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Direct Debit Date Change

thelard
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 22-03-2013

Direct Debit Date Change

So I've just recently become a Plusnet fibre customer, and overall am very happy with my new service (going from ~5Mb/s to ~73Mb/s is always going to put a big smile on your face!)
However I was suprised upon making my routine call to customer services to set my Direct Debit date to the 1st of the month, as I do with all my regular payments, to be told that this was not possible. A bit of searching around the forums seems to confirm that this is indeed the case, as many people have requested this and been told it "can't be done". This seems odd as every other company I've dealt with has been able to carry out this request without issue. I imagine it's just a limitiation of whatever billing system is in use at Plusnet.
Is there anybody who might be able to find a way around this for me, or advise me how I might get this done? I'm sure there are ways if the right people are asked - any help would be very much appreciated!
Colin
16 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,136
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

Sadly, the billing system at plusnet is like a house of cards, the slightest touch and it will (most likely) collapse.
I also suspect that nobody at PN towers actually knows how it works any more and changes to it would be too costly to implement as it would likely need to be started from scratch.
The same seems to be true of any legacy system they have (see the CGI platform and the MySQL server for other examples)
It's pretty much PN's only failing as a business, and there are probably big signs on these things that say "It ain't broke, don't fiddle with it!".
Changing the billing date would probably mean that countless settings would need to be changed elsewhere (such as bandwidth usage reset, hosted website data usage, referral discounts, etc) and there isn't a simple button to press to push out the changes to all the systems at once.
I assume that's the case, rather than the (now) logical case of "Billing has run, now run these other tasks on the EU account".
Now, if you're on an unlimited product, don't use your webspace or have any referrals (and aren't someone elses' referree) I can't see why the date couldn't be changed, but it probably still won't be.
F9 member since 4 Sep 1999
F9 ADSL customer since 27 Aug 2004
DLM manages your line the same way DRM manages your rights.
Look at all the pretty graphs! (now with uptime logging!)
thelard
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 22-03-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

From what you say it sounds like it might be safer to just leave it as it is then, I'm sure I can live with it if it's a choice between that and risking getting my account well and truly screwed up!
Thanks for the quick reply.
lealiamb
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 09-04-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

hmm. 
not the ideal first post I wanted. but need to put my 2p worth in
ive just ordered the fibre unlimited and prior to my making payment.  this is the exact question I made with the online chat system. Someone called Elizabeth.   
I asked can I change my direct debit date.  she answered yes.    so I made my payment and proceeded with the order. 
now im learning that that date cant be changed?   
if someone can advise quickly.  if it can. ill continue with the order. if not then I want it cancelled and refunded back to my card
thelard
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 22-03-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

I've not heard anything different to the above so my understanding is still no, it can't be done - at least not officially (i.e. without having someone circumvent proper process and change the relevant account data manually, and I don't fancy this as there's clearly risk of things going wrong.)
If you find out anything different to this please come back and let us know.
lealiamb
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 09-04-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

yes i will do.
and to make matters worse.  i arranged for engineer to come for the fibre install on the 19th. april.  i thought, sweet.  ill be able to watch a non buffering movie friday night.    i also work from home and will need my internet connection from the morning of the 20th. 
just had a text of PN advising that my service is due to become active by midnight on the 20th??    whats going on?
seriously.. i hope this isnt the worst mistake ive made!    do i cancel or what?
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,304
Thanks: 969
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

You can ignore the date - it is a carryover from ADSL install - it will be active immediately on install
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,328
Thanks: 476
Fixes: 41
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

Quote
just had a text of PN advising that my service is due to become active by midnight on the 20th??    whats going on?

It's a standard automated message and relates primarily to the old style ADSL installs where BTw completed routing work AFTER the install and so by the time PN got notification of completion it could be upto 24hrs after. With Fibre installs the account is usually active as soon as the engineer has completed the install.
It's confusing though, isn't it!. I'm pretty sure I've seen a post from a PN staffer somewhere that says it's being looked into to see whether it  ( the message ) can be improved for FTTC installs.
Edit: Jim was more concise ( and therefore quicker! )
lealiamb
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: 09-04-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

right.  just spoke to sales.. who then passed me through to customer service.  Spoke to a woman called Elizabeth who ironically was called this in the pre payment chat.  sounds quite nice on the phone tho  Kiss
the direct debit date cant be changed.  this is because its based on your activation date.    even though almost every utility company out there can accommodate this, my Npower and Water can go out on the set date.  so there's the first "FIB"  in my opinion.    in order to get me signed up.
the 2nd question was about this text message i got.
The FTTC install is done by Openreach obviously and the account needs to be activated by PN Provisioning team who are advised by the job complete by OR.  At which point they will activate the account.   
Now she did advise that after OR have been.  I can give PN Provisioning a call and they can expedite the activation rather than waiting on the close off by OR.  So the day later text is a placeholder to buy them time to activate.
i seriously hope this is the only trouble i have.    Im debating now if i need to book the next day off work. i work from home and cant be without my internet at all.      Am i gullible enough to believe the blurb on the website  "We want your switch to be smooth, meaning no disruption to your broadband. If you've taken a phone package you should be able to keep your number." 
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,037
Thanks: 488
Fixes: 43
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

As far as I'm aware the OR engineers are meant to ensure fibre broadband is working by the time they leave the premises. Whilst that isn't always achieved (eg if set up is taking too long) it couldn't happen at all if the service wasn't activated.
As others have stated it should be working by the time the engineer leaves.
David
thelard
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 22-03-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

Same thing happened to me when my fibre connection was set up - at first I was led to believe that there would be no downtime, then I got the message about it going live at midnight (the BT engineer thought I'd have to wait til midnight too, his words were "happens almost every time, just with Plusnet for some reason" IIRC). However ten minutes after he left it was all working. Suppose the engineer could have been refering to previous experience of ADSL installs?
And on a side note while some of PN's IT and business processes are questionable at best (another issue I had was around the fact that all PN online account passwords are not only stored encrypted rather than hashed which makes them vulnerable - they're also displayed on screen to PN's telephone advisers for ID checking - extremely bad practice) the actually broadband service itself has been faultless since day 1. And really flippin' quick.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,136
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

FWIW, every time an agent looks up your details / password / etc that is logged in an auditable manner.
F9 member since 4 Sep 1999
F9 ADSL customer since 27 Aug 2004
DLM manages your line the same way DRM manages your rights.
Look at all the pretty graphs! (now with uptime logging!)
sihaworth
Dabbler
Posts: 24
Registered: 09-04-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

So is the activation date, the date at which the engineer calls round to set up?
I'm a bit peeved at learning this also, in fact, I'd be quite happy to delay the set up to ensure activation date is around the first of the month.
thelard
Newbie
Posts: 5
Registered: 22-03-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

Yes, my activation date was 18/03 which was the day the engineer came (the text I received said the service was due to become active by midnight on 19/03). I've since been told my billing date is the 18th of the month and that this is the date the DD payment will be requested from my bank (the actual debit usually happens 5-10 days after this apparently).
So it would seem that yes, delaying your activation date might do the trick.
sihaworth
Dabbler
Posts: 24
Registered: 09-04-2013

Re: Direct Debit Date Change

I've just sent a support ticket, requesting a new set of dates.
Good start  Roll eyes
jim:quote