British Telecom are one of the company’s that have always annoyed me, but I have had to pay them for a basic landline package since 2007 because I needed it for ADSL Internet. Over the years they have slowly increased there prices and offered me things I don’t need. It seem’s they screwed me over too…

Thankfully BE offer a cheap landline service and as I already use them for my internet service, there is no contract for the landline as it just uses my broadband one which ended years ago. So I decided to switch to from BT’s £15 per month landline to BE’s £10 per month landline.

Decided to check with BT to make sure there was no cancellation charge, there should not be as I signed up to a 12 month contract in 2007 which would have ended and became rolling in 2008 so I thought I was 4 years out of contract.

Has my contract ended and now just rolling? I am thinking about signing up for another providers landline service so want to make sure when I sign up on there site, and they inform you of the transfer, you don’t charge a cancellation fee.

Sent the above to BT and started an online live chat with someone in there Indian call chat centre.

Vanishree Karkera: Hi Ross
Ross Stone: Hi
Vanishree Karkera: Please give me a minute, while I check the details for you.
Ross Stone: Thanks
Vanishree Karkera: You are on Unlimited Evening and Weekend calls and this offer expires on 10/08/2012
Ross Stone: So I have to wait until the 10/08/2012 before I can move to a different provider?
Vanishree Karkera: Is there any particular reason you wish to cease service or anything we can do to retain your custom?
Ross Stone: My current ISP (BE Unlimited) offer a basic landline service for £10 / month.
Ross Stone: I don’t use the landline for calls.
Ross Stone: I just need it for ADSL. So want to have the cheapest service you see.
Vanishree Karkera: We have the Line Rental saver offer
Vanishree Karkera: £10.00 a month equivalent
Ross Stone: I signed up to BT years ago on a 12 month contract I thought. I moved in 2010 maybe so I should be out of contract and free to move without cancellation fees but wanted to check.
Ross Stone: Hmm
Ross Stone: Not interested in that saver thing you linked as its not cheaper and having to reorder and pay up front is not convient.
Vanishree Karkera: We have a separate team called Customers Option team who normally offers Special deals.

I am afraid that I am not authorised to provide Special offers and Customers Option team do not work on Chat Is that Ok If I can call you get this arranged
Ross Stone: Could you just advise if I will be charged a cancellation fee if I transfer line to another provider?
Ross Stone: Not in a position to answer call at the moment, hence why Chat / Email is preferable for me.
Vanishree Karkera: Yes you will be .
Ross Stone: I will be charged a fee?
Vanishree Karkera: £15.42 is the cancellatuion
Vanishree Karkera: sorry
Ross Stone: I don’t understand, how am I still on contract?
Vanishree Karkera: £15.42 is the cancellation charge
Vanishree Karkera: You are on Unlimited Evening and Weekend calls and this offer expires on 10/08/2012 If you cancel the charges are £15.42
Ross Stone: When did that contract start though?
Ross Stone: As I have lived at my present home for over two years… I would not have signed a new contract in the last two years?
Vanishree Karkera: This was a auto renewable contract. It renews once in 12 months and on the 11th month we advise the customer
Ross Stone: So it does not become one month rolling? Hmm, this is not what BT advised when I first signed up five+ years ago.
Ross Stone: Do you have a link or copy of a web page that explains this clause of your standard contract?
Vanishree Karkera:
Ross Stone: How do you advise me? By email? I don’t believe I have received notices (paperless billing). Searching my Gmail does not advise of such.
Ross Stone: Your website states…
Ross Stone: “No. Early termination charges only apply if you cancel within your minimum term. So for example if you took a 12 month contract and then sought to cancel 13 months later then no minimum charge would be payable.”
Ross Stone: I am cancelling on the like 60th month of my contract.
Ross Stone: Its not an early cancellation. (There was no response for 10 minutes)
Ross Stone: Well, if its only £15.42 then that still works out cheaper moving to another provider as I save £4 / month so I will switch to avoid your complicated and misleading fee structures.
Ross Stone: Thank you for your help
Vanishree Karkera: Your contract got renewed on 11/08/2011 and will expire on 10/08/2012
You have disconnected.

Bugger. It seems that during my time with BT, they had called to offer me a “free” addition due to my loyalty to BT and offered me “free” evening and daytime calls at no extra charge. Not that I use the BT line for calls anyway. It seems that this gift to there valued customers comes with a clause that you agree to a 12 month recurring contract, rather than my 12 month contract and no contract then onwards.

They tricked me out of £15.42! Don’t trust BT salesman is the lesson to learn. If I was told all the details I would have rejected the offer, but I unwittingly agreed over the phone not really caring as I don’t make calls so I thought it did not really effect me.

As for the £10 month contract they offered me to switch too. Its hidden behind requirements to pay one year upfront for it and to make two calls a month to avoid a £1.50 surcharge. Meanwhile BE offer £10 with no contract (uses broadband one), no hidden surcharges and no cancellation fees. Much simpler.

It also seems that although I have signed up to paperless billing, BT will send notifications of contract renewals by post? I don’t really pay attention to the post I get as its mostly spam and all my bills are online and paperless these days so I must have missed it. Why they did not email me, I don’t know.

The other thing that annoyed me was how BT keep ringing me up on my landline offering me other services like BT Infinity. I registered my number against the TPS in 2007 and so don’t get marketing calls, the only time I get calls on my landline is from BT marketing who seem to ignore TPS.

BT Infinity is crap for gaming anyway. Download limits are too restrictive… Four games off steam will max you out and then would have used your monthly download limit in a day. So if you format your machine like I did and then reinstall your games off steam… Well, that’s it… No internet for you. :(

Not sure if BT are better or worse than Virgin, the other fibre internet provider in the UK. Virgin are terrible for gaming too though. While they offer the fastest download speeds in the UK, the performance at peak times is unplayable for gaming as they throttle things.

Thank goodness for BE being around to save us gamers from the terrible alternatives.

BT only scammed me out of £15 plus the £70 I paid on there more expensive services over the last three years so its not too bad I guess. Lesson learned. Reading forums, others were not so lucky.

Elsewhere BT announced a jump in profits last quarter… maybe they could invest it in better customer service, easier to understand tariffs or sales staff that don’t falsely explain products.

/end rant about being charged £15 cancellation fee by BT once my transfer order with BE is completed.