BT left Fareham pensioners Jan and Mike Harding in the lurch after they switched their phone, broadband, and TV service from Sky.
The couple had calculated ringing the changes would save a bundle on their home entertainment and phone costs, but ended up being railroaded into paying for an inferior second-rate service which left them angry and frustrated.
Jan explained: ‘We were with Sky which was costing us quite a lot of money a month when I saw a leaflet from BT offering an all-inclusive deal so I phoned up to make enquiries and it was quite a lot cheaper.
‘Because my husband suffered a stroke last year and had to give up work we were looking to cut down our expenses, so I arranged it all over the phone.’
The 72-year-old former M&S shop assistant recalled they had trouble with BT’s service right from the start.
During the next three months the TV picture started dropping out but each time they phoned up to report the fault they were told they’d have to pay for a BT engineer to come out and fix it.
Instead 74-year-old Mike was instructed to make adjustments to the system setup over the phone, leaving him on his back for an hour behind the TV fiddling with various plugs and sockets.
One night the TV went off completely and although they had another spare TV they had to resort to sitting in bed to watch it.
As if to add insult to injury the phone landline went down for a week, and the broadband connection which Jan relied upon to keep her in touch with her Macmillan Cancer Support charity fundraising activity turned out to be intermittent and unreliable.
Jan said: ‘I asked them why we had to pay and they said it might not be our equipment that’s causing the problem. We went through all this three or four times.
‘It’s winter time and all we wanted to do is watch a bit of TV or go on my laptop for internet banking and all that sort of thing, but the service was diabolical.’
Despite repeatedly complaining about not having a fully working system BT continued to take direct debit payments totalling £188.35 from their account.
Jan’s patience finally snapped when it became obvious the system just was not up to scratch.
Driven up the wall with all the messing about she contacted BT and told them that as they clearly couldn’t provide the advertised service she wouldn’t pay them another penny and cancelled the direct debit.
The final nail in the coffin was when Jan received a letter from them demanding a further £379.00 contract cancellation charge. If she refused to pay they’d send in the debt collectors or see her in court.
In desperation Jan contacted Streetwise to ask for our help.
As soon as we got onto BT they quickly changed their tune and sprang into action.
A spokesperson told us: ‘BT customer services has spoken with Mrs Harding and apologised, and refunded her outstanding bill, including the cancellation charges.’
On hearing the good news Jan was overwhelmed with relief that all the hassle was finally over.
She said: ‘After you contacted them we had a very nice BT lady on the phone who was so apologetic for all we’d been through and was really charming I have to say.
‘She confirmed that she had cancelled any outstanding amount allegedly owed to them by my husband and myself.’
‘She also apologised for the dreadful service and the stress that it has caused us.
‘I want to thank Streetwise, most sincerely, for taking on our issues and dealing with them on our behalf.’
The couple have gone back to Sky for their home entertainment and internet service.