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Oops – BT Overcharge Capped Broadband Customers for Data Usage

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 (8:18 am) - Score 1,297

UK ISP BT has apologised after some of their fixed line Home Broadband customers, specifically those with one of the providers capped usage allowance packages (e.g. 12GB, 25GB and 45GB), were “accidentally charged … too much” for usage between 22nd and 30th June 2016.

A spokesperson for BT informed MSE that only a “small number” of their subscribers (this could still mean quite a lot given than BT is home to 9,117,000 broadband customers) had been affected by the “glitch in our systems“, which meant that some were being overcharged by “a few pounds too much.

BT’s excess use charge is Β£1.80 per GigaByte (GB) consumed beyond the monthly allowance / cap.

A BT Spokesperson said:

“BT is writing to a small number of broadband customers to apologise for a mistake which meant they were wrongly charged for going over their usage limit in June. All of these customers will be refunded for the amount we overcharged without them having to do anything.”

Separately ISPreview.co.uk understands that some of BT’s “unlimited” broadband subscribers also claim to have found an odd excess data usage charge on their bills during the same month, which suggests that the issue may not have been confined to those with capped allowances. Subscribers should check their bills.

In fairness BT is by no means the first ISP to overcharge for data usage on capped packages and nearly all of the major ISPs, as well as plenty of smaller providers, have made similar errors in the past. A fair few years ago such complaints were much more common, but the widespread adoption of “unlimited” plans has largely removed the issue.

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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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17 Responses
  1. Oggy says:

    When refunding I hope they also stick on a ‘gesture of goodwill’ for the error.

    1. wirelesspacman says:

      Given that they spotted the error and not the customer, I don’t see why they should to be honest.

    2. Oggy says:

      Have I missed the bit where it says it was BT that noticed the error?

      I’d presume that customers have contacted them to complain and when the issue has been sent for investigation it is there the mistake at a larger scale has been uncovered.

    3. Paul says:

      youd be lucky to get 1p from bt for compensation

  2. captain.cretin says:

    Back before I quit BT ( over 10 years ago), I was complaining about their data usage figures most months. It would regularly show me using a couple of GB during periods when no one was home; a weeks holiday clocked up over 4GB, despite the fact my router was switched off!!

    1. wirelesspacman says:

      Some data packets are known to get rather bored and then go wandering around the network causing mischief – they probably just had a game of ping-pong through the bandwidth usage controllers! πŸ™‚

    2. karl says:

      lol @wirelesspacman, aka chucklebros data πŸ˜€ to me to you.

      Funny how they never under charge isn’t it.

    3. Oggy says:

      I’ll bet there are many customers who are being or have been undercharged.

      Doesn’t make for such a good story though does it?

    4. karl says:

      Ill bet there isn’t and if they were they would soon correct the bill expecting them to pay AND that would then be news.

    5. Oggy says:

      And that is why it isn’t news karl. Things like that get corrected and money due quietly written off for those exact reasons.

    6. karl says:

      LOL pull the other one, if they overbill on usage there is no way they are ever going to write money off.

      Ive heard of fantasy BT PR dribble but this is a new level of imagination.

    7. Oggy says:

      karl, they write off thousands.

      You can call it dribble as much as you want but it doesn’t change the fact that it is fact.

    8. karl says:

      Another of your facts with no evidence at all

    9. Oggy says:

      karl, any evidence I could offer would be anecdotal from people I know that worked in a BT contact centre and you would just simply refuse to believe it.

      As I said before, BT write off loads of money every day of the week.

  3. captain.cretin says:

    I actually know (from a retired BT guy), that a whole exchange of people werent billed for over 30 years, as the exchange had been “lost” when the change-over from GPO to BT occurred.

    I never heard any howls of protest from people in the area, so I am guessing BT wrote off the historical bills – which would have run into many thousands as it was a city centre exchange with many business customers, as well as residential.

    This was a long time ago, the guy died 10 years ago, and the lost exchange is now part of a pub.

    1. karl says:

      “I actually know (from a retired BT guy), that a whole exchange of people werent billed for over 30 years, as the exchange had been β€œlost” when the change-over from GPO to BT occurred.”

      A pity we did not have news sites like this that long ago i imagine the 30 years bit in itself would be news. There is a joke in there about how long does it take BT to find where a wire goes, but i must not πŸ˜‰

  4. Jael says:

    Have been with BT for years and my broadband useage has never once gone over the limit. Suddenly on Xmas Eve and Xmas day 2016 the broadband spiked up into the stratosphere taking me over the 12 GB monthly limit. Then the usage did not reset on 1st Jan as it is supposed to, so apparently I am now over in Jan too despite not doing anything differently. As a person who lives alone and works full time with one laptop (which I built myself and is virus free) upon which I browse the internet and pick up e-mail only (no Skype, no I Player, etc.) this is absolute rubbish. I am currently in a complaints procedure as I have seen the forums and how this has been going on since 2010. If this is not sorted, I will leave BT even though I am still under contract. I hardly ever complain but I have had reason to complain about BT 3 times in the last 8 months and my trust has been broken.

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