BT small print WTF



  • I'm currently shopping around for broadband, I'm really interested in getting BT's infinity super fast broadband.

    The line rental is a bit steep at nearly £15 per month, but if you pay for an entire year up front you can get it for an equivalent of £10.75 per month.

    It all sounds pretty sane so far...

    Then I noticed this strange "call requirement" that they've got.

    [QUOTE]A minimum call requirement of 2 calls per month is associated with this product. Calls can be chargeable or those included with your chosen call plan. A charge of £1.50 applies in each month that you do not make the required number of calls. Calls to the following numbers will not count towards the minimum call requirement: 0800/0808/0500 Freephone numbers; 100/198/155 Operator; 112/998/999 Emergency services; 150 BT Customer Services; 151 BT Fault Reporting; 195 Blind and Disabled Directory Enquiries; 1471/1571. Calls made using BT Broadband Talk and Chargecard are also excluded.[/QUOTE]

    (Taken from this link)

    It seems a little bonkers to have some weird arbitrary requirement like this. Escpecially as the 2 calls could be free ones from your allowance.

    I've done some Googling to see if I can find a reason for this strange rule, but all I can find are angry customers and bemused bloggers :-)

    Has anyone got any ideas of a sane reason for such a requirement?

    Personally it makes me not want to order broadband from them.




  • Because of a clause in the union agreement, they need to maintain a certain number of technicians busy. Clearly the number of calls made by customers is the key contributing factor for the POH so it's the only variable they can control in the equation:


    (RequiredNumberOfEmployees * 7.5 hours * 20 days per month) - ((CoreSwitchMTTR + CoreSwitchMTTD) * NumberOfCoreSwitch) = (((MinimumNumberOfCalls * NumberOfCustomers * AverageCallDuration) / NumberOfCoreSwitches) / (CoreSwitchAnnualizedFailureRate / 12))

    The £1.50 amount is their way to pass on to the customer the monthly fees for handling union grievances when the labour hours are not met and technicians have spent too much time being idle (or worse: being laid off). Interestingly, the exact amount is also linked to an union agreement, the one for office employees, which contains a clause indicating how many clerical operations per hour is acceptable (per worker):

    BaseFee = LawyerCostPerGrievance * AverageNumberOfGrievancePerIdleHour * 7.5 * 20




    OverheadCost = BankingFeesPerTransaction + (YearlyAccountingClerkSalary / 12 / 20 / 7.5 / ClericalOperationsPerHour) + ((DatabaseStorageRequiredPerTransactionInKB + FileServerStorageRequiredByGrievanceDocumentInKB) * StorageCostPerKB) + (((DatabaseServerCpuConsumed/DatabaseServerCpuCapacity) + (FileServerCpuConsumed/FileServerCpuCapacity)) * PowerAndCoolingExpensesPerServer)



    £1.50 = BaseFee + OverheadCost

    It's obvious.



  • Sounds to me like a built-in get-out clause to stiff you in the (usual?) case that you won't actually make two or more qualifying calls per month. It may even be that the whole offer is predicated on an assumption that at absolute minimum, 50% of customers taking up the offer will ultimately fail to qualify under this condition.

    On the plus side, calls to 123 Speaking Clock aren't specifically excluded, and presumably neither are calls to 1234, which is the freecall variant used by BT engineers to quickly check lines. Win!



  • This looks like a good enough reason to dig up an old modem, put it into your computer, and whip up a script to have the computer automatically phone a semi-random number every two weeks.



  • @Gurth said:

    This looks like a good enough reason to dig up an old modem, put it into your computer, and whip up a script to have the computer automatically phone a semi-random number every two weeks.
    If you can get it to call union technicians specifically I'll pay you for it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    Because of a clause in the union agreement,
    BT is in the UK. Not the US or Canada. Unions are more prevalant in the public sector here, not the private sector.



  • @PJH said:

    @Speakerphone Dude said:
    Because of a clause in the union agreement,
    BT is in the UK. Not the US or Canada. Unions are more prevalant in the public sector here, not the private sector.

    here is a link to "the biggest union for the communications industry in the UK with 204,500 members [who] represent members in postal, telecom, mobile, administrative and financial companies including Royal Mail Group, UK Mail and BT, o2, Virgin Media, Orange, ComputaCenter and Santander."



  • @DoctaJonez said:

    Calls to the following numbers will not count towards the minimum call requirement: 0800/0808/0500 Freephone numbers; 100/198/155 Operator; 112/998/999 Emergency services; 150 BT Customer Services; 151 BT Fault Reporting; 195 Blind and Disabled Directory Enquiries; 1471/1571. Calls made using BT Broadband Talk and Chargecard are also excluded.
     

    Are there any other BT-related numbers you could call? I'd auto-script some random call to one of their fax lines, or possibly a quick dial to my works faxserver.

    @DoctaJonez said:

    Personally it makes me not want to order broadband from them.

    After the bad publicity they got from the ACS:Law debacle (and an ongoing issue with receiving Dabs spam plus them cold-calling to try and push plusnet onto me) I'm steering well clear of them. They - and OpenWoe - have a terrible reputation for consumer services.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @PJH said:
    @Speakerphone Dude said:
    Because of a clause in the union agreement,
    BT is in the UK. Not the US or Canada. Unions are more prevalant in the public sector here, not the private sector.

    here is a link to "the biggest union for the communications industry in the UK with 204,500 members [who] represent members in postal, telecom, mobile, administrative and financial companies including Royal Mail Group, UK Mail and BT, o2, Virgin Media, Orange, ComputaCenter and Santander."

    And that negates my point, how, exactly? You're still being an idiot.


  • @Cassidy said:

    Are there any other BT-related numbers you could call?

    You didn't see the tag for my previous post in this thread then?



  • @Gurth said:

    You didn't see the tag for my previous post in this thread then?
     

    Yes, and recognised it as a London number, but didn't look up who it was.

    Now that I have... that sounds ideal!



  •  Actually, I believe this is a legacy from the way BT was originally privatized. They are a telephone company and there is a requirement to maintain this as their primary function even when selling other services. BT are not allowed to sell you broadband without you having a BT line, whereas other ISPs can. I don't know the exact details, and can't be bothered to look them up, but I imagine there is a regulation that stipulates a minimum amount of calls in order to keep the pretence that this is primarily a telephonic contract.



  • @Malenfant said:

     Actually, I believe this is a legacy from the way BT was originally privatized. They are a telephone company and there is a requirement to maintain this as their primary function even when selling other services. BT are not allowed to sell you broadband without you having a BT line, whereas other ISPs can. I don't know the exact details, and can't be bothered to look them up, but I imagine there is a regulation that stipulates a minimum amount of calls in order to keep the pretence that this is primarily a telephonic contract.

    Here, this actually sounds plausible. I should have known that if there was a reason for it (even a really half-arsed one like this) that the government would have been involved in there somewhere.



  •  It sounds plausible indeed. Having once worked at BT, an alternative explanation could be that the company is completely bonkers.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @DoctaJonez said:

    I should have known that if there was a reason for it ([b][i][u]ESPECIALLY[/u][/i][/b] a really half-arsed one like this) that the government would have been involved in there somewhere.
    FTFY.



  • @Severity One said:

     It sounds plausible indeed. Having once worked at BT, an alternative explanation could be that the company is completely bonkers.

    The two don't have to be mutually exclusive.



  • @Malenfant said:

     Actually, I believe this is a legacy from the way BT was originally privatized. They are a telephone company and there is a requirement to maintain this as their primary function even when selling other services. BT are not allowed to sell you broadband without you having a BT line, whereas other ISPs can. I don't know the exact details, and can't be bothered to look them up, but I imagine there is a regulation that stipulates a minimum amount of calls in order to keep the pretence that this is primarily a telephonic contract.

    It's nothing to do with privatization; BT want you to use the line as your preferred option for making calls, rather than having you always reach for your mobile. The hope is that you'll either pay extra for a calls package to avoid being charged for the calls (money for BT beyond line rental), or accidentally make a call not covered by your allowance (e.g. calling during peak times when your allowance only covers off-peak).

    By insisting that you make two calls a month from your BT line, BT hope to ensure that you've always got the landline available, and are prepared to consider it for every call you make. If you've not plugged in a phone, or have put the phone somewhere unreachable, they get to charge you a pure-profit £1.50/month, more than compensating them for the missed revenue from the calls you might make.



  •  The number I recommend calling is 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3.


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