PSA: UK small businesses, don't get ripped off by BT's "PC Security" scam


#1

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#3

Mmm, I may give Andrews and Arnold a tickle if they cover my area.


#4

I wish I knew about Andrews and Arnold when I moved here from the states. I have been having nothing, but trouble with EE which has similar problems. They created two accounts under my name and charged me twice from those accounts. That’s just the beginning.

In their attempt to remedy the situation, they just added layers and layers of customer service in front of their broken system.

Did you end up paying for those 2 years?


#5

BT are hands down the worst ISP in the country.


#6

Similar experience as a BT Home customer.

They overcharged me for three years - not for any service, they just increased the amount of my direct debit by a couple of quid a month for no reason, and without my consent - so I shut down my direct debit, and allowed the credit to pay my bills. Then, I moved house.

Last December, I received an email from a “Warren Buckley”, described in his signature as “the Managing Director of Customer Services”. This letter informed me that I had a debt of £47.65 had been passed to a collections agency, and what’s more “we’ve also added a charge of 25%, included in the outstanding balance above, to cover the cost of us handing over the debt.” Needless to say, this debt never existed. What was surprising was that Warren Buckley had ceased to be involved with “Customer Services” (aka debt collection) since October. It took me two months of arguing to sort the mess out.

TL:DR, BT overcharged me for several years, then sent me threatening letters about a non-existent debt from a non-existent managing director. Do not be surprised by the things that BT do.


#7

Reminds me of Bell Canada. I received about $70 of free long distance from them (a scam in itself, since I never call long distance and had to come up with excuses to use it up) because I was one of the beneficiaries of a class action lawsuit against them. Turns out they’d overcharged all of their DSL customers with a certain plan for just over a year.

Congratulations on getting at least some of your money back.


#8

BT was the worst part of my stay in England…


#9

AFAIK the time limit is 6 years, not 5 (see Limitations Act), but not sure if that applies. This is not pursuing a debt from a contract, it is correcting a mistake, so may not have a limit. Also, AFAIK, the same limit does not apply to pursuing via other means than courts, such as ADR. I’d go to ADR for the remaining two years and interest if it was me.


#10

I guess that’s one way of looking at it, but in my opinion this sounds more like wire fraud than “correcting a mistake.” If a person did this - knowingly sent bills for services never rendered with the intent to collect money not actually owed, it would be considered a crime punishable by a few years in prison (in the US - not sure what it would be in the UK). But when a company does it, the worst possible result for them is they have to refund the money if people fight them for it.

Again yet another example of why the idea that “corporations are people too” is a complete fallacy.


#11

So… BT made a mistake - I agree this is not good.

On the other hand, you’re also mud slinging about the fact that the error has been going on for seven years.

This could have been fixed around six years and eleven months ago, if only you paid attention to your bill, so a portion of the blame must rest with you.

(No, I do not work for BT and, yes, I am currently in a bill dispute with them over a charge that appeared on our business bill in… October - at least I practice what I preach)


#12

So what we’re saying is that BT are to be trusted so little that we must minutely examine and understand each of the complex bills they send to ensure they aren’t accidentally ripping us off. Sounds fair. For very small values of fair.


#13

Worse than TalkTalk? Cripes.


#14

Charges are clearly listed on the bill, not hidden anywhere.

I know this because I check. It takes 30 seconds (literally) when I am handed the bill.

I’m not saying BT aren’t in the wrong, but I am saying that Cory shouldn’t whinge too much about the seven years thing after he has been told about the charge on around 94 bills.


#15

Good old slamming. I think in the US we’re finally starting to win the fight against it, but it has been too long. The fact that it is basically fraud doesn’t seem to matter much to the phone company so long as they get a cut of the fraud. A lot of times they bury those charges down in the “miscellaneous fees” section too, to make it look like one of the bullshit unexplained taxes they put on the bill.


#16

For the record, I don’t believe this is associated in any way with BTGuard, a provider of VPN and anonymizing services, who I’ve been very happy with.

I was a little dismayed at first, before I realized the two weren’t related.


#17

When we quit BT we ended up paying for three months of service we didn’t need. They used tactics like putting us on hold and never coming back, redirecting us to phone numbers which were no longer in service, and (twice), assuring us the contract was cancelled before sending out another bill.

But still, it seems we got off lightly.


#18

@doctorow may be worth you sending this into www.theregister.co.uk to get a bit more publicity - they’re fully aware of how rubbish BT can be.


#19

Nobody is asking the most important question: “Did Cory get any Windows-based viruses or malware during the last seven years?”

I suspect the answer is “no”, and thus the service performed admirably.


#20

I have a rock that I use to keep Windows viruses away.


#21

I will give you twenty dollars for that rock, sir.