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cessation charge - legal?

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cessation charge - legal?

Quote
"What is a cessation charge?
'Cessation' is the industry term for 'cancellation'. From 1st May 2007 BT Wholesale will introduce a cessation charge of £39.66 which will apply if:

1. The telephone line which your broadband service is provided on is ceased.
2. Your broadband service is completely cancelled.
3. Your broadband service is cancelled as a result of a house move."[END QUOTE]

Is this legal?
A bit of shock if it is and retrospective.
The english in (1) is strange but seems to imply that if I cancel my phone line then BT (through PN) can penalise me - even though I paid to have the line connected and paid to have broadband enabled.
Maybe one for Ofcom/MP
80 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: 04-04-2007

cessation charge - legal?

We have certainly fed back our thoughts on this to OFCOM. Its hardly the best news to appear recently.

However, due to OFCOM's strategy on equivalence, it is they who have forced this one.
itchyfeet
Grafter
Posts: 176
Registered: 01-09-2007

cessation charge - legal?

At least one other provider have announced that they will absorb the cessation charge:

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/news/viewnews.cgi?id=EEZVlullAkHQHqotoZ

But, I guess that would just mean we'd all end up paying more each month.

It strikes me as very anti-competitive for BT to introduce this charge - isn't it likely to put people off switching to Virgin Media? Virgin media would now have to offer an amazing package to make it worthwhile me switching to cable.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

cessation charge - legal?

It's estimated that around 8-10% of people move house each year, which fits in about right with the number of house move orders we place, as you say to absorb the cost would either mean costing the remaining 90% of customers more per month or using funds we would have allocated for something else (e.g. bandwidth) to pay for the cost.

The cessation charge has been on the BT books for a while, but only applied to fully unbundled LLU lines.
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 16,311
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Registered: 06-04-2007

cessation charge - legal?

From BT outlines new wholesale broadband pricing

Quote
BT’s aim is to encourage more service providers to participate in the MAC process, which is designed to make it simpler for consumers to move from one service provider to another.


While this seems ok at first glance it certainly penalises those end users who are forced to move house for one reason or another (work commitments, family, etc). With the ever escalating costs of house-moving you will be forced to pay a cessastion charge then another activation fee. Even though PN will swallow the activation after 12 months it is still very unfair but typical of BT's actitude to their customers.

It seems 23 years after privatisation we are not that much better off.

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

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cessation charge - legal?

Does this apply to current customer's who where already signed up with Plus.net before the change's came in to effect, or is it only for new customer's and those wishing to upgrade to the new BBYW packages?

This cessation charge is a tad bit unfair in my opinion. Like previously stated if you had to move home, have your number changed so on and so forth, due to unforseen circumstances etc..
Moderator
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Posts: 16,311
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Registered: 06-04-2007

cessation charge - legal?

A further thought...

I assume that if a customer decides he/she simply does not want a broadband connection anymore then there would still be a cessation charge?

Would requesting a MAC code but not using it when cancelling be a way around this or have I missed something (I have never migrated yet so do not know the full implication)

Forum Moderator and Customer
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

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cessation charge - legal?

If you are issued a MAC code but do not use it you will simply stay with your current ISP your line stay's BB enabled. So no that will not work as you are not cancelling BB on your line just moving your BB to another provider.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
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Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

cessation charge - legal?

Quote
Does this apply to current customer's who where already signed up with Plus.net before the change's came in to effect, or is it only for new customer's and those wishing to upgrade to the new BBYW packages?


The change has been added to the T's & C's for new customers and customers switching to BBYW from an existing product. At the moment it doesn't apply to customers who signed up prior to BBYW and remain on their existing product. We are having discussions about this to decide what to do and should things change so that it is applied then I believe we would need to change the T's & C's and give the appopriate notice.

Quote
This cessation charge is a tad bit unfair in my opinion. Like previously stated if you had to move home, have your number changed so on and so forth, due to unforseen circumstances etc..


I agree, some people will have paid £47, £58.75 or even £150 (way back in the day) for activation but won't have budgeted for a cease charge as well. I can see why BT have introduced it but would have preferred it was only done for new activations which they will be charging at a lower rate. But that's my personal opinion.
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cessation charge - legal?

This charge probably come about because it cost BT to remove the jumpers from the LLU equipment and it would be unfair to BT customers to absorb this cost for a 3rd party company. OFCOM then probably stepped in and informed BT Openreach that they have to treat all users the same hence across board cessation charges.
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cessation charge - legal?

This is a part of a rather NASTY bunch of changes from BT:

Charge of £1.50 a month if you do not pay your phone bill by Direct Debit.

Minimum contract of 12 Months with a bill for up to £70 if you cancel before.

I think it is obscene, particularly for pensioners who struggle with finances and have to pay when they can afford it.

I think we need a new petition at No 10 for this to be stopped, BT are simply too big so consumers have no practical alternative.

My mother refused to pay this and we decided if she was going to be forced pay by DD she would move to talk talk on principle.
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cessation charge - legal?

So PN and TalkTalk allow you to pay by cheque or cash? BT have always reduced their charges if you paid by DD so can't see what is different.
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cessation charge - legal?

Quote


At the moment it doesn't apply to customers who signed up prior to BBYW and remain on their existing product. We are having discussions about this to decide what to do and should things change so that it is applied then I believe we would need to change the T's & C's and give the appopriate notice.


Well I will be staying put for time being then, although I am not looking at cancelling my BB completely anyway, well not for the forseeable future.
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cessation charge - legal?

Quote
So PN and TalkTalk allow you to pay by cheque or cash? BT have always reduced their charges if you paid by DD so can't see what is different.


The difference is being FORCED to do something.

The elderly find it very difficult to manage on their tiny pensions and so have to carefully time when they pay their bills. They are old fashioned and like to check their bills and pay what they think is due without the hassle of a retrospective complaint once the money has been taken.

Nobody likes being forced to do something and the charges do not reflect the costs. Some people believe that it is a way of linking all bank accounts with phone records.

It would have been more honest to just put up the line rental.

I do not pay BT by direct debit because a few years ago they took over 4k from my bank account. I did manage to get the money back eventually but it completely screwed up my credit record as things started to bounce and I got charged for each transaction.

The elderly also like going out to the post office as it is one of the few ways they have to socialise and also for their own personal fitness objectives.

Finally we have the concept of the cheque, it is the foundation of trust (pay the bearer etc) and while we might find it easier to pay things by direct debit we should still have a choice and not be taken advantage of in this way.

P.S. BT is a monopoly, so people do not have a real choice, as such it should not be able to abuse its position in this way.
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cessation charge - legal?

BT are not a monopoly and if you think they are then report it to OFCOM.

BT does not force you to pay by DD. You have other paying options.