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BT Broadband Billing FAIL Results in FON WiFi Use Charges

Wednesday, Aug 6th, 2014 (8:55 am) - Score 1,285

National UK telecoms operator BT has promised to refund their broadband ISP customers after it emerged that some had accidentally been charged for use of the operators FON based WiFi hotspots between 12th June and 10th July 2014, which are supposed to be free for existing subscribers.

The vast majority of BT’s several million strong public WiFi hotspots actually come from customers of their fixed line broadband packages, many of whom freely (or unwittingly since the service is now automatically enabled for new customers) share out a small slice of their home wireless network bandwidth over the operators FON service for others to use.

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BT’s existing customers would normally have FON/WiFi usage excluded from their bills but it’s been confirmed that those on the operators capped broadband packages (e.g. Broadband Option 1) recently ended up being charged for the service due to a billing error (note: subscribers with “unlimited” usage are not affected).

BT Community Support Statement

Hi Guys,

An issue with BT-Wifi/FON usage accounting process between 12-June to 10-July meant that for a very small number of customers, FON/BT-Wifi traffic hasn’t been excluded from their normal Internet usage. we’re really sorry about this, the problem that caused this to happen is resolved now.

This means that a very small number of customers have received usage charges for June, and some will have received usage warning emails in June and/ or July when they ought not to have done.

We’re putting this right by automatically refunding any usage charges for June that were caused by the problem described above. We’re also manually correcting impacted customers July usage data in the background, so no one will receive an incorrect charge for this month because of this issue.

Thanks

PaddyB

A related report over at MSE states that anyone with a capped broadband package could have been charged £5.30 for every 5GB used over their monthly allowance and that those who were overcharged for July should wait until their end of August 2014 bill to see if it’s corrected (the overcharging for June should have already been corrected as part of your latest bill).

As is tradition for BT, the operator describes this problem as only having affected a “small number” of customers, yet with a subscriber base measured in the millions that could still mean a very significant figure; hence why BT almost never give a specific figure.

Meanwhile BT’s community forum has quite a few angry posts on the subject, with some stating that they’ve seen similar billing problems that date all the way back to 2010/11, albeit not necessarily FON related. One advantage of having a “truly unlimited” service is that you don’t need to worry about such things.

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Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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