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BT’s Struggle to Honour 9 Month UK Student Broadband Contracts

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 (7:41 am) - Score 800

Last summer’s attempt by BT’s consumer division to attract student customers onto its broadband packages by offering a shorter 9 month contract may have backfired after the operator initially failed to honour its commitment and instead charged those whom attempted to leave for additional months, often including a £30 exit fee and £55 HomeHub charge.

Readers might recall that during August last year we highlighted a range of student friendly promotions (here), with ISPs like BT and Virgin Media reducing their usual 12-18 month contract periods to just 9 months for eligible subscribers (though if you can live without TV services then one of the smaller ISPs with a 1 month contract might be easier).

Unfortunately a report on Cable highlights several examples where subscribers found that their so-called 9 month contracts were not as advertised and those leaving were instead treated as if it was an early-exit on a 12 month term. In one example the combined cost of having to pay for unexpected line rental, broadband, exit fees and the HomeHub came to £117.

The good news is that BT, after receiving complaints, appears to have recognised their mistake.

A BT Spokesperson said:

We apologise to the small number of students affected by this billing issue and will refund those who have found themselves in this situation.”

The problems arise at the worst possible time for BT, with another student year fast approaching and any doubts likely to dissuade potential subscribers. As usual it’s also worth pointing out that BT’s concept of a “small number of students” has to be taken within the context of them having 7.3 million broadband subscribers (this figure is likely to rise again with tomorrows results).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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