Can BT disconnect you if they haven’t billed you?

I’m looking for some advice for an elderly friend. Last January I sorted out his telephone contract with BT. He had been on an expensive contract with broadband which he didn’t need. In Jan 2020 BT put him on a simple phone package and credited his account. In June 2020 he received a bill for £6 that he paid. He did not receive any further bills until Jan 2021 when he received a Hugh bill of £171 for the phone and charges for non payment of bills he had never been sent. He contacted BT and they told him that due to COVID they had suspended sending Bills and that it was his responsibility to call them to find out how much he owed. Reluctantly he paid the money although they did credit his account by £63. A couple of weeks later they disconnected his line  for non payment, this despite having paid bills as they arrived and having an account in credit. He has only just told me. His line is currently disconnected so I am looking for advice before I call them. I can’t believe that it is the customers responsibility to call them for a bill and how COVID can affect a computerised billing system is a mystery.

Comments

  • knightstyle
    knightstyle Posts: 6,969
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    BT  If you're in a vulnerable situation and need extra help, tell us by calling 0800 919 591: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.
  • PZ19
    PZ19 Posts: 468
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    edited 13 February 2021 at 9:48AM
    That sounds ridiculous.  Can’t believe they stopped sending bills because of Covid are you sure that’s correct?  Did you sign him up to an online only account with paper free billing?
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281
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    Covid almost one year on and BT have sent me every bill via Email  .
    I wonder if the user is set up to receive email as opposed to paper billing ??
  • No his account was not altered to paper free and the fact that they sent him his first bill in June shows that they had that correct. I think he was on quarterly billing at the time the service was changed and his account was very much in credit.
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281
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    How was payment set up  direct debit is the usual for BT .
    Does he have email / web access for his account  .
  • He didn’t have a DD which I agree would have prevented the problem but that was the case before I changed the service. He did have an online account with the previous service so tomorrow I will log into that and see if bills or messages are there. Please remember he is in his 80’s. He was receiving paper bill prior to the change and I suspect that as I hadn’t changed anything other than cancelling his BB service he wouldn’t have expected the paper bills to stop. BT customer services told his they had stopped because of COVID and he was expected to call them.
  • PZ19
    PZ19 Posts: 468
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    That last bit just seems so wrong, so that’s worth a complaint to BT in itself, if that is what happened.  You didn’t switch him to Line Saver rental did you?  https://www.bt.com/help/account-and-billing/i-haven-t-received-my-bill
  • Thanks for all your comments. I need to do some research on his old service before I contact BT but I will use the like to show that BT have not stopped physical biling
  • Chino
    Chino Posts: 2,029
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    and they told him that due to COVID they had suspended sending Bills
    In which case the onus was very much on BT to contact the subscriber and explain the situation to him, not for the subscriber to contact BT. Clearly BT is spinning a line to your friend to mask its incompetence.
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