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New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

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carolinefish
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New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

I just joined plusnet almost a month ago. I have Fibre Broadband and it comes with a landline though I don't use it and haven't done for 3 years (I was with BT and EE before). Within a few days of the switch to Plusnet calls started to be made from my number to Holland and to Scottish Power, mobile lines etc. It racked up to £69 before Plusnet stopped it. And only then because I 'ran out of credit' not because I reported a problem - they let calls be made after I said I disputed them all and didn't use the landline. I have hundreds of mobile minutes pre-paid and never use the landline, don't have Scottish Power and no nobody in Holland. the numbers called seem genuine rather than some scam.

Plusnet said I needed an engineer - when he came he was puzzled and said it was a billing issue - a crossed line would have shown up when I called the number plusnet gave me to check it.

So I think the engineer will be added to my bill too as there was no fault.

Plusnet say the calls came from my number, no line fault, no crossed line. They are going to bill me it within the next couple of days. End of Story.

I cancelled my direct debit as I will overdraw if they charge me. 

So I expect I will be cut off. Single parent, disabled, 4 children. Nightmare.

I have talked to BT as it is them who say to Plusnet that I made the calls. They can't/won't help - say I pay Plusnet and not them. Talk to Plusnet. Which I have but they are billing me anyway.

I don't know what to do. I was at home by myself or out when the calls in question were made. I didn't make them, my kids wouldn't be plugging the phone in to ring Scottish Power and in any case they were mostly at school when the numbers were rung.

What do I do?!!!

29 REPLIES 29
Gandalf
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Hi there,

 

I am sorry to hear you've been charged for international calls you've advised you didn't make. I believe I've replied to your Facebook posts (you can ignore those replies, I've found your username from your forum details).

 

I'm taking a look into this with our billing team. In meantime, mind dialling 17070 from your phone handset and let me know by private message what number you hear?

 

Thanks,

 

Anoush

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
carolinefish
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Hi Anoush - that was the number I called before the engineer even came - its always been my landline number. Thats why the engineer was surprised he had been called. No one could possibly have used my phone - I don't even have cordless phones attached to it. Thats why I was fine with the threat of the engineer being charged to me if there was no fault - I knew there was a fault somewhere! I also expect that if I don't sort this out there will be more charges next month, which again will have nothing to do with me....

Chris
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Anoush is back in the office tomorrow morning, he'll pick up your PM at that point.

Former Plusnet Staff member. Posts after 31st Jan 2020 are not on behalf of Plusnet.
Townman
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/household-bills/11760441/Phantom-phone-calls-the-...

For example, Telegraph Money has been contacted by a number of industry insiders who claim that engineers working for BT are making chargeable calls to the speaking clock as an easy way to test phone lines – racking up extra charges for customers in the process. Millions of phone lines are installed and repaired every year, meaning they are potentially vulnerable to such practices.

The insiders also told us that all fraudsters needed to intercept your line was cutting equipment, crocodile clips and an ordinary telephone.

https://community.bt.com/t5/Bills-Packages/Being-charged-for-calls-I-didn-t-make/td-p/1735398

One trusts that the BT engineer looked for evidence (or lack of) of tampering?

I have some very vague recollection that it can be difficult to confirm the absence of a crossed line when testing from the EU premises towards the exchange, however testing from the exchange is somewhat different.  As I said - vague - I might not be recalling correctly - @198kHz do you have anything from your experience to shine on this one please?

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

198kHz
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

@Townman   Yes, testing from the exchange to the EU any contact with another line would be readily apparent, even to the infamous BT automatic line testing - the test equipment splits the line to look 'in' to the exchange or 'out' to line. Testing from the EU is, as you surmise, more difficult as you can't remove the normal line conditions of battery 'B' earth 'A'.

Engineers making test calls to the speaking clock has been going on since the days when it was "8081" & 'TIM', but the present case is in a different league. Sure, it would be easy for an engineer to 'tap in' to this line to make calls, but s/he would surely use a different line each time. Anyone with a cabinet key could conceivably do the same, and if the OP is in, say, a block of flats, there may be an accessible connection frame or DP.

Going back to line tests - I don't know exactly where the 'in/out' split occurs, but I'm thinking that it's quite possible that there could be a contact on the exchange side of the split, which would not be revealed on a routine line test.

Perhaps it's significant that the OP has had no problem for three years, yet suddenly experiences phantom calls on switching to Plusnet. Maybe a stray wire or solder splash during the changeover? But I didn't think there would be any rewiring or re-jumpering involved - or would there? Does anyone know?

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pjmarsh
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

I wouldn't have thought so just on the phone side of things.  @carolinefish, are you on a fibre connection for your broadband?  I'm just wondering if the engineer might have messed something up when activating or moving the jumpers for the fibre cabinet causing him/her to re-jumper the phone side of things as well.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Gandalf
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Thanks for your patience @carolinefish I'm sending the ticket back to our billing team to investigate this further, I'd expect you to receive an update within the next 24 to 72 hours.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
carolinefish
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

You may be on to something..... I haven't had fibre before and when I changed from EE normal broadband I switched to Plusnet Fibre....

carolinefish
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

I've not heard anything - my broadband keeps getting interrupted with messages about being cut off and being charged a late fee. That means my mobile keeps eating 4G data when I think I'm on wifi which I'm not happy about.

I am happy to pay my actual bill and maybe someone could set that up? 

Even better, I could be charged the right amount, minus someone else's calls and can get on with things without this stress in the background?

A friend suggested I find my old bills for 3 years with no calls if that might prove my point?

This is just so disappointing that I can get so many emails, texts and broadband interruptions reminding me to pay when Plusnet know there is an issue here that is not my fault.

Gandalf
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Sorry about the lack of response on the ticket.

I've given our billing team a nudge and they've investigated this again for you.

Unfortunately due to the reasons explained in their response, the call charges would be applicable.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
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Townman
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

@Gandalf,

This somewhat comes down to "From data supplied to PN from BTOR it would appear that the calls came from this user ... who asserts they did not make the calls".  This is not the first time such claims have been made and later found to be justifiable.

There are numerous reports around the media of phantom calls being charged to subscribers accounts; elsewhere around here is a case identifying that BTOR have passed on the wrong call charging data (incorrect tariff on mobile numbers) so what assurance can anyone have that these charges are correct, especially given that they started upon transfer to PN?  Are there (technically) any reasonable grounds for it being possible that on connecting the user's line to fibre their line could have become cross joined with another line?

Is there anything the user can do to mitigate the possibility that BTOR cabling / patching / billing actually is cockerel-up and charges are being applied to the wrong line?  If the user is going to be forced to pay for these calls, how about offering full call barring for free?  Can a zero call allowance be placed on the line; if yes would that actually inhibit dialling numbers?  Would either of these inhibit 999 calling?

As things stand, the user has no way of protecting themselves from BTOR errors ... "We say you made these calls, so you did make them. irrespective of what you claim".  We know BTOR cross circuit wiring happens and that such cross circuits are not always detectable from the user's premises.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

carolinefish
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

I am in pieces. I can't pay this bill. I'm even being charged for calls after the date I told Plusnet I wasn't making the calls! They didn't suggest they blocked the line and they allowed it to go over the £50 credit limit as well. 

I am going to lose my Broadband aren't I? Just because I moved to Plusnet.

I just downloaded 17 monthly EE bills in which I spent £3.50 in total over that whole time in call charges. I can send these to you Plusnet, if you'd like?

Has anyone got any ideas? 

Am I seriously going to have to start researching the law on this? (Instead of looking after my 4 children?) One of the children can't go to school for medical reasons and the internet is his source of set school work and everything.

Can I cancel and get my service from a company that actually does it's job?

I am so so upset and angry that Plusnet have done this to me and my children. I just can't believe it. Where do i complain?

 

Townman
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

The problem here is that these calls can only be 'assigned' to your line if (a) you actually dialled them or (b) they were dialled on a line cross connected to yours.

Assuming that (b) applies, moving to a different provider is not going to fix a BTOR wiring problem.

What would be interesting is if you did dial a call will it appear on your bill? If you dial 17070 does it report your phone number? If you phone your number does your line ring out? Not being a user of the phone line, you might not be aware of it malfunctioning.

@198kHz - any suggestions please?

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

198kHz
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Re: New Plusnet customer being charged for calls I didn't make!

Fix

@carolinefish wrote:

 

I am going to lose my Broadband aren't I? Just because I moved to Plusnet.

 

If there's any justice in this world - no you won't.

My initial posting in this thread was based on the assumption that the OP, having had phone and FTTC for three years with BT and EE, had simply changed to Plusnet as the supplier.

However, we now know that the problem started at the same time as the change of supplier, and the change from ADSL to FTTC. Given the OP's usage history, it really is beyond the bounds of coincidence.  Roll_eyes

The billing team can 'investigate' all they like, but plainly there is a technical fault somewhere. Judging by the available evidence, I'd be looking in the exchange first.

Please PN, do the decent thing, withdraw these charges, and arrange a thorough technical investigation.

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