Questions of Cash: Housebuyer told fast broadband was planned, but it never arrived

 

Q. I recently moved to the countryside and I was delighted to be told by BT Business that they could supply me with business broadband at 60MB. The sales lady told me that fibre optic was planned for the end of my road on 31 December 2012. As I work from home, this was a major factor in making the move to a rural area earlier this year. When we arrived, we found that the 60MB is actually 4Mb.

We have established that there never were plans for fibre optic in my area. BT is trying to sidestep its responsibility on the grounds of the plans having been only provisional. I asked for evidence that they ever existed, but I was told this was not possible as the "planning" was within the remit of a third party – Openreach. BT is hiding behind the fiction of a plan not being a promise. This is a clear case of mis-selling. I have been offered £50, but I want what I was offered and bought. If I cannot have it, I want proof that there really was a plan to put in fibre optic. MO, Hampshire.

A. This is a very important issue, and not just for you. The quality and speed of broadband connections is central to the operations of many businesses, including the self-employed. The quality of a broadband line may influence location decisions, for example where a self-employed person buys a home.

BT should consider whether it can do more in recognition of this by trying to provide a more accurate indication of whether individual properties will be eligible for high speed broadband to enable homebuyers and businesses to make informed location decisions. Home buyers in your situation might need to seek independent advice on the likelihood of a quality service being fitted.

Incidentally, although Openreach operates as a separate business unit servicing all telecoms providers, it is in fact a business within the BT Group.

BT's spokesman Yusuf King says: "[The reader's] line is connected to Tadley exchange. Tadley exchange has been enabled with fibre broadband. The roadside cabinet to which [the reader's] line is connected was upgraded for fibre broadband on 15 January 2013. Unfortunately, whilst [the reader's] exchange and cabinet have been enabled with fibre broadband, his premises are too far away from the cabinet for his specific line to support fibre broadband.

"BT Retail advisers offer advice on the likely broadband service and speed that may be achieved. The information given to [the reader] could only be based on his postcode as there was no working line in the premises. All such orders are subject to survey, and this is reiterated in BT's terms and conditions. We have reviewed the call recording in which [the reader] has the discussion with our business sales agent.

"The call recording shows that the agent does confirm that fibre for the exchange is planned for 31 December, that this is the intended and estimated date and that this can be delayed. The adviser at no point says that the fibre service will definitely be available to [the reader] on a particular date should he place an order for service at [his] premises. We have offered [the reader] £50 credit to his broadband account as a goodwill gesture.

"Openreach provides products and services to communication providers on an 'equivalent' basis. This obligation is embodied in the BT Undertakings given to the telecoms regulator Ofcom in September 2005. These undertakings state that Openreach will provide the same products and services to all of its customers on the basis of 'Equivalence of Inputs', which means – subject to some limited exceptions – at the same prices; using the same processes; to the same timescales. Openreach provides different service levels at different prices and service level guarantees, but these options are available to all communication providers, including BT Retail, TalkTalk, Sky, etc."

Q. I need financial advice. I have just quit my job and I make a lot of money online with www.onlinecashincome.com. Would you be able to advise me as I would like to start to diversify some of the money I am making. PW, by email.

A. We suspect this is a spoof email, but we gave you an opportunity to prove us wrong. We requested details of what type of online trading you were doing and in what way you were thinking about diversifying your investments. There was no reply. Moreover, the website you refer to is not functioning. It diverts to a different web address based in the United States, which refers to three easy ways to make money and offers a free video to explain these to anyone who provides an email address.

But when an email address is provided, an error message comes up, "mailing list not active". We are unclear about the point of sending a spoof email promoting a website that does not work. But there is an important issue related to this. Websites that offer easy money should be treated very carefully and are unlikely to deliver what they appear to offer. In some instances people are offered online "administrative" work involving the processing of cheques or cash through their bank accounts in return for a handling fee. This has on occasion then led to criminal charges for money laundering. It is also essential to remember that trading on eBay and other websites can generate tax liabilities.

HM Revenue & Customs is using one of its investigations units to tackle tax evasion resulting from undeclared profits from online trading. HMRC advises that the sale of unwanted items will not generally be taxable, unless you are trading or making a capital gain. The definition of "trading" is that you are buying for resale; making items for sale; trading on behalf of others for financial gain; providing a service for payment. If you fit the definition of trading you will be regarded as self-employed and will be liable for income, and possibly other, taxes.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

    Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?