Product Type: BT in Telecommunications Services
Newest Review: ... got out of hand, I had to renew my broadband and telephone, which I did with BT out of convenience, which I am seriously regretting now. ... more
They've got me where it hurts......
Member Name: sue.51
Date: 29/09/01, updated on 29/09/01 (418 review reads)
Advantages: Cheaper calls than NTL
Disadvantages: Charge you for everything extra
When NTL (then known as cable tel) swept silently underground into our locality a few years ago, myself like many others signed up for them amid the lure of cheap phone calls (then 1.5p per connection), free calls to other local NTL numbers during evenings and weekends, lots of extra TV channels for free (well included in the line rental anyway), and cheap pay-per-minute internet calls.
Gradually as they sucked in and increased their customer base, their costs started to rise, firstly their initial connection charge rose to 3.5p, then more recently to 4.9p, the number of 'free' TV channels started to fall, and the introduced a monthly charge of £2 for retaining Sky One, with two lines and Sky Digital in the house, I decided to call time on one of my lines, and answered the call from BT to go back for free, and this is just what we did. I also had a BT internet pay-monthly account by this time and thought it made sense.
The line was connected in next to no time (about 3 days), and the service was efficient and friendly, although the engineer did turn up three hours early to connect the line, before my partner left work, but fortunately they didn't have to enter the house to do so. Great, I was now in a position to take advantage of free evening and weekend local calls - and boy do I make some, wrong again, it took three attempts at contacting them before they generously decided to activate the request - and you cannot walk away as you are signed up for a minimum 12 month period.
To be fair, when the bills started rolling in, they were infinitely cheaper than NTL, so one up for BT, I was saving around £30/month on calls alone, despite the ever increasing cost of the line rental for which you get, well um line rental, 1471 (and more recently 1571).
FACILITIES & PROMOTIONS
BT also offer their 'Friends and Family Service' where you can select 10 telephone numbers, including one
overseas and one mobile and receive 10% discount on all calls made to those numbers. In addition, you can select one number as your 'Best Friend' and consequently receive 20% discount on all calls, trouble is, now we are signed up for the free evening and weekend calls for an extra fee of £5/month, most of those numbers on my friends and family are defunct, not such good value.
They also offer services such as surf together which offers free internet surfing evenings and weekends for approximately £6/month (just had a price increase). I was more than happy with my lot with BT, until they decided that customers would no longer be able to access their internet services without a BT line, hence, I either had to use by NTL world account (free), or use the NTL line for free - Before you all ask why I just don't kill the BT internet account its because it holds my web-site, which although it looks pretty crummy, has some reasonable content and attracts visitors from all over the world from most of the major search engines (if you want to know how to do this, visit www.thecounter.com), this success took in excess of 2 years, and I really have no desire to start again, I am not technically clever enough to relocate IP addresses etc, and before anyone trys telling me how to, don't waste your energy because I have just moved to a new house, and GUESS WHAT? - NTL are NOT allowed to install their lines into new houses for a minumum period of two years after the site has been completed.
If you move house with NTL (providing the service is available in that area), they re-install your lines free of charge, so BT will do the same - won't they?
WELL NO ACTUALLY - A VERY LOUD RESOUNDING NO
BT required £49.50 to CONNECT the new line in my new house (not bad for flicking a switch), in addition I needed a second line, so they will very generously do this for ANOTHER £49.50.
Actually Mr/Mrs BT it is going to be very inconve
nient to again have new phone number -no problem madam, providing you are going to be living in the same telephone exchange area (we are), you can take your number with you - for £37.50 - so to recap its costing me £136.50 for an engineer to visit my house to install a second line - I was told that as it was a new property it is not DACS line.
BT have got me all ways, there is no way out of me having their line in my house, save having no phone at all, and then also no internet connection - no thanks , I will have to suffer.
WHAT ELSE DO THEY OFFER?
An interactive secure website, where you can view your call charges since your last bill (before any discounts), you can view and pay your bills, set up direct debits view your last 4 bills, amend and update your calling circle on family and friends (you can only change your 'Best Friend' once in any quarter).
You can use their on-line telephone directory to search for numbers UK wide - although BT have obviously got wise as more and more people go on-line, and from the not too distant future (date unclear) will be restricting people to 5 free searches a day -when recently using this site, I was subjected to a marketing research survey asking about my usage of the facility and whether I would be prepared to pay for the service - um NO, not really, but I would see this as the next realistic move by the company, as they continue move to recoup some of the massive debts.
SKY DIGITAL - BEWARE THIS ONE
BT are currently advertising installation of Sky Digital to their customers at a special price of £70 - just be aware that this price is NOT so special - if you contact Sky Digital Direct, they will do the installation for £70 if having the basic package, and £59 if you agree to have the full package, including movies and sports for a month FREE OF CHARGE - although if you really don't want it, don't forget to turn it off at the end of the month, or you will get
walloped for around £34 on your direct debit, good luck if you try and get it back.
BT's website states: Unique Offers on Digital TV only with BT -
I believe they also run a similar offer with ITV Digital, although already having two boxes this is of no interest to me. Check out the competition offers before signing up.
1571 - THE FREE ANSWERING SERVICE
I must have been one of the first people to get this service, being the absent minded type who constantly forgets to flick the switch on the answering machine - the service kicks in after 'X' amount of unanswered rings and takes a message, which is depicted to the user by an alternating dial tone, it doesn't however ring you to tell you there is messages present - so you have to get into the habit of checking for them. Messages can be stored for 20 days after listening to them. This service also kicks in immediately if the line is busy, thus making the caller incur a connection charge of 5p, so not really that free, but at least I am not paying.
PAID FOR SERVICES
I believe they also offer a paid messaging service, number identification for that little box on your desktop so that you can avoid people you don't want to talk to, call waiting (although I understand this can interfere with internet downloads) - I have not tried any of these services.
One service I do confess to using no mentioned here is RINGBACK - this is where you call a number thats in engaged - by pressing 5, the phone will ring back when the line is free, and the service costs an additional 10p on the price of the call, but is particularly useful and saves a lot of hassle on keeping trying someones number.
In my experience cheaper on calls, but they grab you every other way possible to get money out of you, and some of their offers are not all they are cracked up to be.
Sue - September 2001