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Appalling Billing Service

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MMA
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Registered: ‎02-03-2021

Appalling Billing Service

I moved house in January. I had been happy with PN and so arranged to continue with them and upgrade to a Fibre contract at the new address. I was out of contract at my old address and paying over the odds for the basic service. We negotiated a discount on the Fibre service. I received all the paperwork confirming the price agreed. Then another email came mentioning a higher price which I was told to ignore when I queried it. The CS person said that the system had ‘lost’ the discount and it would be reinstated.

The first bill that arrived seemed to be OK containing adjustments for my old service and the new one. However this month out of the blue I received a bill for over £200. I called customer support immediately on 21/2 and they agreed that the bill was completely wrong. Not only did it appear that I had been charged twice but also there was a contract cancellation charge when I had obviously not cancelled the contract.

They were supposed to get billing to cancel the invoice and issue a correct one. The direct debit was due to go out on 26/2 so I asked that this was dealt with immediately. I heard nothing so called again on 24/2. Nothing had been done but I was assured that this would be escalated as urgent and that if necessary a manager could authorise an immediate credit if the DD still went through. Again I heard nothing. On 26/2 the money was taken out of my bank account and no credit appeared.

Today I called again to be told that billing were going to raise a cheque but the CS person didn’t know how much for. I queried why a cheque and they didn’t know that either. A later email just said I should receive a cheque within 2 weeks without saying the amount.

The bill for over £200 is still showing on my account, and there is no adjustment bill there.

This is completely unacceptable. PN are entirely at fault, have taken a large sum of money out of my bank account with no good cause and then tell me it could take 2 weeks to get a refund cheque. What on earth is going on? Who uses cheques in this day and age?

I really regret staying with PN. I could have got a better deal with another supplier but had been happy with the service up to that point so didn’t change. 

There seems to be no way of talking directly to a person who knows what they are doing. The front line CS person is just a message taker. I have no faith at all that the correct adjustments have been made. I would like a manager to sort this out now. It is outrageous to expect me to wait two weeks to get my money back and then have to faff about banking a cheque.

 

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Longliner
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

I agree, this is truly appalling. I suggest MMA contacts his/her bank and asks for a chargeback/refund under the Direct Debit Guarantee scheme. To remove £200 from someone's bank account is scandalous in these days when many people have barely enough to live.

I think the PN staff are doing a great  job in difficult circumstances, and have said so on this forum, but PN's billing system was a shambles long before Covid. From my first contract seven years ago, every renewal and every transaction has been screwed up in some way (never undercharged of course). Not helped by the fact that I have to use Chrome or the wretched MS Edge to view my bill because PN system can't keep up with Firefox constant security updates.

It would be interesting to know the time staff spend on billing queries v. time spent on technical help. Overworked staff members have told me they would far rather be helping customers than struggling with endless accounts queries. They have always sorted things out, but each error still wastes half an hour or more on the phone for me and for the PN staffer.

My broadband service is superb and I haven't had a minute's downtime in seven years, can nobody get through to management that their excellent product is being ruined by their shambolic accounts?

MMA
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Thanks. Yes I agree the CS people are doing their best but Billing is a shambles. This morning I contacted my bank to invoke the direct debit indemnity. Then I contacted PN yet again to tell them what I’d done and that once the old bill was cancelled and a correct one issued I’d have no problem with them deducting the correct amount. Felt the need to do this as bank gave dire warnings of the supplier’s rights to cut off my service or start legal action if they didn’t agree.

 

The  CS person I spoke to said the case would be reviewed within 4 hours and action taken but since I have been trying to get this sorted since 21/2 I have no faith that this will happen.

 

Billing need to remember that we are not just talking about numbers on a screen here - they relate to real live people’s bank accounts. I am a 70 year old pensioner who has to manage my finances very carefully. To have an unexpectedly large amount taken from my account just before the end of the month and then to be treated with utter indifference afterwards is just not acceptable.

MauriceC
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

SU Escalation

Superuser escalation

This topic has been escalated by one of the Superusers; please allow time for Plusnet to respond before commenting further.

Escalation does not imply progressing this matter will be given priority, nor that a different outcome will result.

Reason for escalation:  


 

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
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: ‎21-04-2017

Re: Appalling Billing Service

Fix

Thanks for your post @MMA 

I'm really sorry to see what's happened. I can see that the cheque was issued on the 1st March and it's scheduled to be printed today. I can't see any reason why we couldn't send the money to your bank, although the refund would have to be delivered in lots of relatively small amounts, because the most we can refund to a direct debit is the max bill amount.

Having discussed this with a colleague in our billing team, unfortunately it's too late to stop the cheque from being printed and landing with the post, but they've added it to the 'stop cheque list' so it'll be cancelled from our bank's side tomorrow. Once you've got it I would just recommend recycling it.

I've now issued you the refunds to your bank account you'll receive within the next 5 working days. I've added a bit more detail on the open support ticket raised on your account Here with regards to the exact amounts.

Over the next 24-48 hours you'll receive multiple automated emails to confirm each refund, the first will be sent in 2 hours and the rest will be once my manager's approved them in the system (he's not yet in the office).

Admittedly I missed the part where you said that you've invoked the direct debit guarantee before issuing the refunds. Unfortunately we'd struggle to cancel the pending direct debit refunds at this stage as they'd likely be approved by another team very soon. If possible, based on the refunds I've put through now, please could you cancel the indemnity claim?  We've not received notification of the claim yet. 

If both the indemnity claim and refunds go through then this will automatically flag up in the system and restrict your services until the payment's made, something we can't prevent and ideally I wouldn't want to happen. 

Again I do sincerely apologise for the poor experience you've had with us. I'm taking this on personally moving forward so let me know how it goes by posting back or responding to the support ticket I've linked above.

[edit] 

Having discussed this with a colleague from our credit control team who handle indemnity claims, we've managed to cancel the refund requests and we'll mark the indemnity claim as valid once we've received it. I'm happy to continue to monitor this though to try to make sure that nothing else goes wrong.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
Longliner
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

@Gandalf 

Thank you so much for taking charge of this, Gandalf. This is but one example of Plusnet accounting errors causing real problems for a customer, I recall a similar case in which a similar charge put a customer into overdraft with usual cost penalties. I'm considerably older than MMA, I could easily afford such a mispayment, but please tell your management that we oldies can be really distressed by this sort of hassle, the more so because it ties up the tech CS staff whom I have found unfailingly helpful (of course this applies to you too!)

@MMA 

I hope Gandalf's intervention will remedy your situation and that you'll be able to enjoy PN's excellent BB services ... if only they could sort out their shambolic accounting system!

 

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

No problem, we'll do what we can to put things right.

@MMA Let me know if the indemnity claim doesn't go through or if you decide to cancel the claim (not sure if that's possible, as I've never actually done one before with a bank), and I'll be happy to reprocess the direct debit refunds.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
MMA
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Thank you for getting involved in this - had I known about this Forum before I would have posted something over ten days ago and avoided all this hassle.

I have spoken to my bank and unfortunately as their service was swift, the indemnity claim went into my account straight away and they can’t reverse it. Therefore it would be best if you could cancel the refunds from your end ASAP as I don’t want my service suspended through no fault of my own.

Incidentally, if PN is able to extract over three times the ‘maximum billing amount’ in one go from my bank account, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be able to refund the same amount in one go as well.

Anyway, I would appreciate it if you could make sure that a new bill for the correct monthly amount is raised and the old one cancelled so that an appropriate direct debit is made and my account is properly up to date. I always pay bills promptly so it will cause me some anxiety if my account is flagged as payment overdue, jeopardising the service.

Other than this,  I am pleased with my upgraded Fibre Broadband - it is working well.

Thanks again for your help.

 

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Thanks for getting back to me @MMA 

No problem, I'm happy to see you've got your money back and I can confirm the refunds are cancelled. 

I've put a big note at the top of your account to explain the situation so we'd mark the indemnity claim as valid (As opposed to not valid where we deactivate an account, flag the payment as outstanding and provide 7 days to pay)

Unfortunately we would've been unable to send the money back in one lump sum to your bank due to the limitations and functionality of our systems. We're absolutely aware that we need to make improvements to our systems though, and sending money to your bank in separate amounts would've been a better resolution than a cheque in my opinion. Apologies again for how we've handled the situation. 

I can't see anything wrong with your monthly cost moving forward but I'm happy to monitor this until after your next bill's produced so I can make sure everything's OK (and apply further credits if we need to)

I'll check back tomorrow and Friday as I suspect we'll be imminently receiving the indemnity claim on our side. 

Let me know if there are any further issues in the meantime though.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
MMA
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Thanks again Anoush @Gandalf 

I agree that the separate bank payments would certainly have been better than a cheque. Let’s hope that Billing take notice of your note and accept the indemnity claim. As you suggested, I should be grateful if you could keep an eye on my account to make sure no further errors occur. I’m afraid my experiences since moving house do not give me any confidence in the billing department.

Regards

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

No problem @MMA I think the issues you've had have mostly been down to system issues rather than adviser error although I appreciate that's not really an excuse and we could've handled it better by sending direct debit refunds.

I'll check back tomorrow and Friday too. 

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team
MMA
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Hi, just wanted to say that @Gandalf has been incredibly helpful and since he got involved everything has been sorted out. My indemnity claim was accepted, the incorrect February bill was cancelled, and my March bill has come through with the correct amount. The correct charges for February have been waived to compensate for all the hassle and worry. I think this is a fair outcome and has restored my faith in PN customer services! Thank you.

Gandalf
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Appalling Billing Service

Thanks for the post back with the kind words @MMA 

Awesome, no problem at all I'm happy we've managed to resolve this for you. 

Let me know if there are further issues or absolutely anything else you'd need help with.

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 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Help Team