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Keith woman Linda Gorn warns public after ordeal with BT

By Jonathan Clark

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A KEITH woman is warning the public after a bitter row with telecommunications company BT, which is threatening to boil over into Parliament.

Linda Gorn, a former councillor and chairwoman of Moray Textile Project, said she wants BT to be "open, honest and transparent" after being charged for a discontinued product for more than five years – among a host of other issues.

Linda Gorn.
Linda Gorn.

BT responded by saying the complaint has been dealt with efficiently and that Ms Gorn can go to the Ombudsman if necessary.

Explaining the situation, which began in spring, Ms Gorn said: "We at The Moray Textile Project had been charged for over five years for a discontinued product to do with Office 365 and PC security which had been cancelled six months prior.

"They then added on the hosting of our website where they charged from the billed amount plus VAT instead of the amount billed including VAT.

"After attempting to sort it out they stated that the complaint was closed when they decided they would pay us back money for two years use of the discontinued product. I then escalated it up to Philip Jansen BT CEO and it became a high level complaint.

"The first person I dealt with said we had to set up a new contract which ended up significantly more per month. We now have two accounts, although they have eventually paid back the money they had taken for a discontinued product. If we had charged a customer for that length of time for something that we had ceased providing I believe it could have been considered fraudulent.

"I got a letter to state if I wasn’t happy I could go to the Ombudsman. I then asked for someone else to deal with the complaint.

"We have eventually reached a semi-solution but only when I threatened to ask for subject access under the Data Protection Act.

"However, the first account that they said had to be closed is still functioning and is now completely wrong so another complaint is winging its way to them.

"I would really like to see this reach Parliament through a petition, where it can be debated so that BT can be forced to be open, honest and transparent as to how customers are billed.

"I can’t begin to imagine how many millions BT have raked in over the years through misbilling their customers."

A BT spokesperson apologised for the inconvenience Ms Gorn has faced, but added that she would have to go to the Ombudsman for anything further.

"We’re really sorry for the issues experienced by Ms Gorn," the spokesperson said. "When alerted to the billing error we corrected this and provided a full refund.

"We amended the name on the account and a credit was provided as a goodwill gesture.

“We have tried to resolve this issue for Ms Gorn and regret if she is unhappy with the service she has received.

"Should she wish to take her complaint further, she is able to contact the Ombudsman who will look into this.”

Ms Gorn has been in touch with local councillors Tim Eagle (Conservative, Buckie) and James Allan (Conservative, Heldon and Laich) and local MP Douglas Ross about the situation.

Mr Eagle said: "It is vital major companies such as BT are clear on their pricing plans and billing process, it should never come to a situation where small local businesses of individuals are hundreds of pounds out of pocket because of unclear agreements or add ons to services.

"Linda has shown more patience than most could when faced which such a confusing scenario of failures."

Ms Gorn added: "I'm looking into starting a petition and trying to get it to Westminster or Holyrood – and going to Ombudsman with the fact they have not dealt with the account properly.

"I want BT to treat customers how they deserve to be treated."

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