BT are still telling customers they have to return their YouView box

TomWTomW Posts: 496Member ✭✭
edited 5 June 2019, 8:33AM in Support
I will post this in the BT support forum - as that is the most appropriate place - but thought I ought to post here as well so that YouView are aware that BT are still misinforming customers.

So I just called BT customer services to cancel my BT TV package because I’m out of contract and since I only have the BT TV service to watch football and the football season is over there isn’t any point in paying for it during the off season. And I shall soon be switching my broadband and landline over to Vodafone Gigafast - I’m just waiting for my street to be cabled - so there’s no point in renewing my BT contract.

I was told by the BT customer service agent that if I wished to cancel BT TV I would need to give them 30 days notice (wrong!) and that I would need to return the YouView box to them (wrong again!). When I explained to the CS agent that since I was out of contract the YouView box was mine and therefore I did not need to return it she said that she had an on screen message saying that I would need to return the box. She then said she would need to check with a manager and after being on hold for a few minutes I was cut off. A few minutes later she called me back on my mobile and asked me to confirm my details, which I did and I was then cut off again!

I then called BT customer services again and spoke to someone who was clearly more knowledgeable. He apologised and said that the previous customer service agent hadn’t changed anything on my account and he would cancel my BT TV package with immediate effect and that I would not need to return my YouView box.

I’ve now received an automated email, however, from BT explaining how to return my YouView box and that they will be sending a pre-paid returns bag to me. So count me as completely and utterly confused! Am I correct in thinking that the email is a mistake and that I don’t need to return my YouView box but I will lose access to recordings from subscription channels after my BT TV  subscription is cancelled?

Also worth noting as an aside that the first customer service agent told me that I only had weekend and evening call package (wrong!) when in fact I have the anytime call package and when I asked for the anytime call package to be removed I was told that if I did that or indeed if I made any other change to my broadband or call package it would initiate a new contract (wrong again!).


Comments

  • TomWTomW Posts: 496Member ✭✭
    edited 4 June 2019, 7:31PM
    As an afterthought I just wonder why BT are still - after all these years - misleading customers into believing that they need to return their YouView box? I just wonder how many BT customers have been conned into returning equipment that legally they own and have no obligation to return to BT and what is more they could continue to use all the functions of the YouView box with the exception of access to subscription channels.

    Is it incompetence or are BT deliberately misleading customers in order to reduce churn and retain customers?
  • scottscott Posts: 2,002Member ✭✭✭
    edited 4 June 2019, 7:35PM
    @TomW Check the email carefully. BT have to advise you that you can return the box for recycling as part of their ‘green’ credentials, so that is a standard email that goes out to everyone. The other email actually says you must return the box or you will be charged. Subtle difference and quite misleading.
  • TomWTomW Posts: 496Member ✭✭
    @scott the email doesn’t say that I must return the box or I will be charged. But nor does it mention anything about recycling or green credentials. If it is indeed a ‘green / recycling’ thing then the wording is egregiously misleading and I suspect deliberately so. One also has to wonder why they’re so keen to ‘recycle’ equipment that they don’t own. Frankly it’s none of their business what the customer does with the equipment when the contract has terminated.

     I have copy pasted the text below.


    Email subject line: How to return your kit

    Email text: 

    Please send it back to us
    BTBilling Account Number: ***********
    Postcode: ******

    How to return your kit

    Hello Mr ******,

    You can return your TV box using the pre-paid returns bag we're sending you, which will be with you in two to three working days. If you've got a Hub you're not using, you can send that in the same bag. It's really important you use the bag we send you as it's linked to your account and we use it for tracking purposes. 

    You can return your parcel for free using one of these options: 

    Take it to the Post Office:
    • Drop it off at your local Post Office. You don't need stamps because we've already paid the postage. But just in case we call to ask you about the return, please ask for proof of posting.

     

    Return it in an EE store:
    • Drop it off at your nearest EE store.
    • Find your nearest EE store at bt.com/returns

     

    Arrange a Parcelforce collection:
    Thanks, 

    Nick Lane
    Managing Director, Customer Care
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    All this information was correct on the date we sent this email. See our terms and conditions
     
  • scottscott Posts: 2,002Member ✭✭✭
    edited 4 June 2019, 8:18PM
    Yep that’s the one that says ‘you can return the box’ not you must return or you will be charged. I agree the wording is designed to make it sound like you have to return the box but most other companies do actually now make you return the box whatever so I suppose you can’t blame them for trying lol
    Even if you are still in contract you don’t have to return the box but the email will contain the amount you need to pay for ending the contract early.
  • John LJohn L Posts: 305Member
    I wonder what BT are playing at? I too would keep my box. You have already invested a great deal of income (or in Accounting terms: "Revenue") John L
  • robotmanrobotman Posts: 149Member
    I was out of contract long before I signed up for the 4K package and box. The adviser on the phone said I'd get a 'request' for the old boxes return but as I was out of contract I could ignore it.
    Guess what, a few days later I received an email telling me how long I had before the box 'must' be returned or I would be charged £30 for not returning it. They said the returns packaging was in the post.
    Fast forward 3 weeks and the packaging never came, the 'deadline' had passed, and I received an email demanding £30. On contacting BT explaining all of the above they credited my account £60 for the 'stress and hassle' they had caused.
    Result (of sorts)  :)  
    Dipping in and out. More out than in :D
  • DarrenDarren Posts: 290Member ✭✭
    edited 5 June 2019, 6:11AM
    If I ever did decide to cancel BT TV and BT altogether I would not be returning my BT TV boxes. One of which is a BT Youview retail box.
    I been with BT for over 20 years but im now starting getting a little fed up with there price rises and once in a while my wifi is not 100% reliable.
    Yet I have always up till now been almost happy with the BT services.
    I still got 9 months of a 18 month contract still to go after renewing last time.

    Darren
  • scottscott Posts: 2,002Member ✭✭✭
    edited 5 June 2019, 7:22AM
    Darren said:
    If I ever did decide to cancel BT TV and BT altogether I would not be returning my BT TV boxes. One of which is a BT Youview retail box.
    I been with BT for over 20 years but im now starting getting a little fed up with there price rises and once in a while my wifi is not 100% reliable.
    Yet I have always up till now been almost happy with the BT services.
    I still got 9 months of a 18 month contract still to go after renewing last time.

    Darren


    BT have stated their price rises will be tied to RPI each year from now on. Leaving BT will not make you immune to price rises EVERY BB/TV provider that provides a pay service will always have a price rise (it's called inflation and why everyone expects a small pay rise each year), the question has always been why companies raise prices so much above inflation. BT are one of the first to address this by saying they will stick to RPI rises on most things. Of course there are many other factors as to when offerings change but you will never see a company 'reduce' charges because of a loss of content, you pay your money and take your choice (or take a free service with less options if that suits you).

    One example is Netflix are about to raise prices by over 20% for me from £9.99 to £11.99, I just need to decide if I am happy with that price for what I get.

  • scottscott Posts: 2,002Member ✭✭✭
    edited 5 June 2019, 7:38AM
    John L said:
    I wonder what BT are playing at? I too would keep my box. You have already invested a great deal of income (or in Accounting terms: "Revenue") John L
    Daft comment. You are paying for a service NOT hardware. Try taking a service from Sky Q or Virgin, you will pay a lot more 'income' to them but try telling them at the end of the contract that you are keeping the box and see what happens (you will get a big fat bill on your doorstep). Obviously their boxes are pretty useless outside of a contract but that isn't really the point. BT are fair letting you keep the box (even though with their wording they try their best to make you think you can't keep it which is another argument and one I tend to agree with you on).
  • andro101010andro101010 Posts: 28Member
    edited 5 June 2019, 9:49AM
    BT TV Contract section 17(d) https://www.bt.com/terms/post3rdjuly2016tv.html
    "If you keep the service that the set-top box came with for at least 12 months, you won't have to pay anything for the set-top box when you end the service."

    and their boxes work perfectly outside of contract except that you can't get the subscription channels...
  • GoodbyeGoodbye Posts: 336Time out
    edited 5 June 2019, 12:04PM
    Been with BT for ever, always negotiate a good deal when it come to renewal. It's not just cost though, call protect is beyond brilliant as well is the extensive WiFi network. Two thing's  that would be hard to find with another provider.
  • John LJohn L Posts: 305Member
    Hi Scott, it NOT a "Daft comment" I used to work in Accounts so Revenue is the key word. You are entitled to your own opinions, so am I! Since I was made redundant in 2011, I see things through a different set of eyes. I don't have money to waste. Enjoy watching your Youview. John L
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,527Member ✭✭✭
    If your with an ISPs YouView box at the end of your initial first term contract the box is yours to keep. So all revenue spent during that term has the bonus of getting to keep the hardware. Sky & Virgin only rent their equipment out, so thats a good benefit of getting a YouView as opposed to renting equipment to view subscription services.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,249Member ✭✭✭
    edited 6 June 2019, 6:49AM
    Visionman said:
    If you’re with an ISPs YouView box at the end of your initial first term contract the box is yours to keep. So all revenue spent during that term has the bonus of getting to keep the hardware.

    Sky & Virgin only rent their equipment out, so that’s a good benefit of getting a YouView box as opposed to renting equipment to view subscription services.
    Those first two sentences are wrong. I have corrected this before  :(

    But I need to correct it differently now, as the relevant paragraph has moved in BT’s T&Cs:-

    34.  Equipment and software

    (b) Your equipment, except for the software inside it or any BT-owned equipment (that is, any equipment which we own, is part of our network, or belongs to our service providers, even though it is in your home) belongs to you from when we deliver it, unless you cancel the service in the cooling-off period (in which case we’ll own the equipment again).

    But the substantive point has not changed. The box is yours to keep from the moment of delivery, if you choose to. The only thing that changes at the end of the minimum term is that your financial liability to BT for the set-top box if you stop paying the monthly charge for the service, which has been steadily reducing throughout the term, reduces to zero.

    But BT have no mechanism for, and are not interested in, getting the box back if you terminate early; only some financial recompense.

    The point in @Visionman’s third sentence stands, and is possibly reinforced by the above.

    (Except for TalkTalk, who reserve the right to recover any box they supplied on a repair basis after the initial term, though I don’t know if they ever enforced this).

    This might at last be getting back to the YouView that I knew.  :|
    Holding my breath....
  • andro101010andro101010 Posts: 28Member
    To be really rather dull (and as an ex-mobile-phone company accountant):
    At the time that you enter into the contract (assuming no activity in the cooling off period) you get ownership of your BT box and a liability to pay BT. If you cancelled on Day 15 you'd keep the box and have to pay off the remaining liability. At the start of the contract this liability is equal to the contract length multiplied by the monthly termination charge (page 82 of https://www.bt.com/assets/pdf/BT_PhoneTariff_Residential.pdf). As you pay your monthly bills the liability reduces because BT allocates a proportion of your bill towards paying it off. After the minimum term then there's no liability; but BT will continue to charge you the same amount each month. 
    Hoping (but doubting) that this is clear. 
  • zulu17zulu17 Posts: 953Member ✭✭
    I believe @Roy has clarified ownership of the box.
    I believe minimum term of the  TV contract may be in excess of 12 months for several of the contracts sold although I believe that write off of the deferred cost of the box  occurs at the rate of 1/12th per month so after 12 months there is no outstanding deferred charge for the box. 
    Remember though that the equipment charges are only one element of the potential charges if you elect to terminate services within your minimum term.


  • RoyRoy Posts: 15,249Member ✭✭✭
    @andro101010

    Dull as ditchwater, but as clear as a mountain stream  :p
    This might at last be getting back to the YouView that I knew.  :|
    Holding my breath....
  • TomWTomW Posts: 496Member ✭✭
    Just received the following text message from BT. Once again their communication is deliberately misleading. If there isn’t a requirement to return the YouView box then BT ought to make this clear. As it is anyone who isn’t ‘in the know’ would assume that they’re contractually obliged to return the YouView box.

    “Hello, BT here. A reminder to send your TV box back to us. You can send it using the pre-paid returns bag we sent you. If you've got a Hub you're not using, you can send that in the same bag. You can take it to the Post Office, your nearest EE store or arrange a Parcelforce collection. We'll then let you know when we've got it. If you've already done that, please ignore this message. If you didn't get your returns bag or you have any questions, chat with us online (7am to 11pm every day) at bt.com/chat or go to bt.com/returns Thanks.”


  • GoodbyeGoodbye Posts: 336Time out
    Dont think there's any skullduggery here, just doing their bit for recycling. They do actually say "you're  not using " so what harm can it do.
  • TomWTomW Posts: 496Member ✭✭
    It says “if you’ve got a hub you’re not using”. Notice that they don’t say “if you’ve got a TV box you’re not using”. Why? Because A: that would make it explicitly clear that returning the TV box is optional and B: it would make people aware that the TV box can be used as a stand alone device and does not require a BT contract.

    The communication from BT is egregiously misleading, and deliberately so, in my opinion.

    The “recycling” thing has the distinct whiff of BS. Can you imagine if Carphone Warehouse and the like began contacting their customers asking them to return their iPhone at the end of their contract and sent out “returns” packaging. It would be absurd and they’d be a public outcry. But it’s really no different to what BT are doing. The only difference is that BT know that they can prey upon people’s lack of technical knowledge. How many people would return a YouView box if they knew that they could continue using it or that they could sell it on eBay for £50? I hazard a guess it would be very few.
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 9,527Member ✭✭✭
    I've resigned myself to the fact BT are going to continue this practice forever....
  • GoodbyeGoodbye Posts: 336Time out
    They have just increased the cost of BT TV so expect a lot more report's of the above. 
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