09 Mar 2015

A question about : Debt Dispute with BT

Hi all, I was wondering if some of you good fellows could help me out with some advice.

A few years back I took out a BT phone line with internet, which was all fine and dandy. However, due to some problems with my bank account, payments to BT were suspended, and it was quite a while before I could sort this out properly. (I am a seaman, and was doing a cadetship at the time, meaning I was out of the country for longish periods of time.) Now BT cancelled the account in the end (no hassles with that, I understand the actions they had to take), but I only received the letter saying this just before I left to sea again. Now, it wasn't a huge amount of money owed, but I didn't have time to deal with there and then, so I decided to leave it until I came back home again, and would sort it then. This would have been the start of November 2011. When I came back home in January 2012, the service was still running, which I admittedly thought was odd but did not question. I paid the debt owed straight away, and I continued paying for the service.

However, in April I looked to move house, and as such rang BT up and asked to cancel the service (I was moving back in with my mother, who had a cheaper service plan already, and as mine was solely in my name it could not be transferred to my previous flatmate, he had to take a separate contract out). However, when I rang them they informed me there was a cancellation charge as the contract was within the initial 12 months. Cue my surprise, and I replied to the lady that she must be confused since I had held the account since 2010! She replied, nope, that was cancelled in November 2011, and a new account was taken out then.

After I got over my bemusement, I enquired for more details, and it turned out that the account had been taken out after I left to go to sea (I was actually in Denmark at the time waiting for my ship!), and apparently BT had rang the landline, and I had agreed to take a new package deal! I duly informed BT of this, which has now caused some ruptions.

They passed the debt onto Moorcroft, and I was for quite a while in correspondence with them. I sent them a letter with full details of the circumstances, and why I disputed. They suggested I should report this to the police, which I have refused to do, as I am firmly of the view that BT rang the line, and authorised a third party as me. I have pointed out that not being in the country at the time it was kinda difficult for me to have taken the account out, and therefore the responsibility is theirs. My last correspondence with Moorcroft was a letter dated 09/10/2011, which states they are communicating with their client, and action has been suspended on the account whilst this is done. They also say they will endeavour to provide me with an appropriate response as soon as possible.

So, all well and good I thought, until I received a letter on the 18th October from a company called Commercial Credit Services. Now this letter is crass to the extreme in my view, there is no attempt to make any enquiries, they simply state I could be subject to legal proceedings, and therefore I should pay up immediately. I received the letter on Saturday 20th, so on Monday 22nd I rang them up and asked what they thought they were playing at. They stated BT had passed the debt onto them, as the previous company had not made any progress. I then pointed out to them then I was in the process of dealing with this matter through Moorcroft, and when my last correspondence with them was. I then informed CCS that I refused to deal with them, and as far as I was concerned this was being dealt with. I have to say, the gent (and I use THAT term very loosely!) I spoke to at CCS was rude to the extreme, but finally requested me to send a scanned copy of the last letter I had from Moorcroft, which I did. He said he would ring back the next day, but never did.

And now we reach today, and I have a letter through the door from Scotcall, informing me they are going to do a Debt Collection Visit on behalf of CCS/BT.

What do I do know? I have not heard back from Moorcroft, and it would appear that as soon as I submitted a formal written refutal BT simply switched debt collectors, which suggests to me they are not willing to investigate. I refuse to pay the debt, as I did not take the second account out, and I did not give permission for anyone else to do so. I hold that the fault is BT's, as they authorised someone else as myself. Also, the debt seems to increase with every company, the original debt was for something around the upper end of Ј300, now they are trying to claim Ј488, and CCS are threatening up to Ј590!!

Any advice would be appreciated, my biggest worry is time. I am away next week for two weeks of training courses, and immediately after that I go back to sea for 3.5 months, and judging by the current behaviour of BT to date I dread to think what they will try to do.


Best answers:

  • A couple more things now to add.
    1) The letter from scotcall (received today, 21st Nov) is dated 16th Nov! Even 2nd Class doesn't normally take 5 days to arrive!
    2) I received a call from scotcall on my house phone (the only number I permitted CCS to have, originally). I answered, to hear a message (!!) from them stating I had to ring them on an 0844 number! Now can anyone explain why they are ringing me just to tell me to ring them??
    Again, if anyone can offer me any advice on what to do next, I should be very grateful. Do I ring scotcall, or BT, or who? I am now uncertain who is dealing with what, as I have not had anything from Moorcroft giving me an update, yet CCS seem to believe they have the account. How do I go about disputing this now, as CCS were refusing to accept a dispute originally, and only backed off because I sent them the letter from Moorcroft.
  • Hi I didn't want to read and run, i am sure someone will be along shortly who can answer this, it does seem very complicated. Do you think your flatmate at the time would have agreed to take on the new contract and if so can you contact them to find out?
  • You've lost me slightly? The contracts are closed, I requested them to be cancelled in April. One was closed by BT in Nov 2011, which is paid off, the other is the one in dispute, which I stopped in April. The debt itself arises from the early cancellation fee, and I think possibly one months bill (I refused to pay once I realised it was a new account taken without my permission!)
    I also have no contact with that flatmate anymore, due to a disagreement over something unrelated.
  • Can someone please confirm if this is the right board to have this thread?
    I have completely missed the fact there are a huge number of other forums available, and I have no idea how I missed the others
    If someone could help, I should be very appreciative!