problem with BT & Pipex - have BT "Slammed" me?

  palinka 18:27 01 Aug 09
Locked

(Originally posted on Helproom with slightly different title)
I have had broadband with Pipex for 5 years but I continue to pay phone line rental to BT. The Pipex plan I have (which I believe is no longer available to new customers) gives me a certain number of free calls at ANY time. I use these during the day. Then, by prefixing calls with 1280, I route evening calls via BT where I have had free evening and weekend calls under their “Unlimited Evening and Weekend Plan" for many years, (10 years?) since long before I used Pipex (BT's Plan has had a several changes of name during this time).
I have been using this combined system since August 2004.
Browsing BT’s website last week I noticed that our Calling Plan was shown NOT as evening and weekends but only weekends – so I ticked the relevant box to make it evenings as well (“at no extra cost” but committing me to a 12 month contract – which was no problem as I have been with BT for approx 30 years & have no intention of leaving.)
Today, 1st Aug, a letter from BT says, in effect , that I have switched ALL my calls back to BT. And of course I’m tied into this for 12 months with a penalty if I cancel.
I spent an hour on the phone to BT this morning trying to sort this out. I did NOT intend to “return” to BT; I merely ticked an option that was offered without strings, as far as I could tell, except for the 12 month commitment. ( yes I know, how stupid can you be!). But there was nothing on the website to indicate that what I opted for would “return all my calls to BT” (from Pipex). I reckon this is a case of “slamming” by BT.
One of the people I spoke to at BT today said . “not many people do [what I do] so it isn’t mentioned on the website”; & also that they don’t advertise the 1280 routing system – again, presumably, because BT don’t want people to know about it.
She could do nothing because the order had been done on-line but she gave me a tel no to contact the BT website people; they are available only Mon-Fri so I will re-commence my battle on Mon. I believe I have 7 working days to cancel but the email confirmation of my “order” dated 28 July says “You have 7 working days starting the day after your contract is made to cancel without charge. You should be aware, however, that if the Provision of the service is made prior to the expiry of the 7 day period with your agreement, you will lose your right to cancel.” So have I seven days, or haven't I?
I explained the situation to Pipex, where someone arranged (I believe!) that they would NOT put all my calls back to BT.
If the worst comes to the worst I would settle for cancelling the new calling plan and returning to “Unlimited Weekend Plan”, but only because BT have in effect added a requirement to the Plan that I read on their website , so I do not want to be caught with a penalty to pay for cancellation.
Help, please. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Can anyone suggest whom I should contact. It’s impossible to speak by phone to any BT person who can do anything. Anyone got an address for the Chairman of BT? Or anyone else who might be useful? Bear in mind that if I cancel it must be in writing and 2 of the 7 working days have already passed.

  Stuartli 14:06 02 Aug 09

Your BB and phone contract package is with Pipex and the supply of this service from the exchange to your home is via a BT landline (which is why you pay line rental to BT).

Therefore, in my opinion, it should be up to Pipex to sort the matter out.

In the case of my TalkTalk contract, I pay the line rental to TT who pass it on to BT, probably after a small discount for their trouble.

  Stuartli 14:09 02 Aug 09

Sorry, misread your thread as I assumed your package was with Pipex because of the mention of ANY time of the day free calls.

Are the Anytime free calls insufficient for your requirements?

  palinka 14:59 02 Aug 09

when I first had the free Pipex calls they were insufficient; but now they are probably enough.

  palinka 12:50 04 Aug 09

I've now written on-line to BT to cancel the order for "....EVENING and weekend....".
've repeated that cancellation by post, directing my letter to the MD who "signed" the letters I received.
But I notice on BT's website that my calling plan has been changed to "evening & weekend...." - so much for the 7 days notice.
Now I wait to see what happens.

  palinka 14:11 11 Aug 09

my 7-days notice period expired today - and so far no reply from BT, either to my message to their website or my letter to Nigel Stagg the MD who sent me the letters.

  palinka 19:07 12 Aug 09

Today, 24 hrs too late because BT have already switched all my calls back to themselves, I received a phone call from sommeone "high up" - VERY apologetic; my letter reached his desk only today; etc, etc. But the gist is that the deed is done; & because of that he is now unable to see the website as I saw it from my BT account so cannot see the tick boxes that were available to me at the end of July. His colleagues apparently told him that there was a separate box which was to switch calls back to BT and I must have ticked that. I know there was no such box.
BT cannot talk to Pipex, so BT have effectively washed their hands of the whole matter.
PIpex are currently in the middle of a 24 hr technical problem so I can't discuss it with anyone there until tomorrow.
Already, looking at my BT bill, I can see that daytime calls in the last 2 days have passed through BT, not Pipex - so I have had to pay for them (they would have been counted in my free allowance with Pipex).
BT's man tried to persuade me that I am going to reap benefits from the change - I know i'm not; and that the change will cost me dearly , and in real cash.
I have his direct line phone number in case I ever find myself in a similar situation --but that's no help NOW. ( I said that I had not re-contacted BT yesterday - the day of the switch-over - because there is no way to speak to a real person who can do anything.)
The whole matter makes me so angry.

  palinka 18:29 19 Aug 09

I contacted my MP, who wrote to BT on my behalf. Result is a shift by BT – apparently I CAN return my calls to Pipex without breaking my 12 month contract with BT (so why did BT insist on taking them back in the first place? No real answer to that from BT). The Pipex package that I had is no longer available; their present one that will give me the same benefits in phone calls costs £4.99 a month more than I was paying; BT have offered to give me £4.99 credit on my BT bills each month for a year.
I have accepted that and the change back will take effect in approx 10 days time.
Not perfect, but I knew a return to the original situation was impossible, so I’ve settled for what I’ve been offered.
Moral : watch BT like a hawk; never use their website to make changes to your account – use the phone, speak to a person & pin them down to precise details.

  palinka 18:31 19 Aug 09

Footnote: in the middle of all this I contacted Ofcom - they were useless; misread my email & even when they had understood the problem they would(in effect) do nothing.

  anchor 16:10 20 Aug 09

I noticed today an overcharge in my latest BT bill. Instead of telephoning their customer services in India, (which previously I have found to be not much help), I did some research on the web. As a result I discovered the name and e-mail address of the BT Chief executive officer.

Within minutes I received a personal acknowledgement by e-mail from his p.a. Three hours later received a telephone call from the assistant to the chairman. I am pleased to report the matter has been settled to my satisfaction.

Lesson; go straight to the top if you want a result.

Contact details for the CEO

Mr Ian Livingston

[email protected]

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