Leaving BT

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Beware:  if you try and leave BT not only do they require a month’s notice but they dont take into account your agreed leaving date when they issue a bill during that notice period.  Instead they charge you a full months rental (in advance) as if you were remaining. They then send a final bill 7 days after leaving (showing a refund due) and eventually repay you.  A great cashflow win for BT but a rip off for departing customers.  I get the final bill has to be after your departure date in case you have gone over usage limits, but why can’t their system at least cut the rental payment to run only until the departure date? I wonder how much extra cash this gives BT for those 1-4 weeks? 
Any ideas how I can avoid overpaying. They refused to adjust my current bill, and I am concerned I’ll be penalised if I cancel the direct debit (can I even pay other than by direct debit?)








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  • brewerdave
    brewerdave Posts: 8,523 Forumite
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    As far as I'm aware ,that's the way that all ISPs operate ie charge for the full month of leaving then refund the overcharge - no way of avoiding as far as I can see ! 
  • southsidergs
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    Can I add a warning for Sky, Virgin, EE, O2, Vodafone & all providers too as it works exactly the same way with everyone, 

    FWIW you'll never be overpaying or penalise dfor anything, you'll get a final bill with credits for days you never had the service etc. There's really nothing to worry about
  • mebu60
    mebu60 Posts: 954 Forumite
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    Beware:  if you try and leave BT not only do they require a month’s notice but they dont take into account your agreed leaving date when they issue a bill during that notice period.  Instead they charge you a full months rental (in advance) as if you were remaining. They then send a final bill 7 days after leaving (showing a refund due) and eventually repay you.  A great cashflow win for BT but a rip off for departing customers.  I get the final bill has to be after your departure date in case you have gone over usage limits, but why can’t their system at least cut the rental payment to run only until the departure date? I wonder how much extra cash this gives BT for those 1-4 weeks? 
    Any ideas how I can avoid overpaying. They refused to adjust my current bill, and I am concerned I’ll be penalised if I cancel the direct debit (can I even pay other than by direct debit?)








    In an ideal world the supplier would only charge rental up to the leaving date and no customer would run up a large usage bill in that period either. In terms of BT's cashflow these instances will be a minor percentage of the overall total. It's a process used by many other providers as it fits with their routine processes. There would be a cost to change it. Annoying as it is to you I would just accept it and go with the flow, it should all work out in time. Whatever you do, don't cancel the DD. That way lies even more frustration and bureaucracy.
  • Grommit10abc
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    Can I add a warning for Sky, Virgin, EE, O2, Vodafone & all providers too as it works exactly the same way with everyone, 

    FWIW you'll never be overpaying or penalise dfor anything, you'll get a final bill with credits for days you never had the service etc. There's really nothing to worry about
    I know I’ll get my cash back but it is a swizz.  They get money from me that they are not entitled to for up to 3-4 weeks before returning it.  
    It cannot be hard to connect the billing system to the account closure system so the rentals are not charged beyond the cancellation date in the first place. It may be a small % of their revenue but not necessarily for the customer. 
    Why should this be considered acceptable? 
  • flaneurs_lobster
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    Can I add a warning for Sky, Virgin, EE, O2, Vodafone & all providers too as it works exactly the same way with everyone, 

    FWIW you'll never be overpaying or penalise dfor anything, you'll get a final bill with credits for days you never had the service etc. There's really nothing to worry about
    I know I’ll get my cash back but it is a swizz.  They get money from me that they are not entitled to for up to 3-4 weeks before returning it.  
    It cannot be hard to connect the billing system to the account closure system so the rentals are not charged beyond the cancellation date in the first place. It may be a small % of their revenue but not necessarily for the customer. 
    Why should this be considered acceptable? 
    If you had ever worked for BT or another large utility company on anything to do with their billing systems then you would not be surprised that the account closing bit takes a while to communicate with the billing bit. BT's customer servicing systems are the largest in the UK (after, I think, the NHS) so the widgets tend to work slow and steady.


  • ladruid
    ladruid Posts: 122 Forumite
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    I know I’ll get my cash back but it is a swizz.  They get money from me that they are not entitled to for up to 3-4 weeks before returning it.  
    It cannot be hard to connect the billing system to the account closure system so the rentals are not charged beyond the cancellation date in the first place. It may be a small % of their revenue but not necessarily for the customer. 
    Why should this be considered acceptable? 
    Sounds perfectly reasonable and acceptable to me. I can see a myriad of reasons why a company would hold funds back for a short time, ranging from customers not returning equipment to customers changing their mind at the last minute.

    At the end of the day if you don't like how a company runs their business, use a different service that is more akin to your ethos of how a business should be run. Wasting your life complaining about things you cant change is pointless.
  • iniltous
    iniltous Posts: 3,135 Forumite
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    edited 17 April 2023 at 5:47PM
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    Billing runs are set up well in advance, so if you chose to leave mid billing cycle  , the production of the bill is already underway, as you are refunded for any days that you paid for but we’re not a customer it’s hardly an issue for most….it’s also not necessarily a full month , it depends on when in the billing cycle you elect to leave , it could be only a few days , rather than a full month .
    There is always the possibility that the migration date ‘slips’ ,from the date the customer was given by the new ISP for their ‘new’ service to start ,  if it’s delayed by a day or two , you remain connected to the old provider who will bill for those extra days , and the new provider doesn’t start charging till the actual date of migration, not the original date they gave you, so the losing provider cannot raise a final bill until the actual date of changeover is notified by Openreach , they cannot assume it’s the date the new provider gave you, in case Openreach are delayed doing the work , if a bill were provided for the proposed date , then a new final bill were needed for a couple of extra days it would get extremely messy.
    As stated , every ISP does this , why single out BT for something the entire industry does ?

  • Neil_Jones
    Neil_Jones Posts: 8,946 Forumite
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    Can I add a warning for Sky, Virgin, EE, O2, Vodafone & all providers too as it works exactly the same way with everyone, 

    FWIW you'll never be overpaying or penalise dfor anything, you'll get a final bill with credits for days you never had the service etc. There's really nothing to worry about
    I know I’ll get my cash back but it is a swizz.  They get money from me that they are not entitled to for up to 3-4 weeks before returning it.  
    It cannot be hard to connect the billing system to the account closure system so the rentals are not charged beyond the cancellation date in the first place. It may be a small % of their revenue but not necessarily for the customer. 
    Why should this be considered acceptable? 

    I think you need to read your T&Cs and realise that this is how the system has worked for, well, donkeys years.  It is not a "swizz" as you put it.

    Its not unique to BT, everybody you pay a service for, you pay in advance for it and if you migrate/move/cancel partway through, you get a pro-rata refund.
  • Grommit10abc
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    ladruid said:
    I know I’ll get my cash back but it is a swizz.  They get money from me that they are not entitled to for up to 3-4 weeks before returning it.  
    It cannot be hard to connect the billing system to the account closure system so the rentals are not charged beyond the cancellation date in the first place. It may be a small % of their revenue but not necessarily for the customer. 
    Why should this be considered acceptable? 
    Sounds perfectly reasonable and acceptable to me. I can see a myriad of reasons why a company would hold funds back for a short time, ranging from customers not returning equipment to customers changing their mind at the last minute.

    At the end of the day if you don't like how a company runs their business, use a different service that is more akin to your ethos of how a business should be run. Wasting your life complaining about things you cant change is pointless.
    Perfectly reasonable that they continue to  take money from me that covers a period of 7 weeks after I gave notice of leaving? Not sure how you think that.  
    I’d love to be able to do that, in my line of business you’d soon lose all your customers. 

  • iniltous
    iniltous Posts: 3,135 Forumite
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    edited 17 April 2023 at 9:26PM
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    You continue to use the service for the 30 days notice period so you it’s disingenuous to state 7 weeks in reality (in your example )  is 3 weeks , if the billing cycle is such that you are charged for 3 weeks after you have already left that’s probably the worst case scenario , most won’t be charged for that many days after the changeover.
    If you argue in this situation the consumer has lent the  provider some money for 3 weeks interest free , that  same consumer could have made many chargeable calls upto the day the changeover takes place , and wouldn’t have to pay for those  call for 3 weeks , in that case is the provider giving that consumer an interest free loan ?
    It’s always been the case that rental is charged for in advance and call charges in arrears, you don’t say what line of business you are in , but presumably you don’t have millions of customers , and automated billing systems.
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