BT stands for ‘Blatant Theft’ says Liverpool pensioner

BT in the news again with another disgruntled customer! BT charged a disabled pensioner 100 pounds for an engineer to replace two AA batteries in his telephone. Bed-bound Alf Clarkson, 81, discovered a problem with his phone so asked daughter Susan to report it to the communication giants.

The next day an engineer fixed the glitch in under three minutes by two replacing batteries in the phone which Alf didn’t know were there. Alf, from Huyton, Merseyside, is blind in one eye and suffers from diabetes and arthritis in his hands and relies on the phone to keep in touch with the outside world.

It wasn’t until some weeks later that the retired welder received a bill for 99 pounds and 99 pence for the call out.

Daughter Susan Blackman, who reported the fault, is disgusted with BT and is demanding they give her father some of his money back.

View BT Complaint here

Susan said: “The phone was bought for my dad as it had bigger numbers and an easy to read screen.

“We didn’t know the phone required batteries or we would have checked them before calling BT in the first place.

“My mum, Teresa, died some years ago so dad needs a phone as he is bedridden. It is there to keep him in contact with us and for him to use in an emergency.

“We thought there may be a charge of 30 pounds or so but when the bill came we were shocked.

“How can they charge an old man this sort of money for changing two batteries?

“The engineer wasn’t in the house longer than a few minutes.

“When I complained to BT they told me, ‘Think yourself lucky. The call out should have been about #136.’

“It is disgusting and BT should be ashamed. They ought to refund some of the money as it is way over the top for replacing worn batteries.

“If they have done this to my dad then I’m sure they are doing it to others. People need to be wary about calling them out.

“If I’d known what they charged I’d have just bought him a new phone.”

Alf, a father-of-five, who has 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, thinks BT are thieves and he will be changing his provider.

Alf said: “I was very shocked when I read the bill.

“It is certainly a lot of money for a pensioner to fork out just for a change of batteries.

“I am bed-bound and need the phone, so I panicked a bit when it was faulty and asked Susan to call BT.

“I won’t be staying with BT any longer. I not sure BT stands for British Telecom, its more like Blatant Theft.”

BT have defended their actions by claiming the charge covered the cost of calling out an engineer and the cost of running all the necessary checks on the phone. A spokeswoman said: “A member of the customer services team advised Mrs Blackman to try plugging in a different phone, as remote tests indicated the fault was due to the set itself.

“We are satisfied from our customer service records the customer was properly advised about the possible charges ahead of the engineer’s visit.”

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  • Blatant Theft

    another British Gas Case


  • Blatant Theft



    Blatant Theft

  • I have just been speaking to my parents, one of whom is disabled and they were telling me that BT had been threatening to charge them £200 for a callout even though their phone line had been out of action for a day !!

    I am absolutely furious and am now unable to phone their complaints up to give them a piece of my mind.

    When the engineers came out to do an investigation the fault was BTs – it was on the line OUTSIDE the house. I am glad I found this site as I am now about to write to the Chief Exec to give him a complete bollocking. Shameful, disgraceful behaviour from BT. And to think that my dad worked so many for yrs for the GPO !!!

  • BT Ithought it stood for Bunch of Tossers. My sister pays for a dial up connection as they cannot offer broadband in her area. She hoasts a website with them which is not working due to a fault at heir end but a call to their status like says everthing is fine.
    I am an IT engineer and have tested access from several locations and it is definatly a problem with their servers.
    Helpdesk in India at 50p a minuite is hopeless I dispair!

  • They call themselves British telecom!!! I cant even speak to anyone british….
    The service is a shambles. I rely on my broadband service for my business and yet again I am without internet. i have also been paying for the top broadband speed packager for over two years to find that i am paying for it but dont get it!!!

  • It is theft. I reported my fault via the internet. I did not request an engineers visit! they said I did but cannot prove it and have charged me £213 + vat! they were in my propery for 1 min. The engineer has lied on the form. As i can not prove it otello have agreed with BT!!! I feel like a small pea squashed my 2 mighty quangos!!

  • Had fun with BT this past 2 weeks, and I closed my account with them on 16th (moved to TalkTalk and got the line rental shifted too). So all this happened afterwards!

    On 18th April I inadvertently transferred some money to BT that should have gone to my wife’s ISA (£3100!).

    On the 20th I realised the error and hurriedly did an “online chat” with “Ann” who said she could see the amount sitting in “our account” on their systems. She promised it would be returned immediately and we should have the money returned within 3 days (the money went to BT via the Fasterpay system and arrived immediately!).

    Three days passed and nothing, so I emailed their billing complaints service. I received a reply a day later from an Indian person, again saying that the amount could be seen in our account and that it would be returned to us within 5 days.

    Five days passed and – nothing. I emailed India again and this time mentioned that within 24 hours I’d treat it as a loan to BT at 20% APR.
    No response at all.

    Today, 29th April. I went back onto the online chat service and this time got “Helen” (like Ann, an Irish lass). After 8 minutes waiting from the “our assistant is ready now and receiving your details” message, I got a phone call on a terrible line. Helen (for so I assumed it to be) told me that the money could not be transferred electronically “because your account has been closed and we no longer have your bank details”. Funnily enough, it was closed the entire time and that didn’t stop the previous BT apparatchiks from seeing this money on our “closed” account. If nothing else their systems would have the bank details on the transaction record that they would certainly have created when the money turned up. I phoned the bank, and they had BT’s banking details but couldn’t help me.

    So, Helen offered me the priceless option of returning MY money by cheque. And I always thought that was a customer ploy.

    So, its in the post, along with that unicorn I ordered (inadvertently).


  • Interesting reading, I am curious as to why she didn't check the manual, if she didn't know it took batteries how is an advisor in a call centre supposed to? I don't think that is a BT phone either. In all fairness to BT every time I have called them regarding a fault they have advised me on checking another phone to avoid charges. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy was told the same.

  • This is so funny to read. If people want anything done they need to ring into bt's call centres and get something done especially if that amount of money has gone through to bt. in regards to this post if a customer rang up a company and said theres something wrong with my phone can you please send someone out then the company would or would see if there are any faults on the line first. its his own fault if he dint even look to see if the phone takes batterys and what is n engineer going to do its his wages and the companies time that they are wasting when it could be spent doing things that are really needing an engineer. i think the cutomer has got off very lightly and if it was me i would have charged him the full price. disabled or not this would have happened to anyone in the same situation. cheak all appliences first before ordering and engineer oh and they woud have been warned about the charge and all calls are recorded to prove claims

  • a fault was reported and logged on a friends phone the plate on the front of the nte 5 was removed and a different phone tried still ndt(no dial tone)this is what was advised by operator when engineer called the phone was working and a charge was raised but there was ndt at time of testing customer services were not worth speaking to and questioned that i did not test it correctly i have been retired 10 years but was previously a gpe/teleco/british telecom engineer for 30 years i feel ashamed to say i ever worked there i will be trying to take this further press or other media and will post progress bt is using this charge as a way to print money and must be stopped

  • Was the phone rented or under some sort of maintenance agreement with BT? I doubt it and even if the phone was rented BT would not send an engineer to fix it they would send a replacement handset.

    The engineer on this occasion actually went above and beyond his call of duty as all he really had to do was prove there was working phone line and leave.

    It clearly states in the contract that BT are responsible for providing you with a working telephone line up to the main telephone socket in your house. That does not include the equipment you buy from somewhere else.

    Same rule applies to the supply of your Electric and Gas. The Power Company only supplies you with Electricity/Gas up to your house and are not repsonsible for anything inside your house, especially things you have plugged in like your TV or Kettle. Yet people seem to always think BT are responsible for their own telephone equipment?

  • Commonsense they should have tried a different telephone, I would say the charge was justified as it is the customers own equipment caused the issue.

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