Simple Telecoms code of practice - For residential customers and small businesses.
To order a Simple Telecoms Telephone Service/s
This section explains how to order our ordinary fixed telephone line service, sometimes called a ‘landline’.
We use engineers employed by Openreach (a BT Group business). Openreach installs and maintains services for Britain’s phone and internet service providers. Openreach also services, supports and maintains the wiring, fibres and connections.
• You can order a phone service online at www.simpletelecoms.co.uk
• If you would like to talk to a sale adviser please phone 0330 6060 808 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. This call is charged at local rate from your landline.
The minimum term for our phone service is normally one year, unless we let you know otherwise.
When providing a phone service to new customers, we will require your monthly bill to be paid via direct debit; unless agreed otherwise.
We may also set a credit limit, which we’ll tell you about when you apply for service. The limit will stay on your phone service until you’ve shown that we can rely on you to pay your phone bills.
If you reach your limit before we send you your next bill, we’ll send you an ‘interim bill’, which you must pay straight away. If you choose to pay your future bills by Monthly Payment Plan, we won’t send any interim bills
There are other circumstances when we might also need to send you an interim bill for the calls you’ve made since your last bill. You must pay any interim bill quickly. If you haven’t always paid your bills in full or on time, we may also bar (block) or limit outgoing calls from your line, or even incoming calls, until you’ve paid your bill.
We sometimes ask customers to pay a deposit. When you apply for a service we’ll tell you whether you need to pay a deposit.
If we do ask for a deposit, you’ll need to pay it before we connect you. We’ll also tell you, in writing, how long we’ll hold the deposit for. If you pay your bills in full and on time during this period, we’ll then return your deposit.
If you’re a new customer asking for a phone service, we’ll check your credit history through a credit reference agency. Credit checking is regulated, and we follow all the legal requirements that apply for credit checking our new clients.
We will also tell you that we are going to carry out a credit check on you. A credit check may be registered with the credit reference agency, and your personal information will be given to other organisations, such as credit vetting agencies and their customers (if this is allowed under the Data Protection Act).
For the credit check, you may need to provide proof of your identity, either at the start or when some information is revealed by the check. If so, the credit reference agency may need to see the documents but won’t keep copies of them longer than they have to.
If we refuse to provide a phone service to you, we don’t just base this decision on just the result of your credit check. We use various ways to reduce the risk to us. We may also refuse to provide a service to people who are not legally able to enter into a contract with us (such as people under 18). We may also refuse to supply a service if we have reason (based on reliable evidence) to believe that fraud is involved.
Cancelling or ending a contract
You can cancel your contract or any part of the service at any time before we provide the service. However we may ask you to pay us for any work that BT Openreach or we have done, or money spent in getting ready to provide the service. If so, we’ll take reasonable steps to keep any costs down. You may cancel any of your products or services at any time. However, if the product or service has a minimum term, you may have to pay for ending it early. If you want to cancel or end a contract, email customer service [email protected]
How long will it take to install?
We aim to provide phone services for residential and small businesses within 14 working days (as long as there’s a phone line to your premises) of receiving a signed contract.
If we need to arrange a survey before carrying out the work, or provide any extra cabling (or both), it will take BT Openreach longer to do the work. If this happens, we’ll tell you how long it’s likely to take. We can offer morning or afternoon appointment. A few Saturday appointments are also available, however these are chargeable.
Moving home or office
If you’re moving home or office, please let us know at least 14 days before you move so we don’t charge you for calls made from your old address once you’ve moved, and that we can send a final bill to your new address.
If you want to move your phone service to or from us and you’re still within the local exchange area of both phone companies, you should be able to keep your existing phone number. This changeover normally takes 12 working days for residential customers, and your new telephone company concerned will do all the necessary work. If you’d like more information, please phone 0330 6060 808.
If you’re a business customer, please contact your new service provider to check that they offer this service. If you need extra business products to be installed at the same time as moving your service to us, the changeover could take longer.
Your phone service
When we install your phone line, the equipment BT Openreach fit will depend on the type of access technology use.
If they use copper cable, they fit either:
• a special socket (known as a line box or Network Terminating Equipment and referred to as an NTE5) inside your premises; or
• External Network Terminating Equipment (referred to as an XNTE) outside your premises.
You can recognise the line box, which will be fitted inside your premises, by the horizontal line across the middle. The External Network Terminating Equipment is a small grey box, which will be fitted to the outside of your premises. Both of these sockets are known as the ‘demarcation point’.
Our network ends at the demarcation point. If BT Openreach uses fibre cable all the way to your home, which is called FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), you will have fitted an Optical Network Termination (known as the BT Openreach Fibre Modem. This will need to be within a metre of a suitable mains power socket. BT Openreach may also fit a Customer Splice Point Box to an external wall. To do this, BT Openreach will need to drill a small hole in your wall to push the cable through. The box will cover the hole.
BT Openreach may use different equipment for FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and for business customers using fibre (especially for multi-line installations). Please discuss this with us when you place your order
We can install extra sockets if you want, but we’ll charge you for the work. You can add your own approved extension wiring and sockets by making connections inside the line box. You must not try to do this if you have an old-style BT socket instead of a line box. As soon as you report a fault on your phone line While you’re waiting for the fault to be repaired, you can ask us to divert all your incoming calls to another fixed or mobile number, and the applicable call charges will apply. If we do this, you can keep the diversion until we repair your service.
Repairing faults on your phone line
You can report faults, free of charge, 24 hours a day. But unless you’ve taken out an elevated maintenance scheme, BT Openreach engineers cannot carry out repairs outside normal working hours (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays or public holidays). These maintenance schemes cannot be purchased when a fault occurs.
Faults can happen on the BT network, both on the phone you’re using or on the phone of the person you are trying to call. If you contact us during normal working hours, we will try to find out where the fault is by testing your phone line from the exchange to your premises. We might suggest that you carry out some simple tests to work out whether the fault is on your phone or wiring.
Reporting and repairing faults on the BT network is part of the maintenance cover included within your phone service rental. If the fault is in a phone or wiring that BT doesn’t own, or that you haven’t rented from us, we’re not responsible for repairing it. We have the right to charge for any work or visit that is cut short because the fault is something we or BT have no control over.
If a BT Openreach engineer needs to visit your premises, we’ll arrange a day and time that’s convenient for you. We will offer you a morning or afternoon appointment, Monday to Friday (excluding public and bank holidays) for residential customers and Monday to Saturday (excluding public and bank holidays) for business customers.
We might be able to arrange appointments outside of these times for an additional charge. Our customer service guarantee means that if you have difficulties with our service, we will do our best to keep you connected.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services deliver phone calls over broadband connections rather than traditional phone networks. To use a VoIP service, you’d normally use a broadband connection with some special equipment. This equipment usually includes a personal computer with relevant software installed, a traditional phone with an adapter that plugs into the broadband connection, or a wireless device with suitable software installed on it.
VoIP services 999
We would like to remind you of your obligation to comply with the guidelines issued by Ofcom on 29th March 2007, in which the End User must be informed that due to the nature of VoIP services 999 / 112 calls are not always reliable due the technical nature of VoIP and that they (the End User) are responsible for keeping their location information up to date. This will be dependent on the service being taken.
Simple Telecoms have undertaken a project to ensure that all the relevant information and processes are in place to support Simple Telecoms VoIP customers to provide the required information to the Emergency Services Database (ESDB).
You must ensure that you provide and keep all current name and address information up to date by notifying us when any changes of location are made to enable us to keep the Emergency Services database up to date.
Simple Telecoms require that all customers’ sub allocating numbers to end users or for their own use, update us with the end user information. Addresses entered should always be where the end user will be using the service. To be clear this is the physical geographic address where a 999 operator might send Police/Ambulance/Fire service.
Any questions you may have regarding this project or the obligations, which will apply from 8th September 08, should be forwarded to [email protected] .
We know that privacy is very important to our customers, and we want you to feel confident about the privacy and security of your personal information. We’re registered under the Data Protection Act in the United Kingdom and take all reasonable care to prevent any unauthorised access to your personal information. Here’s some important information about the personal information we may hold about you, and how we use it. When we refer to ‘personal information’, we mean information that identifies you (or could do so). We may hold and use information about you as a customer, a person acting on behalf of a business customer or a shareholder, or in any other role (for example, when you visit our websites).
The information we hold about you
If you order, or register for, a service from us, we will ask you for information such as your name, postal address, contact phone numbers and email address. We collect this information by phone, in writing or through a website. We may also ask you for other relevant information about the service you’re using or ordering. For example, we may need your credit card number to charge you for certain services. We Do Not store any bank or credit card information on our systems.
When you (or someone using your phone) make a phone call, send a fax or connect to the internet, we keep a record of that call (including the number called) so we can charge for it. Other phone service providers also give us information about calls made over our network, if we need that information for connecting calls and billing purposes.
We may sometimes monitor and record calls about customer services and telemarketing (marketing carried out over the phone). We do this as part of our staff training and to improve how we look after our customers, including how we handle complaints.
If someone abuses or damages the phone network (for example, by making offensive or nuisance calls), we may keep information about that abuse.
If you enter any of our competitions or promotions, we may ask for information about you. We’ll make this clear at the time and tell you how we may use your information.
We may ask you how you use the services we provide, what other services you’d like us to provide in the future, and for other information, such as lifestyle data.
We may receive personal information about you from other people or organisations. Apart from when we’re just processing information for them, we rely on these people or organisations to get your permission for us to use this information. We collect information from people who visit our websites to help us to make improvements to our websites and the services we make available. We know, for instance, how many visitors there are to each website, when they visited and which areas of our website they visited. We may share this information with our advertisers and with other companies that offer their services on our websites, depending on your stated preferences which we hold.
Billing, payments and pricing
We provide services that you must pay for. In this section, we describe how we ask for payments and the help we can give you if you have problems paying your bills. We also explain what action we’ll take if you don’t pay. We aim to help you by:
• promoting responsible behavior by us and our customers;
• encouraging people to pay their bills in full and on time;
• keeping debt to a minimum and restricting service where necessary; and
• making you more aware of how we do things in these areas.
We process the charges for calls you make on your phone line after you've made them, sometimes by as much as four months later. We’ll send you a bill every month, for your calls and other charges. This includes line rental charged for the following month.
When you need to pay us
You must pay your bill as soon as you get it, and send us your payment so we get it by the date shown on your bill. If you can’t pay by the date shown on your bill it’s important that you contact us straight away. The earlier we know that you’re having payment problems, the more help we can give you. The number to ring is shown on your bill.
If you’re going away for a long time, and you might miss a bill, please tell us. This is so we can avoid restricting your service/s and save you a re-connection fee.
We prefer you to pay by direct debit. If you pay any other way, you may have to pay a payment processing fee.
If we don’t receive your payment on time
If we don’t get your payment by the date shown on your bill, we’ll do the following.
• Remind you that the payment is due. We may do this with a voice call or email.
• If we can’t contact you, we’ll send a letter at least seven days before we plan to cut you off to tell you that your payment is overdue and that you must pay immediately to avoid having your services cut off.
• Charge you a late-payment charge if we don’t get and process your payment immediately after sending you the first reminder. We may charge business customers interest for each day or a late-payment charge
If we send you bills every month, we’ll send one reminder and you must pay immediately.
Disconnecting your Services
We’ll do everything possible to avoid cutting off your services. But if we do cut you off, we won’t reconnect your service until we've got full payment of the amount you owe. We’ll also charge for reconnecting your line and you’ll have to pay a deposit or join a payment scheme. Business customers may also have to pay a deposit or give us a guarantee as security for future payments.
We can cut off your service/s in the following situations
• If you gave incorrect or incomplete information when you applied for the service.
• If we ask you to pay a deposit but you don’t do so.
• If you break your agreement with us or we believe that your service is being used in a way forbidden by your agreement.
• If you've had your service restricted because you still owe us money, and:
• you still don’t pay that amount;
• we can’t contact you to talk about it; and you won’t agree to, or you fail to keep to, a payment arrangement.
• If we sent you an interim bill because you went over your credit limit, you haven’t paid that bill and you still don’t pay when we restrict your service.
• If twice in the past 12 months you’ve failed to pay an overdue amount and, as a result, we've restricted your service.
If you don’t pay the overdue amount after we've cut off your service, we’ll end your agreement with us. We may also charge you for all your services for the full term of your agreement. We’ll pass details of the overdue amount to a debt-collection agency so they can collect the money for us, and we may charge you our costs of hiring the agency.
Debt-collection agencies are professional members of a recognised association responsible for regulating the debt-collection industry. They’re licensed to do this work by the Office of Fair Trading. Information about your debt may be shared with other organisations that give credit. You’ll have to pay a charge to be reconnected for any further services
We’ll always tell you how and why we’d restrict your service. We’d also tell you the circumstances that would allow us to remove the restriction or limit.
Your responsibilities to pay our bills
As our customer, you have responsibilities to us and we expect the following.
• You should make sure we get full payment of your bill by the date shown on your bill.
• If there’s a reason why you can’t pay your bill, or if you need more time to pay, you should let us know straight away.
• If you’re having problems paying your bill, you should be prepared for us to restrict your service.
• If you’re a new customer, you should be prepared to agree a limit on your account and services.
• If you disagree with any item on your bill, you should let us know and then pay the amount you think is correct while we check everything.
• If you plan to be away from the address we normally send your bill to for a long time, please tell us so we can help you arrange a payment.
• If we ask you to pay a deposit, we’ll refund it only after an agreed time has passed and we’re happy with your payment history.
Simple Telecoms code of practice for premium-rate services and Number Translation Services
Premium-rate services have dialing codes starting with 09xx or 0871 and are charged at a higher rate than normal calls.
They might include:
• recorded information – for example, traffic reports, competitions, voting, chatlines and things that you can download, such as ringtones; and
• live services – for example, advice lines.
The company providing these services is known as a ‘service provider’directory inquiry services with numbers that start with 118 are also classed as premium-rate services. The extra cost of the call is paid to the organisation offering that particular 118 service. The network operator who gives them the 118 number will also take a share of the price to cover the cost of carrying the 118 calls.
PhonepayPlus regulates premium-rate services. It publishes a code of practice that providers of premium-rate services must follow. This includes rules on advertising and promoting premium-rate services. PhonepayPlus may be able to help you if you've a complaint about a premium-rate service. Some information and entertainment services, including services for adults, are provided by international companies. Phone numbers for these services may be advertised in the UK. http://www.phonepayplus.org.uk/For-Business/Setting-up-a-premium-rate-service.aspx
What PhonepayPlus can do for you?
PhonepayPlus (see ‘Some other useful contacts’ for their contact details) regulates the content of premium rate services and how they’re advertised. It’s responsible for investigating complaints about the way premium-rate services are advertised or run, or the way information received using a premium-rate call has been presented.
PhonepayPlus can’t give compensation for calls made to recorded information premium-rate numbers. It may be able to give details of the service provider.
Number Translation Services
Number Translation Services (NTS) are calls to numbers shown in the National Telephone Numbering Plan as ‘special services’. The National Telephone Numbering Plan is the UK’s list of numbers that Ofcom has allocated to phone companies. The ‘special services’ include:
• 08 numbers, such as 0845 and 0870;
• 0500 freephone numbers (but not calls to 0808 99 numbers for flat-rate internet access calls); and
• 070 personal numbers (numbers beginning 070 that are not mobile numbers).
If we are unable to resolve your complaint satisfactorily, we will issue a ”deadlock” letter so that you may make a complaint through CISAS, an independent alternative dispute resolution scheme. We can provide you with details of this service. Alternatively if more than three months has passed since you first made your complaint, please contact the CISAS International Dispute Resolution Centre directly.
70 Fleet Street, London
Tel: 020 7520 3814
Fax: 020 7520 3829
If you are hard of hearing and have a text phone you can call us on 020 7520 3767. More information on CISAS International Dispute Resolution Centre can be found here:
4 Maguire Street
Contact Centre on 0800 500 212 between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)
General enquiries main reception number is 020 7940 7474
Registration helpdesk for PRS providers -if you are a PRS provider and have a query about the new Registration Scheme, please phone 0844 264 1222*.
*Calls provided by BT will be charged at up to 5p per minute. Mobile and other providers' charges may vary and are likely to cost more.
Office of Communications (Ofcom)
Ofcom Contact Centre
2a Southwark Bridge Road
Tel: 020 7981 3040
Fax: 020 7981 3334
Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (OTELO)
Tel: 0845 050 1614
Fax: 01925 430059