BT apologise after sending bill to pensioner a month after she died

APOLOGY: Brian Witherington, who has received bills from BT over line rental despite his mothers’ passing away

APOLOGY: Brian Witherington, who has received bills from BT over line rental despite his mothers’ passing away

First published in News by

A TELECOMS company charged a deceased woman for phone line rental despite her son informing them that she had died.

Brian Witherington, 47, made a call to BT three days after his beloved mother, Kathleen, passed away, aged 90, in December and informed them that the phone line was no longer needed.

Brian said that the person he spoke to confirmed that the line would be cancelled, the final charges tallied up and there would be no more to deal with.

Yet a month later, he received a letter stating that he needed to pay the charge for line rental despite the landline remaining unused.

Brian said: “They sent out a bill for £78.86 and I queried it because it was a lot higher than I was expecting it to be.

“A few days later, they sent me another bill with a lesser charge for £38.86 and still that was more than it should have been.

“When we were clearing mum’s house, I picked up the phone and heard that there was still a dialling tone.

“I rang them again and said asked them why the phone line was still live and was told that it was standard procedure to charge for an extra month’s line rental after cancellation.

“I’ve just lost my mother, I don’t need the hassle of this.”

Brian could not find anything in the terms and conditions of the BT phone contract and got in touch with the Daily Echo.

When the telecoms company carried out their own investigations, it was found that an error had led to the letter being sent to Mr Witherington asking for him to pay the line rental fee.

A spokesman said: “There were some outstanding charges of £38.86, mainly relating to phone calls and phone line rental, but in view of the circumstances and as a goodwill gesture we have waived these charges.

“A letter requesting payment should therefore not have been sent. We have contacted Mr Witherington to apologise for the error.”

Comments (10)

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12:11pm Thu 30 Jan 14

hooplaa says...

So BT made an error, they rectified it and the echo publish it?
So BT made an error, they rectified it and the echo publish it? hooplaa
  • Score: 21

12:22pm Thu 30 Jan 14

SympatheticSam says...

Stop scraping the barrel ohec. This poor man is being exploited by you just to fill a page. Grow some morality.
Stop scraping the barrel ohec. This poor man is being exploited by you just to fill a page. Grow some morality. SympatheticSam
  • Score: 13

12:59pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Letcommonsenseprevail says...

Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line!
Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line! Letcommonsenseprevail
  • Score: 6

1:14pm Thu 30 Jan 14

elaine191261 says...

SympatheticSam wrote:
Stop scraping the barrel ohec. This poor man is being exploited by you just to fill a page. Grow some morality.
Yes I agree ,not news worthy ,but Brian had to phone the echo to say he had a story ,and it's up to the echo then to print it
[quote][p][bold]SympatheticSam[/bold] wrote: Stop scraping the barrel ohec. This poor man is being exploited by you just to fill a page. Grow some morality.[/p][/quote]Yes I agree ,not news worthy ,but Brian had to phone the echo to say he had a story ,and it's up to the echo then to print it elaine191261
  • Score: 2

1:21pm Thu 30 Jan 14

corngoat says...

That's nothing, TalkTalk would not allow me to cancel my mothers account after she died unless they could speak to the account holder first!
That's nothing, TalkTalk would not allow me to cancel my mothers account after she died unless they could speak to the account holder first! corngoat
  • Score: 8

1:23pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Buddles says...

Letcommonsenseprevai
l
wrote:
Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line!
You may say that but the truth is that you go into a sort of overdrive, cancelling newspapers, subsciptions, as well as informing DWP etc. Not all councils offer Tell Them Once when you register the death so you have to do it all yourself.
I also found it helpful to order a few extra death certificates otherwise it takes an age to inform everyone that wants to have proof and there will be many. Don't forget to put a Post-It note on the death certificate with your name and address and "please do not shred me!"...so many companies just shred this important piece of paper once they have scanned it for their records.
Also when you phone companies ask if they have a dedicated bereavement department, they are certainly more tactful at a sad time.

I can only assume that this manic overdrive is part of the grieving process but others may react differently.
[quote][p][bold]Letcommonsenseprevai l[/bold] wrote: Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line![/p][/quote]You may say that but the truth is that you go into a sort of overdrive, cancelling newspapers, subsciptions, as well as informing DWP etc. Not all councils offer Tell Them Once when you register the death so you have to do it all yourself. I also found it helpful to order a few extra death certificates otherwise it takes an age to inform everyone that wants to have proof and there will be many. Don't forget to put a Post-It note on the death certificate with your name and address and "please do not shred me!"...so many companies just shred this important piece of paper once they have scanned it for their records. Also when you phone companies ask if they have a dedicated bereavement department, they are certainly more tactful at a sad time. I can only assume that this manic overdrive is part of the grieving process but others may react differently. Buddles
  • Score: 10

1:59pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Squars says...

BT are utterly incompetent. If he hadn`t involved the press, I guarantee he`d have to pay the bill.
BT are utterly incompetent. If he hadn`t involved the press, I guarantee he`d have to pay the bill. Squars
  • Score: 2

6:06pm Thu 30 Jan 14

BournemouthMum says...

Buddles wrote:
Letcommonsenseprevai

l
wrote:
Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line!
You may say that but the truth is that you go into a sort of overdrive, cancelling newspapers, subsciptions, as well as informing DWP etc. Not all councils offer Tell Them Once when you register the death so you have to do it all yourself.
I also found it helpful to order a few extra death certificates otherwise it takes an age to inform everyone that wants to have proof and there will be many. Don't forget to put a Post-It note on the death certificate with your name and address and "please do not shred me!"...so many companies just shred this important piece of paper once they have scanned it for their records.
Also when you phone companies ask if they have a dedicated bereavement department, they are certainly more tactful at a sad time.

I can only assume that this manic overdrive is part of the grieving process but others may react differently.
Very true. When someone dies it doesn't register for a while, this allows us to make funeral arrangements etc. and inform DWP / tax / banks etc. so it's quite usual to do this within 3 days.

The Echo making a story out of nothing again - whatever next!
[quote][p][bold]Buddles[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Letcommonsenseprevai l[/bold] wrote: Very sad, but if my parents died, I'd take me a lot longer than 3 days to get round to cancelling a phone line![/p][/quote]You may say that but the truth is that you go into a sort of overdrive, cancelling newspapers, subsciptions, as well as informing DWP etc. Not all councils offer Tell Them Once when you register the death so you have to do it all yourself. I also found it helpful to order a few extra death certificates otherwise it takes an age to inform everyone that wants to have proof and there will be many. Don't forget to put a Post-It note on the death certificate with your name and address and "please do not shred me!"...so many companies just shred this important piece of paper once they have scanned it for their records. Also when you phone companies ask if they have a dedicated bereavement department, they are certainly more tactful at a sad time. I can only assume that this manic overdrive is part of the grieving process but others may react differently.[/p][/quote]Very true. When someone dies it doesn't register for a while, this allows us to make funeral arrangements etc. and inform DWP / tax / banks etc. so it's quite usual to do this within 3 days. The Echo making a story out of nothing again - whatever next! BournemouthMum
  • Score: 4

8:00pm Thu 30 Jan 14

j2209m says...

Im surprised BT apologised. Its normally 'outside of their control.' and they don't want to know. Even if you have no phone or internet since xmas and their engineer admitted it was human error.
Im surprised BT apologised. Its normally 'outside of their control.' and they don't want to know. Even if you have no phone or internet since xmas and their engineer admitted it was human error. j2209m
  • Score: 3

11:07pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Yankee1 says...

Welcome to the reality known as dealing with the estate of the deceased.

Nothing here is out of the ordinary.
Welcome to the reality known as dealing with the estate of the deceased. Nothing here is out of the ordinary. Yankee1
  • Score: 0

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