BT Payment Processing Fee: Bandits!

I have just to-day woken up to two things. The first is that BT really are BANDITS who are only interested in making massive amounts of money and they do not care how they accomplish that. The second is that BT is a company with no scruples and even less style.

What has gotten me so riled up is not :

  • BT’s EXTREMELY poor broadband provision;
  • BT’s massive and unreasonable broadband charges;
  • BT’s silly and impenetrable call charge structure;
  • BT’s daft six page basic bill that attempts to hide the real costs behind a smokescreen of drivel;

No… all these things are really frustrating and make the blood boil but what I am really, truly and deeply angry about is:

  1. BT’s Payment Processing Charge;
  2. BT’s customer Service ethos.

Now the first thing makes me so angry because I always pay my bill on time and by cheque. I really begrudge these robbers taking £4.50 extra from my pocket just because I don’t want them having access to my bank account through a direct debit system. Let’s face it this shower of thieves is so incompetent I doubt if my bank details would be safe in their hands!

Why should I have to PAY these tubes extra for the delightful task of paying their already over-inflated bill? This is a disgrace. It is nothing short of robbery.

If you agree… then please feel free to add your supportive comment here. And while you are at it you might want to sign a wee e-petition to the Prime Minister telling him to move his lardy and lazy frame and look into this issue quickly. You can find that petition here:

BT Penalties Petition

Do it now…eh?

Of course the second thing that makes my blood boil is BT’s Customer Service ethos – for want of a more fitting word! When I recently rang to ask about this charge and to express my strong objection to it the little people in the Belfast call centre displayed that they really are little – little in mind, bereft of understanding and lacking in even the rudiments of customer care. Well… the managers anyway. The poor guy who took my call sympathised but said he could do nothing. I hadn’t expected him to do anything and I got exactly what I’d expected!

The BT Belfast supervisor lass’s response to my request to lodge a complaint was to say that she would add a note to my account. As helpful as sun tan lotion in the Arctic! Requests to speak with someone who could take a complaint seriously were met with incredulous stonewalling and eventually a duty manager. Her duty turned out to be to keep telling me I was wrong and wasn’t listening to her speaking. I thought the job was for them to listen to us but apparently not!

Eventually this jumped up little jobs-worth very helpful individual decided to just cut me off. A brilliant ploy in the battle for customers. I know everyone in BT’s phone book will be really glad to hear that the way they deal with complaints is just to put down the phone. It’s easy when you are hiding behind a large company where everyone has the same luxury as the royal family – only known by christian first names!

The Customer Services Manager I eventually tracked down on my second call, and after my elongated navigation of BT’s silly answer phone system, proved to be JUST AS HELPFUL as the duty manager. When I asked to speak with one of their Complaint Review Managers (according to the back of my bill they exist!) I was told by the CSM that she did not know who that was or where I might be able to find one. So… I gave up… for the evening.

BUT… I have not gone away! I want my money back! This charge is unfair and disgraceful. I also want an apology from the BT big chiefs for the way the managers treated me. I was just asking a simple question at the beginning of the call …. but you have lost a friend for the remainder of my life!!

And.. I suspect I have not been the only one who has witnessed this disreputable side of BT’s customer relations. My revenge will be swift and final…. there must be other providers out there who treat customers as customers and not prisoners.

Anybody like to share their experiences of companies that are better than BT?


23 Responses to BT Payment Processing Fee: Bandits!

  1. s cullen says:

    advice given to us after 12 months trauma and tribulation?

    If you want some service, you really should Upgrade – to a Business Line!!

    Our latest ploy?
    To make zero calls.

    A bill for 81.80 !

    Oh yes, that includes a payment towards next time!

    Answer (nearly in tears if fury by now)
    But what about ‘the payment towards next bill that you you took last time?’

    BT Response
    Some of that was for the bill before……

    This is unjust because we can’t actually even afford these non-bills!

    Will sign petition – and remove every add-on service there is from bill!

  2. More:

    I have sent this letter to my MP. It reads:-

    Dear Mark Durkan,

    I am incensed that BT are now charging £4.50 per quarter as a PAYMENT PROCESSING FEE to anyone who does not pay their phone bill by Direct Debit.

    I believe this is an UNFAIR charge and breaches my contract. When I signed up with BT for this line – in 2000 – there was no mention of this. I was given the alternatives of paying by cash, cheque, debit or credit card. I am now being charged extra for paying my bill and paying it on time!

    What will come next if this type of charge is allowed? Waiters asking for an extra payment before putting the meal you have paid for on the table? Rail ticket collectors demanding a pound to hand over the ticket you’ve just spent £50 on? Supermarket checkout operators demanding £1 to handle your cash payment?

    This type of payment is an affront. If a company has to pay to process money then that is something that ought to be built into their cost structure. Throwing it so BLATANTLY as an extra charge on customers is despicable, petty and typical of BT’s shoddy mean-spirited business practices.

    Please raise the issue of this charge in the House of Commons and attempt to get your fellow MPs to force BT to abandon this ridiculous charge.

    Yours sincerely,

    Martin Doherty


    I suggest others follow suit.

    You can write to your MP very easily using this website:

    It takes a few minutes to do but if enough of us write then someone may sit up and take notice.

  3. nerd. says:

    First thing’s first: BT.

    I’m no fan of BT. I worked for them for a year in a call centre while at university and their BT Mobile operation was a complete joke. Their broadband is a rip-off too. In fact, I’d recommend you switch both your phone and broadband to PlusNet, who I’ve been with for about 6 months now (no 12-month contract either). Their line rental is £9.99, cheaper than BT, and that includes evening and weekend calls. If you make calls a lot during the day or to international destinations then try The only thing is I pay PlusNet by direct debit and call1899 by credit card and I think both these are compulsory.

    Now, as far as the charges go, I’m sorry but your direct debit argument is at least as illogical as BT’s is.

    Your argument is flawed because it does cost them more to process. Why should I (if I were still a BT customer) pay extra to subsidise your unwillingness to get with the times? If you don’t trust BT move to someone else.

    I would guess it doesn’t cost BT as much as £4.50 a quarter, but maybe it does. By the time they factor in that people paying by cash or cheque are much more likely to forget to pay their bill and are harder to chase up when payment isn’t made on time, £18 a year might be about right.

    Also, Mr Doherty, it doesn’t breach your contract. Do you think BT owe you something? They’re a private company now, that means their duty is to their shareholders. BT are under no obligation to keep you on the same terms you signed up to, as long as they give you sufficient notice (usually a month or so) and option to quit the contract (which AFAIK you have by law if the terms are changed in a way detrimental to you). Regardless of your legal rights you’re free to quit BT at any time as long as your outside your minimum term (which after 8 years I’d guess you are).

    BT don’t owe you any favours, nor do you owe them. As I said above, if you don’t like the way BT are treating you then vote with your feet. If you don’t want to pay the extra for paying by cheque then find a company who won’t charge you extra.

  4. Well Nerd… you make some interesting, if somewhat errant, points.

    Your assumptions, that I’m looking for something for nothing from BT or that I think they owe me anything, are totally wrong. For the most part I just figure they are among the most stupid, incompetent and arrogant companies on the planet!

    Collection of bills is a business overhead. Keep the charges reasonable, transparent and easy to understand. Ensure they are fair to everyone and do NOT require special arrangements to meet. Payment by CASH, CHEQUES and CARD are all well established.

    I have absolutely NO objection should BT wish to bring in a charge reduction for people who pay by some new method, I’m sure the top executives would love to see us all arriving with gold bullion to pay the monthly bill, for instance! But penalizing people for paying by CASH, CHEQUE or CARD is not on!

    Oh… thanks for the advice on alternative telecoms suppliers… I’m certain other readers will find this useful.

  5. nerd. says:

    “I have absolutely NO objection should BT wish to bring in a charge reduction for people who pay by some new method”

    That’s all a question of marketing though. When they first tried to promote DD it was marketed as a discount. The benefit (to BT) being that they aren’t seen as penalising customers but rewarding them.

    Now they’re “marketing” it as a penalty, so they can advertise the ‘discounted’ price as their headline rate. That’s standard and it’s what all the telecom companies do. It would put BT at an unfair disadvantage if they were advertising more expensive headline rates than companies who only accepted DD payments.

    Either way the result is the same though, non-DD customers pay more because they cost BT more. The question of how much more they cost isn’t something I can answer exactly.

    And by the way I’ve no love for BT either. In fact I’d completely go along with “they are among the most stupid, incompetent and arrogant companies on the planet!” But I think there are worse things they’ve done.

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