Last year, in 2021, the BBC and other news outlets reported on BT’s slight predicament of a £600m lawsuit. Ofcom discovered that the broadband and telecom provider overcharged customers for landline services. Loyal customers who stuck with BT for years – many of whom were pensioners – never received discounts or better value for money.
We have had one of our customers move from BT to Broadband Freedom as they were being charged £45+ VAT a month for their lowest broadband service. They came to us and we have saved them over £27 a month.
As a result, BT reduced the price of its landlines by £7 a month. This measure seemingly satisfied Ofcom. Campaigners on the other hand think that each of the 2.3 million customers deserves £500 compensation. Justin Le Patourel, the founder of consumer group Collective Action on Landlines (CALL) said:
“We think millions of BT’s most loyal landline customers could be entitled to compensation of up to £500 each, and the filing of this claim starts that process.”
So, is BT broadband, for pensioners in particular, an overcharge just waiting to happen? Or is this a market-wide issue?
“Poor value for money in a market that is not serving them well enough,” is what Justin Le Patourel went on to state. There is certainly a commonplace practice amongst broadband companies failing to look after older customers. In the sense that older customers tend to be more loyal to providers and receive nothing in return. As opposed to their younger counterparts constantly searching for better deals.
So, how can we help our older relatives and friends get the best broadband deals? After all, you’ll need time to shop around for a decent deal. And remember when that contract is due to expire. Possibly even check increases are fair and in lieu of industry rules. All the while managing your own broadband contract.
Phew! There’s a lot to consider!
It can be difficult, especially when our older relatives and friends insist on loyalty over value. So, let’s go over some specific scenarios.
The two criteria of whether you (or someone else) are eligible for compensation from BT, are as follows:
1) Customer had a BT landline WITHOUT broadband between October 2015 and April 2018
2) Since 2015, the customer had BOTH a broadband service and a BT landline but NOT in a bundle
If you or anyone you know comes under these conditions, you might be eligible for compensation between £200 and £500. Mishcon de Reya is a law firm that filed the claims last year on behalf of 2.3 million customers.
The claim is known as a “collective action” – which means a group of people are represented by a representative. In this case, the aforementioned founder of CALL Justin Le Patourel. Check out this excellent article by Which?. They share details on how to join the claim or if you’re entitled to compensation.
There’s a growing user case for pensioners online. Internet usage by over-65s shot up by 70% during Covid lockdowns. One in three pensioners now uses broadband to do their banking or manage their utilities. Three in five shops online. Even one in ten use the internet to play games!
Pensioners are some of the most financially vulnerable people in our society. It’s important that we protect them by giving cheaper, alternative broadband services, without undercutting value.
BT basic is ideal for pensioners who rarely use the internet but depend on a phone line.
Research certainly shows that more pensioners than ever are online! And although user case has increased amongst over-65s, what they do online generally demands lower bandwidths. Watch out for broadband providers that oversell their services. Pensioners could end up paying for bandwidth that’ll they never use!
Post Office broadband offer 17Mbps ADSL packages, plus unlimited downloads and free weekend calls. Flexible payment options also mean pensioners can pay for broadband using cash at their local post office.
Most pensioners opt for Freeview and prefer to stay in touch with loved ones via telephone. TV and mobile phones bundles may not be wanted. If that’s the case…
Broadband Freedom offers 100 FREE minutes PER month on both mobile and telephone. This bundle (along with a free landline) is available on all of our broadband bundles. We also offer competitive call packages.
We like to think that companies keep our loved ones’ interest at heart. Poor customer service is the last thing any customer wants to deal with. According to Ofcom Sky receives the least number of complaints and PlusNet is known for excellent customer service.
Although, we do pretty well ourselves!
Want to help an older relative or friend or maybe you’re a pensioner yourself? We suggest the following steps:
1) Approval – are you happy with your broadband provider? Perhaps then, you’ll trust them enough to look after your older loved ones. Or maybe you’re a pensioner whose friend recommended a broadband provider?
Always keep an ear out. Ask friends and family about their experience with a provider.
2) Glossary – here is an excellent resource. A list of online terms for pensioners and younger customers too! Get familiar with these terms to fully inform yourself (or others!) on all things broadband!
3) Essentials – ask yourself (or older relatives/friends) if you need broadband, what will you use it for? All customers must have some idea. That way money is saved and the service is tailored to the customer.
If you ring on behalf of someone else, providers will need to speak to the account holder. Or the person whose name the account will be under. Broadband Freedom also observes this rule and it is therefore mandatory.
Did you know that there are government initiatives that help alleviate expenses for pensioners? Including broadband!
In addition to this, Virgin Media and TalkTalk freeze prices for set periods of time for over-65s. (We freeze prices for all of our customers, wink wink).
There is also a BT pensioner scheme available.
Lastly, we work around you. Should you set up an installation date for an older relative, we can arrange it so you can be present! Just let our team know about the circumstances. And we’ll have you and your loved one connected with little disruption and as quickly as possible.