Can I cancel BT Broadband?

  Covergirl 12:31 29 Jul 2010

Briefly, parents got flooded out in November 2009 and have not accessed their BT Broadband (i.e not switched on the router) since then due to living temporarily in a caravan. They can still make phone calls.

Around end of May 2010 I tried asking for a cancellation or postponement of the BB contract as they were only 6 months into it and were unlikely to get re-connected (i.e back into the house) but BT said either pay a cancellation fee for the remaining 6 months slightly cheaper) or let it expire naturally.

They are still not back in the house and I think it's really unfair that they are paying top wack BB charges and getting nothing for it.

Anyone any suggestions as to someone to appeal to, or some way I can negotiate some sort of hold on the contract?

  sunnystaines 12:57 29 Jul 2010

BT seem very unhelpful, try and speak with a manager. Are the call centres in GB? if not try and find a head office number over here.

  cruiser2 13:00 29 Jul 2010

Suggest you include the loss of the broadband in the insurance claim. It may not be covered but it is worth asking. Do it formally in writing. Do not discus it over the phone.
If the claim is initially rejected, ask which section of the policy says it is not covered and for a copy of the actual wording, in writing.
Have you written to BT. Suggest you write to the Managing Director explaining what has happened. Ask for a credit when the broadband is re-connected if they will not agree to a refund.
Contact Ofcom about this.

  john bunyan 13:56 29 Jul 2010

This is why I will never go for a one year contract. My present one is a one month rolling one. (as is Zen) The yearly contracts are written in favour of the supplier. In your case it may be worth a chat with your local trading standards people.

  Covergirl 19:02 29 Jul 2010

sunnystaines - contact was with call centre in GB (or extremely proficient foreigner)
cruiser2 - The insurance claim is very good (here's a blank cheque, go rent a house; teams in to empty & catalogue ; teams in to dry, chip off, strip out and virtually rebuild etc) but may not cover the BB contract.
john bunyan - it's an 18 month contract with BT and I don't think you get the pleasure of being able to dictate your own terms. Trading standards is a good idea if all else fails.

A thought just occurred to me that they have changed the hours of off-peak calls to fall in line with mobiles and that may be a get out clause.

Anything else out there while I compose some words . . . ?

  Forum Editor 19:33 29 Jul 2010

your parents don't have much going for them - BT might take the view that it is providing the service, and it's not the company's fault that your parents are not using it. You may think it's really unfair, but saying that your parents are paying 'top whack BB charges and getting nothing for it' isn't true - they are getting the service, but due to their personal circumstances they can't use it.

That's the technical position, but it needn't necessarily be the final one. BT is keen to promote itself as a company that cares for its customers, and here, it would seem, is an ideal opportunity for it to put that declared policy into action.

There's also the possibility that insurers would view the contract payments as a consequential loss - one that is directly attributable to the flood. If it hadn't been for the flood, your parents would have been enjoying the benefit of the broadband service. Now they don't have the enjoyment, but they do have the cost - they are losing money because of the flood.

That argument is certainly worth a try, but of course a good deal rests on the extent of the cover under the policy.

1. Speak to BT about suspending the contract - effectively disconnecting the broadband service for the period involved, and reconnecting afterwards. Your parents would offer to take up the contract with no loss of term to BT, whilst BT would suspend charges and service as a mark of goodwill. Both parties give something, and both gain something, or at least they don't lose anything.

2. Put my consequential loss argument to the insurers.

  961 19:44 29 Jul 2010

The idea of suspending the contract until it is possible to resume is worth pursuing

Write to Chief Exec of BT asking for him to get one of his assistants to review the case

  spuds 23:06 29 Jul 2010

Don't know how it stands with BT, but Tiscali had a clause in their contract about moving house, and the contract could be cancelled with no penalties. Not sure if TalkTalk have Incorporated that clause into their contract.

Moving house to caravan (as new abode), would possibly cover the event with Tiscali, might be worth a check with BT?.

  Covergirl 12:53 30 Jul 2010

. . . a balanced and fair judgement on yet another case.

I'll approach BT again, restate their case and see if I can get a more sypathetic customer services officer.

OK, it's not fair in my mind, but the fact that BT weren't prepared to give an inch was, I thought, a little unfair considering the high profile Cumbrian floods of the 19th November and the fact that if they do a quick check they should be able to see no connections to the BB since then.

I'll mark this Resolved and try find my softest, most conciliatory telephone voice . . . :)

  AroundAgain 20:35 31 Jul 2010

You could contact BT Community Forums at this address, click here and put your case. As already mentioned, BT are trying to be more 'customer friendly'.

Maybe you would get some compromise along the lines mentioned by Forum Editor, which sound very balanced ideas.

If all else fails, maybe their insurance cover will pay for the broadband costs having to be paid.

Good luck

  Covergirl 12:10 29 Sep 2010

. . . I have just contacted BT Billing and appealed to the customer liaison officers better nature, but I got about as far as last time - quote "you will have to put a claim in with your insurance".

The 18 months is up in October so I've just cancelled it with a £25 disconnection fee. Nice.

I haven't contacted BT Forums, Trading Standards, BTs Managing Director or the insurance as it really is very small peas in the whole scheme of thing, but I don't think they'll be getting our custom next time (if there is a next time) as I will be suggesting she use the library or my connection should she require access to the www.

Thanks for all the advice.

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