Finally, I can talk about it.
About four years ago, my boss decided to buy me a Christmas present. Stuck for ideas, and being a pragmatic man, he purchased a year’s supply of broadband for me. It was set up in my name at the place I lived, but the direct debit came from his account. I was chuffed to bits.
At the end of the year I had planned to purchase my own property in the near future, so told my boss that while 12 months of broadband was a great present to give someone, he should close the account as I was in the throws of looking/buying a property and really didn’t want the extra hassle of dealing with BT – the service provider involved.
Of course, buying a property takes time, so I was still living where I was and using the same telephone line for quite a while. And the broadband continued.
In fact, it wasn’t turned off. It wasn’t stopped.
It just, well, continued.
I raised the issue with my boss quickly, fearing he would be charged incorrectly by BT. A month or so later he worked out that although he had paid all the bills, and that he had requested the account be closed, it remained open. It remained in this state because through the bureaucratic-bullshit way that these companies work under, BT owed my boss £0.01. And because the computer said that, the account was not closed. Therefore, the broadband continued.
At no point, after the first year, was anyone charged or asked to be charged. Nothing. According to BT, the broadband had ceased, but they owed my boss so the account remained open.
I moved. Bought my own place. I would like to say it was in the sun, but it was actually only a few miles up the road. Still, it was mine, all mine. I called BT and asked that my telephone line be transferred. I was told I couldn’t keep my old number – which infuriated me intensely. However, the BT person then said “And your broadband will be transferred as well.”
I said nothing.
Well, alright then, I might have said something like ‘great’ or ‘okay’.
As sure as a man shits, the broadband was up and running at my new place along with the phone line.
Skip forward two more years, and I get a letter this morning from BT:
We [BT] have noticed that we have not billed you for your Broadband connection. You’ll be pleased to understand we will not recover these costs. Please contact us as a matter of urgency.
I’ve emailed BT saying that I am happy to pay for broadband and suggest they sign me up to the tariff I want. They have agreed. And apologised for writing the letter to Olivia. No joke.
I cannot believe that a company could allow a person to get their product for free for so long. I believe it all boils down to humans relying on computers, and when a computer makes an error, humans do not spot it. They do not spot it because they are not trained well. Honestly, it is pathetic. But of course, I received free broadband (even though I was more than willing to pay) so I’m not complaining.
And thus ends the free broadband. It was good while it lasted. I must admit, I do feel bad. I could have contacted BT during the last three years, but ultimately, why should I? The account was asked to be closed, but because BT have relied on either computers or poorly trained staff, I got their product for free. I reckon, at the cost my boss paid when he initiated the contract, BT have lost about a grand. A grand I would have paid had they asked in their letter. But thankfully, a grand BT realise is their own expense for being blind.
Oh, and if BT read this, my boss would like his penny back.