How much?!?

OK, getting a duff telecoms bill is not new, and not so bad when you have a £100 mobile bill or something.

Today I had a heart racing moment when I saw one of our many monthly BT bills was £34,000 more than usual. OK not a huge percentage, but scary.

Ran it through our checking tool that checks each line item looks correct, and it was happy - so even more fucking scary. The prospect that it could be right is not impossible if they had found something not correctly billed for a few years and caught up or something, or some charge I had missed in a briefing last month. At the end of the day, that comes out of my pocket FFS.

Thankfully, after spending some time trawling through it, I confirmed they had in fact screwed up and it was not in fact correct. They double billed thousands of lines for the same time period. The fact that the bill was 200 pages more than usual was a clue, but I had to be sure.

How does anyone manage to make mistakes like that and hope they are not noticed?!


  1. Fully automated system, no-one checking to see if it's doing the right thing, perhaps?

    I can just see that there's a glitch, the bit of billing database with your records in is apparently blank, so you restore the records from backup. When the glitch ends, the records exist twice, and no-one notices...

  2. and imagine that oh so many do get left by accountants and paid, just cos they have no notion of whether to check let alone how to

    I can assure you it was no accident grrr

    just BT trying it on !!!!

  3. A law should be introduced to have some level of recompense for such, including:-

    - The amount you've been overcharged (duh).
    - An amount for the period of time you spent looking at it, though it would be inappropriate for them to know your salary or position, so should assume you're in a premium-salary position.
    - A fine imposed on the company, passed directly to yourself, as a multiplier of the amount they overcharged/attempted to.
    - All possible repercussions of the overcharge, in both time and money (maybe you default on your mortgage, or can't afford your bus fare), again, multipled.

    Basically, an apology and money back should not be enough.

  4. In essence the law covers some of this in so far as anyone in breach of contract is normally liable for the mitigated costs resulting from that breach.

    The problem is, even if I was to charge my time and so on, getting that out of someone like BT would be near impossible without going to court. Generally, taking a major supplier to court is not a good move (though we have done it in the past).


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