About Failed Payments
General billing policies
For most of our services we charge a standard monthly fee (what we call a subscription charge). Subscription charges are payable in advance. If any additional fees linked to how much you use the service (what we call usage charges) are payable, we'll try to bill you at the end of the month in which you used the service. However, sometimes there may be a delay from the point you used the service before we add usage charges to your bill and these usage charges may appear on a later bill.
We’ll always aim to bill on the same day of each month (which can be found on the View My Details page on the Member Centre). However, we can’t guarantee what time on that day payments will be taken.
On your billing date we’ll attempt to take payment from the payment details we have stored.
If you pay by Direct Debit, our request for payment will be submitted to your bank on the billing date. It takes between 3 and 5 working days for the payment to be processed and authorised by your bank. Occasionally, this can be delayed, causing the Direct Debit payment to leave your bank slightly later. It’s your responsibility to ensure there are sufficient funds for the payment to clear.
Card payments are submitted and authorised by your card issuer immediately on your billing date.
If both Direct Debit and credit card details are held, we’ll try and take the payment by Direct Debit first.
If the Direct Debit payment fails, other stored credit card details will not be used automatically.
Credit card details will only be used if we have received notification that the Direct Debit instruction has been cancelled prior to your billing date.
There are occasions where the Direct Debit instruction may be cancelled by someone other than you, for example during the process of you changing banks. Under these rare circumstances, our systems will see a cancelled Direct Debit and payment will be taken by card automatically.
We cannot accept debit cards (Switch, Maestro) for recurring transactions (i.e. subscription charges). This is due to banking regulations which state that debit cards cannot be used for e-commerce transactions where the cardholder is not present.
You should be aware that we do not raise or send out invoices before a payment is due. Invoices are raised on the billing date.
All payment details can be entered or updated on the Payment Details page on the Member Centre.
Common reasons for payment failure
Direct Debit is the most reliable way to pay and it also means that you’re protected by the Direct Debit guarantee. This guarantee means that if any error is made you’re entitled to an immediate refund from your bank or building society.
Direct Debit payments can fail for a number of reasons, including:
Direct Debit instruction being cancelled (by you or by your bank or building society)
No funds being available
As a result of moving banks.
Card payments are more prone to difficulties than Direct Debit payments and you are also less protected. This is because the payment cannot be cancelled directly through your bank, unless the card itself is cancelled. Also, we can't accept Switch/Maestro cards for recurring transactions (for example, subscription charges).
Card payments can fail for a number of reasons, including:
The card being cancelled (for example, after the card has been stolen)
Temporary referral from the bank for anti-fraud reasons
Insufficient funds available
Failed payment processes
In this section where we refer to an action occurring on numbered day, the first day is your billing date (so the billing date is day 1, the next day is day 2 etc.).
Card and Direct Debit payments
If payment is rejected or fails, an email is sent to you, stating that there has been a billing problem. An SMS message with a summary of the same information is also sent (if you have opted to receive these). More details about why the payment failed are included as a Question on your account. If the failed Direct Debit has been automatically failed you will receive a letter on day 7 (for 24 Talk accounts) and day 14 (for Plusnet accounts). Charges may be incurred where payments have failed. These are detailed in the Price Guide.
When you connect to the Internet you will also be alerted that your payment has failed. You will be prompted to update your payment details on our website and pay the amount owed. A Direct Debit can be re-submitted anytime via the Member Centre. However, you can choose to acknowledge the message, but not make a payment straightaway.
If your payment fails your account will remain unrestricted for 14 days. This gives you the chance to update payment details or resubmit the Direct Debit. Reminder emails (and SMSs if you have opted to receive these) will be sent on days 1, 5 and 10.
In cases of manually failed Direct Debits, during the first 14 days the failed payment team may also attempt to call you to establish the correct payment details and any other related problems. You will not be contacted by the failed payment team for the automatic failed Direct Debit payments. These accounts will enter the failed payment process automatically.
If payment hasn't been made within 14 days, your service will be restricted to limited Member Centre access. This will only allow you the necessary access to: pay the amount outstanding, update your payment details, view past transactions, check online support and raise a Question. Once again, an email and SMS message (if you have opted to receive these) is sent to prompt you to make payment. A second letter is also sent out if you’re a 24 Talk customer, reminding you of the missed payment. Plusnet customers will receive their first letter in relation to the failed payment.
If your account reaches day 33 of the failed payment process, you will be sent a letter to notify you of the potential closure of your account. The letter will include the outstanding balance on the account as well as any early termination charges as set out in the Price Guide.
Your account will be cancelled, and the outstanding balance sent to an external debt collection agency if payment is not made 16 days after the “day 33 letter” has been produced (49-56 days following the original invoice date). At this point, an extra charge can be added on to the outstanding amount, to cover the cost incurred.
If you wish to continue to have an active service after your account has been cancelled due to failed payment, you will need to create a brand new account and also pay all outstanding fees from the previous account.
Cheques and BACS payments
We do not normally accept payment by cheque. However, there are some circumstances when they may be accommodated, including:
Business customers who pay annually in advance by cheque.
Metronet and Madasafish customers who historically pay by Bank Transfer (BACS).
Home Phone specific policies
Just the same as for a broadband account, a Home Phone account will remain unrestricted for 14 days after a payment fails. You will be alerted of the failed payment via email, SMS (if you have opted to receive these) and a payment prompt screen when you connect to the Internet, prompting you to make payment. After 5 and 10 days further reminder emails and SMSs (if you opted to receive these) will be sent.
If the amount owed has not been paid after 14 days, all outgoing calls (except emergency and operator calls) will be transferred through to Customer Services and an administration fee as set out in the Price Guide for the application and removal of this call diversion will be payable.
Once payment is taken, call restrictions will normally be removed within the following timeframes:
Within a couple of hours - if we process your reactivation before 2pm Monday to Saturday.
Next morning - if we process your reactivation after 2pm Monday to Friday.
Monday morning - if we process your reactivation after 2pm on Saturday.