BT seems unable to accept I paid 90-year-old uncle’s bill

I care for my uncle who is 90 years old and has recently been diagnosed with dementia. On 11 March I paid his BT phone bill online and my bank confirmed the payment of £72.87 had reached the account and sort code on the paper bill.

But I had misquoted his BT account reference by one digit and, although no reminders were received, on 20 April BT disconnected him from making outgoing calls.

I have explained what happened in telephone calls and emails to the missing payments department. I have also sent a letter to the company, with a copy of the transaction and proof that I have a lasting power of attorney (LPA).

He has given permission over the phone numerous times to allow me to deal with his account but I have been told the LPA must be registered before BT can speak to me (I will do this once I receive a certified copy). I’m loath to pay the bill a second time without sorting out where the first payment has gone.

I’m trying to get my uncle on BT’s protected services scheme as this will prevent anything like this happening again. He lives alone and is frail. The phone is his lifeline.
JR, Tunbridge Wells

BT quickly restored your uncle’s ability to make outgoing calls when you alerted it. But getting it to join the dots on the missing payment was a more painful process. You made a small mistake that had big consequences. Since we got in touch BT has located the payment and is giving him a £30 credit to make up for some of the stress he experienced.

BT says: “While making an online bill payment, the incorrect account number was entered, which caused restrictions on outgoing calls because payment was not received. We were made aware of this and rectified the issue on the same day. We have applied a gesture of goodwill to apologise for the inconvenience and have registered the customer with priority fault repair.”

Readers who have a chronic illness or are disabled might qualify for this scheme. To find out call 0800 800 150 and ask for the PHME 87180 form. There are strict eligibility criteria and applications require a doctor or consultant’s signature.

You have also posted off his application for its protected services scheme for vulnerable people.

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