BT in trouble over phone contracts

BT customers on widely held contracts – such as those offering discounted weekend and evening calls – are being warned that unless they opt out, the telecoms giant will automatically tie them in for a further year.

BT is the only phone firm using controversial 12-month ‘rollover’ contracts. At the end of the eleventh month, BT writes to customers telling them that they can switch to another deal – or provider – if they wish.

If customers miss the mailing or fail to act, they are automatically locked in to another 12-month period, with penalties applying if they subsequently move.

BT started offering these contracts last year and thousands of customers have already been ‘rolled over’. Many more will be approaching their last month and will have an opportunity to switch to a better deal.

BT insists the rollover contracts are fair and offer value. But telecoms regulator Ofcom is less enthusiastic and says that in response to its guidance, BT has already ‘almost halved’ its related penalties. The watchdog has told Financial Mail that it is ‘actively monitoring’ the issue.

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  • I have complained 3 times to BT because of slow broadband speeds. I am less than 1mile from my exchange and the first complaint was because I was getting download speeds of about 1.2mbs. That was corrected by the Openreach engineer who persuaded the exchange to increase the limit to 3mbs and the speed increased to just under 3. I checked regularly and the speed ran a bout 3.7mbs for a few weeks but dropped again to less than 2 when I made another complaint. That engineer found a fault at the exchange and when it was corrected the speed increased again for a whole 6 days when it dropped to 128kbs! The third engineer could find no fault and promised, on 24/11/10 to send a new router in 3 days. That has failed to arrive (surprise surprise) but the speed increased to 1.7mbs or thereabouts on28/11/10. I must have served my punishment for complaining! BT service is non-existant and until ofcom grasp the nettle and insist ISPs charge only for what they provide we all will suffer this atrocious standard of service.

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