MSE News: BT accused of breaking rules on contract tie-ins

in Phones & TV
42 replies 9K views
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE news story:

"The telecoms giant is tying customers into lengthy deals without warning and charging large sums to cancel ..."


  • I used BT for more than 2 years. Few months ago, I switched to another operator. I received a bill from BT charging me £81.75 for cancelling their service. I of course refused to pay. Now BT has asked some debt collection company to chase me and threaten legal action if I do not pay immediately. Is this related to BT breaking rules on contract tie-ins ?
  • DrScotsmanDrScotsman Forumite
    996 Posts
    A BT spokesman says: "BT complies with the EU distance selling directive ..."

    Wait, what?

    We've been over this 100 times with the "secret EU law". An EU directive is something that member countries have to incorporate in their own laws - for example the "secret EU law" so wrongly quoted on these forums is satisfied by a few acts including the Sale of Goods act.

    I know what BT say is correct enough such that we know what they mean, but when you're disputing an accusation of wrong-doing surely it's best to actually show as much legal competence as you can?
  • matthewhmatthewh Forumite
    34 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Nothing suprises me with BT!

    The 12 month contract thing is the reason why I am refusing to move my calls back to BT - even if it means I lose out on free 0845 and 0870 numbers.

    Also, surely it is illegal to up the call connection charges and per minute rates from the 1st April, when a lot of people will be in the middle of a supposedly non-cancellable (without penalty) contract.
  • I_luv_catsI_luv_cats Forumite
    14.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    i have signed up for 12 months anytime calls and line rental but nowt was mentioned about auto renewal !!
    That would cheese me off as I may move to o2 home phone in a years time.
  • I had the cheaper BT contract for 12 months. They did send me a letter saying that I'd be renewing on the 12 month contract IF I wanted to stay on their medium package with free evening and weekend calls. As I was a bit tired of the multiple bills from all the least cost carriers, I had no choice but to stay on the contract. Now I have a VOIP phone and I've gotten everyone in the house using their free minutes, I can't cancel the BT line for another 10 or so months :( But at least I am not paying them for calls now. Plus the landline is only good when we need to call the doctor etc as their cost an arm and a leg from mobiles.
  • curlygirl1971curlygirl1971 Forumite
    1.4K Posts
    This has happened to me. A year ago they offered me Unlimted Evening and Weekend calls at no extra cost. It is due to expire on 24/02. They have recently written to me to tell me it is expiring but "don't worry - you don't need to do anything! We'll automatically set up another contract no extra cost for another year." Great I thought and then I read at the bottom that there is a cancellation fee of £7.50 for every month still to run if you cancel part way through (ie before 24/02/11).

    Am not entirely sure what to do and have been distracted with more costly matters recently so haven't considered all my options. Work pay for my broadband and I don't want Sky, so its just Evening/Weekend phonecalls and the very occasional daytime call to think about........I think BT is still the best one for me. But am so NAFFED off by this cancellation thing that I think just to give them the big thumb-to-nose I might cancel their 'no extra cost' contract and return to paying £2.99 for the plan. The need to cancel my BT contract is quite a distinct possibility during the next 12 months as my living arrangements will probably be changing - so I think this makes sense for me.

    Yep, will make the call tomorrow
  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
    7.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Read the many threads posted recently about the change in the definition of weekday daytime hours by BT due to be applied from April 1st. A lot of people currently on the Evenings and Weekends package are getting out of their contracts without cost by virtue of the fact that they will be materially worse off when the changes come in ie calls between 6pm and 7pm will no longer be free. You then have the choice of whether to move calls provider or pay BT the fee for the package.
  • edited 23 February 2010 at 11:25AM
    nzseries1nzseries1 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    edited 23 February 2010 at 11:25AM
    I read in my welcome letter that my contract would auto-renew, but I didn't have a choice - it was that or nothing. I called up during my contract to stop the auto-renewal and they said "you can't stop the auto-renewal until it is less than one month before it's due to renew". A tad annoying I thought, but whatever - one of those arbitrary rules to try and trap people.

    So I called up less than one month before it was due to renew. "No problem Mr. Nzseries1", they said, "I'll sort that for you".

    Fast forward to 7 months later when I went to cancel my service. "You can't cancel - you're in the middle of a contract that has auto-renewed". GAAAAAH!

    We had to go back through telephone calls and recordings to prove that I did actually call and stop the auto-renew. Lucky I wrote down dates and times that I called because I quite frankly don't trust BT.

    Ultimately they didn't charge me a fee for cancelling but it was very stressful. I will never get a BT line again until they stop this auto-renewing nonsense, and even then they will be my choice of last resort.

    And of course they have the cheek to say "an auto-renewing contract is great for you because you get the same great deal automatically!" Grrrrrr. What a :mad: liberty.

    Please people, if you call to cancel the auto-renew, note down the date and time you called, and the name of the person you spoke to. Get them to confirm that they have put in the notes that you called and the reason for the call. They can't be trusted.
    You're spelling is effecting me so much. Im trying not to be phased by it but your all making me loose my mind on mass!! My head is loosing it's hair. I'm going to take myself off the electoral role like I should of done ages ago and move to the Caribean. I already brought my plane ticket, all be it a refundable 1.
  • Two things:

    1. If taking out one of those auto-renewing contracts, note the date in your own diary when the renewal will happen. Think of it like an MOT. You don't expect the DVLA or anyone else to call you and remind you.

    2. When cancelling ALWAYS get confirmation in writing.
  • emeraldbugleemeraldbugle Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    My contract auto-renewed last week. I never received any mail in January informing me of this. I have phoned and after a few arguments, they have put me on the same plan with no tie in, it costs £2.99 more. I am ready to go to O2 now.

    If I hadn't managed to sort, would I have been able to cancel under their 7 day cooling off period on an auto renew contract?
This discussion has been closed.
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