Bulldog keeps billing ex-customer

Many Bulldog customers suffered from service problems last year. But for one, cancelling his subscription wasn't the end of the story

Troubled communications provider Bulldog has admitted that it continued to bill an ex-customer who quit the company last year after experiencing a poor quality of service.

Brendan Smee joined Bulldog in July 2005, a time when the telco was having problems providing an acceptable service to its customers. At the end of September he quit the company, after 13 weeks during which his telephone line simply failed to work.

As Mr Smee was on a monthly contract, his service was disconnected in October. But Bulldog kept billing him through the rest of 2005, and in January 2006.

"Bulldog is still unlawfully deducting monies from my account on a monthly basis. I have tried contacting them several times to no avail. Today, however, I was told that it is confirmed my service was terminated, but the money is still being deducted," said Mr Smee last week.

By this stage, Mr Smee was also considering taking legal action against Bulldog, as he claims repeated calls to the company had no effect. Other Bulldog users have also claimed to have struggled to contact the company, but late last year it said it was expanding its customer call centre from 50 people to 300 to address this.

ZDNet UK contacted the company last week about Mr Smee's experiences. The next day, he was contacted by a Bulldog employee who said it would be refunding his money.

"We were disappointed to hear that Mr Smee had experienced difficulties with Bulldog, for which we apologise. We have fully investigated the status of his billing and he has been refunded any monies due to him," confirmed a Bulldog spokeswoman.

"Ensuring that our customers receive excellent service is our number one priority. Bulldog is continually taking steps to improve the support we offer," she added.

Although Mr Smee's experience could be a one-off incident, the Bulldog spokeswoman did indicate that other ex-customers will continue to be billed if they owe Bulldog money.

As first reported last July, many Bulldog users found last year that their new service wasn't delivered on time, or didn't work at all.

Although Bulldog claimed last November that it has addressed these problems, ZDNet UK is still being contacted by irate users complaining of problems.

On Monday, one reader reported that they had suffered very poor customer service from Bulldog. "I was told at least six times in the last four days that someone will call back, but they never did. No one seems to know what is going on."

Another reader, IT project manager Alan Wright, is also experiencing billing problems with Bulldog.

"I joined Bulldog in September 2003, the equipment I ordered never arrived, and it took 3 months to get the line active. The Bulldog technical dept continually told me the problems were at my end — it finally turned out to be a setting on their equipment. In October 2004 they stopped billing me. My emails were not answered and getting through on the phone was next to impossible," said Wright in a TalkBack posted to another article earlier this month.

"Now I have received an invoice for the whole period from 2003 to date. Again my email was not answered until I chased, and then the reply was incorrect. It finally took an hour on the phone to get a sensible response, but the revised invoice hasn't arrived," Wright added.