeX (Thu 24-Oct-13 16:51:40)

Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 24-Oct-13 22:30:53
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
BT's use of the term 'pre-register' creates an annoying lack of clarity in the contractual position
Yes, it does! Isn't 1 of the components of making a contract is that both parties intend to enter a contractual arrangement? I took it that by pre-registering I was merely pre-registering an interest (just like those who pre-registered an interest in FTTC before it came to their area) and that I would hear from BT by email eventually (not as yet) with their definite offer at which time I could, if I accepted, actually register for it.

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
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 25-Oct-13 02:00:48
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
In reply to a post by David_W:
BT's use of the term 'pre-register' creates an annoying lack of clarity in the contractual position
Yes, it does! Isn't 1 of the components of making a contract is that both parties intend to enter a contractual arrangement?
There's four elements in a contract: offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations.

Offer and acceptance we've already discussed. One party must make an offer they intend to be bound on acceptance by the other party, and the other party must accept that offer unconditionally.

Consideration is often a complex topic, especially when it comes to contractual amendments, but there's no real issue here. The basic formula is act for promise or promise for promise. The position that would be reached at eventual contract formation here is promise for promise: a customer taking up the free year's BT Privacy with Caller Display would promise to stay with BT for a year and BT would promise to provide a free year of Privacy with Caller Display.


Intention to create legal relations - which is what you were thinking of - is about whether the parties intended to create a legally binding agreement or not. It's most relevant in preventing the extension of enforceable contracts to most domestic or social agreements. If you promised your mother you'd see her for Sunday dinner if she'd cook, and she agreed, we've got offer, acceptance and consideration. What we don't have is an intention to create legal relations - you didn't intend it to be possible for your mother to seek damages from you in court if you failed to turn up for dinner on Sunday.

In commercial contexts, there is a strong and almost indefeasible presumption of intention to create legal relations. If you want to go Googling, the most relevant leading case is Esso Petroleum Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise [1976] 1 WLR 1. About the only rebuttal of contractual intent in a commercial context is an explicit one - an agreement describing itself as an "honourable pledge" was held to be non-contractual in Rose & Frank Co v Crompton Bros [1923] 2 KB 261.

So, it's not intention to create legal relations that resolves this matter - it's in a commercial context, so the parties are taken as understanding that any agreement is legally binding unless there is very strong evidence to the contrary. The outstanding question is about what the parties agreed.

In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
I took it that by pre-registering I was merely pre-registering an interest (just like those who pre-registered an interest in FTTC before it came to their area) and that I would hear from BT by email eventually (not as yet) with their definite offer at which time I could, if I accepted, actually register for it.
I took "Register to get BT Privacy with Caller Display free for 12 months from the date it launches* (a new 12-month line rental contract applies)", with the additional terms and conditions at the *, as immediate entry into a binding commitment (i.e. a contract) to take Privacy with Caller Display for one year from 6 December 2013, with a new 12 month minimum contract period running from that date.

Words take their normal meaning unless there is a good legal reason to depart from that meeting. If there's any dispute about the meaning of a word, the courts often turn to the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED defines pre-register as "to record or register in advance". That would be compatible with my understanding - you're registering for a service in advance of it starting.


I remember the various BT pre-registration schemes for various broadband technologies. The problem with your interpretation is that I believe you've read "pre-register" as "pre-register an interest" without any justification to insert the words "an interest".

Of course, it's not what I say that matters, but what a court would say. The test for the agreement is found in Smith v Hughes (1871) LR 6 QB 597: irrespective of their real intentions, A is bound if they induce a reasonable person to believe they have accepted B's offer, and B entered into the contract believing A had accepted their offer. In that case, the dispute was over sale by sample: the buyer accepted the seller's sample of oats believing them to be the old oats he wanted, when the seller knew they were new oats. The first limb of the test is satisfied: a reasonable person would believe the buyer accepted the sample. The second limb of the test is also satisfied: the seller entered into the contract believing their sample of oats had been accepted and they would satisfy the contract by supplying oats consistent with that sample. The buyer's unilateral mistake in accepting new oats he was unable to use didn't excuse him from the contract.

In other words, it's not what you thought you were doing by accepting BT's offer that matters, but what an independent and unbiased observer would think you had done by accepting that offer. You accepted BT's offer believing it to be pre-registering an interest, and BT entered into whatever agreement has been created believing you'd accepted their terms. So, the issue is what that reasonable observer believes BT's offer to mean.


It really would have helped if BT had used clearer wording.


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Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 25-Oct-13 04:03:33
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
Well, I didn't understand much of what you say except that you disagree with my belief that by pre-registering I had not entered a contract. I expect time will tell when I get the promised email from BT.
In reply to a post by David_W:
as immediate entry into a binding commitment (i.e. a contract) to take Privacy with Caller Display for one year from 6 December 2013
BTW: I think you have the date wrong; it is 4 Jan 2014.
From 4th January 2014 BT Privacy with Caller Display will cost £1.75 a month.

Register to get BT Privacy with Caller Display free for 12 months from the date it launches
6 Dec is just the deadline for pre-registering. Until 4 Jan BT Privacy with Caller Display is free as normal. On that date the chargeable version launches but by pre-registering (prior 6 Dec) you get the opportunity to have it free for 1 year with conditions.

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
Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 25-Oct-13 07:51:55
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
Well, I didn't understand much of what you say except that you disagree with my belief that by pre-registering I had not entered a contract. I expect time will tell when I get the promised email from BT.
I tried to make that post as straightforward as possible. The key part is the second half of the post: I don't see the words "an interest" following "pre-register", and it is what an independent reasonable person would say you and BT have agreed that determines the meaning of any contract.

In reply to a post by XRaySpeX:
In reply to a post by David_W:
as immediate entry into a binding commitment (i.e. a contract) to take Privacy with Caller Display for one year from 6 December 2013
BTW: I think you have the date wrong; it is 4 Jan 2014.
From 4th January 2014 BT Privacy with Caller Display will cost £1.75 a month.
At the *, it says "Pre-register before 6th December 2013. Provision on or after 6th December 2013." I expect, therefore, that provision of the new free service will start from 6 December 2013, and it might well be that most if not all of the pre-registrants will have the service provided from this date. However, the wording would allow provision at any date from 6 December 2013 to 4 January 2014.

BT really couldn't have made much more of a mess with this one - ambiguity because of the word "pre-register", apparently no promptly sent confirmations (which may breach the requirement to notify various things found in Distance Selling Regulations), ambiguity over the date of provision and no rational connection between the end-date of the pre-registration scheme and the start date of the new charges.

Hopefully the e-mail, when it arrives, will answer some of these concerns. It would help if someone getting one of these e-mails (or letters, if they didn't give their e-mail address when pre-registering) would post it.


The only reason I can come up with for the requirement to register before 6 December 2013 is that there may be relatively little publicity about the upcoming charges for the popular and previously free Privacy with Caller Display until the pre-registration scheme has closed. It may then be there is no way for existing Privacy with Caller Display customers to take up the free year and they will incur charges unless they cancel the service before 4 January 2013. Meanwhile, BT would be able to claim all existing customers had the chance of a free year.

I find this kind of marketing, if this is what BT intend, rather underhand. I am certainly looking at my options with regard to leaving BT Retail.

Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Fri 25-Oct-13 09:07:43
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
I am certainly looking at my options with regard to leaving BT Retail.


My broadband contract should end in Feb and my line rental saver in Jan so I am strongly considering moving to someone else. It was the free caller display that made it worth staying but now Plusnet or Sky are definitely starting to look like a worthwhile jump (especially as FTTPoD isn't showing the potential I had hoped for - no way am I entering into a 3 year contract for it).
Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Fri 25-Oct-13 10:05:35
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
I had a contract with BT Retail for line rental and free evening/weekend calls, on a good retention deal, that ended in August. When the contract ended the price would have gone up to the normal rate and they wouldn't negotiate a lower cost deal, so I left. (Incidentally, during the attempted negotiation the best they could offer was for me to pay the full 12 months upfront but they failed to mention that there would be an additional monthly charge for free evening calls!)

I believe the line rental, calls package and caller display etc. would have continued on a 14 day notice period (with the same package until Jan 14?) If I had stayed with BT Retail then I can imagine that the offer of free Privacy and Caller Display may have lured me into agreeing to a new 12 months contract via all this pre-registering nonsense...

Edited by 4M2 (Fri 25-Oct-13 10:32:32)

Standard User broadband66
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 25-Oct-13 21:11:29
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
"There's four elements in a contract"

Actually, there are four elements not there's - not quite a point of law but just better grammar.

Was Eclipse Home Option 1 & VM 2Mb
Now O2 standard
Standard User 4M2
(knowledge is power) Sat 26-Oct-13 16:32:14
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
I checked with my aunt again today and she's just received a letter from BT Retail regarding prices rises for BT Basic (however there was no reference to the phone call that she got from BT a few days ago.) The letter states that for BT Privacy and Caller Display a charge of £1.75 per month will be imposed from Jan '14 on BT Basic accounts. It is apparently possible to get BT Privacy and Caller Display for free on her BT Basic account from next year if she calls BT Retail and requests it but the details regarding termination charges etc. are rather unclear in the letter.

Anyway I established today that she sensibly refused to pay for BT Privacy and Caller Display and was advised that if she did want that service on her BT Basic account then she should call back and request it. Probably in January BT Privacy and Caller Display will no longer be available to her since she has refused to pay for it and does not intend to request it.

The call that she got from BT Retail certainly caused some confusion and even the letter regarding BT Basic price increases is not well written since it does not appear specific to her account.
Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Tue 10-Dec-13 20:03:22
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Re: BT Privacy with Caller Display


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
I took 'Register to get BT Privacy with Caller Display free for 12 months from the date it launches* (a new 12-month line rental contract applies)', with the additional terms and conditions at the *, as immediate entry into a binding commitment (i.e. a contract) to take Privacy with Caller Display for one year from 6 December 2013, with a new 12 month minimum contract period running from that date.
It transpires, it seems, that pre-registration did not actually trigger the entering into of any contract as such but the addition of an unselected but selectable option:
o BT Privacy with Caller Display free for 12 months .................................. £0.00

Includes the option to register for the Telephone Preference Scheme (TPS) to help prevent unwanted sales calls. A new 12 month line rental contract applies
into your list of selectable Calling Features. Thereby allowing you to choose when and if to invoke it and thus then enter into a new binding contract. See: http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/bt/f/4287586-pre-re...

However, it also transpires that even those who did not pre-register but already had existing BT Privacy with Caller Display also had this option added to their list of selectable Calling Features. So it would seem that the whole kerfuffle of pre-registration was a much-ado-about-nothing grin.

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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