How to claim back unused telecoms lines

There’s a lot you need to keep on top of when running a business – finances, employee wellbeing, customer service, supplier relationships and those are just a handful!

Considering the number of operational balls you’re juggling, it’s easy to lose track of the number of telephone lines and internet connections you’re using, especially when you’re managing multiple sites. And if you’ve ever tried to claim back the pointless spend on unused lines, it can feel like an insurmountable hill to climb. 

But how do you go about getting the cash back that was needlessly spent? If you’ve partnered with one of the larger service providers – BT, TalkTalk Business, etc. – the massive corporate wall they put between you and your refund is tall, wide and deep, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be broken.

Follow our step-by-step process to discover our tried and tested method of getting back the money you deserve… and if you’re still struggling, we’re only ever a phone call away!

Know what you use

Before you start contacting your telecoms provider and giving them a piece of your mind, you need to be confident in the services you take from them, and of those, which ones you use and don’t.

It’s also important to have a copy of your original contract, which you can request at any point by contacting your supplier’s customer services team. The best way we’ve found to make this assessment is by collating your last 3 month’s bills and checking them against your existing understanding of your stack. If you’re not sure, go around your office a room at a time, and note the location and technology attached at every point – computers, telephones, even printers – and any wall sockets that ether have an Ethernet or telephone line port.

  • Did you order all the services you’re paying for?
  • Were you sold the same as what was delivered?
  • Have the speeds you’ve experienced matched the average guarantee that was given when you signed up?

If you said ‘No’ to any of those questions, then you definitely have justification to demand a refund. The best weapon you have against these larger suppliers is physical evidence – screenshots of speed tests, copies of contracts, emails promising X, Y or Z. So, make sure you’re armed to the teeth with all the evidence you can find, before you escalate your complaint to your provider.

Escalate through your provider

Your first port of call would be your Account Manager, or a general customer services line, depending on the size of your business.

Large ISPs like BT, TalkTalk Business and Virgin Media, won’t make it easy for you to get a refund, hiding behind those terms and conditions you never read, and getting angry with the person you speak to won’t help your cause at all. So, make sure you stay calm when you speak to them, and that the call is being recorded too, just in case.

Explain your complaint as simply as possible, referring to your evidence where appropriate.

It’s also important to get the contact details of the person you speak to (especially if you’re calling a catch-all customer services line) and send a summary of the conversation, with your evidence attached, to ensure there’s a written record of all your correspondence.

Chances are you’ll get an ‘apology for your inconvenience’ and be told that your adviser will escalate your complaint further up the chain of command.

While we wish it was that easy, complaints will usually get pushed back (unless there’s been a clear breach of the T&Cs) and you may need to call several times to drive home the point that you’re not going away, and the ISP needs to resolve the complaint.

But, if after multiple complaints you still feel you have a justifiable reason for credit and the supplier isn’t budging, there’s always Ofcom. Simply mentioning that you’re considering raising your complaint with Ofcom may even be the nudge your supplier requires before offering your money back!

Escalate further through Ofcom

Ofcom has an amazingly easy-to-use site to register your complaint and holds the authority over ISPs to demand action from them, if they uphold your complaint. However, depending on the exact nature of your grievance, they may, or may not be able to investigate your specific issue.

If your case cannot be investigated individually, it’s still worth registering your complaint, just in case a specific supplier is getting a higher-than-average number of complaints, where Ofcom would then delve further to find the specific cause of that supplier’s complaints.

Again, it’s important to clearly explain your issue and provide the evidence to back it up. But the ADR’s judgement will be final, meaning if they don’t find in your favour, you won’t have any further courses of action.

As you may be able to tell, there’s a lot of time involved in claiming back your unused lines. From collating your bills, understanding your services and communicating with your ISP – all with no guarantee of a positive outcome.

While we can’t necessarily guarantee we can get your money back for you, we can certainly let you know your chances, and take all of those time-consuming tasks off your plate!

You may have previously required lines for your boardroom, hot desks, collaboration rooms and offices that only get used once a week. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that these lines are no longer required when teams are working from home or using their personal devices to make and take business calls.

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