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Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

mssystems
Rising Star
Posts: 272
Thanks: 35
Fixes: 1
Registered: 10-08-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Most days I like plus.net...but today!

I can not abide frustrations born of ridiculous restrictions imposed by suppliers. Example trying to buy a 35 quid SCSI cable for a 7K Dell server and finding it only comes with a tape drive!

My Ridiclous Restriction of the week award is today awarded to Plus.net for this little gem.

The story so far. My client aims to save around £11 per month by regrading their Office 1000 to a Small business Premier Pro 1Mb account. So I dutifully go through the upgrade wizard, clicking the relevant boxes Helpfully the wizard provides a summary;
Your choices so far are:
Small Business Pro
Speed: 1Mb
Included Usage: Premier
Hardware: Wires Only
£44.99 per month
Contract information: Small Business Pro

*One off activation fee £14.99

If you are thinking my complaint concerns the regrade fee, you are warm. If you think I am objecting to the cost, not a chance, my client will save the fee in a month.

So I press the Upgrade Existing User button...
To be greeted by this;
Thank you for choosing to upgrade.
Confirm your choice
Current product: ADSL Office 1000 Self-Install – Annual Contract
New product: PlusNet Small Business Pro Premier 1MB (Annual Contract, No Modem) at £52.86 per month


Now maybe you are thinking that I am going to complain about the difference between 44.99 and 52.86. Not at all, admittedly it would be clearer if plus added Ex VAT to the first and Inc VAT to the second, but hey you don't survive in business without learning to calculate 17.5%

No the reason for my rant is this little statement which accompanies the confirmation screen

"Please ensure that you have valid credit card details associated with your account because one-off payments cannot be taken by Direct Debit. Update card details."

WTF! Let's just review. My client has currently authorised Plus.net to take 64.63 per month by DD. The original activation fees were paid by DD. In fact they have never paid anything to Plus.net by CC. They have a bl00dy good reason for paying their ISP bills by DD and this was a factor in signing up with Plus.net in the first place. But Plus.net are refusing to take the regrade fee by DD hence preventing my client from saving £132 per year.

The regrade is 4 quid more than a single months saving! How about I put it in an envelope would that work?

If someone would care to explain this situation and possibly a way around I am all ears.
Sad
11 REPLIES
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

How much would be love to be able to do this - It's a very common complaint and perhaps we should explain it better at the point the error occurs.

It's not a restriction we have - It comes about because direct debits are created by the bank as recurring monthly transactions. This means we have to take a fixed cost every month, and we can't take a one off payment outside of the subscription cost.

I certainly take on board your point about VAT too, but it's normal practice to offer quotes for business products with an Ex VAT price, but offer invoices / payment confirmations with an INC VAT price. Perhaps this could be fixed if we were ore explicit on the first screen about it being ex VAT?

Regards,

Ian
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Hi,

Quote
This means we have to take a fixed cost every month, and we can't take a one off payment outside of the subscription cost.


So, I'm puzzled, how do (for example) mobile phone companies do it then? They take their bills by Direct Debit, and mine most definitely isn't a fixed cost each month!

Regards,
D'Essen
lhorwath
Grafter
Posts: 1,248
Registered: 10-04-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

And we have a flexible monthly subscription with the CBC accounts. But they are a monthly subscription, even though the price fluctuates. It is the additional one off payments that we cannot take.
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

So, I'm puzzled, how do (for example) mobile phone companies do it then? They take their bills by Direct Debit, and mine most definitely isn't a fixed cost each month!

As does every other utility company. It seems ONLY PlusNet are unable to do this. How stupid!!
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

I pay my full monthly credit card bills by DD, they have been anything from £0 to £2800. How do they do that?
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Hi,

Quote
And we have a flexible monthly subscription with the CBC accounts. But they are a monthly subscription, even though the price fluctuates. It is the additional one off payments that we cannot take.


So... How hard is it to make the one of payment part of the bill? Whilst semantically this is seperate, surely the Bank will just see a total figure and process it, without really caring much about what makes up that figure?

Ah - the pennies just dropped! This would have to part of the regularly once a month DD, and not an additional payment as well as the normal DD. I presume that's were the issue lies? And not with the amounts etc...

Back to the mobile bill analogy, when I modify my account, any new charges are payable as part of the next bill, instead of immediately (so I then still only make one payment that month - just a bigger payment). If a customer has been long standing with PlusNet, and has a good track record of payments, then is it that much of an issue to wait until the next billing cycle before payment for services is taken?

Regards,
D'Essen
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Hi,

We recently upgraded our company phones with O2. The upgrade was free, however we ordered 4 new Bluetooth headsets at the same time. Not free.

These were paid for using our usual monthly direct debit.
Clearly a one off payment.

Who is wrong, O2 chancing their arm or Plus Net applying the rules too rigidly?

Mark
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Hi,

There are in fact two issues. The first is as Ian describes in that we can't make one off payments, only a payment once a month.

The second is that our system is not set up to add the one-off fee onto the next subscription payment. This is something I believe is on the workstack to be done.
N/A

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

Maybe I'm missing something but I have just upgraded from dialup to broadband incurring a £70 activation fee. This was taken as a one off payment via DD. At least I assume it was - the money went out of my bank account without any intervention on my part.
Frank Bainbridge
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

PlusNet do offer the option to use DD for activation payments as it is part of the broadband account signup / creation / upgarde (from dialup) so is available on the billing system. The admin/regrade fees were always treated separately to the activation charges so I suspect were never incorporated into the billing system for DD payments when they were introduced, so have to be paid for separately.

I also suspect the billing system does not allow a manual change to a DD payment either so it's not possible to bypass the automated systems and adjust the payments.
painswck
Grafter
Posts: 449
Registered: 30-07-2007

Ridiclous Restriction of the week award

If you are right,and I suspect you are, then the CS staff should stop blaming the banks and get their system fixed. As an aside, Ian did a perfect description of a standing order in his earlier post instead of a DD.

I have lost count of how many times this topic has come up over the last few years,.