Well, er, maybe.
For an account of my experience with BT over Fredrickson International’s illegal abuse of the public telephone systeme & BT’s SMS text service, see below.
Updated 29 Jan 2010 12:37.
My conclusions following the events I have documented below is as follows:
- BT will neither confirm nor deny that criminal abuse is taking place.
- Their official line is that it is someone else’s responsibilty to ensure that BT’s services are not so abused, as to turn your home telephone into a weapon against you, to be used by bottom-feeders such as Fredrickson International Ltd.
- BT are apparently quite happy with the situation they find themselves in. They take money from bottom-feeders such as Fredrickson International Ltd., and deliver nuisance garbage into your home via your telephone line.
- Do I believe that I have wasted my time with this exercise? No, I don’t. In this case it is BT that are the means by which the likes of Fredrickson International Ltd., conduct their war of attrition against you, until you cave in. As such, BT appear to be a willing partner of such abusers, hence a part of the problem, and as such fair target for condemnation.
- My advice? I haven’t any, but will say one thing more. The general of an army fighting a war, will make it a matter of priority to deny his enemy logistical support – from whatever source.
A PDF copy of the above conclusion is available here: Conclusion (PDF)
If your telephone service is provided by BT.COM they may help you – I don’t know, my telephone service provider isn’t BT.
If you aren’t a BT customer, they won’t help you. They will tell you to contact your telephone service provider. Despite the fact that it is one of their service users that is abusing the service illegally.
If, like me you ignore their exhortations on their website, and on their very selective call-direction software, to go away if you aren’t a customer, and you eventually make human contact with a BT representative on their Malicious Calls Bureax. He or she will ask you who you pay your telephone bills to. Yes, you know his answer when you say anything other than ‘BT’. He isn’t interested in the fact that BT are providing a service to abusive bullies who bombard you with SMS text messages, and fill up your answerphone until it crashes.
No, he will tell you to talk to your service provider, despite the fact that the wholesale abuse of the service BT provides is being carried out by bottom-feeders such as Fredrickson International Ltd. Should I be surprised? Well, BT are making money supporting Fredrickson International’s ILLEGAL practises.
Significantly, there is no information (or it is too well hidden) on BT’s website to report criminal abuse of services they provide.
Similarly, their complaints forms will only allow you to select from a list – that list dosn’t allow you to complain about the criminal abuse of service they provide.
This is wrong – where are our industry watchdogs? Curled up in their kennels, fast asleep?
The law proscribes the practises I have outlined above. Fredrickson International Ltd openly sticks two fingers up to them, and the attitude of BT.COM is that they are making money, so stuff the rest of us.
After my totally unsatisfactory response from BT’s call centre I wrote the following email to BT’s Managing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Fredrickson International Ltd., a user of your SMS text-messaging service, is wantonly harassing innocent members of the public by bombarding them with SMS text messages exhorting them to telephone Fredrickson International Ltd. As you are no doubt aware, making calls to individuals at inappropriate times, or in excessive number, is illegal. Using such methods to obtain money from individuals, when it is known by the perpetrator that the individual disputes a debt, constitutes physical and psychological harassment – also a criminal offence.
I would like you to inform me then, why it is that BT.COM are not interested when an attempt is made to report such abuse of their service, by the victim of such an abuser.
I rang your Malicious Calls Bureaux this evening to report an instance of such abuse of your service and the person who serviced my call wasn’t interested as I didn’t pay my telephone bill to BT. He refused to forward my call to a manager, interrupted me when I was speaking, and had no reasonable response when I pointed out that the abuse was originating from a service wholly run and controlled by BT.
Could you also tell me why BT are providing a service to abusive bullies who bombard their chosen victims with SMS text messages, and fill up their answer-phone system until it crashes?
Whatever happened to BT?
Don’t you care that both in deed and attitude, you are actively aiding illegality? Or is it simply now just down to basic greed?
Are you making so much money supporting these bottom-feeders that you simply don’t care about whom they are harassing?
I would like some answers to these questions. I will be proceeding against Fredrickson International Ltd. Your company’s part in this will be put before the court, and the attitude taken by yourselves, projected by your website, your call-direction software and your staff will be reported to the court.
There is a problem. Your company has become a willing part of it. What are you going to do?
I sent the above message at about 19:10 on 25th January 2010. I will be happy to post any replies in full on this page.
I have also sent BT’s MD a paper copy of the above my snail-mail.
JWB 25th Jan 2010 @ 19:15
JWB 26th Jan 2010: I had a frank but friendly telephone conversation with a member of BT’s Executive Level Complaints yesterday, and she promised to precis our discussion and send same to me in email form. I am happy to present her reply verbatim below:
Hi Mr Brown
Thanks for getting back to me today to discuss the issues you raised with Ian Livingston.
I am very sorry that you are receiving unwanted text messages from another company. I realise how distressing this is, especially when there is no reason for the company to contact you.
As we discussed unfortunately although Frederickson International may rent their telephony from BT, we would not get involved in a dispute that they have with one of their customers concerning calls they are making to them. We are not a regulatory body, and we cannot make a decision on whether one of our customers is acting inappropriately with a third party. There are organisations set up to do this on behalf of customers.
My advice would be to firstly contact the company making the calls to escalate with them. Secondly if the company is pursuing you for a debt that you no longer have, the Office of Fair Trading may also be able to assist you, alternatively I would contact the relevant regulatory body for financial services, who may also intervene.
If the issue is nuisance calls, or texts, then your own service provider should give you help and advice on how to stop this.
If you believe that a criminal act has been committed then you can also contact the police.
Unfortunately BT are unable to prevent the calls from coming through to you. This is why the advisors you have spoken to have not been able to assist you.
I am very sorry that I cannot help any further, but I believe that to resolve this you really need to pursue via one of the avenues listed above.
I shall call you tomorrow to ensure that you received my email and how you would like to proceed.
Executive Level Complaints, British Telecom.
JWB to Executive Level Complaints, BT at 00:33 28th Jan 2010
Thanks for your email, I will try and answer your points in order.
In your statement ‘As we discussed unfortunately although Frederickson International may rent their telephony from BT, we would not get involved in a dispute that they have with one of their customers concerning calls they are making to them. We are not a regulatory body, and we cannot make a decision on whether one of our customers is acting inappropriately with a third party. There are organisations set up to do this on behalf of customers.’
You say that ‘we cannot make a decision on whether one of our customers is acting inappropriately with a third party’
First of all, I have made a formal complaint to you which sets out the nature of the criminal activity, which has been perpetrated by Fredrickson International. It is not that you ‘cannot make a decision on whether one of your customers is acting inappropriately’, but that you will not do anything whatsoever to address my accusation, which includes verifying whether my assertions are true or false.
With the equipment and software BT has, it would be a simple matter to check whether my accusation has substance or not. It would appear that BT are not remotely interested, as I haven’t been asked for dates, times etc.
BT know as well as I do, but will not admit it, that a few lines of SQL run on their database, applied to a certain sub-group (call them bottom-feeders) of your customers, will demonstrate immediately when multiple calls (on one occasion I had 9 – one immediately after the other) are being made in a very short time frame. That is abuse. It’s effect is at the very least annoying, at worst intimidating and frightening.
There is an implication in your paragraph that BT is somehow ‘unaware’ of the activities of Fredrickson International Ltd, and similar scumbag outfits.
This position is downright crass, and borders on contempt. Contempt of victims, who have to put up with the nuisance garbage that your company is firing at their telephones and last, but not least, contempt of the law, which clearly proscribes such behaviour.
As I said in my original letter, BT has become an apparently willing partner-in-crime to these charlatans. As such BT appears to be no better than them, and has become part of the problem. Is your company happy with this?
I intended that your CEO understand the perception I have described. Does he consider himself a worthy person while actively supporting criminal abuse of the telephone system his company provides, as well as facilitating the physical and psychological abuse of innocent people? I will go on asking these questions of him, publicly if necessary, and I look forward to the day when he stands in front of a parliamentary committee or similar to answer these questions. Whatever he answers, he will either look and sound like a complete imbecile if he denies awareness of these activities, or a criminal, who is serially supporting them.
I am not going to contact Fredrickson International Ltd – that is precisely what they want me to do – when they do hear from me, it will be in court, as I intend to prosecute them in the criminal court under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997, and the Communication Act 2003. I then intend to prosecute them in the civil court and sue for damages. As I have already pointed out, BT’s part in this will be cited.
Bottom-feeders such as Fredrickson International Ltd, are content in the knowledge that only a small percentage of the people they harass and bully will bite back and take them to court. This is factored into their business plan. As long as companies such as BT shut their eyes while shoveling money into their pockets, this abuse will persist.
This morning I received a reply from OFCOM Central Operations, Telecoms Team, to an email I sent to OFCOM. A relevant section in their reply is as follows:
‘Whilst BT is not your service provider, we would expect them to look into the issue as it is a service they provide.’
Well, I thought that too, it being one of the reasons I wrote to your CEO in the first place. Apparently BT think differently. I will be forwarding OFCOM the substance of your response.
Now because I’m standing to one side while both yourselves and OFCOM point at each other (Your comment ‘There are organisations set up to do this on behalf of customers.’ and their comment above), I intend escalating this with a letter to my MP and pass on the details of the serial criminality, together with the stance taken by BT, provider of the services which are being abused, and that of OFCOM. Because you can’t both be right.
There is still time for BT to start acting responsibly and to put this matter right. Waiting to be bludgeoned into action will be a painful, costly, and unpleasant process.
I received a reply to the above this morning, which I give below in full.
BT Executive Level Complaints to JWB
I have given careful consideration to the additional information you have sent me, and your comments. You have my sympathy, you are receiving unwanted and harassing calls and this is very distressing, I would not want this type of intrusion either.
But, and I am sorry that there is but, BT are not the company to pursue in this situation. As I advised in my previous email I would contact Virgin, your service provider in the first instance. Also the company involved to ask them to stop making the calls. If that does not work and there is sharp practice here from the agency, the Office of Fair Trading could assist if the company are harassing you for a debt you do not have. You could also approach the financial ombudsman, their website is www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
Lastly if you believe that a criminal offence has been committed then I would report it to the police.
I see your comments concerning Ofcom telling you that we should investigate regardless, so I have checked our position on this with Ofcom, and they have confirmed that they would not expect BT to investigate in this case.
I am very sorry that I cannot help you, but I must maintain that I cannot take this any further and as such I don’t have any further comment.
Therefore it is with regret that I am very sorry we have been unable to reach a resolution to this matter. Regrettably we have now exhausted our internal complaint review process and reached a deadlock. This letter therefore constitutes BT’s final position.
It is your statutory right to pursue your complaint outside BT and we are a member of Otelo (the Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman), which offers free, independent dispute resolution. Otelo can be contacted in the following ways: www.otelo.org.uk or by phone on 0330 440 1614 or 01925 430049.
It is for Otelo to decide whether your complaint falls within its Terms of Reference.
You may therefore wish to check with Otelo, who will be able to give you a decision on whether your complaint can be accepted. If Otelo is not able to help with your complaint, you will be advised of other possible avenues to pursue
If you do not refer your complaint to Otelo within six months of the date of this letter, Otelo may not be able to investigate it for you.
If you require clarification on any point I can be contacted 0131 448 5478.
JWB to Executive Level Complaints, BT at 11:47 28th Jan 2010
I am not surprised at your response to my last email.
Sadly, as I have intimated previously, BT are making money supporting Fredrickson International Ltd, in their illegal abuse of the telephone system, and the criminal harassment of innocent people, and appear to be completely happy with their position. You have had the opportunity to refute this statement but have chosen to simply ignore it altogether.
Through this attitude of BT, my telephone has been turned into a weapon against me. Your answers have still not addressed this basic fact.
As for Ofcom, I will pass on your response to them, as it is at odds with what they have said to me, as I said earlier on today.
As for the police, yes I will be reporting the criminality involved in this, together with the fact that BT are intent on doing nothing whatsoever to stop it.
The case, and BT’s attitude will be reported to Otelo in due course.
My MP will be informed regarding the support given by BT to miscreants who are intent on flouting the law, and the cross finger-pointing apparent between BT and OFCOM.
If you are interested in following my progress through the above, my opinions, and the responses received by parties I have communicated with, including BT, are documented on my Blog on http://joebrown.org.uk, where the right sidebar has a menu with the heading ‘bottom-feeders’.
I respect BT’s right-to-reply to any opinions expressed, both by myself and others. Should you wish to respond to any of the material on the website, I will be happy to post your response in full.
Thank you for the time and effort you have expended so far.
If you have been abused or harassed in a simlilar manner to that described above, and you are happy to provide an account of your experience, I would be grateful if you would let me know by either posting a simple comment (no details please) on this post, or the other’s dealing with the same problems, or sending me an email. Note that this is not a forum, your email and other details you provide will be treat in the strictest confidence.
Will Virgin Media Stop Fredrickson International Abusing & Bullying You?
Will OFCOM Help Stop Fredrickson International Abusing & Bullying You?
Dear Roxburghe Debt Collectors, I don’t need advice on my life-style, but perhaps you do?
Dear bottom-feeders, read Tiscali’s admission of systemic failure, and their apology to me.