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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
BT.. i swear im going to explode with rage if they keep going on like this!!

following on from a telephone call i had with them at the weekend asking if i would like to sign up for direct debit.. (that ended in 4 letter words only since they AGAIN failed to get the point)

for well over a year now ive been refusing to pay there illegal PPF charge (payment processing fee).. every quarter i pay my bill and add a note to declare ive removed the illegal £4.50 PPF fee...

then (despite me having explained, politely, in detail why their charge is illegal) they start with all the usual pre-scripted BS letters..

just to vent heres my latest battle with them

(just to point out i pay every time via online banking, which is the same as their prescious direct debit in that its fully automated and there is no additional processing or handling as they claim, the only difference being i get to scrutinise it before it leaves my account)







Since you asked i will answer.


you said
"the introduction of a payment processing fee is now a common practice ."

doesnt mean it is legal or resonable to do so.



you said
"as it costs more to collect and process payments by other means than MPP/DD"


so YOU SAY, but have to date been unable to provide any evidence to support it.
(with regard to electronic payment methods NOT cheques).




You said
"but why not consider paying by Direct Debit?"


quite simply because i dont want to. It is MY money, MY account and MY RIGHT to pay however i see fit.



You said
"The Payment Processing Fee has been discussed with OFcom. OFcom accept in principle that BT is entitled to charge a fee that reflects the extra costs involved in handling non-automated payments. BT sets its own prices and charges and is legally entitled to do so. Although OFcom accept the PPF in principle, they have not approved or endorsed the PPF."


Precisely.. firstly you need to show there are indeed "EXTRA" costs involved (evidence of which i asked for last year and never got).. second.. even after which it is still only "in principle" that Ofcom agree.. (doesnt mean they will) and Thirdly, the fee you charge will still have to be deemed reasonable.. i.e even if it did (which i doubt) cost you say 30p to process each transaction (over and above what a direct debit costs) you can not then charge the customer £4.50p (as you currently try to) to cover it.





You said
"We believe the fee is reasonable and reflects the costs incurred by those customers who do not pay by automated methods."


good for you, im so pleased you believe its reasonable,, however back in the real world that counts for absolutely NOTHING.




You said
"For example Sky Talk refuse to accept customers who don't pay by direct debit or continuous credit card mandate, Virgin charge an additional £5 per month and the Post Office charge an additional £1 per month for non-direct debit payment."


all very well and good but that applies to NEW CUSTOMERS only.. . you can not demand anything that was not in the agreement i originally signed up to BEFORE you even implemented your illegal PPF. (i.e to spell it out for you.. if i was a new customer then yes you could specify i have to pay by direct debit.. since im not, you cant.)




You said
" If you decide not to pay the fee, we will apply our standard payment collection process. This means that you will receive a reminder letter from us but if you decide not to pay after this you will eventually have to pay a late payment charge and ultimately we will have to terminate your service."


I have already on previous occassions warned you about threatening me. You can not impose additional penalties for non-payment of something you are not allowed to charge for in the first place. I however, can and WILL pursue you for harassment, inconveinience and unecessary stress these threats (and any possible disconnection of services) are causing me.


Lastly, I am glad you mention your competitors Virgin, I am sick and tired of BT, you are a pointless dinosaur on a par with the Post Office, in this day and age you have only once use and that is provision of the line that carries my broadband to my home (for which i pay someone else to actually use). Shortly Virgin will be taking over all my services including provision of the telephone/broadband line to my home.
After which if you still persist in chasing a fight you can not win i look forward to see you answering all the above points (and many more) in court since this will be your only remaining recourse as thankfully I will not longer be a BT customer.


If you have any further questions you would like putting right on, or any other glossed over pre-scripted responses that you would like the truth extracting from please feel free to ask.


(soon to be ex-BT customer)

Richard ****









original email in full below:
(nothing particularly interesting other than a few swear words)


Subject
payment processing fee

Discussion Thread
Response (Lata Sachdeva) 03/07/2009 03:08 AM
the introduction of a payment processing fee is now a common practice across many organisations as it costs more to collect and process payments by other means than MPP/DD.

The Payment Processing Fee has been discussed with OFcom. OFcom accept in principle that BT is entitled to charge a fee that reflects the extra costs involved in handling non-automated payments. BT sets its own prices and charges and is legally entitled to do so. Although OFcom accept the PPF in principle, they have not approved or endorsed the PPF. OFcom has now decided to carry out an industry-wide review of ‘hidden’ charges levied by communications providers, which will include payment processing fees raised by BT and others, to ensure that they are not excessive. We believe the fee is reasonable and reflects the costs incurred by those customers who do not pay by automated methods.

We certainly appreciate you paying on time, but why not consider paying by Direct Debit? It would be cheaper and would mean one less thing to worry about. I can also confirm that our policy on ways to pay is one of the most customer-friendly in the telecoms business. For example Sky Talk refuse to accept customers who don't pay by direct debit or continuous credit card mandate, Virgin charge an additional £5 per month and the Post Office charge an additional £1 per month for non-direct debit payment.

Please note that paying a payment processing fee, to BT Payment Services, if you make a payment, other than by Direct Debit or Monthly Payment Plan, is part of your contract with BT. If you decide not to pay the fee, we will apply our standard payment collection process. This means that you will receive a reminder letter from us but if you decide not to pay after this you will eventually have to pay a late payment charge and ultimately we will have to terminate your service.

If you have any further query, please feel free to contact me via email.

Thank you for contacting BT.

Your's Sincerely,

Lata Sachdeva
E- Contact Services
Reference number - 090307-000066
Customer (Richard 03/07/2009 12:28 AM
Lata Sachdeva are you stupid??


can you read? if you were not stupid and you could read then you would already know the reason I will not be paying your ILLEGAL PPF charges.


I have writen more than enough polite letters and emails, I even submitted an offical complaint as instructed by OFCOM, all of which have not been acted on, hence i no longer waste my time being polite.


READ THE LETTERS AND EMAILS I ALREADY SENT, otherwise sod off and stop harrassing me for money you are NOT entitled to by law.


Ive already had one of your moron drone telephone operators on the phone this morning reading of her pre-scripted screen as if today was the first dealing with this matter.


If you continue to persist in hassassing me I will pursue you for stress and harrassment.





Now get lost you incompetent idiots.





Any further pointless contact from yourselves with in future receive 4 letter replies only, since conherent resonable requests obviously fail.


Should someone actually bother their arse to read the previous emails and then have something worthwhile to add (not pre-scripted regurgitated crap) then i will listen to what you may have to say.


(and heres a news flash Leta, in future if you want to send your pointless useless crappy replies DONT SEND THEM FROM A NON REPLY address you fukwit)


Re: Important payment reminder for your BT account

Discussion Thread
Response (Lata Sachdeva) 03/04/2009 06:12 AM
Dear Mr ,

Thank you for your email dated 03/03/09 about the payment confirmation.

I can confirm that we received a payment of £33.81 however, your total outstanding amount on your account is of £47.31. Therefore, your outstanding amount left on the account is £13.50 which needs to be paid at the earliest to avoid the late payment charge and the restriction on your account.

I would request you to please make the payment as soon as possible to avoid further follow up on your bill.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact me again via email.

Thank you for contacting BT.

Your's Sincerely,

Lata Sachdeva
e-contact services
Reference Number - 090303-012884
 

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having a good week then mate :rofl:
 

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Forum loiterer!
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:eek: head and brick wall spring to mind :slap:
 

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To be honest this is just the sort of rubbish you get from a lot of large companies now, I have taken in the last year to insisting being supplied with their incoming bank details as and when i take out a service , to arrange my own payments and if they can't / won't supply them i dont sign up.

I realise you are an existing customer , so hence they changed the rules around you , i truly hope you get somewhere with this , its becoming a nightmare !

james
 

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Jammy Git
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Almost a different company but I ended up smashing an O2 mobile phone off the wall during a conversation with some idiot operator.

"Listen to this, this is your phone and this what I think of your ££*&^*&^ "(£("& 9&"*£&"(£& ("*£&(" CONTRACT!!" - Kapowwww!!

OK there was more to it than just one call - probably about 5 hours of holding and more stupid operators etc...

So I feel for you.

I sent the remants of the phone back with my contract and never heard from them again.
 

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Chris
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Have a big pat on the back from me.

It might "only" be £4.50 but its the principal.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thing is i end up resorting to just swearing at them because ive explained it so many times..
I contacted bbc watchdog but suprisingly they didnt reply (they have before about other things ive got on my soap box about)

As jimmy says, its all you get with big companies.. automated responses, people dealing with ongoing calls like its a first contact without realising etc..

I cant wait until June when one of my other contracts ends.. then i can get EVERYTHING from virgin (mobile, Tv, home phone and line rental and broadband). Once that happens BT will have to take me to court since they cant cut me off.

I cant wait to see them try to produce evidence to support their "extra processing costs". Then ill hit them with my counter claim for all the distress they've caused me.. (how much do i need for an RB30 conversion again??) :)
 

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I had a problem with BT well over a year ago when they said they'd there was a fault with my connection and my internet service was down from 8mb to those comparable with Dial Up, when i asked how long it'll be before rectified they said they couldnt tell me cos there was a 'hold' on my line for being a heavy internet user.

After ranting to a 'manager' they assured me that because they werent providing the service i was paying for they were in breach of contract and i could cancel there and then with no extra fees.

A few weeks later i get a 'final bill' with £250 of early cancellation charge, i tried calling them up but there was no record of my previous phone calls due to a 'problem with the system'. Long story short there was always a problem with the system and eventually they sent the bill onto thier collection agencies. I got fed up arguing and just paid it.

Now just last week i got a notice from another collection agency saying i owe £73 to BT, called them up and they now say i've had no previous dealings with this agency and dont know what i'm talking about with this £250... so seeing as i'm contesting it they're passing the bill back to BT to deal with, who no doubt will wait another year before getting a 3rd debt collector involved for this mysterious £73.

BT need to just curl up and die somewhere, they're a shadow of thier formerselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
doesnt surprise me in the least..

they'll do the same with me.. they know they cant win in court, so theyll just pass the supposed "debt" to a third party collection agency who are basically above the law. Doesnt matter if you dont owe it, they just ruin your credit rating and hound you til you pay.
 

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Rich, although i feel for you in your position, please allow me to try and explain it from a complaint handling perspective.. as i deal with this kind of thing for mortgage companies.

If your payments are made through the BT website when logged in, i personally dont see how they can justify a processing fee, and if they can then its upkeep of the servers, as your payment will be allocated straight to your account with no human intervention.

If however the payments you make are direct from your online banking account via their website and not BT, and you are simply using BT's bank details enclosing your account number with their bank details, then there is definitely some processing time from a human in there, as they will recieve a transaction list similar to a statement on a daily basis and some lucky department will have to go through it all allocating the payments manually.

Therefore, youve got a case if you do it via the first method, if second, then i doubt you will get somewhere.

In terms of transferring to virgin, id be careful, its not unheard of for a supplier to put a block on the line until its been paid, and its a pain in the arse to get rid of it (gf when i met her had just had a new line installed for same reason with pipex).

Also, it will only get more complicated, because quite rightly they will pass the debt onto a collection agency, and BT will no longer deal with you personally, as its been sold on by that point, so getting your credit file amended (if its been affected) and resolving the debt will be a long process.

Since i met my gf, ive sorted out her credit file, all 7 defaulted debts and 4 CCJ's, all of the defaulted debts had been paid and 3 out of the 4 CCJ's had also, but they simply hadnt been amended because of incompotence.

As ive said on another thread, we live in a complaints culture mate, if you place one and take it to ofcom (or whoever their ombudsman service is) they may look into the fees and BT may give you them back as a 'gesture of goodwill' before ofcom (or the ombudsman) get heavy on them asking them to provide a full breakdown, however at the moment, youre up the creek without a paddle without placing an official complaint.

As i understand it, BT has an internal complaints procedure which must be exhausted before referral (as with any regulated company) whereby theres a maximum timescale of 12 weeks that has to elapse, then theres the alternative dispute resolution service to go through, and then you can escalate it to ofcom.

Although saying that its been a while since i last had to place a complaint, so the above process may have changed.

The biggest problem with BT is that they are simply too big and its therefore hard for anyone to take ownership.

I find that being polite but extremely firm is usually the best way to resolve things, when you dont get what you want though and you know youre right, thats when you take it further without warning. That also gets a response.
 

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ive a work mate that got his quarterly phone bill a few weeks ago , on way too work one morning he pulls out the said phone bill and says take a look at that and see if you can work it out.....first off a notice the amount ....... £2547 or as near as that as far as i remember ....i say to him ..WTF....story goes gis girlfriend parents live in oz and bt offered them international calls at a cheap monthly fee about £6 or something like that...but didnt tell him that the calls couldnt be more than a monthly limit....and told him he was due the £2500 odd ....well hes going mad saying no f'ing way am i paying that ...he adds up all the monthly calls etc and they dont come near there bloody monthly limit's...so phones back to complain again and bt say they will look into it ...about 2 weeks later after a few red bills he finally gets the charges that he was never due dropped as a good will ..lol...good will my ass...then this week he gets a second bill for 2 weeks use of £350 for more oz phone calls ..

bt ..bloody useless
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Iwannavr..

some interesting points you make, some i was unaware of.

Payments are as you say via my online account, however i asked the simple question (which it seems you have answered but BT could not) as to how my payment cost more to process compared to DD. BT actually gave me some story that my bank charges BT to send the payment?!?! your explaination seems much more credible, but why then havent they explained it? I pointed out in one of the original letters i would pay it if they can show the additional cost it covers.

With regard to BT putting a block on my line. They currently only supply the line itself (not my broadband etc) can they still put a block on it? If so ill just play them sweet until im no longer their customer then tell them to go f themselves once im not. They cant block a line they no longer control.

Ref the ombudsman, i contacted Ofcom and Oftel last year regarding BT. They as you say instructed me to first go through BTs official complaints procedure first. I submitted my official complaint to the correct BT dept last Sept 2008, this was ignored and not even acknowledged. I even resent it along with all the previous correspondence theyve so far failed to answer.. again no answer.

If however the payments you make are direct from your online banking account via their website and not BT, and you are simply using BT's bank details enclosing your account number with their bank details, then there is definitely some processing time from a human in there, as they will recieve a transaction list similar to a statement on a daily basis and some lucky department will have to go through it all allocating the payments manually.
you cant be serious that they take an automated process such as an electronic payment and then manually assign it their end?? Surely that additional processing is their own stupid fault in that case? Computers have an uncanny knack of correctly and efficiently assigning entities with a unique identifier (in this case an account number) why on earth would they bring human input (and error) in to the equation?
I still cant understand how a DD payment can differ from a BACs type electronic transer i send from my online account. Both are set up in advance by entering the details of the account to pay the money in to, both payment types also carry the unique identifier that is the BT account number.
and even so as i mentioned, they cant possibly hope to claim it costs them £4.50 each time to process? Isnt that roughly minimum wage.. id like to see them show it takes an hour for some data entry clark to allocate the payment.
 

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Hi Rich,

Some good questions there, which hopefully ill be able to answer, some will overlap though i think.

The best way to answer this i think is to provide a more fuller understanding of the DD and BACS processes within the sector i work in (mortgages) which will no doubt be the same for other companies such as BT.

I understand that each account has an account number which is the unique identifier, however the DD vs BACS issue stems from what them functions are made for.

Direct Debits are what they say on the tin, the only difference with this is that youre not in control of it, its the company that requests the money, which you have given authorisation for (signed instruction for example). Using the DD method, this is then automatically asigned to your account because that requires no input, as long as the request for payment from your account is successful.

BACS, is simply a method of transferring money from one account to another using inputted details, which also includes a description, which is commonly used for the reference number which as i understand you are using currently.

Within the mortgage industry, or certainly within the ones i work for, non DD payments are recieved on a spreadsheet from the bank on a daily basis, along with several other reports (such as DD rejections, which confusingly enough is called a BACS report). From this spreadsheet, hordes of minions set to work allocating the payments manually, 999/1000 are correctly done.

If youre now wondering why its not an automated process to simply allocate it once its recieved, think of it like your bank account, someone transfers money in with a reference, but youve no idea what its for initially, you then have to look at it, look at the reference and do whatever you will with it from there.

If however it was a payment such as your wage for example, you know exactly when its coming in, and have other transactions taking place as a result of them incoming funds (other DD's for example).

Generally what im trying to say here is that online transfers generally speaking are unexpected payments which have to be processed manually.

With regards to putting a block on your line, ive never experienced it myself and can only go off what happened to my gf and that was that she started a contract with pipex for her line, she then complained about the quality of the line, the internet didnt work etc, so refused to pay. Pipex refused to do anything about it and eventually because she wouldnt pay, put a block on the line and cut her off. In my gf's infinite wisdom, she got around this by having another line installed at a cost of £200.00, more than 4 times the cost of the bill she had incurred with pipex. Shes a bright spark.

If i was you and the charges were as small as a fiver, id simply pay it and move on, its much less hassle, stress, inconvenience and will cost you more in phone calls alone trying to sort it, or explain it to your next provider.

Turning to your complaint, if you sent it recorded delivery and it got there (confirmed on royal mail website it was delivered) then you have the ability to escalate it, if you dont, then you may have to start the process again. This can usually be combatted by sending in big 50pt letters 'OFFICIAL COMPLAINT - AGAIN!!', thats always worked for me, saying they have not recieved my previous letter. Any complaint made to any company should always be done recorded delivery, its just infuriating when they say they havent received something and then ask for the recorded delivery number. Its about £1.20, not worth the fuss and i love proving companies wrong.

I see youve touched on the 'actual' cost to BT in processing that payment, and that it wouldnt cost £4.50 per transaction. Problem is with this one and ill give you an example, is that its been tried and tested on programs such as watchdog (or some similar program which i cant remember the name of) that the actual cost is infact around a fiver for something such as a failed DD or processing a payment, piece of correspondence etc. This is based on a huge time and motion study based on how the payment is recieved, whats happened with it, but other things that are taken into account and quite rightly, is energy used in processing such as electric, maintenance of systems, wage costs, if they sent a letter theres cost for that etc to name but a few.

By doing this, BT can justify the cost to regulatory bodies such as the OFT (office of fair trading) or their regulator, ofcom.

Im sure you have heard all the crap on the news lately about bank charges not being a reasonable pre-estimate of the loss incurred, well its true, they cant justify £35. Which is why millions have already been paid out and why theyre trying to stop it going further with the OFT. Still miles to go yet though before they can make a decision.

To add insult to injury, when we recieve these types of complaints for mortgages about the charges (daily) we reject them with a templated response more often than not. We dont provide the full breakdown that they request (such as that above) as its just not necessary, as the only people we have to answer to is the FSA (financial services authority) and the OFT, as long as the charges are in line with other regulations and Acts such as the UTCCR (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994) its fine.

Think yourself lucky though, all the lenders i work with all charge £15.00 per month when theres no live DD, and yes, we reject them complaints too.

If theres one good thing i can say about BT though (dare I?) is that their online account facility is one of the best ive seen for utilities. The gf manages her account online and has full control over the amount that the DD is collecting for, which is unusual as all other companies dont provide this (including mortgage lenders). Last month she overpaid and so gave herself a payment holiday for one month.

If this is what you didnt like about BT and thats the only thing, it may be beneficial to check that out before changing providers.

p.s. I promise i dont work for BT lol
 
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