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    • CodeMatcha
    • By CodeMatcha 5th Dec 17, 9:33 PM
    • 14Posts
    • 0Thanks
    CodeMatcha
    BT overpriced bill for elderly
    • #1
    • 5th Dec 17, 9:33 PM
    BT overpriced bill for elderly 5th Dec 17 at 9:33 PM
    My great nan (90) is quite suborn, and for years wouldn't let us look at her bills.

    She recently asked me to look at her phone bill because it was so high and she was running out of money. The total over the last 3 months was over £400 and the 3 month bills before were over £200.

    Her current plan is:

    £45/m
    No inclusive calls
    30GB Broadband

    I had been using broadband over the last few months which explained the increase this month (she got confused and thought it was unlimited, but she never uses it so its understandable).

    For the last year or two she has been paying around £140 every 3 months on top of the standard charge (£45/m) just to call her family.

    She is intelligent (only just starting to get confused occasionally), but as she doesnt go online she thought it was a normal price.

    I phoned BT to cancel and put in a complaint (assuming it wouldn't go anywhere), and they convinced me to wait a month to review her account in case I could get a refund. I spoke to someone really helpful who seemed shocked at the charges. I was told, however, that if I switched providers that I wouldn't be able to peruse a refund

    Finally got the result today and was told 'She wasn't miss-sold, we did nothing wrong, she could have called and got a cheaper package anytime'.

    I was told that if she is vulnerable then someone else should be managing her bills - this is insulting on many levels as she is very intelligent - maybe BT should have informed her of her options instead of just sending a bill every 3 months? What about people without family to look at their bills?

    She is vulnerable because she is not given all the options of internet users and she may not know the terminology. Nothing that comes through the post explains the other contract options or tells her she can phone if her contract is too expensive. She has started to get a bit confused, and I was originally told her age would be taken into account.

    Apparently they don't review accounts because of data-protection, so a customer paying that amount every 3 months wouldn't be noticed...

    She has to trust the company she is speaking to, and they have charged her an overpriced £45 for 30GB data and added-on £47/m because she didn't understand she could get unlimited calls. I didn't even realise they still did data capped broadband!

    I know speaking to BT is like talking to a wall and contracts are binding so I have no legal ground, but is there anything I can do - even just make a fuss around the lack of policy around massively overcharging the elderly?

    Shes been paying £90/m just for a landline and BT dont care - now shes financially struggling.

    In theory if BT refunded anything over £60/m, they would still have massively benefited from her age.. its depressing that BT won't look after its eldest customers and is more than happy to keep all of it. I feel there must be a ethics or trading standards issue around this?

    I can't follow up the complaint because I have switched providers and that has closed her account - ridiculous. biased system

    Short version:

    I would have dropped this at the start, but BT's own advisers convinced me to stay because they thought the charges were insane
    Still got the expected 'Legally we didn't do anything wrong' answer - but now ive been messed around
    Keep being told she should have phoned to change her contract, but she as she doesnt use the internet she had no way of knowing £90/m was too much just for a landline. BT did not call her to suggest unlimited calls or mail her offers. The adviser said they dont look at customer accounts like this
    A lot of their demographic are the elderly and they dont cater for them - what about those who dont have family to step in?
    Last edited by CodeMatcha; 06-12-2017 at 7:10 AM.
Page 1
    • iniltous
    • By iniltous 5th Dec 17, 11:09 PM
    • 1,427 Posts
    • 505 Thanks
    iniltous
    • #2
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:09 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:09 PM
    Although it's understandable to be p*ssed off at her provider, I'm not sure they have done anything wrong...they cannot arbitrarily move someone onto a different tariff without that bill payers express consent, they do have 'advisors' who make outgoing marketing calls, and although the primary objective of these calls is to get the customer to recontract, they do discuss if the customer is on the most appropriate tariff , and if not , which tariff is the most appropriate , but they can only call if the customer hasn't opted out receiving these marketing calls, and it's not guaranteed that every customer will get a call like this , even if they are open to receiving them.

    As far as no inclusive calls, that isn't really true , all BT customers get 'weekend' calls inclusive (upto an hour) but evenings (and weekends) or anytime call plans are at a cost, obviously if she was making 'chargeable calls , and the cost of those was more than the price of say the 'anytime' plan, then paying for individual calls wasn't a good idea, but again it really down to the customer to decide if they are on the best value 'plan' and if not, to do something about it.

    If 30Gb was normally sufficient for here usage, then in other circumstances someone could complain that BT tried to get their relative to change to a more expensive unlimited usage plan, if the usage went up for a couple of months in a row , AFAIK , they do email or call saying an unlimited plan may be better , but again they cannot just move the customer onto unlimited and charge thehigher cost, the customer has to consent , after all , this increase usage may ( as far as the ISP know) be short lived
    Last edited by iniltous; 05-12-2017 at 11:20 PM.
    • alanq
    • By alanq 6th Dec 17, 1:40 AM
    • 3,895 Posts
    • 2,509 Thanks
    alanq
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:40 AM
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:40 AM
    As far as no inclusive calls, that isn't really true , all BT customers get 'weekend' calls inclusive (upto an hour) ...
    Originally posted by iniltous
    That is true for someone entering into a new contract but is it true for customers who have not recontracted for many years? Are there customers on legacy tariffs who do not enjoy free weekend calls?
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 6th Dec 17, 6:38 AM
    • 1,980 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:38 AM
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:38 AM
    Is the Friends and Family tariff an option for her.

    Are you also looking at her Utilites ?

    Im off to see MIL today to check on some of her bills - she has got confused and cancelled a boiler insurance !
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • CodeMatcha
    • By CodeMatcha 6th Dec 17, 6:56 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    CodeMatcha
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:56 AM
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:56 AM
    they do email or call saying an unlimited plan may be better
    Sorry, if my post was unclear - this is the kind of thing that did not happen. I was advised that they dont look into accounts and make sales calls.

    I actually said that the broadband cost was understandable as I had just moved in - I'm not including this in the £90/m. She was paying the £90 just for a landline...

    In this case she was paying on average £90/m and didn't release there were 'cheaper' packages. She does not get emails as she does not have a computer and only watches a small amount of TV.

    It is not clear on the letters that they send that the bill could be made cheaper - that seems to be a luxury reserved for internet users.

    I have had goodwill gestures made by companies personally (even things I admitted were my fault) - but given the horrific misunderstanding she had that these were normal prices they are willing to do nothing.

    I am sure that 'by law' they have done nothing wrong - but morally? I didn't think it was possible she could be paying so much... 3x more than anyone else
    Last edited by CodeMatcha; 06-12-2017 at 7:20 AM.
    • CodeMatcha
    • By CodeMatcha 6th Dec 17, 6:59 AM
    • 14 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    CodeMatcha
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:59 AM
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 6:59 AM
    Is the Friends and Family tariff an option for her.

    Are you also looking at her Utilites ?

    Im off to see MIL today to check on some of her bills - she has got confused and cancelled a boiler insurance !
    Originally posted by Robin9
    Thanks,

    I am now, yes. I did expect that she was not on the cheapest deals, but I was thinking £50 instead of £30, not £90 instead of £30...

    I have left BT completely and moved the contract to my name. The lack on understanding from their actual complains department was terrible - not even that they wouldn't do anything about it but because they said I should have been regularly reviewing her accounts! She isn't that confused yet, she just didn't know she had options.
    Last edited by CodeMatcha; 06-12-2017 at 7:12 AM.
    • Ian011
    • By Ian011 6th Dec 17, 7:57 AM
    • 1,892 Posts
    • 1,065 Thanks
    Ian011
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 7:57 AM
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 7:57 AM
    The Unlimited Anytime call plan has unlimited calls to numbers starting 01, 02 and 03. It also includes calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers. It costs £9 per month. Calling mobile numbers is 8p per minute. Avoid calling other 084 and 087 numbers, and avoid calling 070 and 09 numbers.

    It's about time BT started advising their customers when a different call plan to the one they already have would be better for them.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 6th Dec 17, 8:42 AM
    • 1,980 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    Robin9
    • #8
    • 6th Dec 17, 8:42 AM
    • #8
    • 6th Dec 17, 8:42 AM
    CodeMatcha - has anyone in the family got POA for your great nan ?

    Add Insurances to your list - I found my MIL had been happily renewing her household insurance which I managed to halve.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • brewerdave
    • By brewerdave 6th Dec 17, 9:52 AM
    • 4,604 Posts
    • 1,912 Thanks
    brewerdave
    • #9
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:52 AM
    • #9
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:52 AM
    CodeMatcha - has anyone in the family got POA for your great nan ?

    Add Insurances to your list - I found my MIL had been happily renewing her household insurance which I managed to halve.
    Originally posted by Robin9
    Good point about insurers - I was appalled to find that my late mother was paying more for her home contents insurance on a one bedroom wardened flat than my TOTAL home insurance (ie house and contents) for a 5 bedroomed detached !!
    • boatman
    • By boatman 6th Dec 17, 2:42 PM
    • 3,550 Posts
    • 2,495 Thanks
    boatman
    Short of sending an email to the CEO and shaming him in to helping, I'm not sure you will get far, good luck!
    • mpet
    • By mpet 6th Dec 17, 6:39 PM
    • 389 Posts
    • 213 Thanks
    mpet
    I’m not sure this is really an ‘elderly’ issue as the title of this post states. BT does not know the age of its customers, so whilst we would all agree there are cheaper options for your Great Nan, BT would not know the tariff was not appropriate.

    Unfortunately this is not an age or BT specific problem. I have friends who never bother checking their utility bills for cheaper options (despite me keep nagging them!). I have recently taken over renewing all my mothers insurances etc and have saved her quite a few quid. My Mum is quite on the ball, but does not use a computer, so it is more difficult to check the cheapest deal. Despite older people wanting to be independent, I think it is really down to family/friends to help out and make sure they are getting the best deal.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 7th Dec 17, 7:20 AM
    • 1,980 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    Robin9
    Carers take Care !

    Im off to see MIL today to check on some of her bills - she has got confused and cancelled a boiler insurance !
    Originally posted by Robin9
    Saw MIL and it seems I've taken my eye of the ball. I thought I had things sorted but not so - utilities and house insurance OK. Got grant for replacement boiler, made insurance claim when she lost a hearing aid (she wouldn't claim £1500 because her premium would go up !)

    But !

    I had arranged for a BT Homecare400 for MIL a few years ago following a few boiler and household problems. She had a boiler breakdown - would not call out her boiler man on a Friday - he's entitled to his weekend - won't call Monday - busy sorting out his week, taking children to school etc. Result sitting in cold for a week. A second time - do I call out my boiler man or an electrician. And again ....

    Took the plunge and took out the BG HC400 - not very MSE in terms of money but for the family peace of mind and saved a lot of running around. Took the excess option to save her carers getting involved with money. BG service was brilliant and came the same day many times

    Roll on till this Spring when MIL saw the bottom line of the bill - £555 - and rang them and cancelled without telling me. Dived into this yesterday and found the renewals had been ramping up often by 10% a year.

    Took out a new agreement for about £360. Memo self - read all the MIL's post - and at renewal cancel and start again.

    PS When I was there filled in the claim form for the Warm Home Discount !
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • consultant31
    • By consultant31 9th Dec 17, 1:58 PM
    • 4,731 Posts
    • 14,424 Thanks
    consultant31
    Good point about insurers - I was appalled to find that my late mother was paying more for her home contents insurance on a one bedroom wardened flat than my TOTAL home insurance (ie house and contents) for a 5 bedroomed detached !!
    Originally posted by brewerdave
    I recently found out my 89 yr old Mum was paying £400+ for her home and contents insurance.

    When I looked at the renewal notice, she was paying for a home valued at £1.5m and contents worth over £1m, when, in fact, her little bungalow is worth about £145000 and her contents not more than £10000, and this was what it was declared as when she started with them about 4 years ago.

    Now I know prices are rising but Best part about it was that she had tried to claim when rain came through the roof and damaged her ceiling - they wouldn't pay out because it was 'an act of God'!

    I got her renewal down to £141 with another well known insurer.

    It's definitely well worth checking these things every year!
    I let my mind wander and it never came back!
    • macman
    • By macman 11th Dec 17, 11:00 AM
    • 41,425 Posts
    • 17,050 Thanks
    macman
    A leaking roof, unless due to storm or impact damage, is down to wear and tear/lack of maintenance, and so would never be covered under standard buildings insurance.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • JJ Egan
    • By JJ Egan 11th Dec 17, 11:08 AM
    • 9,971 Posts
    • 4,110 Thanks
    JJ Egan
    Value on a home insurance is usually an UP TO figure .
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