BT cold callers have been targeting my vulnerable sister | Broadband

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BT has been phoning my sister and selling her products she does not want. I have explained she is elderly and vulnerable and tends to say “yes” to get rid of cold callers. Last summer they sold her a broadband, mobile phone and TV package at £60 a month. When I cancelled, it insisted she send the mobile back at her own cost.

I now discover they have sold her the same package. When I cancelled, she was told she would be charged £89 if she didn’t return a TV set-top box which she never received. I dread to think how other vulnerable people fare if they don’t have family to look out for them.
PL, Hampshire

BT won plaudits when it launched its free call protect service, which diverts nuisance calls from customers who sign up. That hasn’t stopped it from making its own. It’s concerning that your sister appears to have been persuaded to agree to deals over the phone, and that the callers did not establish her circumstances.

BT tells me customers are invited to opt in to marketing calls when they sign up, and that callers are trained to be aware of customer vulnerabilities, but, since these can be hard to detect, it relies on families to flag up concerns. It admits you called last year to cancel the first inappropriate order, yet it says it was unaware of the need for a vulnerability marker on the account, or for her to be opted out of marketing calls. And it’s inexcusable that, despite records showing your intervention, it offered the same package again.

It has now arranged for the box to be returned free of charge, amended her marketing preferences and marked her as vulnerable. “We rely on customers to let us know any important information and this customer’s account didn’t show she shouldn’t receive marketing calls,” it says. “We have offered a gesture of goodwill to show how committed we are to getting things right for vulnerable customers.”

Nuisance and scam calls, some purporting to be from BT, have soared during the pandemic and it would be advisable for your sister to register with call protect and the Telephone Preference Service and consider a call-blocking unit.

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