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The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

corringham
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The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Today I have finally reached the end of my patience with Plusnet.

In October 2018 I moved from a residential account to a business account. 

Due to the billing issues I have never received an invoice for the intial payment, and I was not billed for the intervening time until last week (11th Nov) and the payment was due to be taken today - the DD was set up over a year ago. (and I have 4 other DD payments to Plusnet that are taken successfully each month)

Today my account has been suspended for non-payment. There has been no attempt to take a DD payment.

The on-line make a payment link fails - page not found.

Phoning the billing number puts me in a long queue (it claims 20 mins), then cuts me off after about 5.

The Business team number says "hello this is Plusnet" then nothing at all.

This is a BUSINESS account. I expect a BUSINESS service. The whole experience is so amateurish it is embarrassing.

 

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Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @corringham I'm sorry to see you've had issues getting online. Unfortunately there looks to have been a problem with the direct debit instruction which means that the link between us and your bank isn't fully setup.

When the payment failed we didn't actually disable your account, you would've gone into the usual 14 day grace period where you should've been able to bypass any payment reminders on your screen and continue browsing.

Unfortunately we are aware of an issue where you may not see a payment reminder to bypass and this can also affect your ability to make a payment online, which we're actively taking steps to resolve. I understand you've managed to get through to us and this should be resolved now.

When you did try to get through to our business support team did you call 0800 028 0282? I've just rang that number now and I'm getting through to the switchboard/IVR to select the appropriate option. If you did call this number, could you provide more detail about what you heard? Was it simply "Hello this is Plusnet" as soon as you dial?

Moving forward, I'd recommend re-setting up your direct debit instruction from Here.

Let us know if there's anything else you'd need help with.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @Gandalf, there's quite a few things "wrong" - especially for a Business account - so it is hard to know where to start.

The invoice was received and was dated 11/11/2019. The direct debit was due "on or around" 18/11/2019 (i.e. today).

According to the payment details a direct debit seems to be set up (I checked last week when I received the invoice). It has some details obscured, but doesn't appear to be wrong (it is the same as 4 other DD instructions that I have set up with Plusnet).

My bank has advised me that there have been no rejected Direct Debits - Plusnet have not attempted to take a payment.

My understanding was that failed billing takes effect 14 days after a due payment is missed. The payment was due today. The invoice is 7 days old (not 14). The first I knew was an SMS message telling me there was a failed payment. There were no failed payment reminders until today, and no way to bypass them. The Make Payment link returned "page not found".

The Plusnet billing number put me in a queue which it said was 20 minutes, but cut me off after 5 or so.

The Business line just said "Hello this is Plusnet" then silence - no options as usual. I only tried the once.

I eventually got through on the billing number and paid the balance, and the restriction was removed a short while later.

I do now have an invoice covering the last 3 months and next month, which has the original payment as a balance brought forward - but no invoice for that amount. I understand it is impossible for Plusnet to provide an invoice for that.

However, it is all somewhat academic as I'll be moving my phone number to VoIP as soon as I can arrange it, at which point the account will close. ADSL is no longer fit for (any) purpose, so I'm moving to a 4G connection (which is only 20Mbps down, but 6Mbps up - much faster than the 0.8Mbps with ADSL). The 4G is also around half the price.

I now know that Plusnet is not a suitable provider for business use. You learn from mistakes though (although maybe Plusnet don't?).

Anyway, thanks for all your help over the years.

corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

There's a couple of other things I should have mentioned. A few weeks ago the block of addresses containing my static IP address appeared on the SpamHaus PBL list as a dynamic address - causing e-mails from my server to be blacklisted.

I resolved that by routing via a VPN. I know Plusnet's "solution" is to use the plusnet smart relay, but it has low attachment size limits, and introduces delays that I have no control over.

Also Plusnet still have no plans for IPv6 - again I use a VPN to provide IPv6 routing and a static IPv6 address block.

MisterW
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

 

However, it is all somewhat academic as I'll be moving my phone number to VoIP as soon as I can arrange it, at which point the account will close. ADSL is no longer fit for (any) purpose, so I'm moving to a 4G connection (which is only 20Mbps down, but 6Mbps up - much faster than the 0.8Mbps with ADSL). The 4G is also around half the price.

 


@corringham off the primary topic I know, but be very wary of voip over 4g. Whilst bandwidth may be ample, latency and jitter can be a major problem. Theres also the fact that some networks use CGNAT which can make voip impossible.

corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

I'm aware of latency jitter with 4G - it is really the only issue I have with it (apart from the speed in my area). Three don't use CGNAT and provide routeable addresses, and are currently rolling out IPv6 addresses too. In any case I use a L2TP tunnel which provides static IPv4 and IPV6 addresses.

In general ThinkBroadband BQM graphs suggest that there isn't actually much difference in latency or jitter between my ADSL and 4G connections (and I always route Skype calls over 4G as the low upstream bandwidth on the ADSL causes drop-out) . As the land-line phone is only for incoming calls, and most of those are unwanted anyway, we can take a chance on flaky calls.

Gandalf
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @corringham The date of the bill would be the day we generate it even though it contains backdated subscription fees going back 90 days. There seems to be a problem with the direct debit between your bank and ourselves, I'm not saying your bank's at fault as it's very likely the problem is down to us given the billing issues you've had.

Your service shouldn't have been restricted until 14 days after the payment failed, however we are aware that the splash page to bypass the 'soft' restrictions we place isn't working all the time and we're putting steps in place to fix this.

Could you advise what the 'business' number was that you called so I can look into this further?

Apologies for the inconvenience caused by the long hold and there's no separate invoice generated for your initial fee.

Moving forward, hopefully everything will run smoothly from now on. While in no way does this change the level of support we provide you, I suspected that it'd just be a matter of time before you'd be leaving due to the infrastructure, so if you do decide to go down that path, I'd like to wish you all the best with your 4G service.

Let me know if there's anything else you'd need help with.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @Gandalf,  the business number I called was 0800 028 0282. I eventually got through on 0800 073 1120.

The invoice date was 11/11, but the restriction message said payment was due 01/11 - so today is more than 14 days after that, even though it was today (18/11) that the direct debit should have been taken. According to my account home page my next payment is due 01/12, so there appears to be a mismatch between the due dates and the invoice dates.

I must admit that I can't fully understand the invoice, as there are a number of mid-month dates for items, as well as whole month periods. I'm guessing there has been some adjustments to bring the charging periods into alignment with the start of each month, as well as an adjustment for the change from in-contract to out-of-contract pricing. I'm not going to worry about that as it isn't worth my time (and I've had a substantial period without charge anyway).

However, it does seem to me that the billing system still needs some substantial work!

Gandalf
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @corringham thanks for the number, it’s a bit odd I’ve just called it from my own mobile phone and I’m hearing all the normal options and there isn’t a “Hello” it’s “Welcome to Plusnet” Undecided

I’m going to give the number a ring from different phone handsets to try to replicate this. 

The automatic grace period we give doesn’t start from a bill date, it starts from when the payment fails so you were still within the 14 day period. 

If you pay via direct debit we’ll try to take the payment 5 working days after the bill is produced as that’s the advance notice period for direct debit payments. If an ongoing payment method is by card, these goes through the same day as when the bill generates assuming it’s a working day. 

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 Anoush Mortazavi
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corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @Gandalf, maybe the message was "Welcome to Plusnet", I didn't really pay much attention - it was what I expected to hear. The only issue was that I didn't hear anything after that. After a while I did try pressing the option numbers (1, then 2) just in case it was listening in silence, but no joy. It may well have worked if I'd tried again.

Not only was I within the 14 day grace period, it was still in the same day that the payment was due to be taken (I was in fact still eating breakfast). So at the point at which the restrictions were applied the payment wasn't even late.

I'm not actually going to change the direct debit now - I'll pay the final bill by card when it is raised. That will avoid any issues with being billed after the account is closed as happened previously.

Gandalf
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @corringham no problem thanks for the additional information. 

While the payment wasn’t late as such, it still failed today I suspect because our system didn’t have any direct debit details to take it from. Again not pointing blame at you or your bank, it’s likely to be caused the billing issues we had. Sad

Anywho, good luck with 4G hopefully it proves better than ADSL. Smiley

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 Anoush Mortazavi
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corringham
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @Gandalf, I can't see the full details of the direct debit that is set up, but the non-obscured bits seem correct, and the invoice states that am currently paying by direct debit so I assume the billing system thought it was set up. Also I thought that failed billing didn't block web access completely immediately (including to the payment page) - I thought there was meant to be an override to allow time to pay?

Gandalf
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Re: The Final Straw - Business account suspended!

Hi @corringham 


@corringham wrote:

I can't see the full details of the direct debit that is set up, but the non-obscured bits seem correct, and the invoice states that am currently paying by direct debit so I assume the billing system thought it was set up.

Yeah we have some direct debit details, but as the status is showing as ‘Unknown’, the link between the backend billing system and your bank isn’t there. Based on the issues we had with your account, this could likely be an issue squarely with us although it’s difficult for me to see definitively if that is the case or why this had happened. 

So unlike having no payment details at all where the payment would fail on the bill date, we try to take the payment via the direct debit details we have and ultimately fail as it’s not complete. 


@corringham wrote:

Also I thought that failed billing didn't block web access completely immediately (including to the payment page) - I thought there was meant to be an override to allow time to pay?


That is what’s supposed to happen. As I’ve said there’s an intermittent issue we’re working on fixing. Wink Apologies though for the hassle.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team