Why can’t I can­cel BT ac­count?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

A few days af­ter my hus­band moved to live else­where he changed all the bills into my name.

All went smoothly apart from with BT, the provider of the land­line and broad­band. It said I had to ring it.

I did, about six times, and al­ways waited in­ter­minable lengths of time un­til, when I did get through, I couldn’t un­der­stand most of what was said.

It was at great speed and pre­sum­ably read from a script. I am elderly and hard of hear­ing.

I then needed to query the bills but couldn’t ac­cess them on­line as they were still in my hus­band’s name.

I wrote to BT and it told me to send £30 to change the name on the ac­count. No other provider had charged for this and I couldn’t af­ford this cost. The bills were then made ac­ces­si­ble on­line, so I put the mat­ter on hold.

In 2015, af­ter a long, drawn-out di­vorce, I was able to re­vert to us­ing my maiden name.

I wrote to BT en­clos­ing a cer­ti­fied copy of the deed poll, which I asked it to re­turn – but I heard noth­ing.

Two years later, I was mov­ing and chang­ing to a dif­fer­ent provider. On the eve of the move my daugh­ter, who was help­ing me, deleted the BT di­rect debit.

Af­ter that, BT sent a £164.26 cheque made out to my ex-hus­band. I have tried to get BT to ex­change it for one in my name but to no avail. Can you help? EO, BERKS

BT said there was no fee for chang­ing the ac­count holder’s name, al­though out­stand­ing charges would have had to be paid.

In the let­ter it sends to con­firm clo­sure of an ac­count, cus­tomers are ad­vised not to stop any di­rect debit as hav­ing this in place en­ables it to credit or debit the ac­count pay­ing the bill, de­pend­ing on whether money is owed or not.

This, of course, would have worked for you. In­stead, with the di­rect debit hav­ing been can­celled, the cheque for the credit was au­to­mat­i­cally made out to your ex-hus­band as the ac­count had still been in his name.

Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment, BT sent a re­place­ment cheque in your new name. You say, given your cir­cum­stances, this makes a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial dif­fer­ence. my house and con­tents in­surance. This says it has a team of trades­peo­ple on hand to carry out ur­gent re­pairs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We had no hot wa­ter to our taps, bath, shower, wash­ing ma­chine etc, and so phoned the home emer­gency ser­vice and an en­gi­neer came out to di­ag­nose the prob­lem.

The hot wa­ter, in a dif­fer­ent cir­cuit to the ra­di­a­tors, was work­ing OK, and the en­gi­neer could not sort the prob­lem out.

A few days later, an­other en­gi­neer came and ad­vised that we flush the ra­di­a­tors – at my ex­pense. This was ir­rel­e­vant as it was not linked to the prob­lem.

Two days af­ter that a lo­cal elec­tri­cian fixed it in 40 min­utes. JK, SUR­REY

The mis­takes meant you and your part­ner, who are 81 and 75 re­spec­tively, were with­out hot wa­ter for 17 days. The agent of John Lewis Fi­nance, which em­ployed the en­gi­neers, of­fered £75 com­pen­sa­tion.

You felt this was far from ad­e­quate. You par­tic­u­larly

felt that it was im­per­a­tive John Lewis Fi­nance should know what had hap­pened and, since it was branded as its prod­uct, take some re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Af­ter all, it was the firm’s rep­u­ta­tion that had drawn you to buy in­surance there in the first place.

I con­tacted John Lewis Fi­nance and it said: “We are dis­ap­pointed that the home emer­gency ser­vice that he re­ceived in this in­stance did not meet the high stan­dards we would wish for cus­tomers, which was a re­sult of the is­sue be­ing

in­cor­rectly di­ag­nosed by our con­trac­tor.”

It has apol­o­gised and of­fered £500 as a ges­ture of good­will, which you have ac­cepted.

It has also cov­ered all costs in­curred, such as the other en­gi­neer you had to pay for.

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