It seems BT have seen sense and have rescinded the £20 charge they sneaked into my bill without telling me.
From: Online Billing [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 01 March 2008 04:51
Subject: RE: Thank you for your email dated 28/2/08 regarding Bills and Payments. (KMM43421884I24871L0KM)
Dear Mr Jamieson,
Thank you for your e-mail dated 29/2/08 regarding the charges on your bill.
Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying to you and for any inconvenience this may have caused.
With response to your email, I am sorry to hear that you were not notified regarding the reconnection charges. However, I have gone ahead and refunded the reconnection charges of £20.00.
Further regarding the payment processing fee of £4.50, on May 1st 2007 we reduced the price of monthly line rental by £1.00 and broadband by £1.00 for customers who don’t pay by Direct Debit. At the same time, a separate payment processing fee of £1.50 a month was introduced. This is not a penalty charge but a separate fee for methods of payment which cost us more to process.
So the net effect is only 50p a month more for anyone who just has a phone line with us, but anyone who takes broadband as well will be 50p a month better off.
I would like to remind you that as part of your terms and conditions you are required to pay your bill in full when you receive it.
BT’s fee for non-Direct Debit payments is amongst the lowest around. For example, Virgin Media charge £5 a month. Many companies, such as Carphone Warehouse, will only accept customers who agree to pay by Direct Debit
The email then went into a massive sales pitch for the benefit of Direct Debits. I wasn’t interested. I replied with this.
Thank you for refunding the £20. When I see that displayed on my online bill I shall pay it.
Your assurances over the safety of Direct Debit however are false. I was debited twice in August and it took me over a month to get the money back. Any queries I have sent as a result of incorrect amounts have taken over a month to get a response, which has obviously resulted in a further Direct Debit.
My experience has shown that BT are unable to process Direct Debits without mistakes and are unable to rectify those mistakes promptly.
I will continue with my service and pay online as I have been doing, so long as the bill is correct.
Let me know when the correct bill is available for me to pay.
Oh yes, and as for your reminding me that I am required to pay my bill when I receive it as part of BT’s terms and conditions, I’ll remind you once again that I was lied to twice over the amounts I would be paying. I will also remind you that I have both of these calls recorded and I will remind you further that these calls are available for download on my website, so you can listen to them yourself if you like.
So complaining about hidden charges does actually work? Everyone should remember that, don’t take hidden charges laying down. Stand up for your rights and speak out if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.
Of course, having every correspondence broadcast on a high traffic website does help matters!