PlusNet had been my ISP for years — despite the many problems I’ve had with them (metered usage, not disclosing MAC key, secret packages). On top of all this, the actual service had degraded so much — with an outage pretty much every day — that on 18 July I finally decided to leave, and move to a more expensive but much faster BT deal. Hurrah!
So needless to say, they have continued to bill me.
Yes. I got my first BT bill on 17 August (by which point I had long been receiving their far superior service). And PlusNet continued to take money from my direct debit on 18 August, 16 September and 18 October.
I tried to email them about this, but there seems to be no address you can contact. At least, the address firstname.lastname@example.org, which they write from certainly doesn’t work:
I think it would be better if that didn’t happen to. You know what would make it not happen? Answering your email.
Anyway. I tried to register a ticket with their support system, but they have closed it down since I last used it a couple of years ago.
Not wanting to spend 20 minutes on hold again, I found a text-chat system that is now their preferred way of doing support. I still had to wait ages for a support person to get to me, but at least I didn’t have to do it with the telephone pressed up against my ear.
After a delay, I got to talk to “Rob”. I explained the situation to him, and he passed me over to his colleague “Marc”, who said he’d take care of it. (This was on 13 October, which needless to say was too late to prevent them from taking the payment five days later.)
Next thing I know — on 19 October — I get this email:
Date: 19 October 2016 at 12:06
Subject: Your Plusnet Unlimited (Contracted without Phone) account has been reactivated!
Dear Mike Taylor,
Account username: mirk101
Thank you for clearing the outstanding balance on your Plusnet Unlimited (Contracted without Phone) account. Your account has now been reactivated.
All of your account’s features will be reactivated now. It normally takes up to 30 minutes until all of these are available for you to use but if your account had been cancelled this may take slightly longer.
Payment amount: £13.49
Date taken: 24th October 2016
I wish I was joking. I am not.
So I replied to the email saying “No no NO! The issue was not that *I* owed *you* money and wanted my service restored. It’s that I transferred to BT in July, and you are still billing me for nothing. Please fix this ASAP.” And I appended a transcript of the support chat from 13 October, which I had saved because I am experience enough in the ways of PlusNet to be pretty sure I would need it.
And, needless to say, my email was rejected because “emails can easily be lost, misdirected or ever deleted” and PlusNet’s solution to this problem is to lose, misdirect and delete all email up front to make sure it doesn’t happen later.
At this point I realised the only way this was ever going to get sorted out was by talking to PlusNet publicly, on Twitter:
And predictably enough, that was when they decided (or so it seemed at the time) that this was something worth sorting out:
So everything would now be OK, right?
At this point, I will simply show you the private-messaging stream. It takes some believing.
The upshot: here we are nearly five months after I left PlusNet, and they still owe me £21.93, despite my having contacted them via four different media on more than ten separate occasions.
Well, here is the punchline: you win, PlusNet. Keep the twenty quid.
This has cost me much, much more in time, unhappiness and frustration. I should have just written off the money right at the start, but I am not going to fall for the sunk-cost fallacy and keep pursuing it. The money’s yours and I wash my hands of it.
And to anyone else who’s reading this: please, for your own sanity: never, ever, ever contract with PlusNet. They will screw up in ever way possible and end up stealing your money.